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Japanese life expectancy

Japanese men have an average life span
79.00 years
and women 85.81 years

Why do the Japanese live the longest?


ife expectancy in Japan is the highest in the world. Japanese men have an average life span of 78 years and women 85 years. Japanese women have the world's highest life expectancy last 20 years. What is the cause of such phenomenal health and longevity? We posed this question to one of the leading experts on the subject, Professor Yasuo Kagawa (Jichi Medical School, Tochigi-Ken, Japan). In cooperation with Professor Alexander Leaf (Harvard Medical School, Boston, USA) Professor Kagawa surveyed selected areas of the world to find out what determines these significant differences in life expectancy.

Serum cholesterol levels in Japanese and in Americans (1960-1980)
world's highest life expectancy

In his report sent to the Anti-Aging Center-Europe, Professor Kagawa provides a detailed analysis of the possible reasons and factors, which boil down to the following: the Japanese have an extraordinarily low level of cholesterol in their blood, a fact which apparently also explains the very low death-rate from heart disease observed in Japan. A useful graph in Professor Kagawa’s study compares the average level of blood cholesterol sampled in America and Japan and shows how this level has changed during the last two decades.

How do the Japanese achieve such a low level of cholesterol in their blood? The answer, Professor Kagawa believes, can be found in the special nutrition structure prevalent in Japan. Because of its uniqueness, the Japanese diet remains almost unknown and is hardly used at all outside of Japan. This is a pity.

In his book “At The Japanese Table”, Lesley Downer, an English expert on Japanese cuisine, introduces us to the secrets of Japanese cookery, which is based on half-raw sea fish, rice, miso (paste from fermented soybeans used as seasoning in soups), tofu and specially cultivated seaweeds.

Some basic ingredients of healthy Japanese cooking
Shiitake, shitake
shelfish, fish
Soba noodles
seaweed, nori, kombu, wakame
Tofu - curd made
from soya beans
Prawn - shellfish
Soba noodles - made
from buckwheat flour
Wakame - seaweed

The Japanese diet includes foods with very low cholesterol content and is practically free from the saturated (“bad”) fats abundantly present in red meat, dairy produce and butter. Instead, the Japanese diet abounds in seafood: fish, rich in polyunsaturated (“good”) fats (in particular, eicosopentaenoic acid, EPA), and the seaweeds Kombu (from warm waters) and Nori (from cold waters) - see recipes. These contain high amounts of iodine as well as minerals and microelements which are both healthy and also impart to Japanese food its inimitable flavor.

Related Topics
ShiitakeJapanese Medicinal Mushroom
Rookie stixEating with Chopsticks
Mixed Rolled Sushi
oily fish (EPA and DHA)FISH OIL - Anti-holesterol agent

When examining the special longevity of the Japanese, one cannot help noticing the so-called “Okinawa phenomenon”, among the inhabitants of this Japanese island. There, the death-rates caused by strokes, cancer and heart disease amount to only 59%, 69% and 59% of the respective death-rates from these complaints in other parts of Japan, which are themselves much lower than the rest of the world.

What is the reason for these extremely low death-rates on Okinawa? The exact answer has yet to be discovered. However, it is highly probable that the key lies in the peculiar features of the Okinawan diet. On Okinawa, the consumption of sugar and salt constitutes only 25% and 20% (respectively) of the average amount consumed in Japan. At the same time, Okinawans consume 3 times more vegetables compared with other Japanese, and twice as much fish. The total consumption of proteins and oils is about the same as in other parts of Japan; however, the energy equivalent of the ration on Okinawa is 20% lower.

In conclusion: we strongly recommend the adoption of a Japanese-style diet. Don’t let the unusual taste of its dishes frighten you! They simply take some getting used to. Nutritionists have long ago established that new dietary habits can develop within a few months. Not taking advantage of this opportunity would be simply unforgivable from the point of view of your health. NE