The Okinawa in Japan have the longest lifespan of any culture in the world. The Japanese are famous for their sushi which consists of raw fish and makes up a large portion of their diet. They also typically stir-fry their food, ensuring the food is only very lightly cooked. Through their nutrient-rich, raw diets the Okinawa are able to delay the effects of chronic diseases typical of ageing, such as dementia and heart disease. In a recent study it has been found that some centenarians even escape the diseases completely.
The Mediterranean diet also consists of a lot of fresh salads and fruit. They too are famous for longevity, due to their high intake of foods that are high in antioxidants and largely plant based. Many nutritionalists worldwide continue to base their dietary advices around that of the Mediterranean diet.
Lightly cooking food helps preserve the essential vitamin and mineral content. You can add a variety of herbs and spices into your food for extra flavour and to absorb more of the nutrients in the process.
How to add more fresh foods into your diet
-Eating more salads with your meals. Salads don’t have to be boring, add a combination of sweet and savoury ingredients such as artichoke, raisins, tomatoes, capsicum and raw red onion. Be creative!
-Consuming more fresh fruit for breakfast and as snacks is a great way to start benefiting from raw foods. Keep fresh fruits in view in fruit bowls on the kitchen counter, or at the front of the fridge to encourage yourself to eat healthy snacks. Limit buying processed, refined snacks, therefore when you are hungry you only have the option of fresh fruits.
-Stir frying your meals instead of cooking for hours in an oven or microwave. Overcooking any fresh food will decrease its nutritional value.
-Steaming your vegetables instead of boiling.
You can also make your own raw vegetable juice drink. This is great way of packing in lots of essential nutrients and super hydrating with water, whilst keeping the food in its natural raw form. Check this recipe out for a delicious raw green juice drink, that’s packed with healthy green vegetables and low sugar fresh fruits.
Raw Vegetable Green Drink
Juice of 1/2 fresh lemon
2 cups spinach
2 cups cucumber
1 head of celery
1 bunch parsley
1/2 inch or tsp ginger root
Juice of 1/2 lime
1/2 fresh carrot (this will make it sweeter)
Directions: Place ingredients in a blender or juicer (for a less bitty drink). Add 1/2 pint of spring water and puree quickly for one minute. This will make two glasses of green drink.
1kg bag of fresh apples
1x bag of fresh spinach leaves
3x large cucumbers
1x bunch of celery
1x bunch of parsley
Medium bulb of fresh ginger root
4x carrots (optional)
Resources: Okinawa Centenarian Study www.okicent.org/study.html