A "mystery" Island of Japan reveals secret to living more than a century

Ogimi, western Japan, has the largest concentration of population over one hundred years around the world. Food and emotional stability stand out from their habits.

According to figures released in 2006 by the Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare of Japan, one in 35 residents Ogimi exceeds one hundred years old. This makes the island in the world region with the highest concentration of ancient inhabitants. What is the secret? Biological research, medical, social, anthropological and journalism have tried to reveal it.


A report in Spanish newspaper Country describes the main patterns that characterize the world's oldest people. For its part, the geriatrician and a cardiologist Japanese Makoto Suzuki, American twins with Bradley and Craig Willcox, an internist and anthropologist, respectively, published a study on healthy longevity reach residents Okinawa, Japanese prefecture which is inserted Ogimi Island.

Entitled The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health - And How You Can Too (Okinawa style: How the world's oldest people achieve a lasting health), The document has been taken up in numerous health publications. Among them, the U.S. newspaper The Boston Globe.

Although genetics appears to be linked to the longevity of Okinawans, researchers have established that it must influence beyond 30 percent. Experience shows that those born in Ogimi leaving the island have a life expectancy up to 17 years younger than those who remain.

Such is the case of a group of workers was sent to Brazil in the 1930's. Among other customs, they acquired a lot of eating beef.

Thus, the habits that have more mature people in Okinawa gave the impression of being useful for all people, regardless of their place of origin or residence ... Meet them!


Few are eaten animal products. Preferred fruits like papaya, herbs such as basil, seaweed and vegetables: carrots, cabbage, onions, green peppers and lettuce. Also included in moderation pasta, rice, corn and fish, especially salmon and tuna that are rich in omega 3 fatty acids. Red meat and eggs were very few times a week.

As for drinks, plain water is ingested in abundance, eight to twelve glasses a day. It is also customary green or black tea, both are rich in antioxidants. Avoiding milk and sugar. As for its spices, turmeric is one of their favorites. The used both to flavor foods and to drink.

Habits at the table.

Moderation seems to be a key to the longevity of those living in Okinawa. Aphorism is widely inspired by Confucianism hara hachi bu, Which states: "Eat until you're 80 percent full." To achieve this, are accustomed to eat slowly, and satiety signals take 20 minutes to reach the brain after it has been hit in the stomach.

Research of the U.S. National Institute of Gerontology have confirmed that limiting calorie intake provides an increase in life expectancy in all species, from fruit flies to primates.


Most of the foods you eat are picked by their customers personally. This will have family and community gardens near the houses. Such activities, in addition to fishing and working strictly keep people busy, even in very old age (90 years and over).

The people of Ogimi used as the primary means of transporting the bike, because its light is very convenient for them to navigate the narrow roads of the island. Among their recreational activities include traditional dancing, gardening, fishing and martial arts.

Social environment.

In Ogimi maintaining a strong network of family ties. In the community, care for one another both emotionally, and financially and socially. According to research by Suzuki and brothers Willcox, "The people of Okinawa as a tightly knit community where it is important yuimaru, Which in Japanese means circle of relationships. "

The elderly enjoy great respect. Upon reaching age 60 is celebrated kanrekiOr beginning of happy old age, the toukachi, At 88, and kajimaya The biggest party of all, reaching the 97, in her old red dress as a symbol of the youth return, and carry a reel of paper or kajimayaa in a parade through town. Over there, people were about to shake hands, because they think that way you will share your health and longevity.

Cultural sphere.

Japanese elders face old age with the pleasure and enjoyment that Confucianism and Buddhism brings to their lives. You meditate regularly, which helps you relax, you cultivate optimism and sense of humor. Also keep a link with nature, which comes from the principles of Shinto philosophy.

For his part, Confucianism attaches great importance to the rites as a means of preserving the mythical past legacy, as a symbol of hierarchy and power, as a method of self-discipline and self-control, and as a guarantee that society and the state work properly.