Okinawa is world famous for the longevity of its citizens, with local people living well into their 90s and even 100s comfortably and happy. This can be credited in no small part to the healthy diet and lifestyle of the Okinawan people. Take a look at our top tips for living healthy like an Okinawan!
Okinawans eat a diet rich in vegetables with high antioxidants, which are known to prevent disease. Two in particular, goya (a bitter, nubbly vegetable that resembles a cucumber) and beni imo (a purple sweet potato) are said to be the most beneficial. Goya Chanpuru, which is a stir fried goya, egg, and tofu dish, is popular and low in calories. Beni imo can be found in all sorts of foods, including buns, cakes, and candy, but is of course best eaten in its natural state, unprocessed and with no added sugar.
Farmers markets can be found all over Okinawa. They are cheaper than supermarkets, and have a great range of locally grown produce. Be sure to take yen cash and some reusable bags with you. JA is a popular chain of farmers markets, with locations island wide.
Keeping active is another important component in living a healthy lifestyle. The key to success is choosing an activity you love! Okinawa has lots to offer, including gyms, beach yoga, swimming, running, sports teams, and martial arts! SUP (stand up paddle board) is fun and a great core workout. You can give it a try with Oki SUP. Check their website (http://www.oki-sup.com/classes) for more details.
For beach yoga, check out Bliss In Me with experienced teacher Agnieszka Kowalska, who offers a range of classes (view her website here: www.yogablissinme.com).
A popular workout in not only Okinawa, but in mainland Japan, China, and Taiwan, is Rajio Taisou, or radio calisthenics. Every morning, local radio stations broadcast an easy-to-follow workout routine. It started in 1928 as a way to keep soldiers exercising, and has become an important part of life in Japan. It’s a great way to kick-start your day! It’s broadcast daily at 6.30 am, if you wish to participate. If that’s too early, follow along at any time with this helpful YouTube video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9yw2WVzLWM.