Le sweet potatoes they are not immediately associated with the Okinawan inhabitants' diet.
The most common food associations that come to mind when thinking of this population are ...
And so on.
All these foods are an integral part of the diet in this special island, but what are the specific quantities of each and the proportions between them?
Furthermore, if you dig a little deeper into the documentation relating to the true traditional diet of this people then something special is discovered.
- 0.1 THE INHABITANTS OF OKINAWA
- 0.2 PRIMATO DI SALUTE IN OKINAWA
- 0.3 PRIMATO DI LONGEVITA IN OKINAWA
- 0.4 WHAT DO THE OKINAWA INHABITANTS MAKE SPECIAL?
- 0.5 PAST AND PRESENT IN OKINAWA
- 0.6 TRADITIONAL HABITS OF THE INHABITANTS OF OKINAWA
- 0.7 THE ORIGINAL PROPORTIONS BETWEEN FOOD TRADITIONALLY CONSUMED IN OKINAWA
- 1 THE SWEET POTATO (IPOMEA BATATAS)
- 1.1 THE MYTH OF FISH FOOD IN OKINAWA
- 1.2 THE USE OF MEAT IN OKINAWA
- 1.3 THE USE OF EGGS IN OKINAWA
- 1.4 THE USE OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN OKINAWA
- 1.5 FEEDING FOR THE LONGEVITY VERSUS PALEO DIETA
- 1.6 OKINAWA SWEET POTATOES HOW DO YOU COME THERE?
- 1.7 CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ON THE BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATOES
- 1.8 CURIOSITY
- 1.9 THE BEST WAY TO COOK THEM (THAT PRESENTS MORE THE NUTRITIONAL QUALITIES)
- 1.10 DO NOT REMOVE THE HOLE!
- 1.11 ANTICANCER PROPERTIES OF THE SWEET POTATO
- 1.12 TO CONCLUDE
THE INHABITANTS OF OKINAWA
Okinawa is the largest island of a group of islands in the Ryūkyu archipelago in Japan.
The island of Okinawa has become known as the land of the immortals.
Thanks to its long-lived inhabitants, the island of Okinawa (1600 Km away from Tokyo) in recent decades has stimulated the scientific interest of various teams of researchers in search of Holy Grail of longevity.
The Okinawan islanders boast longevity and health records.
PRIMATO DI SALUTE IN OKINAWA
Compared to the US averages in Okinawa 1 / 5 of the rate of cardiovascular diseases that are found in America. 1 / 4 the rate for breast and prostate cancer and 1 / 3 the rate of senile dementia.
1 / 5 means 80% less for cardiovascular diseases (which instead represent the N ° 1 killer in industrialized countries).
1 / 4 is the 75% less for breast cancer and prostate cancer.
1 / 3 is the 67% less for senile dementia.
With regard to this last point it is interesting to note that the Okinawan elders tend to remain autonomous and healthy.
That is, they often do not get sick and unfit for those venerable ages, on the contrary in some cases the autonomy is present even in the centenarians.
You might see an elderly man walking the streets of Okinawa with the appearance of a seventy-year-old in the form who is going to his vegetable garden to pick up some seasonal vegetables ... then you may find that the sprightly old man has instead passed the 100.
Not bad to enjoy some other decade of life on this beautiful planet doing the things we love, what do you think? 🙂
PRIMATO DI LONGEVITA IN OKINAWA
In Okinawa the average life expectancy reaches 78 years for men and 86 years for women. Most of whom lived healthy ...
While, for the rest of Japan the averages are respectively of 72.3 years and 77.7 years.
Okinawa also boasts the primacy of one of the populations with the highest ratio of centenarians compared to the total population (about 5 centenarians every 1000 inhabitants).
WHAT DO THE OKINAWA INHABITANTS MAKE SPECIAL?
After having verified that the inhabitants of Okinawa do not possess a privileged genetics1 compared to all of us, we can be sure that their health benefits derive from the external environment (what they eat, what they drink and in general the lifestyle they take).
PAST AND PRESENT IN OKINAWA
Keep in mind that in this article we talk especially about Okinawan traditions, and not the current conditions, which as you will see are sweeping away all the aspects that made it so special in the past.
Starting from World War II Okinawa has gradually been "invaded" by restaurant chains like McDonald's and Kentucky Fried Chicken (specialty: fried chicken!).
As a direct result of the landing of the US-made lifestyle, the Okinawan islanders are now gaining an unflattering record of obesity.
(Long live progress?grrrrr ...)
TRADITIONAL HABITS OF THE INHABITANTS OF OKINAWA
To understand how Okinawa has become the land of the immortals we need to go back to its true traditions, that is, before the landing of American fried chicken.
Investigations by scholars who have visited Okinawa interviewing thousands of elders on several occasions including many centenarians reveal certain common constants ...
- Many of the inhabitants of Okinawa possessed a own vegetable garden from which they supplied daily fresh (and organic) vegetables
- In general, the diet in Okinawa has always been made up of a preponderant amount of vegetables (a real vegetable-based diet)
- There is the healthy habit of Confucian origin of stopping before having reached full satiety during each meal (hara hachi bu = eat up to 80% of satiety)
- Spiritual culture, especially that of ancestor worship, has been very present and felt on the island
Let's take these three points above as general guidelines for the Okinawan population's lifestyle, then we go into more detail about specific foods ...
THE ORIGINAL PROPORTIONS BETWEEN FOOD TRADITIONALLY CONSUMED IN OKINAWA
There is a basic study2 performed in the 1949 that shows something amazing ...
The analysis derives from the archives of the US National Archives and shows data collected from a carpet interview of 2279 people and compares the power in Okinawa with that of the rest of Japan at that time.
The data that emerged are significant above all for a specific food that covers on average well the 67% of the total food traditionally consumed by the inhabitants of Okinawa.
This particular food is ...
THE SWEET POTATO (IPOMEA BATATAS)
La sweet potato (Ipomea batatas), which is found both in the yellow / orange variant and in the violet variant (very interesting for the greater concentration of protective antioxidant pigments).
The other foods most consumed after the sweet potato that is in the lead with 67% are:
- Il rice with the 12% approx
- Le other vegetables (especially with green leaf) with around 9%
- I vegetable (especially soy) with around 6%
THE MYTH OF FISH FOOD IN OKINAWA
Here is another myth to debunk ...
Although in recent decades, with the increase in food availability on the island, the consumption of fish may have grown, in the traditional diet fish represents a paltry 1% of the total.
The vegetables in total (sweet potato and other vegetables) cover an abundant 76%, while the fish only 1%!
THE USE OF MEAT IN OKINAWA
The meat is even so little consumed as to represent just the 0,25% of the total.
Traditionally, in fact, the consumption of meat has always been limited only to pork consumed exclusively during the lunar new year.
So the meat was consumed only one day on 365 days.
THE USE OF EGGS IN OKINAWA
1 gram per day (only one gram!).
THE USE OF DAIRY PRODUCTS IN OKINAWA
Even the consumption of XNUMX cups milk and cheese is limited to 1 gram per day (only one gram!).
FEEDING FOR THE LONGEVITY VERSUS PALEO DIETA
In short, this is a perfect example that totally contradicts the controversial theories of paleo diet according to which the man is in line with a mainly animal diet.
OKINAWA SWEET POTATOES HOW DO YOU COME THERE?
In the 1605 a traveler returning from China brought with him sweet potatoes on the island of Okinawa. The agronomic and alimentary success of this vegetable on the island was decisive in helping its inhabitants to survive in some cases and in general to nourish their proverbial longevity and health.
The first importer of the sweet potato in Okinawa was almost revered for this work.
His name was Sokan Noguni and had also become known as King Imo (king of sweet potatoes). Here is his statue with the mythical sweet potato in the palm of his hand.
The fabulous sweet potato has been so closely associated with the good life of the Okinawan islanders that over time has generated a very special way of saying "how are you?", And this is it ...
Nmu kamatooin = Did you eat enough sweet potatoes?
That is, instead of asking you "how are you?", In Okinawa they ask you if you have eaten enough sweet potatoes! great
CURRENT SCIENTIFIC KNOWLEDGE ON THE BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATOES
One of the most interesting theories underlying Okinawan's longevity is the characteristic property of certain foods of mimic the effects of caloric restriction without undergoing a real calorie restriction.
Caloric restriction is the most known and reproducible method of extending life in animals (mice and monkeys), but in humans it is so difficult to put into practice that it is considered practically impractical in the long term.
In practice, foods capable of mimicking caloric restriction reproduce the health effects of caloric restriction, but without the need to go hungry.
They have few calories, many micronutrients and good satiating power. In practice we are talking about functional foods (often called super foods) such as:
- Sweet potatoes
- And other similar foods rich in protective phytochemicals
The effect that this kind of "super foods" produces in the body of those who take them is defined hormesis (or hormetic effect).
The hormetic effect is produced by small doses of certain nutritional principles such as i carotenoids violaxanthin and lutein sweet potatoes which prove capable of activating the vitagens.
I vitageni they are particular genes dedicated to the production of protective molecules in humans and it is thought that they play a fundamental role in the addition of years of healthy life.
Sweet potatoes are really a super food enough to have been selected by NASA as food to be used during space missions3.
THE BEST WAY TO COOK THEM (THAT PRESENTS MORE THE NUTRITIONAL QUALITIES)
What is the best way to cook sweet potatoes to preserve their protective carotenoid content? I'm sure the answer will surprise you as it surprised me ...
The best cooking is boiling.
So in order:
Boiling appears as the best solution also because with it the cellulose walls of the plant cells that contain the precious carotenoid compounds are weakened increasing their release and therefore the bioavailability11,12.
Furthermore, the glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes appears to be about half less than roasted or baked13.
All these benefits add up synergistically making boiled the best cooking method for the preparation of this special tuber.
DO NOT REMOVE THE HOLE!
Clean the outside of the sweet potatoes with a brush, but do not remove the skin.
The peel of sweet potatoes contains 10 times as much the antioxidant capacity compared to the internal fleshy part14.
For this reason, to preserve the natural antioxidant power of the peel as much as possible, it is best to avoid cooking in the oven and prefer boiling.
ANTICANCER PROPERTIES OF THE SWEET POTATO
Analytical studies reveal that 80% of the protein content of sweet potatoes is a protein called ipomeina (or sporamine).
This protein has been shown to possess very interesting anticancer properties in humans active on different types of tissues.15-19
In addition to this peculiarity, as you have already seen, the sweet potato is a concentrate of carotenoids such as the violaxanthin and lutein that thanks to their antioxidant action and on the vitagens it confers an additional broad-spectrum anticancer protection.
Vegetable consumption generally high with almost 80% of vegetables. An authentic vegetable-based diet.
Very low animal protein consumption, very close to zero. In particular, little fish and almost zero meat, eggs and dairy products.
The most consumed vegetable is the sweet potato of which we now know various benefits that can really contribute to healthy longevity.
The greatest fortune is that the sweet potato is a delicious, versatile and inexpensive food20(it costs little in relation to its nutritional density).
Surely this super food can be earned one of the first places in the ranking as a super protective and healthy natural food to keep always available in the pantry.
Do you have any questions? Or do you want to report your experience with the use of sweet potatoes? S.crivi at the bottom of the article in the space dedicated to comments. Thanks!
See you soon,
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