In 2018, Japan had the second-highest life expectancy in the world. The population aged 90 and over had reached two million in 2017. Japan also has a record number of centenarians: over 80 000. This figure is expected to rise to 400 000 by 2050. Most of Japan’s centenarians (approximately 88 %) are women. In November 2019, Japan was home to 150 supercentenarians (people aged 110 or over).
Now that you are aware of these amazing statistics, the obvious question you should ask yourself is: ‘Have the Japanese found the fountain of youth?’ If you hang around and watch this video, you will find out what the Japanese do to stay young, and don’t’ forget to support our new channel by sharing, commenting, and subscribing.
The human body seems programmed to shut itself down somewhere around the 80th birthday for most people and around the century mark for the more resistant ones, the majority of which seem to be located in Japan.
There are no verified cases of a person living older than 122. According to researchers the absolute limit of the human lifespan is between 100 and 150. Will improvements in medicine, environment, and technology drastically lengthen the average lifespan and make 150 a reality?
Several factors have combined to improve health among the Japanese population: traditionally healthy dietary habits, access to clean water, a hygiene-conscious culture, and old people’s active lifestyles. Other possible explanations include genetics, a low level of income inequality, and a high level of social cohesion.
Reaching a hundred years old is a privilege not granted to everyone. Centenarians are regularly celebrated in the media. In England, upon reaching your 100th birthday you will receive a letter from the Queen. Japanese centenarians receive a silver cup and a certificate from the Prime Minister, honoring them for their longevity.
Japan’s most celebrated centenarians are from Okinawa and the Island’s legendary longevity is attributed to the local diet and their attitude towards life. The elders seem to have no signs of worry on their faces; stress seems to be a foreign concept to them.
An 88-year-old Japanese farmer (who still works all day in the fields) was asked what the secret was for a long life responded, “I hardly get angry. I enjoy life because I am happy at work, and I think that that is the medicine for a long life.”
Locals eat a daily average of 97 grams of seafood. Fish, especially deep-sea fish like mackerel, sardines, and salmon are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which act as a strong anti-inflammatory and protect against heart disease. They may also reduce the risk of diabetes, stroke, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma, some cancers and mental decline.
Other key ingredients in the local diet are vegetables, such as peppers, broccoli, sweet potato and goya (a distant relative of the watermelon) which has been credited for reducing blood sugar levels and is also full of antioxidants.
Antioxidants are known to help slow down the aging process and research suggests that certain antioxidants may help prevent, Alzheimer’s disease and complications of diabetes. The islanders also eat a lot of seaweed and unrefined brown sugar, both of which are rich in minerals, accompanied by green tea. Then there is the water, which reportedly has a very high mineral content compared to the rest of Japan.
Finally, inhabitants of Okinawa consume a diet that is 20 percent lower in calories than those in the rest of Japan, most practice a dietary philosophy known as “hara hachi bu” which means to eat until you are 80 percent full.
What about exercise? A lot of the residents in Okinawa practice “teodori” a type of traditional slow dance that uses hand movements. They also practice “rajio taiso” which is a set of dynamic aerobic exercises that are easy to perform and won’t take too much of your time. It is customary in Japanese culture for employees who work in offices to start the day with this rajio taiso routine.
The statistics seem to confirm that the Japanese have found the fountain of youth. For centuries the quest for eternal youth, immortality, or just a prolonged life has been a topic of various myths and legends. The fountain of youth is a spring that supposedly restores the youth of anyone who drinks or bathes in its waters. In Japan stories of hot springs that could heal wounds and restore youth are common.
Alexander the Great searched for the Fountain in the 5th century AD and was said to have found a healing “River of Paradise.” Similar stories were prominent among Caribbean people during the early 16th century, they spoke of the restorative powers of the water in the mythical land of Bimini.
Explorers and adventurers have long looked for the elusive fountain of youth or at least some remedy to aging. Has science found the map? It seems that this dream could be at least partly obtainable!
Even after you are fully grown, your body is constantly working to replace or repair itself. The body replaces itself on average every 7 years or so but not every cell’s lifespan is the same. For example, the cells that line your stomach can renew as fast as every two days, since they’re often in contact with digestive acid.
Cells that make up your skin are replaced every two to three weeks, your fat cells live a fairly long time — an average age of 10 years roughly the same as your bones which also regenerate about every 10 years. Brain cells don’t regenerate as you age, tooth enamel is never replaced, and the lenses of your eyes are also with you for life.
Enzymes are biological catalysts that speed up chemical reactions in cells. Enzymes play a huge part in the day-to-day running of the human body and are vital for the proper functioning of all human systems e.g., the digestive system, the nervous system, etc.
Some enzymes help break large molecules such as glucose so that the body can use them as fuel. Other enzymes help bind two molecules together to produce a new molecule. Enzymes are a highly selective catalysts, meaning that each enzyme only speeds up a specific reaction.
Every cell in our body contains DNA. DNA is the genetic material that makes each of us who we are. Each time a cell divides – for growth or repair, its DNA needs to be copied. Enzymes help in this process by unwinding the DNA coils and copying the information.
Telomeres help in this process by unwinding the DNA coils and copying the information. Telomeres, from the Greek “telos” (end) and “meros” (part), are the caps at the end of each strand of DNA that protects our chromosomes.
Telomeres, like the aglet at the end of the shoelaces, can become frayed until they can no longer do their job. Telomeres are shortened as we age, but can also be shortened by stress, anxiety, smoking, obesity, lack of exercise, poor diet, and lack of purpose. When telomeres get too short, our cells can no longer reproduce, which causes our tissues to degenerate and eventually die.
Breaking news! Each of us has a fountain of youth within us! There have been many experiments that have shown to increase the maximum life span of laboratory animals. Science has found that it is possible to extend telomeres to help you live a longer and healthier life and discovered that there are 6 key triggers that can positively influence the length of your telomeres.
These triggers are:
- Good nutrition.
- Happiness and gratitude.
- Positive outlook.
- Self-love and love.
- Being in service.
We all know that good nutrition and exercise are vitally important. Hippocrates also known as the “Father of Modern Medicine” is credited with being the first person to believe that disease was not a punishment from the Gods, but rather the product of environmental factors, diet, and living habits.
He noticed that bodies grow relaxed and sluggish through sedentary lives which led to various illnesses. Those who walked more stayed well longer, so he often prescribed exercise. Hippocrates’ medicine was humble and passive; his therapeutic approach was based on the “healing power of nature”. According to Hippocrates’ doctrine, the body contains within itself the power to re-balance and heal itself.
Hippocrates is known for saying: “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.”
Being grateful and having a positive outlook on life will also help you live longer. Be grateful and wake up happy every day, happy to be given another day to be, to strive, to create. Be grateful for your family, your loved ones, and the people around you. Be grateful for who you are and what you can do. Keep a positive outlook on life. Change the things you can change and stop worrying about things you can’t.
“Philautia”, the Greek word for self-love. Self-love is in its healthiest form (not focused on personal fame, gain, and fortune as is the case with narcissism.) It shares the Buddhist philosophy of self-compassion, which is s deep understanding of one’s own self, such that you feel comfortable in your own skin. Self-love is important, as Aristotle described: “All friendly feelings for others are an extension of a man’s feelings for himself.” You cannot share what you do not have, if you do not love yourself, you cannot love anyone else either. The only way to be truly happy is to first find unconditional love for yourself.
Being of service is critically important for our well-being. Not having a purpose, waking up each morning with nothing to do or nowhere to go creates stress and shortens our lifespan. Conversely, studies have shown people who report a greater sense of purpose and direction in life are more likely to outlive their peers.
Older age or retirement is a time when we start aging very quickly and when disease and depression are more likely to set in. Having a purpose gives meaning to life, it doesn’t have to be saving the world or anything extraordinary or amazing, every person great or small has important work to do. It can be something very small indeed. Each one of us has our own path to walk and our own mission in life.
The “secret” path that will lead you to your own fountain of youth can be found within you. The “magic triggers” that will show you the way is to eat well, exercise regularly, express gratitude, love yourself, love others and be of service. So, how do the Japanese live so long? They activate their own fountain of youth!
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Yours Truly, Scriptwriter, Joanne Reed
I wrote a whole chapter about this in Chapter 22 of my book “This Is Your Quest”. You can purchase my book This is Your Quest online at BookLocker, from Amazon or from Barnes & Noble. The Ebook version is available on Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), Apple (iBooks) & Kobo. Check out my Amazon Author Page here or my listing on Booksradar.com