For years, US government scientists have been urging Americans to consume at least five daily servings of fruits & vegetables, but that’s not nearly enough according to new research.
For maximum longevity, a far better approach can be found in the fruit and vegetable- rich diet of the world’s longest lived people-the men and women of Okinawa, Japan.
During 25 years of study, researchers have found that Okinawans have healthier arteries…lower risk for hormone-dependent malignancies, such as breast and prostrate cancer…stronger bones…sharper minds…lean, fit bodies…and excellent emotional health.
Okinawans eat mainly high-carbohydrate low calorie, plant-based foods-the same diet deemed optimal for long-term health by more than 2,000 scientific studies.
At first glance the Okinawa diet seems like a lot of food to eat each day. The trick is to remember that a daily serving, as defined by the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), is actually quite small.
Examples of USDA servings: For raw, leafy vegetables, a serving is one cup. For whole grains, a serving is one-half cup of cooked cereal, one slice of bread or half a bagel.
If you follow the Okinawa program, in which plant-based foods comprise two-thirds (2/3’s) of the diet, you’ll exceed USDA dietary recommendations.
Here’s how scientists have adapted the Okinawa diet for Americans…
- Eat until you are 80% full. Okinawans say, bara bachi bu: Eat until you are eight parts full (out of 10). Restricting calories is a proven way to prolong life and vitality. By eating fewer calories, your body will create fewer free radicals—the molecules responsible for the biochemical damage that causes aging.
This doesn’t mean Okinawans eat less. In fact, they eat more food by weight than most North Americans. But it’s important to note that Okinawans eat small amounts of fat and sugar, which are calorie-dense.
To eliminate calories…
- Flavor meals with spices instead of fat.
- When cooking, spray the oil instead of pouring-two seconds of spraying equals one-half teaspoon of oil.
- Use heart- healthy extra virgin olive oil
- Start your lunch with a chunky, low-fat soup. If you do, you’ll eat 20% fewer calories.
- When dining out, order lean fish instead of steak…ask for fatty sauces and dressing to be served on the side…and share deserts.
- Eat nine to 17 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables decreases your risk for heart disease, cancer, stroke, high-blood pressure and obesity.
Fruits and vegetables are full of healthy nutrients-but low in calories. They also contain antioxidants, which help protect you against free radicals.
To boost your intake of fruits and vegetables…
- At breakfast, eat a fruit salad that contains cantaloupe, strawberries, blueberries and apples.
- At lunch, add vegetables like tomatoes, broccoli and celery to a salad.
- At dinner, make vegetable soup that includes onion, zucchini and carrots.
NEVER USE A MICROWAVE- it’s been proven that microwaving foods kills the necessary enzymes that promote health and proper digestion.
- Eat seven to 13 servings of whole grain foods daily. Whole grains are rich in nutrients, antioxidants and fiber. These important parts of your diet decrease your risk for many illnesses, including heart disease, stroke, diabetes and cancer.
Many different types of whole grains- from amaranth, barley and bulgur to rice, triticale (a high protein hybrid of wheat & rye) and wheat- can be found in cereals, breads and pastas.
For maximum benefits: Choose breakfast cereals that contain at least 7g of fiber per serving and as low in sugar as possible. No sugar would be best.
- Eat two to four servings of calcium foods daily. Calcium fights osteoporosis and may help prevent colon cancer, high blood pressure and premenstrual syndrome. Good plant sources of calcium include green, leafy vegetables…calcium fortified soy products, such as tofu and soy milk…and calcium-fortified orange juice.
Important: Low-fat dairy products may not be the best source of calcium. The protein in dairy products can leach calcium from your bones.
- Eat two to four servings of flavoniod-rich foods daily. Blood levels of flavoniods- beneficial compounds found in all plants- are up to 50 times higher in the Japanese than in Americans, according to studies. A high-flavoniod diet may help prevent heart disease as well as other health related issues.
Isoflavone-rich soy products contain flavoniod levels that are up to 1,000 times greater than those found in other foods. Flaxseed contains high levels of lignans, which are similar compounds. Beans are another good source, followed by tea, onions and apples.
To boost your intake of flavoniods and lignans…
- Eat soy products twice a day. Choices include tofu, miso (a salty paste often used as a flavoring), soy milk, soy nuts and soy burgers.
- Take one tablespoon of flaxseed oil daily, or use it instead of butter or as a salad dressing.
- Drink three cups of black or green tea each day.
- Emphasize flavoniod-rich fruits and vegetables, such as broccoli, kale, celery, onions, snow peas, turnip greens, apples, strawberries, grapes and apricots.
- Eat one to three servings of omega 3 foods daily. Most Americans do not get enough omega -3 fatty acids. These dietary constituents protect your brain, arteries and immune system.
To boost your intake of omega-3 foods…
- Eat fatty fish (salmon, tuna or mackerel) three times a week.
- Add flaxseed to your diet. Mix it into cereal, pancakes or muffin batter.
- Avoid red meat. It may increase your risk for colon and prostrate cancer. If you must eat red meat, limit it to no more than three times a week – and choose grass fed organic lean cuts.
- Drink fresh water. You need adequate hydration, but forget about the eight glasses a day rule. Drink enough so that your urine is clear. Proper hydration also helps you lose weight.
Ultimately you will find the right balance that works best for you, but for those of you, including myself who are probably saying – “I can’t eat that much food in a day. What do I do?”
The answer may be as simple as supplementing those areas above with concentrated plant foods that contain flavoniods and fatty acids. They are not only great for our bodies, they extend our life possibilities and more importantly-make us feel great! We all want to feel great, don’t we? Most people who meet me think I’m in my early 50’s, but I’m actually 63 going on 64. How would shaving off 13 to 14 years help you?
Here is a short list of products you could use to help supplement your eating regime:
- Rosavin, Rosavin Plus or ClearMind for mental health
- EZ Energy for ultimate staying power and muscle mass
- GlucoRite for high flavoniods and blood sugar regulation
- Omega 3, 6 9 for the good fatty acids everyone needs
- Advanced Digestive Enzymes to maximize your nutrition
- Beta Sistoserol with Resveratrol contain rare plant sterols that reduce blood cholesterol
- Vitamin B12 helps cognitive function a and nervous system
- Mega Vitamin C for a stronger immune system
Anti-Aging is no secret when you know how.
Live Long, Love Deeply & Smile A Lot