Japanese longevity

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), Japanese women have the longest life expectancy in the world, averaging 87 years. In terms of life expectancy for men, Japan is in the top ten in the world, ahead of the US and the UK. Interestingly, after the Second World War, life expectancy in Japan was one of the lowest.


Definitely, the diet of the Japanese is much healthier than what the Westerner eats. Let’s take a closer look:

Yes, Japan is not a vegetarian country. However, they don’t eat nearly as much red meat here as they do in most other parts of the world. Meat contains more cholesterol than fish, which in the long run results in heart disease, causes a heart attack, and so on. Less milk, butter and milk in general. The vast majority of Japanese people are lactose intolerant. In fact, the human body is not designed to consume milk in adulthood. The Japanese, if they drink milk, then rarely, thereby protecting themselves from another source of cholesterol.

Rice is a nutritious, low-fat cereal that is eaten with just about anything in Japan. Essential seaweed is rich in iodine and other nutrients that are hard to find in such abundance in other foods. And finally, tea. The Japanese drink a lot of tea! Of course, everything is good in moderation. Widespread green and oolong teas are rich in antioxidants and aid in the breakdown of fats in the digestive system, supporting gut health.

And here’s the trick: small plates make us eat smaller portions. A lot of research has been done on the relationship between the size of dishes and how much a person eats. The Japanese tend to serve food on small bowls so they don’t overeat.

According to Greg O’Neill, director of the US National Academy of Aging, the Japanese consume only 13 of the calories Americans eat. The statistics of obese patients in Japan is very comforting: 3,8% among men, 3,4% among women. For comparison, similar figures in the UK: 24,4% – men, 25,1 – women.

A 2009 study ranked Japan one of four countries with less than 13 people maintaining a high level of physical activity. However, according to other sources, the daily life of the Japanese involves more movement and use of public transport than cars.

So maybe it’s in genetics? 

There is some evidence that the Japanese do indeed have genes for longevity. In particular, research has identified two genes, DNA 5178 and ND2-237Met genotype, that promote longevity by protecting against certain diseases in adulthood. It should be noted that these genes are not present in the entire population.

Since the 1970s, there has been such a phenomenon in the country as death caused by exhaustion. Since 1987, the Japanese Ministry of Labor has published data on “karoshi” as companies have been urged to reduce working hours. The biological aspect of such deaths is associated with high blood pressure, heart disease and strokes. In addition to deaths from work exhaustion, the suicide rate in Japan, especially among young people, is still high and is also associated with overwork. It is believed that the highest risk of this type of suicide is among managerial and administrative workers, where stress levels are extremely high. This group also includes workers with excessive physical exertion.

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