EAT SMALLER PORTIONS
Japanese who have to rise early to commute to work and return late eat smaller portions on the run. They use the phrase ‘Hara Hachi Bu,’ which means 80 percent, as in 80 percent full. At 100 percent, a person is said to feel uncomfortable and stuffed.’
EAT FERMENTED FOODS
No Korean meal is complete without a side dish of kimchi. According to Ornish Lifestyle Medicine, ‘Fermented foods reduce inflammation, improve immunity, digestion and gut health, support weight loss by enhancing metabolism, improve mental health, and even reduce the risk of heart disease.’
CHOOSE GREEN TEA OVER COFFEE
Green tea is loaded with antioxidants, which can lower blood pressure and cholesterol. Claire Koga, MD, a family physician and board member of Keiro, a non-profit health group, points out: ‘Several studies have shown that antioxidants, specifically flavonoids found in green and black teas, may protect the heart in part by improving endothelial function—and this can reduce the risk of clogged arteries.’
Integrating fish into daily diet the way the Japanese and Koreans do helps boost lifespan. The secret lies not only in fish’s protein and vitamin D, but in the omega-3 fatty acids, such as EPA and DHA, says Barry Sears, MD, author of the Zone Diet book series and president of the Inflammation Research Foundation.
DON’T SPEND TOO MUCH TIME SITTING DOWN
In a Canadian Fitness survey, those who stood most of the day had a 33 percent lower mortality than those who sat. According to Dr. Takata, ‘Using hours of television watched per week as a surrogate for sitting—people can remember how much television watched in a week more easily than how much time they sat—one study demonstrated that every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 years reduces the viewer’s life expectancy by 21.8 minutes.’
DRINK ALCOHOL MODERATELY
In his book, The Blue Zones Solution, Dan Buettner shares the healthy habits of several enclaves of long-lived populations. Most notably, these people drink alcohol moderately but regularly. The trick is to drink one to two glasses per day… And no, you can’t save up all weekend and have 14 drinks on Saturday.’
CHOOSE RED WINE
Take a stroll down Champs-Élysées, and you’ll easily be able to spot Parisians at a café sipping wine—almost any time of day. Yet, the French population is much healthier in comparison to other health-obsessed nations riddled with heart disease. Researchers believe that their red wine intake contributes significantly to a heart-smart diet.
The world’s longest-lived people aren’t focused on pumping iron, running marathons, or joining gyms. Instead, they live in environments that encourage and support activity. In France, Japan, and Korea, driving (especially in major cities) is less common. Instead, people frequently walk, bike, or take public transportation. ‘
EAT LESS RED MEAT
Cutting red and cured meat from your diet may lower your risk of heart disease. According to Dr. Koga, Japanese people tend to eat less meat than people in Western nations. They tend to get their proteins from lean meats, which contributes to a lower cholesterol and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
WATCH YOUR WEIGHT
According to OCED data, South Korea and Japan have the lowest obesity rates in the world. As the American Heart Association points out, overweight people are 32 percent more likely to develop cardiovascular disease in their lifetime compared to people at normal weight.
TAKE TIME TO RELIEVE STRESS
Zen is an important concept in both Korean and Japanese philosophy, which encourages stress reduction through meditation. According to Buettner, ‘Stress leads to chronic inflammation, [which is] associated with every major age-related disease. Okinawans take a few moments each day to remember their ancestors, Adventists pray, Ikarians take a nap, and Sardinians do happy hour.’
A bad heart may be a sign that you’re smoking too much. When one quits smoking, that person’s risk of heart disease decreases greatly compared to that of a smoker.
THEY HAVE LOTS OF PREVENTIVE CARE
Doctor visits are still key to preventing future heart problems. Annual comprehensive physical exams are quite common in Japan . The government and employers often encourage their employees to adopt healthier behaviors based on the results of these annual exams.
MAINTAIN TIGHT SOCIAL NETWORKS
Want to lengthen your lifespan? This one may be the easiest of them all: Keep your friends. Buettner notes, ‘The world’s longest-lived people chose—or were born into—social circles that supported healthy behaviors.
Source: MSN Health & Fitness
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