In Japan, many people follow what is called the Spinning Top Food Guide, and a recent study indicates this could be the secret to living a longer, healthier life.
The study, which was published late last month in BMJ, found that individuals who follow the Japanese dietary guidelines were 15 per cent less likely to die over a 15-year period than those who do not follow the guidelines. Moreover, those who followed the guidelines were actually 22 per cent less likely to die of a stroke within that same 15-year period.
There may be something to this. After all, people in Japan do tend to live longer than many other parts of the world. Women have an average life expectancy of 87 years, which is the longest in the world.
A Japanese diet consists of high amounts of soybean products and fish, and it is relatively low in fat. What is the Spinning Top Food Guide they follow? In 2005, the Japanese government devised the food guide, which divides food into five different categories: vegetables, grains, fish and meat, fruits, and milk. The guidelines also allow for the consumption of alcohol, tea, sweets, and water.
The study consisted of 36,600 men and 43,000 women ranging in age from 40 to 75 years old from all different parts of Japan. The participants filled out questionnaires regarding their eating habits and health and then met with researchers at five- and ten-year intervals for assessments. It was during this study that researchers discovered a link between following the Japanese guidelines and lower mortality rates.
Of course, this study is not the final say in whether or not you should switch to the Japanese-style diet, although it does show that there are benefits to eating in such a way. In other words, a high intake of vegetables and fruits along with an adequate intake of meat and fish can help you live a longer, healthier life. It is worth mentioning, however, that the link between following the Japanese dietary guidelines seemed to benefit those participants of normal weight and did not seem to benefit those who were obese.
Keep in mind that if you are thinking of changing your diet for any reason, it is a good idea to speak to your doctor first to make sure it is safe for your particular situation.