Want to Live to 100? Follow the Centenarian Diet
Centenarian Diet and Habits
The Okinawans (in Japan) are well renowned for living the longest of all population groups. A 25 year longitudinal study by Dr. Bradley Willcox, Dr. Craig Willcox, and Dr. Suzuki, in their book The Okinawa Way, tells us about their Centenarian Diet and their characteristics:
- Population with longest life expectancy in the world (average age 81.2). America is ranked number 18 (average age 76.8).
- 5 times less coronary heart disease, 40% less cancer, 20% more strokes. Death from all causes is 35% less than North Americans. Average body mass index 18-22 (lean is under 23).
- Cancer mortality is 97 per 100,000 (40% less than North Americans).
- Their risk of cardiovascular disease is 80% lower than that North Americans. They have one of the lowest homocysteine (under 8 umol/l) and cholesterol level in the world (under 180 mg/dl).
- Males have 30% more hormones such as DHEA and testosterone at age 70 than North Americans do at the same age.
- Free radical damage as measured by plasma lipid peroxide (a free radical by-product) at age 100 is half as much as that of a 70 year old in normal population.
- Calorie intake is 10-20% lower than the rest of Japan, who consume about 20% less than North Americans. Okinawans there eat 30-40% less than Westerners.
- They follow a East-West Fusion type diet.
- Flavonoid intake approximates 100 mg/day (8 times more than North Americans).
- Eat an average of 7 servings of fruits and vegetables a day, 7 servings of grains a day, 2 servings of flavonoid-rich soy products a day, omega-3 rich fish 2-3 times a week, and minimal diary products and meat. Fat intake is limited to 30% of diet; salt intake is less than 6 grams per day (3 teaspoons). Key foods: turmeric, bitter melon, hechima, huchiba, sweet potato, jasmine tea, seaweed, garlic, ginger, onions, and tomato.
- Follows a consistent moderate exercise program with heavy emphasis on martial arts.
- Have a strong social network.
- Follows a consistent meditation and stress relief program.
Summary on the Centenarian Diet Lifestyle
The Okinawan lifestyle is as close to the anti-aging lifestyle one can find being followed today by a large population group.
To further improve and add years to their already long life expectancy based on current anti-aging research, the following should be considered:
- Attention to Strength Training as part of the exercise program.
- Nutritional Supplementation to fortify their cellular function.
- Hormone replacement when necessary. They are dependent on the natural way of hormone enhancement through diet (such as soy).
- Eat more legumes and eggs as source of protein as compare to red meat and follow the anti-aging food pyramid.
The type of lifestyle that Centenarians live can be incorporated into the AFS recovery program when applicable. The Centenarians utilize martial arts for their exercise. Exercise is a great form of stress relief and can help regulate the thyroid, cortisol levels, blood glucose, insulin, growth hormones, blood flow, and depression risk. Exercise can make up the foundation of AFS recovery – if applied correctly – as excessive exercise can actually cause more damage to adrenals. Using breathing and meditation exercises like the Centenarians can greatly improve health.
The increased amount of DHEA and testosterone levels in the Centenarians is of importance to AFS. Although the adrenal cortex is responsible for the synthesis of all the sex hormones, DHEA is the exception. DHEA – as well as estrogen and testosterone – come from pregnenolone. Pregnenolone precedes progesterone production – which is crucial to making the anti-stress hormone cortisol. A chronic deficiency of pregnenolone is present in AFS, which is why pregnenolone and DHEA are sometimes supplemented for healthy adrenals. Bear in mind that low laboratory level of these hormones in advanced stages of AFS does not necessarily mean that replacement is needed as they may be shunted to make downstream hormones such as cortisol.
Any Disruption of adrenal cortisol production deters the body’s ability to fight stress by way of the NeuroEndoMetabolic (NEM) system. All systems and organs are interlinked through the NEM, so dysregulation to any part can cause a cascading effect of unsavory symptoms in the body.
The Centenarian diet is key, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, grains, fish, and soy products with flavonoids. These foods promote a low-glycemic diet that maintain constant blood sugar. Maintaining a balance of fat, protein, and carbohydrates is central to healing from AFS.
The Centenarian lifestyle proves an effective through healthy heart and brain function, as well as a dramatic decrease in cancer occurrence. By applying these same actions described above, we too can encourage healthy stress mitigation via the NEM by improving overall function in the body.