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japanese senior woman eatingThere is no single explanation for how and why some people live so much longer, and with better health, than others. However, there are groups of people in pockets of the world that tend to lead happier, healthier and longer lives. These longevity hotspots are known as “Blue Zones”, and by studying these zones, we can learn positive habits to bolster our own healthy longevity. One of the most well-known Blue Zones is Okinawa, Japan, an area that is home to an astonishing number of healthy centenarians. Home Care Assistance’s Balanced Care Method™, a holistic approach to care, is based on studies of these specific centenarians. Scientists have found that only one-third of our longevity is based on genetics while the other two-thirds is based on the following lifestyle factors: a healthy diet, physical activity, mental acuity, social ties and a sense of calm and purpose. In general, Japanese women are among the world’s longest-living people with a life expectancy of approximately 87-years-old, which is often attributed to the Japanese diet. The Japan Public Health Center recently announced the results of a study centered on the effects of a healthy diet on lifespan in Japanese men and women. After following 79,594 adults for 15 years, the research team found that those that consumed healthier diets had a 15% lower mortality rate. Participants were 45 to 75-years-old on average, and filled out a questionnaire every five years on their eating habits, which included questions about 147 specific foods pertaining to the country’s official governmental dietary guidelines. Individuals with a higher score adhered more strictly to the dietary guidelines and had a 15% lower mortality rate. This particular finding was due largely in part to a reduction in death from heart disease, which the research team attributed to a greater variety of vegetables, fruit and fish. Women were more likely than men to have higher scores and were also more likely to drink green tea and consume more calories. Although the study could not attribute these benefits to any one specific food, it does support that the diet recommended by the Japan Public Health Center is correlated with increased lifespan. Along with light exercise, mental and social engagement and a sense of calm, a healthy diet can promote happy and healthy longevity. For more information about the Balanced Care Method approach to care, visit Sources
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