The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health -- and How You Can Too

The Okinawa Program: How the World's Longest-Lived People Achieve Everlasting Health -- and How You Can Too

by Bradley J. Willcox, Makoto Suzuki, D. Craig Willcox
     
 

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There is nothing more universal than the desire to slow down the aging process, to live a long, full life with health, energy, and independence. The Okinawa Program presents the first evidence-based program to make this possible. Authored by a team of preeminent medical and scientific experts, this breakthrough book documents the diet, exercise, and lifestyle… See more details below

Overview

There is nothing more universal than the desire to slow down the aging process, to live a long, full life with health, energy, and independence. The Okinawa Program presents the first evidence-based program to make this possible. Authored by a team of preeminent medical and scientific experts, this breakthrough book documents the diet, exercise, and lifestyle practices of the world's healthiest, longest-lived people and reveals how readers can apply these practices to their own lives.

In Okinawa, the occurrence of heart disease is only one fifth that of American levels. The rate of breast, ovarian, and prostate cancers is less than a quarter of American levels. And the number of centenarians per hundred thousand is six times that of the United States. Most important, Okinawans have the world's longest disability-free life expectancy.

Concluding a long-term, collaborative scientific study, The Okinawa Program clearly and expertly explains the reasons for this remarkable successful aging phenomenon. With a realistic four-week Turnaround Plan for diet, fitness, and psychological well-being, this book offers nearly one hundred easy, fast, and delicious recipes, as well as a moderate exercise routine derived from the former island kingdom's unique martial arts. The authors introduce the cognitive and spiritual practices that have emerged as crucial to the overall health of Okinawan elders and also include resources and an extensive reference section for further information.

Accessible, authoritative, and comprehensive, The Okinawa Program can help readers minimize their risk for heart disease, breast, ovarian, prostate, and colon cancers, osteoporosis, and Alzheimer's disease, as well as maintain healthy body weight, reduce stress, and develop more satisfying personal relationships. The Okinawa Program is a life-changing guide to increased health and youthful vigor -- at any age.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Twin brothers Bradle and D. Craig Willcox, an internist and anthropologist, respectively, and geriatrician Suzuki, fascinatingly recount the results of a 25-year study of Okinawa, where people live exceptionally long and productive lives. There are more than 400 centenarians in Okinawa, where the average lifespan is 86 for women and above 77 for men. Most impressive is the quality of life Okinawans maintain into old age; the book is filled with inspiring glimpses of elderly men and women who are still gardening, working and walking into and well beyond their 90s. The authors point out that while genetics may account, in part, for Okinawans' longevity, studies have revealed that when they move away from the archipelago and abandon their traditional ways, they lose their health advantage, proving that lifestyle is, at the very least, a highly influential factor. The Okinawans' program of diet, exercise and spiritual health apparently lowers their risk for heart disease, osteoporosis and Alzheimer's, as well as breast, ovarian, prostate and other cancers. According to the authors, "the Okinawan Way" is neither elusive nor esoteric. It consists, in part, of a low-calorie, plant-based, high complex-carbohydrate diet. Exercise, the authors maintain, is essential, as is attention to spirituality and friendships. Okinawans, too, lead slower-paced, less stressful lives than most Westerners. The outcome of years of extensive medical research, this book offers a practical and optimistic vision of growing old. Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780609607473
Publisher:
Crown Publishing Group
Publication date:
05/01/2001
Edition description:
1 ED
Pages:
496
Product dimensions:
6.49(w) x 9.56(h) x 1.54(d)

Read an Excerpt

FOREWORD by Andrew Weil, M.D.

Everyone wants to know how to live as long as possible and how to have the good health to enjoy it. Whenever we meet especially long-lived individuals, wt always ask about their secrets of longevity and healthy aging, unfortunately, the answers they give are totally inconsistent, from daily walks to daily cigars.
We are also fascinated by reports of societies in remote parts of the earth that boast of unusual numbers of healthy old people. Most of the reports turn out to be groundless. One that may not concerns the islands of Okinawa, formerly the Kingdom of the Ryukyus, now a prefecture of Japan. In the West, Okinawa is known as the only Japanese home territory on which the Second World War was fought -- the battle of Okinawa was one of the longest and bloodiest of the war -- and as the site of American military bases. Okinawans, particu1arly older Okinawans, have experienced unusual social turmoil in their lives. Nonetheless there are more centenarians there than anywhere else in the world, and the Okinawan population enjoys much greater health and longevity than other Japanese. And the Japanese have the best health and greatest longevity on the planet. Moreover, thanks to meticulous keeping of birth and health records in the islands, there is no doubt about the veracity of claims to longevity, as there is in other regions that have been promoted as conducive to long life.
The fundamental question to be asked about this population is how much of the good health and longevity is genetic and how much is environmental. It is impossible to answer it definitively, but I am inclined to think Genetic factors are not the major cause. I say thatbecause research on aging is generally demonstrating the overwhelming influence of such lifestyle factors as regular physical activity and social connectedness. Also younger Okinawans, who are abandoning traditional ways in favor of those of contemporary Japan and America, are beginning to show the expected declines in health and growing incidence of Western disease.
I have made many trips to Japan over the past forty years, but I have been to Okinawa only once, in November of 1999, when I went to the main island to lecture, meet local shamans and healthy oldsters, and get a little sense of cultural, especially dietary, differences from the rest of Japan. On that occasion I met the authors of this book and first learned about their research
project on successful aging. My experiences during that brief visit left me eager to return, to see more of the islands and its remarkable people, and to learn more about what Drs. Willcox and Suzuki call "the Okinawa way to everlasting health."
At first meeting Okinawans seem different -- both from Westerners and from other Japanese. They look different, have quite different customs, and eat very different foods, including a great deal of bitter melon and turmeric tea, for example. But, as you will learn in this scientifically factual and highly readable book, the general principles of living the Okinawa way are not foreign. Indeed, they are highly accessible to everyone and quite consistent with the latest medical research on healthy lifestyles and healthy aging. They include getting lifelong, regular physical activity, eating a mostly plant-based diet that includes fish and soy foods with a great variety of vegetables and moderate amounts of the right kinds of fat, and enjoying strong social and community support as well as a sense of independence and self-responsibility for health.
This book is not about magic potions or age-erasing supplements. It is a realistic, very thorough look at a remarkable society that has mostly escaped notice by Western medical researchers. I congratulate the authors on doing such an excellent job of introducing the health-promoting culture of Okinawa to Western readers. I look forward to learning about more of the findings of their ongoing research. In reading the book, I was happy to discover that I already practice many of the Okinawans' "secrets" of health and longevity. I am highly motivated to include more of them in my own life.

Tucson, Arizona
January 2001

Copyright 2001 by Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D., Makoto Suzuki, M.D.

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