- Why do the Okinawans live for so long?
- 3 proven tricks for losing weight
- Revealed, why eating the wrong way ages you faster
The other week I talked about the problem with eating too much rice.
It’s a massive health problem in China where the authorities are waging war on this foodstuff.
But what about Japan?
They eat a lot of rice too…
And yet they live 3-4 years longer on average than we do.
Meanwhile in Okinawa, the people often live to 100. It’s a place that has become famous for its longevity.
Somehow they’ve managed to hold back the clock in a way that’s the envy of the world.
It’s not what Okinawans do today that is of interest, as their culture has been influenced by western foods and other global influences.
It’s what the 80-100 year olds of Okinawa were doing back in the 1910s-1940s.
In the years before World War II Okinawans ate fish at least three times each week, along with plenty of vegetables and perhaps one serving of grain per day.
This links into what experts are saying about our lack of omega 3s from fish. (For more details look at my recent post: The link between your ageing brain and your gut).
So a little like the healthier pre-war Britain, they had more of a natural balance between food types and almost zero processed foods.
But there’s more to the Okinawan’s health story.
One of the reasons they stay younger for longer is related to their portion sizes.
You see, the Okinawans practice something called ‘hara hachi bu’.
On its most basic level, it means that you eat slowly and carefully and stop when you’re 80% full.
This is something many of us don’t do.
I’ll admit, I am as bad as anyone with this. In fact, at teatime my entire family wolf down our food as if we’ve been starved and I KNOW it’s unhealthy.
Because we eat too quickly, we stuff our stomachs full before our brains get the message and switch off our appetites.
As a result we eat more than our bodies need.
What’s more, we train the muscles in our stomachs to react more slowly in sending “I’m full” message to the brain. Each time we eat past bursting point our stomachs get trained to feel full at that point, and so our tolerance grows (along with our waistlines).
If you’ve ever been on a crash diet (not advised) or been ill so you can’t eat, then you’ll have experienced this…
When you finally eat after maybe three or four days, you find that you’re full after about half the amount of food that you’re used to.
The good news is that it can work the other way round…
Gradually decrease the amount you eat and your muscle memory gets retrained.
The way to do it is to eat slower and stop well before you start to feel full.
Try it and you’ll notice that although you initially feel hungry when you stop eating, this passes quickly as you become satiated.
To help you, try this second trick to make yourself feel more full…
Use The Delboeuf Illusion
The Delboeuf Illusion is one the simplest natural dieting methods.
Imagine these are your dinner plates and the black spots are your dinner.
Which contains the most food?
Both the plates contain the same amount of food but this optical illusion tricks the stomach into feeling fuller or less full.
So throw away your big plates, or use them on special occasions, and get smaller plates for your everyday meals.
And while we’re on the subject of Japan, here’s a third trick for keeping the weight off.
The vinegar rick
There was a Japanese study published in Bioscience, Biotechnology and Biochemistry in 2009.
It showed that people who took a drink containing vinegar every day for 3 months experienced reductions in weight, body fat and waist circumference. Much more so than the placebo group.
Both group carried out the same amount physical activity during the research phase and their diets were the same too.
This led the researchers to conclude that vinegar was the key influencing factor behind the results.
They surmised that vinegar can help switch off hunger pangs between meals by reducing the amount of insulin your body produces after eating and preventing the blood sugar spikes you get after tucking into potatoes, rice, bread and other carbohydrates.
If drinking vinegar every day sounds a bit unpleasant then we’ve got an alternative that you can pop in your mouth without any taste at all.
As one user says…
“I have found that whilst we went through a spell where we were going out quite a lot and I had to eat things that I would not normally do. (I do not like to upset my host, so I always eat, but carefully) I found that taking these tablets has maintained my weight, I did not put any on. When I got back to my proper eating / daily way of life, I found that I lost half a stone.”
There’s a serious benefit to cutting down on what you eat, beyond your physical appearance or self confidence.
Why eating too much ages you faster
Recent research published in Molecular & Cellular Proteomics has suggested that when you cut calories it slows down the protein makers in your cells, known as ribosomes. This decrease actually slows down the ageing process.
At the moment this is a mice-only trial but the lead researcher says: “The calorie-restricted mice are more energetic and suffered fewer diseases,” Price said. “And it’s not just that they’re living longer, but because they’re better at maintaining their bodies, they’re younger for longer as well.”
So if you want to turn back the clock, or at least hold back the hands of time as far as you can, then eating less is the key – that is if you eat a balanced diet, of course.
I’ll keep you posted on this kind of research as it develops.
In the meantime, do give the vinegar treatment a go (click here) along with smaller plates and the 80% full rule. See what happens!
Until next time