Okinawans; the Longest-Lived People on the Planet

Okinawa, Japan

Conducted over the period of 25 years and recently published, results of the Okinawa Centenarian Study reveal a lifestyle that encompasses unique, but appealing to all diet, active lifestyle, stress-reducing psycho-spiritual outlook, as well as integration of Eastern and Western health care.

The study was conducted by the researchers from the University of the Ryukyus, Okinawa, Faculty of Medicine and School of Health Sciences, in collaboration with prominent researchers from U.S., Canada, as well as from Tokyo Metropolitan Institute of Gerontology and the Japan National Cancer Center Research Institute.

Their findings are very interesting and impressive. Here are some of the findings:

Life expectancy:

  • United States: 76.8 years
  • Sweden: 79.0 years
  • Hong Kong: 79.1 years
  • Japan: 79.9 years
  • Okinawa: 81.2 years

Coronary heart disease (yearly mortality per 100,000 people):

  • United States: 100/100,000
  • Sweden: 102/100,000
  • Okinawa: 18/100,000

Prevalence of dementia (85-90 age group) :

  • United States: 31%
  • Okinawa: 17%

Yearly breast cancer deaths per 100,000:

  • United States: 33/100,000
  • Sweden: 34/100,000
  • Okinawa: 6/100,000

Yearly prostate cancer deaths per 100,000:

  • United States: 28/100,000
  • Sweden: 52/100,000
  • Hong Kong: 4/100,000
  • Japan: 8/100,000
  • Okinawa: 4/100,000

According to the authors of the well-written book The Okinawa Program, residents of those southern-most islands of Japan have discovered how to tap on the knowledge of various cultures, from the ancient Chinese to Spain’s Ponce de León, to North America’s aging baby boomers. How they accomplished this? The book tells it all.

Their approach to health and life is based on Eastern tradition and wisdom. They eat low-calorie, plant-based foods, high in unrefined carbohydrates. There, exercise is the way of life: martial arts, traditional dance and walking. When Dr. Makato Suzuki began his studies in Okinawa, he found an unusual number of centenarians to be in an extraordinary state of health.

How such an important scientific and medical information went unnoticed? For one, most of the information was published in the Japanese. Second, gerontology and preventive medicine research were relatively new in the 1970’s. Nutritional research was generally considered unscientific and unproductive, not much of a contribution to the science of medicine. How things have changed! Now an entire discipline of Medicine is devoted to the study of nutrition and disease, the nutritional epidemiology. Now, Okinawans, as well as this excellent book share with us this critical information.

If you live in the Portland, Oregon area, stop by at *one of our offices* to pick up a copy of The Okinawa Program. Or, visit your favorite bookseller or library.

Omega-3 For Healthier Hearts

The real fish story.

Medical experts agree that one or two grams per day of dietary fatty acid-rich fish oil capsules will lead to a significant reduction in all-cause mortality, of magnitude practically identical to what we see with the use of statin drugs. According to the Italian GISSI Prevention Study, those of 11,300 post-myocardial infarction patients who took 1 gram per day of omega-3 fatty acids in fish oil capsules enjoyed a 45% relative risk reduction in sudden cardiac death, and a 17% decrease in cardiovascular mortality, and a 10% reduction in total cardiovascular events.

Another medical study, known as Diet and Re-infarction Trial, involved 2,033 men in England and Wales who had survived a myocardial infarction and were randomized to one of three types of advice: 1. Eat fish 2-3 times per week, 2. Reduce fat intake, 3. Increase consumption of cereal fiber. The results? After two years of follow-up, it was noted that the group who increased the consumption of fish (an increase in omega-3 consumption from 0.6 to 2.4 g/week), reduced their risk of all cause mortality by as much as 29%.

Another interesting clinical trial is the so called Lyon Diet Heart Study. This French study compared a conventional reduced fat diet to a Mediterranean-type diet that emphasizes fish, fresh fruit, vegetables, breads, legumes, and offers less meat, no butter, and liberal use of an alpha-linoleic acid-enriched canola oil margarine. Those of 605 post-myocardial infarction patients who followed this diet had a 60% reduction in overall mortality and a 72% decrease in major cardiovascular events. This group also had a sharp reduction in late cancers.

Dr. Radzik advises that you combine proper nutrition, active lifestyle, and other preventive measures with the appropriate medical care that only your physician can and will provide. Although prevention makes great difference, do not underestimate the benefits of early detection. Here, primary example is early detection of colon polyps and early stage of colon cancer. There are many other conditions that are easy to control with a proper nutritional and lifestyle modification program.