The Okinawa Program
Author: Willcox, Bradley, Willcox, Craig, and Suzuki, Makoto
Description: If ever there were a prescription for longevity, the folks of Okinawa, a collection of islands strung between Japan and Taiwan, have found it. Considered the world’s healthiest people, residents of this tropical archipelago routinely live active, independent lives well into their 90s and 100s. Their rates of obesity, heart disease, osteoporosis, memory loss, menopause, and breast, colon and prostate cancer rank far below the rates for these illnesses in America and other industrialized countries. In fact, researchers believe many Okinawans are physically younger than their chronological ages. In essence, the Okinawans have found a way to beat the clock.
How do they do it? In The Okinawa Program, Bradley J. Willcox, M.D., D. Craig Willcox, Ph.D., and Makoto Suzuki, M.D. reveal the islanders’ age-defying secrets. Of course, there are really no surprises here: a low-fat diet, exercise, stress management, strong social and family ties, and spiritual connectedness–the same things experts have been recommending for years–all play key roles in keeping the Okinawans youthful. But in this fascinating read, which is peppered with inspiring anecdotes about these remarkable people, the authors provide concrete evidence that adopting these healthy habits pays off significantly in terms of tacking more productive years onto our lives.
Based on the authors’ 25-year Okinawa Centenarian Study, this extraordinarily well-written book demonstrates that genetics provide only so much protection against disease. Indeed, the authors often remind us that when younger Okinawans pick up Western habits, their rates of obesity, illness, and life expectancy start to match ours as well. Clearly, when it comes to longevity, healthy lifestyle habits will out. That said, the major message of The Okinawa Program is that we can easily adopt the life-lengthening strategies that have served the Okinawans so well for generations. To that end, the authors pack chapters with suggestions for following “The Way,” from eating a low-fat, low-calorie diet packed with fiber and complex carbohydrates (cooking up the book’s more than 80 recipes is a start) and learning tai chi to finding time to meditate and relax, developing one’s spirituality, doing volunteer work, and building a solid network of friends and family. Rounding out the book, the authors pull their key recommendations into a comprehensive yet doable four-week plan that’s meant to get you started. Following “The Way” isn’t a free shot at immortality, but it certainly helps stack the deck in your favor. –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.