Due to the nature of their workday, overeating is less of a problem in Japanese culture. Having to get up early to commute to work and return home late means meals on the go and in smaller portions. Portion size is something that is ingrained into Japanese culture. After a good meal, the Japanese like to say “Hara Hachi Bu.” This translates to 80% as in 80% full. At 100%, a person is said to feel uncomfortable and stuffed.
2. They Eat Fermented Foods
No Korean meal is complete without a side dish of kimchi. This fermented food craze has been praised by nutrition experts as fermented foods help to reduce inflammation, improve immunity, support weight loss, improve digestion and gut health, and even reduce the risk of heart disease.
3. They Choose Green Tea over Coffee
Green tea is full of antioxidants, which can decrease blood pressure and cholesterol. While the majority of Americans reach for coffee on instinct, the Japanese opt for green tea bags. Several studies have shown that the antioxidants present in green teas, especially flavonoids, help protect the heart in part by improving endothelial function – reducing the risk of clogged arteries.
It’s no secret that fish is really good for you, but integrating it into your daily diet the way the Japanese and Koreans do helps to boost lifespan. The secret lies not in the fish’s protein and Vitamin D, but the omega-3 fatty acids. The number one explanation of great heart health in Japan and Korea is the greater consumption of fatty fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids such as EPA and DHA.
5. They Don’t Spend Too Much Time Sitting Down
TV is much less prevalent in both French and Japanese culture, which contributes significantly to their low death rates. The stats help to back this up: In a Canadian fitness survey, those who stood most of the day had a 33% lower mortality than those who sat. Another study showed that every single hour of television watched after the age of 25 years reduces the viewer’s life by 21.8 minutes.
6. They Choose Red Wine
Take a stroll through Paris and you’ll easily be able to spot Parisian at a café sipping on some wine. Yet, the French population is much healthier in comparison to other health-obsessed nations riddled with heart disease. This strange phenomenon, dubbed the French Paradox, has baffled researchers for a very long time. The exact reason for the country’s low rate of heart trouble is unclear, but researchers believe that their red wine intake contributes significantly to a heart-smart diet.
7. They Walk Everywhere
The world’s longest-lived people aren’t obsessed with pumping iron, running marathons, or joining gyms. Instead, they live in environments that encourage and support activity. For example, in France, Korea, and Japan, driving is less common. Instead, people walk, cycle, or take public transportation.
Cutting red and cured meat from your diet might just lower your risk of heart disease. The Japanese tend to eat less meat than people in Western nations. They get their proteins from lean meats, which contribute to a lower cholesterol and a decreased risk of coronary heart disease.
9. They Keep an Eye on Their Weight
According to OCED data, Japan and South Korea have the lowest obesity rates in the world. As the American Heart Association points out, overweight people are 32% more likely to develop cardiovascular disease in their lifetime compared to people of a normal weight.
10. They Smoke Less
We all have different lifestyles, but a bad heart might be a sign that you’re smoking far too much. Many people point to Japan’s steadily declining rate of smoking as an explanation for their rising life expectancy.
11. They Maintain Tight Social Networks
Want to increase your lifespan? This one might be the easiest of them all: Keep your friends. The world’s longest-lived people chose – or were born into – social circles that support healthy behaviors. Research from the Framingham Studies shows that obesity, smoking, happiness, and loneliness are contagious. So the social networks of long-lived people have favorably shaped their health behaviors.