The Japanese are well known for longevity, but the secrets of their success are not that complicated. Many of their traditions support health preservation. Their cultural attitudes to food and general lifestyle promote high energy levels and keep off excess pounds.
While eating a nutritious diet, exercising and drinking plenty of water are typically universal ways to stay healthy and fit, each and every culture has a few of their own ideas on how to maintain a healthy figure. In Japan, there are four essential rules that many people follow to stay healthy, and you might just find them useful in your own health and wellness journey!
1. If You Eat Like a Sumo Wrestler, You Will Look Like a Sumo Wrestler
Sumo wrestlers aren’t big breakfast-eaters. They immediately start power training first thing in the morning, then follow up with a gigantic lunch in the afternoon. After that, it’s time for bed. At most, they eat two huge meals, twice a day. If this comparison is a little hard to follow, it can be put more simply: No matter how much you exercise, if your eating habits aren’t on point, you’re likely to gain weight. Eating overly large portions, or choosing junk food over healthy food will outweigh the amount of time and effort you put into working out. Balance your diet, exercise and sleep patterns to maintain a healthy weight and lifestyle.
2. Light cooking
When the Japanese cook they choose healthy cooking methods including heart friendly oils, and not exposing the raw ingredients to overly high temperatures for long periods. Choice methods include pan grilling, stir-frying in a wok, steaming, sautéing and simmering foods. Fresh foods, light on dressings are also preferred. Overall this cooking style leaves you with a light, fulfilled feeling in your stomach.
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3. Warmth is Life
The idea that warmth is life translates to the concept that food is an energy we consume in order to survive. Fruits and vegetables that flourish in the summer help cool the body and allow it to adapt to the summer heat, while foods that flourish in the winter typically contain more calories to keep our bodies warm in cold seasons. While eating raw vegetables, fruits and greens is the start to a healthy diet, the body may need warmer foods on occasion, so eating a variety of nutritious foods is the best way to ensure that your body is getting the nutrients it needs to stay healthy and strong.
4. A different attitude
The Japanese devote less time to dieting and are raised to enjoy food. This also means they eat a wide choice of foods. In addition to their healthy attitude to food, they spend a lot of time involved in incidental exercise such as bicycling. Together with smart diet choices, being active allows for Japanese people to remain slim and contributes towards their longevity.
5. Avoid Drinking Liquids During Your Meal
Many people in Japan avoid drinking any type of liquid while eating, as they believe it to be bad for digestion. Liquid cools the body, so drinking takes away from the warmth the body is receiving by eating. Some scientists believe that water neutralizes the acid that the stomach produces for digestion, causing the body to need more energy to finish the process. You can also provide your body with liquids through the food you eat, such as fruits, vegetables and soup.
6. A Hot Bath Prolongs Your Life
Who doesn’t love a hot bath? It relaxes your muscles, improves your blood circulation and leaves you feeling calm and stress free. Many Japanese people swear by taking a hot bath on a regular basis for clearer skin, improved digestion, and ultimately, a prolonged life. The ideal temperature is thought to be 100-104 degrees Fahrenheit.
Many Americans are set on the idea that calories are the main culprit when it comes to weight loss or weight gain, so some of the ideas mentioned above may seem strange. But when the World Health Organization calculated the statistics in countries where people live the longest in full health, Japan came out on top at 74.5 years. They must be doing something right!