UPDATED: Feb 25, 2020
We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
A term life insurance policy is essential to have when the unthinkable happens. Of course, we sincerely hope the unthinkable never happens, and you outlive your policy. In the spirit of this aspiration, we would like to introduce a new series based on topics designed to help you outlive your term life insurance policy. Note: If you’ve already outlived a term life insurance policy… Congratulations! You may be able to purchase a new policy if you still need coverage.
Live Like the Japanese
Japan has held the rank of the longest living people in the world for quite some time. The latest statistics by the United Nations show Japan holding the top spot with an average life expectancy of 82.6 years. In comparison, the United States comes in 36th with an average life expectancy of 78.3 years. Not only do the Japanese live longer, but they also suffer far less disease than the Western world.
Besides genetics, how do the Japanese manage to live for so long and in better health? Let’s take a look at the popular Okinawan diet and lifestyle for some clues.
It’s no secret the Standard American Diet (SAD) is not conducive to good health. In contrast, the traditional Okinawan diet is very healthy and is based mainly on vegetables, primarily dark green vegetables and sweet potatoes. They also practice ‘Hara Hachi Bu,’ which means they eat until they are only 80% full. An article by the UC Berkeley Wellness Letter gives an excellent summary of the Okinawan diet (http://bit.ly/op93oD).
The Okinawan diet might well amaze Americans. The average citizen consumes at least seven servings of vegetables daily, and an equal number of grains (in the form of noodles, bread, and rice many of them whole grains). Add to this two to four servings of fruit, plus tofu and other forms of soy, green tea, seaweed, and fish rich in omega-3s (three times weekly). Sweet potatoes, bean sprouts, onions, and green peppers are prominent in the diet. Vegetables, grains, and fruits make up 72% of the diet by weight. Soy and seaweed provide another 14%. Meat, poultry, and eggs account for just 3% of the diet, fish about 11%. The emphasis is on dark green vegetables rich in calcium (Okinawans, like other Japanese, don’t eat much dairy). Okinawans do drink alcohol, but women usually stick to one drink a day, while men average twice that. Moderation is the key.
We could all learn a thing or two from the traditional Okinawan diet. Like taking notice of what you eat, keeping a food diary, seeing a nutritionist and eating your veggies to name a few! Once you start paying better attention to your diet, you will almost surely begin to add healthy years to your life.
Okinawans tend to stay physically active, even into their later years. They participate in martial arts, dance, gardening, tai chi and walking to name a few activities. We all know we should exercise consistently, but this doesn’t have to mean logging an hour on the treadmill each day. Try some less intense exercise like yoga or tai chi the next time you feel like being a couch potato.
Okinawans are known for being spiritually active and having a positive outlook on life. They value their connection with nature and relationships with family and friends greatly. Living on a tropical island certainly, helps makes life seem less hectic. Ditching your urban digs for a tropical paradise may not be in the cards for you. However, working to improve your spirituality, relationships, and appreciation for nature can go a long way.
You can learn more about Okinawans at http://www.okicent.org/study.html.
Do you follow any of the lifestyle choices listed above? If yes, which ones? If not, would you consider adopting any of them?