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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Likened to a real-life Shangri-la, Okinawa -- made up of 161 islands in the East China Sea -- is a bastion of wellness, where people retain the physical vitality and mental acuity of their youth well into their second century. With this illuminating and life-changing book, the authors reveal the results of 25 years of thorough research and study into the Okinawans and their immensely healthful lifestyle.
Readers will be pleased to discover that the Okinawans are not the beneficiaries of a fountain of youth; as the book documents, their lifelong good health is due to a lifestyle based on a low-calorie, plant-based diet; filled with activities like dancing, gardening, and practicing martial arts; and enriched by spirituality and family and community relationships. These factors, as well as a successful integration of Eastern and Western medical practices, contribute to a unique population with a remarkable concentration of centenarians (33 per 100,000), the world's highest life expectancy (80.6 years) and the lowest occurrences of coronary heart disease, stroke, and cancer.
Bradley and Craig Willcox, along with Makoto Suzuki, relate their amazing findings in a friendly, easy style that will involve readers not only in their medical research -- meticulously supported by concrete evidence -- but also in their delightful experiences with the people of Okinawa. Foremost in the program they set forth is an emphasis on quality of life; ironically it is the quality of life enjoyed by Okinawans, not simply their longevity, that will be most attractive to readers. To achieve similar results, the book recommends stress relief techniques, exercise practices, and a complete four-week plan that includes recipes. My favorite features were the questionnaire to help readers determine how closely their lifestyle measures up to "Okinawa time" and the appendix listing must-have medical tests, important vitamins, and even directions for preparing a healthy Okinawan diet.
In a time when gene studies aim to predict which diseases we are likely to be stricken with or to determine a child's health prospects before birth, this book conveys a significant message: Good health is the result of more than just good genes, and bad genes need not prevent someone from living long and well. (Karen Burns)