How Japanese live longer and don't get fat

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jul 04, 2015

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Quick Bites

  • The Japanese are one of the healthiest communities.
  • Their diet is based on fish, soy, rice, vegetables and fruit.
  • Their cooking is light and ensure preservation of nutrients.
  • Most Japanese people lead active lifestyle.

The Japanese have a reputation for being one of the healthiest communities. The average life expectancy in Japan is 84 years, the best in the world (source:WHO). And, it is way ahead of the world average, which is 71 years. Not only this, the Japanese have a quite low obesity rate.


Japanese lifestyle


What do you think makes Japanese the healthiest of all? Is it genes, lifestyle, diet, or social life? Here’s their secret!


Healthful diet

The Japanese diet is based on fish, soy, rice, vegetables and fruit. Their diet gives them all the essential nutrients, including a good amount of omega 3 fatty acids, which is missing from most of the diets worldwide.


Importance to breakfast

Breakfast is given much importance in Japan. For instance, their breakfast is a big meal that has a variety of small dishes that are rich in probiotics which boosts immunity and takes good care of the digestive system. Breakfast comprises green tea, steamed rice, miso soup with tofu and scallions, small sheets of nori seaweed, an egg omelette or piece of fish.

Healthy food preparation

The Japanese prefer to prepare their meals by themselves, and seldom turn towards processed meals or fast food. Their cooking is light, requires steaming (low temperature high pressure), pan grilling and sautéing. These methods ensure preservation of nutrient value of the food.


Small portions

The Japanese portion sizes are small which doesn’t put pressure on their digestive system to work too hard to process meals. The food is served in small bowls which helps in managing portion sizes.


Active lifestyle

Most Japanese people are active compared with people in the rest of the world because of their active lifestyle. When they commute to work, they either walk or ride a cycle. Small things contribute to their healthy lifestyle and so there is a correlation between the Japanese lifestyle and their life expectancy.


Less risk of gut damage

The Japanese diet is based on natural foods so there is a lesser risk for gut damage. With unnatural foods (packaged and processed) being consumed, it becomes very difficult for the body to absorb nutrients and happens to be one of the reasons for weight gain.


Good posture

The Japanese practices such as Tai Chi helps to maintain healthy posture. Seiza is the formal way to sit in Japan, which doesn’t damage muscles or put undue pressure on the skeletal system unlike sitting on chair all day does.



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