Okinawa Diet: The 10 Principles of Okinawa Diet

"The big problem of our diet is basically this: it is not adapted to our needs, does not take into account our lack of physical activity, our lifestyle" explain Anne Dufour and Laurence Wittner in their book The Okinawa Diet (Ed LeducS).

The people of Okinawa - the older generations at least - have been able to preserve a diet that is adapted to their way of life and their activities, while being able to draw on the riches of nature.
Here are summaries of the main principles:

1) Never eat more than your hunger, or even a little less.
The "hara hachi bu", consisting of only eating up to 80%, is a cultural habit in Okinawa.

2) Consume low calorie foods, but rich in vitamins and minerals.
The people of Okinawa consume foods with low (75 to 150 cal / 100g) or very low calorie (calorie count in 100g of food) (less than 75 cal / 100g). Is :

- for cereals and starchy foods: rice, pasta, semolina, sweet corn, sweet potato, potato (steam or water).

- vegetables: all, with special mention for cucumber.

- fruit: all, except dried fruits (grapes, apricots, figs, dates ...), and oleaginous fruits (walnuts, hazelnuts, pistachios, pine nuts, peanuts ...).

- fish and shells: lean fish, shellfish and crustaceans.

- products of animal origin: poultry (without skin), egg, horse, ground beef with 5% fat content.

- cheeses and desserts: fruit salad, homemade compote, natural yoghurt, very fresh cheese.

3) Seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day.
Fruits and vegetables are all good! For few calories, they bring us a lot: vitamins, minerals, antioxidant, fiber, water, but also satiety effect.

4) Seven servings of whole grains and / or pulses per day + 2 soy dishes.
Rich in slow sugars, vitamins, fiber and protein, whole grains are very interesting nutritionally, unlike their refined version (white pasta, white rice, white bread ...).

5) Many spices, herbs and seaweed.
In addition to their flavor, herbs provide vitamins and minerals. The spices have anti-oxidant virtues. These spices - flavor enhancers - avoid adding too much salt to foods. Finally, algae are full of minerals, fiber, vitamins and antioxidants and are true "anticholesterols" natural.

6) Fish 3 times a week.
Fish is the main animal food of Okinawa diet. It is chosen preferably lean and consumed raw - the famous sashimi - poached or grilled.

7) Few other products of animal origin (meat, dairy products).
The people of Okinawa eat an average of 18 times less meat and 3 times less dairy than Westerners. With animal proteins, they prefer vegetable proteins, doubly winning: they are virgin bad fats and contain various substances specific to the plant kingdom and beneficial to our health: tannins, polyphenols, phytosterols ...

8) Very little alcohol.

9) Little sugar and salt.
The dessert tradition does not exist in Okinawa, and industrially prepared products - cakes, sweets ... - are still rare on the island. The islanders consume nearly 3 times less sugars than us, Westerners. The use of spices, herbs and seaweed allows to season the dishes, and thus to do without salt.

10) Drink plenty of water and tea.
Water is the only drink essential to the body; In addition, it helps drain the waste of our body and hydrate it from the inside. As a bonus, it cuts our appetite ...

It's up to you to put these principles into practice!

For more, sources: The Okinawa Diet, Anne Dufour and Laurence Wittner, ed. LeducS, 2005. Miyagi S, et al, Longevity and diet in Okinawa, Japan: the past, present and future, Asia Pac Public Health J. 2003.

Read also :
> The Scarsdale Diet
> The Montignac diet
> The Weight Watchers Diet

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