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The Land of Immortals: How and what Japan’s oldest population eats

Dr. Sanjay Gupta
 

By Sanjay Gupta (Original source CNN)

“You have probably heard that Japan consistently has among the highest life expectancy in the world and that the island of Okinawa has the greatest concentration of centenarians (people who live to at least 100).

I have long been fascinated by centenarians and the life lessons they have to share. But the truth is, I have never been sure I would want to live that long unless I could somehow be certain I would have a strong mind and body.
That is why this next statistic really caught my attention: Nearly two-thirds of the residents of Okinawa are still functioning independently at age 97. That meant they were in their own homes, cooking their own meals and living their lives fully — at nearly 100 years old!

For too long, we have too strongly identified age as a number. And yet, most doctors don’t focus that much on age. They really want to know more about the physiological age of their patients than the chronological one. They want to know more about their patients’ lives, rather than the length of time they have been alive. After all, there are plenty of 50-year-olds whose health is more like that of a 70-year-old. But the opposite is also often true, and that is what I wanted to find when I decided to travel to Okinawa last summer.”

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