Japan has the oldest life expectancy in the world. That means people in Japan live a really really long time. Men live to 79 years old. Women live a little over 86 years old. What in the world causes Japanese people to live so long?

After WWII, Japan had one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, which suggests it’s not genetics that keeps them alive for so long (the guy in the picture above just turned 113). It’s not even that Japanese people visit doctors 12+ times a year. The answer is something else, and it’s something you can do as well to increase your own life expectancy (and get healthier, too)

The Japanese Diet

I’m no diet expert, but I can tell you that the things Japanese people eat are a lot healthier than the things Americans tend to eat. It’s not just their diet in general, though. We can break it up into several parts. If you want to live a long time, avoid heart disease, and feel healthy, perhaps a Japanese style diet is for you. Overall, it’s just way healthier. Here’s why:

Fish Vs. Red Meats: Japanese people don’t eat nearly as much red meat. Red meat has a lot more cholesterol than fish, which causes you in your later years to have a much higher chance for heart disease, heart attack, stroke, and other fun things. In Japan, fish is the primary “meat” to eat, which means not only do they keep their cholesterol lower, but they also get healthy fish oils, too. Now, there’s probably something to be said about the nasty stuff that can come with fish (i.e. mercury), but no matter what you eat you’re going to be getting something “fun.”

Less Milk, Butter, Dairy: Most Japanese people are lactose intolerant. In fact, people who can drink milk after becoming an “adult” are mutants anyways. People aren’t really meant to do dairy their whole life. Although non-fat milk is pretty healthy, a lot of people drink 1% and 2% milk. The amount of fat and cholesterol in those is pretty astounding and will kill you slowly. Japanese people don’t really do dairy all that much, lactose intolerant or not, which means they avoid all the extra cholesterol.

Rice: Rice is eaten with almost everything and is high in nutrients (there are special rice strains in Japan that have been created to have more nutrients than normal rice, even). It’s also low in fat and helps fill you up. Now, to make this even better (for yourself), you should try to mix in some brown rice as well. A lot of people don’t like this, but it’ll help you get some more whole grains.

Lots of Soy: Tofu, bean sprouts, and so on are awesome for getting you proteins and help reduce heart disease and high blood pressure, a couple of things that kill a lot of Americans. Soy products are really healthy, and an awesome alternative to meats, milks, and other “unhealthy” things.

Tea: Japanese people drink a ton of tea. Americans drink a ton of coffee. While there’s something to be said in regards to “everything in moderation,” I feel like one cup of tea is going to be better for you than one cup of coffee, especially when we’re talking larger amounts. Green / Oolong Tea is full of antioxidants (good for fighting that cancer thing), and apparently helps break up oils in the digestive system, keeping those bowels happy.

Seaweed: Mmm, seaweed. It’s full of iodine and other nutrients you don’t get as much of anywhere else. So incredibly healthy. Also supposed to help fight against many kinds of cancers, too.

More Vegetables: Vegetables tend to be a big part of every meal, not an afterthought or “oh, I should add a vegetable to this steak dinner” kind of thing. Everyone knows that vegetables are healthy and good for you. What else is there to say?

Smaller Plates: Here’s a trick. If you’re looking to lose weight, get rid of your big plates. Small plates cause people to eat smaller portions, which causes people to eat less. So many studies have been done on plate size and how much one eats, and there’s a surprising correlation between the two. Japanese tend to serve food on smaller plates which means they don’t overeat and get fat, which, of course, reduces chance of heart attack, heart disease, stroke, and other ailments.

Calories: According to Greg O’Neill, director of the US National Academy on an Ageing Society, Japanese people eat a third of the calories Americans eat. Now, Japanese people do tend to be smaller, so this kind of makes sense, but on the other hand Americans tend to eat too many calories. Next time you do fast food, look at the calorie counts. It can get pretty ridiculous, sometimes.

[box type=”tick”]What You Can Do: Eating healthier isn’t always easy. We get used to what we eat, and making a shift is hard. One of the best things you can do, though, is decrease the amount of red meats you eat. They lead to all kinds of problems later on, and it’s pretty easy to avoid. You don’t have to stop eating red meat all together, but if you can really decrease the amount your body will thank you. Also, for all you addicted coffee drinkers out there, switch to tea. There’s a reason why older people are being forced (by doctors) to quit drinking so much coffee. Tea also has caffeine (I know, not as much, but you’ll survive) and is generally just a lot healthier. Drink it every day![/box]

Walking Vs. Sitting

Not only do Japanese people eat well, but they stand and walk way more than the average American. In America, most people tend to drive everywhere. Then, after they drive, they sit for long periods.

The Commute: A large portion of Japanese people walk, bike, and take the train to work (or wherever they need to go). Cars are kind of a luxury, and it’s almost easier to take a train anyways (train system is awesome). This means Japanese people are standing up for longer periods of the day, whether that means they’re walking / biking to the train station, or standing up in the train because there isn’t room to sit down. There have been plenty of studies done showing the correlation between how long you sit down per day and how likely you are to die early. Basically, if you stand up more every day, you’ll probably end up living longer. In Japan, standing and walking is just a necessity, while in American you have to go out of your way to do it. If you want to live longer, try and stand up for a few hours every day. Maybe the crazy Canon CEO isn’t just being evil, he’s helping his employees live longer!

Squatting While You Poop: Apparently, it’s also healthier to squat when you poop. Although this is becoming less and less the case, many Japanese toilets require you to squat, which has its own health benefits (even if it takes some practice). Apparently (I won’t get into too much detail here), squatting helps with your digestive system and actually help you to avoid hemorrhoids. While hemorrhoids are pretty common in Western countries, they’re nearly nonexistent in Asian, squatting countries. Back in 1978 they even got Jimmy Carter a squat toilet because his hemorrhoids were so bad. I don’t want to talk too much about poop here, so if you want to read more you can.

[box type=”tick”]What You Can Do: It’s probably too hard to squat on top of your Western toilet when you poop, but you definitely can stand up and walk around more often. At the very least, try to stand up while you work (instead of sitting down). Just standing will help you stay healthy and live longer, even if you aren’t moving around. We aren’t made to be sitting around all day long[/box]


Japan is probably one of the cleanest nations in the world. There’s almost an obsession with it in some cases. There’s no doubt that cleanliness leads to healthiness (we learned that in the great plagues back in the day). If you live in a clean house, and wash your hands, you should be okay. It doesn’t always seem like a cultural norm in America to wash your hands and shower every day (especially depending on where you are), but keeping clean and living around clean people will keep you healthy and help you live longer. It’ll help you to avoid disease (especially important when you’re old) and keep you from getting sick.

[box type=”tick”]What You Can Do: Just wash your hands, it’s that simple.[/box]

The Family & The Social

Taking care of grandma (and sometimes grandpa): In Japan, the oldest kid is supposed to take care of the parents when they get old. The parent(s) live with the kid and help out around the house (until they get too old to, I suppose). Although this is changing a bit and fewer kids are helping out with their parents, it’s still really common. Having your kid(s) around, and grandkids around has to be a pretty nice psychological boost for the old grandma or grandpa, urging them to live longer and enjoy their time with their family. Plus, since they’re helping out around the house, it means they’re moving around (walking is important, right?), doing things, and staying active. Although I didn’t find any data to support this, I can’t help but see this as being a perk if you’re an old person in Japan. Being old and living in a retirement home would be depressing, and probably helps a lot of old people lose the will to live as long.

Hanging out, drinking, and socializing: I’m not saying that drinking a lot is good for your health (though some studies say it’s not all that bad, showing that drinkers actually live longer than non-drinkers, overall), but the socializing that goes along with it is. When it comes to business in Japan, employees are often required to go out and socialize, drink, and have fun after work. Although this takes away from sleep time (probably not as good for people who want to live long), socializing is really important for your psychological health. The better that is, the more you’ll enjoy life and keep on living. By doing this you make friends, know more people, build a network, and so on. This means you have more friends later on in life, which means you’ll enjoy life more when you’re older too. When you enjoy life, you just want to live longer. It’s as simple as that.

[box type=”tick”]What You Can Do: While you probably can’t force your kids into taking you into their home when you get older, you can get out there and make friends. The more you socialize the better you’ll feel about life and the more social support you’ll have later on.[/box]

How To Live Forever

If you want to live for a long time, all you really have to do is change your lifestyle a bit. Most of it comes with eating the right foods, but you shouldn’t forget to stand up a bit too (even if that means standing up at your desk while working, or something). Japanese people don’t live long because they have better genes – it’s all lifestyle, and it’s all a choice (or, for them, a culture, which I guess makes it easier). You can make shifts as well, and increase your life expectancy by 5-10 (good) years. Old Japanese people have so much more energy compared to old people in America (just an observation, not a fact). I think they must be doing something right.

Long live Japan! … Literally.

  • Chris Taran

    I dunno, I feel MUCH happier being anti-social and staying as far away form human contact as possible than on the few occasions where I do end up in social situations. People are evil and will only hurt you.

  • koichi

    Until you get old… then being alone is much, much harder! I suppose you can always invest in life-alert! :P

  • Mikoto Neko

    I read a book detailing the structure of the standard Japanese diet and they showed lots of research backing up that it is their diet and their lifestyle that lend the hand to living longer.
    As for the milk, over 75% of American adults are lactose intolerant or allergic (like me!). I’ve actually never understood why we drink the crap to begin with anyways, as it doesn’t have any benefit that you can’t find anywhere else.
    Great post!

  • j3ss4ndr4

    Wow, I’m screwed — I don’t like people all that much either, AND I don’t have kids to take care of me when I get old… Oh well, living forever is probably overrated anyway. ^_^

  • Holger Haase

    Last time I checked they don’t live longer, they just hide their dead relatives: :-)

  • koichi

    haha, indeed :)

  • koichi

    wow, 75%? I knew people drank milk while they were allergic to it, but didn’t think the number is that high! Genetically… that actually makes sense, though. Mutants shouldn’t be the majority!

  • koichi

    maybe you and Chris are meant for each other!

  • Catherine

    I admire the Japanese diet a lot. Their attitude to fruit and vegetables, and to sweets seems much healthier. sure they have their junk but it seems much more balanced. I also love how clean Japan is. For large cities it doesn’t feel polluted at all, compared to like London. The toilets were also largely clean. but the squatting toilets…how do they even work?! there was nothing worse than a public toilet with no western style option XD

    ps. why can’t we post a comment as a guest?

  • eastpaw

    Actually, you probably dismissed genetics a little too quickly. If A leads to C only in the presence of B, then the absence of B can result in the absence of C even with A.

    Next, there is a positive correlation between IQ and life expectancy, and Japan has one of the highest IQs in the world. It’s not yet clear why this covariance exists, however. Perhaps the link has physiological roots, or maybe it’s due to smarter people taking better care of themselves. *shrug*

  • Ashley @ Surviving in Japan

    This is a really extensive write-up – well done. :) Although, part of the reason the life span is so long is because of the Okinawans, who do live the longest out of anyone in the world – and their (traditional) diet is actually somewhat different than the traditional Japanese diet. And, while aspects of the traditional Japanese diet are good, most people don’t really follow that so strictly anymore. White rice actually isn’t healthy for you – it’s empty calories. There are great types of rice you can get in Japan like brown and sprouted brown rice, but those are more “specialty” items. You already mentioned beef, and the consumption of red meat and dairy (and thus saturated fats) is increasing. Bread is almost always white bread, and I saw an article the other day mentioned the sway towards bread in Japan over rice (not a good sign since they don’t really go for whole wheat or multigrain bread). It’s disturbing to watch everyone purchase packaged food for lunch, full of preservatives, and let’s not forget all the fried foods they love in Japan and eat on a regular basis. Of course, I agree with much of what you said, but the fact that they don’t really stick to this so much anymore is causing the health aspect to change, unfortunately. But! in addition to your dairy comment, they love yogurt – and yogurt is a great one. Maybe with a little aloe added, even better. :D

  • Ingrid Strasheim

    I’d like to call BS on the way lactose intolerance was explained and the bit on cleanliness.

  • koichi

    Please explain!

  • Adriana

    I love how the Japanese admire the aged. I’m sure it makes things a lot easier for them–screw the retirement home, I’m moving to Japan!

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  • Anonymous

    Nice article. I think you definitely hit on a big point in regards to diet, although I do question a couple of your points.

    Is white rice really that nutritious? Doesn’t really seem like it. Am I looking at the right variety here?

    Second, where did you learn that most Japanese are lactose intolerant? I’ve never heard or observed that before, so I did a quick search and some sources say that it used to be the case but that trend is on the decline. This source says about 19% of adults:

    And yeah, portion size is a big element, but some Japanese do take in a lot of calories. The daily lunches at the school I work at are usually 900 or 1000 calories…

    But yeah, I especially agree with your points about fish and tea – very healthy.

    Anyway, well-written. Enjoy reading your articles.

  • kathryn

    It’s the smoking, dude. Japanese ppl smoke like chimneys and they live longer than anyone else – conclusion: smoking makes you live longer!

  • Daniel Parrey

    The medical health aspect does have the double edged sword. Like Japan’s incredibly high rate of things like hay fever.

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  • Robert Oschler

    I think the genetics evidence may need to be reworked when the author says “After WWII, Japan had one of the lowest life expectancies in the world, which suggests it’s not genetics that keeps them alive for so long”. If a short life expectancy is due to scarcities in decent food leading to malnutrition or there are other drastic economic or environmental forces present, they will overwhelm genetic advantages. For example, I don’t care how good you take care of yourself, getting hit by a bus will override any genetic proclivity towards longevity you may have. A much larger historical comparison over time would be needed to flesh out the truth. They may indeed as a population have superior genetics for long life but after World War II those genes may not have had a chance do the driving. I have not done any research in the field so I’m not contradicting the author’s suggestion, but relying on that one anecdote based on a slice of evidence from WWII is not sufficient. Still, there’s a lot to be learned from this piece.

  • chochajin

    The Japanese diet might have worked for those who just became 100 now, but (younger) people nowadays tend to eat fast food a lot. And Japanese conbini food is not healthy AT ALL! Also, most soft drinks have way too much sugar. The bread here is not healthy, they mainly have white bread (just like in America, I assume). I have no clue about American food, so I can’t really compare, but I suppose that younger generations won’t have the advantage of healthy food anymore.

    About cleanliness:
    I’ve never had any food poisoning here in Japan. Thy really try to keep everything clean – especially the food, but sometimes they tend to exaggerate. I don’t really think the masks work all that well (yet I wear them, too, when sick at work).

    About socializing:
    I don’t think that Japan is special. On the contrary, there are a lot more shut-ins here than in other countries. Also, there’s a LOT of bullying going on in schools and work, which I guess is not healthy at all.

    And then there’s “karoushi” (過労死). Japanese working conditions can be quite inhuman – I know what I’m talking about, unfortunately.
    If work doesn’t kill them, then they will jump in front of a train. The suicide rate in Japan is one of the largest worldwide, I think.

  • Ana

    When I was in Japan the things I noticed the most was that there was A LOT of really old people walking around and going places everywhere. Also, there was distinctly less overweight people. I only saw some while I was in Tokyo, maybe a couple in Kyoto and pretty much none in Nara and the more rural areas I was in.

  • Lars Pensjo

    Drinking milk is referred to as something almost unnatural that only mutants can do. But the truth isn’t that simple. All children can be breast fed, but is it natural to continue with cow milk after that?

    This goes back to when man transitioned from living in hunter and gatherer societies, and instead started with farming. At the same time, we started to use cattle for food. I think the mutation is from this time (about 8000 years ago, a little different for different continents). People that have this mutation gave them an advantage with regards to nutrition.

    So it could be the other way around, people without the mutation are remnants of the old. I don’t say what is right or wrong, or what is good and bad, only that there are differences and that being a “mutant” in this case may be the natural state.

    There are also tests that show that bodybuilders using milk had an improved muscle growth and improved weight reduction, at the same time. I have also seen a research that show that children drinking whole fat milk had lower overweight than those drinking milk with reduced fat (not sure about what is the cause and effect here).

  • Tjlopez0946

    Living longer or even forever doesnt sound all that good. But if it means that I get to watch the end of the world and still live, then all I can say is put me on that list.

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    i feel a match made in heaven

  • Ramon Coutinho

    You forgot, having good sexual life!

  • James Quick

    Because I can drink milk without getting sick, I am immediately labeled a “mutant?”

  • Hinoema

    Since milk is a sugar, the kind of milk can make a difference. Cow’s milk is hard to break down and takes hours to digest. Goat’s milk is very similar to human milk and takes about 15- 20 minutes to digest. I don’t like milk at all, but I like cheese, so I try to stick to goat’s milk cheeses.

  • Hinoema

    The ability to digest milk as adults was indeed a latter day (millenia?) ‘mutation’ or adaptation common mostly among European populations.

  • sumi

    I think quality of life is a lot more important than longevity.
    The Japanese don’t look like a happy people. The suicide rate is high ( suicide forest), children are under tremendous pressure at school, there is a word for dying from overwork, men pass out on trains from drinking (there are even buckets in train stations to keep floors clean), people go to love hotels because of lack of privacy in their apartments. There are now stories about the elderly kept hidden at home after their death because their children can’t afford burial or still wants to collect their pension. It also looks like the Japanese diet is now including a lot of fast food and junk food.
    Those who seem to have the best quality of life and live the longest live far from cities, still keep busy with farm work or fishing, eat natural food, and have families taking care of them. This could be true in any country.

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  • Alessa

    didn’t the man in the picture turn 114?
    because it’s heisei 22nen.

  • Audriana Zirakchi

    Their diet is so much like my family’s diet. Except for the seaweed (although it is yummy!) Persians have a lot of similarities to this. And I just discovered that a lot actually live in Japan too :o

  • Giovanni Murray

    I refute this argument by saying this: There are many exceptions to ‘evil people’. When you say “people”, that would imply that you yourself are an evil person that will hurt others, but do you believe this to be true? Of course not. Even though I am anti-social, it’s only because I am my own team (which has its limits), but if you haven’t met all the people, you can’t say that Koichi and I (lol) are evil. RID THE WORLD OF GENERALIZATIONS AND STEREOTYPES!!

  • Chris Taran

    Well, certainly there are degrees of evil. I don’t necessarily mean your classic Hitler-esque evil. I think anyone that would willingly hurt the emotions of another person are pretty evil. I’m sure at one point or another I’ve insulted another individual, even if I later regretted it.

    And generally speaking when I say people are evil, I can only be speaking from my own personal encounters with them. With perhaps the exception of a few (of course, there are exceptions to every rule), every person I ever thought of as a friend or girlfriend has inevitably damaged me in some way as to leave lasting scars that would lead me to such generalizations. You can only touch a fire so many times before you realize it will burn you. :)

  • Jamesmallon

    But there are ads for hemorrhoid clinics everywhere in Japan!

  • Hkkj

    My Celtic wheat, beef and milk-product eating ancestors kicked @$$ on their way into Europe, and none of the natives are left but the Basques. I’ll keep that mutation! But seriously, almost no culture but Anglo N.Americans drink milk as adults – blame that on marketing – but some use milk-products in abundance: cheese, butter, etc.

    Incidentally, on advice I did not believe would work, I cut out milk to cure my acne. Worked within a week, unlike the quacks who had me on tetracycline for a year in my teens, ^%$^&^#@!

  • Anonymous

    Actually, many japanese people simply hid the fact that their elders were dead, and pretended they were still alive so they could fraud and keep their pensions for themselves… thus artificially extending the overall life expectancy.

    We’re not talking about 1 or 2 frauds here… but nearly 230 000 wrongly declared centenerians that were actually dead !

    you will easily find it on google, it’s pretty recent, but here is one link on the economist :

    Way more simple. And nothing to do with the food which is only so-so healthy as you know once you lived there (ie: try to get fruits and vegetables – 1 Apple can cost nearly 5 euros).

  • Umbra Solis

    In regards to cleanliness I disagree with you. Even though I agree that cleanliness to some extend will make you more healty it is also true that too much cleanliness will result in more allergies (especially children are more likely to get them if their enviroment is too clean). I doubt that having allergies to living a long life…
    Also recent studies showed that ties between old people and their children have weakend so much that children sometimes don’t even know what their parents are doing. As a result some people die and there’s nobody to register them as dead which means they keep appearing in the statistics. (Some family members keep pretending their parents are still alive to receive their retirement pension.)

  • Anonymous

    Cool article…I’m vegetarian but believe me, not all of us are healthy especially when we eat fries and eclairs and French Toast for most meals but neglect to actually cook a decent meal for ourselves so we don’t have enough spinach, seaweed, blueberries, etc. in our diets. Also, white tea is a delicate, sweet type of tea that isn’t as bitter as green tea (i love green tea, but some people might find it bitter) but still has the antioxidants.

    ….I was reading that paper on drinkers living longer and I bet it’s financed by Kirin hahaha, alcohol kills your brain cells and destroys your liver and you can’t get those back. If you need beer to have a good time with friends, they’re not your friends.Maybe the Japanese invented synthetic brain cells and livers that they implant in people to make them live longer? I love socializing and partying but I’ll pass on drinking ’cause I don’t want to climb on stage and interrupt Taylor Swift and then have to apologize for it on Letterman.

  • Anonymous

    I’ll be recommending that to people I know who have acne…

  • Daniel R. Patterson
    This book talks a lot about this topic. It’s titled “Japanese Women Don’t Get Old or Fat: Secrets of My Mother’s Tokyo Kitchen” written by Naomi Moriyama. The book is part cookbook with recipes and part thesis onto the healthy food choices of the Asian diet versus the western diet.

  • TofuUnion

    I’m Japanese and will point out a factor you didn’t refer to. The old Japanese who were born before 1940 had to live through ages when Japan was making war and these kids/youths were under poor nutrition condition until 1960s. That said, these people haven’t been used to exposed to high-calorie diet until middle age, and most of them never became fat and probably wouldn’t have been fat. Therefore they are not so much supposed to get adult diseases like diabetes, heart attack and stroke. ( I’m not sure youger generations will live long or not.)

  • Bushido

    Congratulations Koichi-san, GREAT article. Funny timing, my Japanese wife and I were talking about the very same thing last night, comparing Canadian (almost similar to US) and Japanese lifestyle.

    Long live Japan!!!

  • Viet

    A bowl of natto a day keeps the shinagami away. *fart*

  • Sumisujoshu

    This was a pretty good article. The author made a good point about the lifestyle and eating habits both having to be balanced. However, I’ve also read that this is predominantly in Okinawa, and in general the diet of people under 60 everywhere in Japan is terribly going down the tubes with a more westernized diet.
    Josh, (

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  • aurickandrien

    Yeah, but us Australian males have a life expectancy of only a month or so less than our Japanese counterparts and we don’t really do anything special. Also, I think that it’s not “Why do Japanese people live so long?” so much as “Why do American people live so… ah… short?”. There are like over three dozen countries out there that have longer life expectancies than you guys!

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  • Kiwi

    I love the Japanese diet. It’s fresh and I love the flavours. However, it’s not always healthy to eat a lot soy, and some people (like myself) can’t really eat it at all! I was vegetarian for 3 years until my doctor told me a I couldn’t eat soy anymore. I wonder, how to 日本人 combat allergies to soy? Or thyroid conditions where it’s dangerous to eat soy? (More fish? nom!)

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  • Melissa

    On the milk thing…
    actually a TON of people drink milk here every day. I work at a school, and ALL the adults drink a milk box every single day. It really weirds me out, PARTICULARLY because so many of them simply HAVE to be lactose intolerant.

    There’s also a ton of milk in pastry products and things like that. Sneaky milk, if you will.
    I know ’cause I am lactose intolerant and can tell when it’s been hidden in my lunch. :(

  • Gpwell

    Great op-ed, but totally oversimplified and generalized

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  • Dean Thompson

    those squatting toilets sound lethal, I wouldnt want to lose balance and fall over in one of them haha

  • Ilndchaser

    I have three adult relatives in my family, all in their 90’sand they are all ready to die. There is really nothing wrong with any of them except they all feel that life has passed them by and they all welcome the day when they pass away.

  • Seline

    Hmm…seems like I’m a little late in replying to this post.
    But this is really interesting, and I just read an article on Yahoo about the whole “sitting down is unhealthy” thing.
    I guess sitting down for most of the day can raise your chance of heart attack by at least 50%:

  • Blanca

    Actually in America its almost hard to find completely white bread. At least where I live, its usually 100% whole wheat or organic. The white bread that we do have is bleached wheat, so its actually whole wheat but its disguised as white. Its like ninja bread! :D

  • Blanca

    Milk is a sugar seriously? Than what is juice, a candy bar?  Sorry, I just thought what you said was hilarious. :P I will say though that goats milk is leaner. Something that is hard to digest may actually be a good thing though, it could keep you full longer. :)
    Actually I think its interesting what Lars Pensjo said about body builders, I think its true. For example, in my family we drink about 4 glasses of milk a day on average. When compared to many of my friends who are lactose intolerant who could hardly do, say a pushup, I can do 20 no sweat without training. This is the same for all my milk drinking friends. By drinking milk you have an increased muscle mass, and with more muscle the less fat you have. Muscle destroys fat, and is really good for you. Though I’m 140 lbs. (I think thats 61 kg?) and a girl, my fat is at 19%. So if your not allergic, it kind of makes you superhuman! :D
    I also think milk makes you fuller, because many times I won’t have time to eat a good breakfast or lunch and I just have a tall glass of milk, or a small block of cheese and I’m fine until my next meal. I think whole milk, especially homogenized milk, will make you more full. But thats just my theory. :)

  • Alexa VanDemark

    When you say vegetables aren’t afterthoughts like they are in America, do you mean that any fish or meat would be more of an afterthought than the vegetables? Just curious.

  • koichi

    Just saying that Americans aren’t the best at eating their veggies

  • koichi

    Just saying that Americans aren’t the best at eating their veggies

  • Christiana

    It’s weird, there are only a handful if not less cases where people cannot drink *raw* cow milk, however there are many, many people all over the world who are allergic to pasteurized milk. What’s even more strange, is that the US government has forbade raw milk to be sold, even as cigarettes can be found right around the corner. No, I don’t believe the government should outlaw cigarettes, too. I do believe, that it is not their right to tell us what we can and cannot drink or eat as long as it is not harming another individual. Sidetracked – My point is, while there are many who are allergic to pasteurized milk, there are few who are allergic to the way milk has always been drank – raw, and full of immune boosting, bone building goodness!  

  • Christiana

    The aged often have lost to be admired for. Wisdom, experience, perspective. It’s a shame how disrespectful so many youngsters are of them. Truly grey hair is a crown the the aged! 

  • Fvumo

    Many many thanks to the people who made this very very helpful artcle. After reading this article, it  truly gives me a clear direction in life. Now, I know what my priority is……to live longer and healthy !



  • Michael

    Lol, does this mean that there is no cheese in Japan???? No cheese???????? Cheese is like… God’s food!! Maybe if i told Japanese people that Buddha ate  cheese then there’d be more cheese in Japan ^_^

    so i guess asians don’t drink milk then.

  • Me’Sha

    so if i go by these guidelines and etc, i could probably live up to at least in my 80’s and possible older than that, like the 113 year old man?

  • Flowerpower016

    I believe from my observations of American people vs Japanese people that the reason for the high IQs is possible that Japanese show signs of the HIGH FUNCTIONING from of Autism. Because I am one of the High functioning Autistics i know somethings of the signs of Autism and many times see them in the Japanese more then in the Americans. High functioning Autistics have a creative artistic side. They also have a high inteligence. They may have social problems, such as shyness, anti-social, ect, but they also have a highly rigid thinking, so when it comes to doing whats right, they can be very stict about it. They many times take school and studying seriously, they do what they have to because they know they have to, though they may struggle with homework, they continue to work untill done because they are VERY determined to finish. THey often have OCD along with Autism, which means they take cleaniness VERY seriously and may even get obsecessed over not haveing ANY dirt on clothes or washing hands. OCD also means they might constantly think about thinks over and over.

    Japanese culture from what i read are very respectable. They also seem to take School and knowlege as VERY IMPORTANT. Americans, alot of them dont pick up a book unless they HAVE to, like for work or school. Americans mostly dont research things on their own or learn by a parents teachings or talking to parents. Japanese I’ve seen use more of their traditional medicine, while Americans tend to go to the docter and get medication with out knowing what the problem is or if the medication can cause problems. Also Japanese have a creative more imaginitive side. They have the amazing ability to make such a unique style of drawing and cartoons. And when i say this I mean they have anime. American cartoons are junk. Not only that but alot of work and thoughts of been put into anime. Just look at how Hayao Miyazaki thinks in every deatail of just a simple thing as puting on shoes as a little 10 year old kid does(in the anime movie Spirited Away) to the way a dragon lands and comparing it to observations on earth inorder to draw it. They not only put alot of thought into the art of anime but into the story line. Most anime has a complicated story line that MAKES you think (from my experience).

    The style of drawing anime is often persued by my fellow Autisitc friends or Autistic sing showing friends. Most the people i know who get interested or OBSESSED over anime or Manga have Autism or show signs of it.

    Lots of people in Japan continue to watch anime when adults. Autistics like to be obessed with things and can find stuff they like so much they might never, infact will not at all, out grow it.

    These are just some things i’ve thought that pointed to Autism. Please dont think i am a professional or know ALL about Autism, and I DO NOT actually diagnos Autism, but i know alot of the signs and know from experiencing Autism myself. (and I am OBSESSED with Japan)

    Sometimes i feel that Japan I can relate to more. And I feel that mabe (not sure as i do not know what the Autistic rates are in Japan or if possible they have it with out knowing) but i feel that most of them are Autisic or show signs and so i feel more comfortable. I UNDERSTAND them when they say the love anime, because i love it too, i like to believe i understand why people love anime. My experience with comparing Autisics or people with disabilaties that are not to severe to the suposed “normal” is that the “normal people” alot of times arent creative or arent what they call “a Renaissance man”. Also most “normal people” dont like anime. (please excuse any miss spealings or non capitalizations as it is really late at night and i havent even sleept and am lazy to check it over)

  • Flowerpower016

    Also i hope no one is offended by what i said. I personaly thing that Autism is not a bad thing, and that even disabilities are not bad cause it makes the person unique and they have other qualities that make up for it. Generally speaking, people in history who were smart of creative most had diabilities. Albert Einstein for example had is assumed to have Aspergers Syndrome which is one of the HIGH functioning Autism (and is what i have) and it is also widely stated that he was dyslexic, (which my brother has). Also Bill Gates has Aspergers Syndrome, even though he is rich and successful, he has to take a shower at a certain time on a certain day(or is it every day, i cant remember that exact fact that well) NO MATTER WHERE HE IS. This is because MOST Autistics have to have or follow a RIGID routine not matter what. They also  like to eat the same foods over and over again or eat things the same WAY everytime, when i say what i mean what goes first or what to bite first ect. ANd alot of artists or musicians or even writers are said to have diabilities like Autism or dyslexia.

  • Flowerpower016

    Red meats: well i havent eaten much red meats, or meat in gerneral in my life since i am not a BIG fan of meat(or fish), but i resently found out i was iron defecient. I take fish oil, which i learned helps with pain, especially in joint( i know this cause i had knee pain but the fish oil helped) as well as help focus, feeds the brain, and more. The brain needs fish(oil), which means more fish means more knowlege! :)

    Milk: not a big fan of milk either. NEVER liked it. NEVER drank it until my mom bought the specil HEALTHY milk from the wedge which is the closest thing ti geting raw unpasterized milk. I only drank it once, while haveing cookies, so not a big fan still, but certainly taste alot better.

    Rice: yes rice is good, but not to much rice. And rice turns to suger if it is the white sticky rice. That kind of rice has less nutrients. But despite that i love rice and wish i could eat it more but my mom wont let me since she says its bad for you to have the sticky rice. :(
    (rice makes everything better!) Brown rice has more neutrients but it also can have a nutty flavor if cooked the right way!

    Soy: Yes i read about soy, lots of health benefits. BUT this depends on WHERE you get your soy. Soy can be genetically modified,which makes it not healthy. Most soy is genetically modified in America unless labeled otherwise.
    Tea: TOTALLY AGREE. TEA IS THE BEST. When i say tea, i mean herbal and green tea.

    Seaweed: YES YES AND YES. Good sorce of all kinds of things. Taste geat too (although i know its an a taste not all like, because non of my family but me like it. I SWEAR i was born in the wrong family as i am not Japanese but love Japan)

    Vegies: YEP, a varity is good cause then you get all kinds of minerals and stuff from them.

     But you didnt mention roots specifically, which i think most in America dont eat, but roots are very important.

    Small plates: yep, i know this from experience. I bought a Japanese rice bowl recently. so much smaller and i love it. (it has CHERRY BLOSSOMS!) I get full faster when i use small plates and bowls. Also i learned this from my mom and then watched it in foods class.

    I love the Japanese food and everything. I knew Japanese diet was the way to go but my mom argues with me about things like soy and rice. :/

    Funny you say this about the squating. I am an Arab Muslim, and i know from the Sunna that The Prophet Mohammed(S.A.W) told us about the benefits of squating and what side to lean on to make relaving yourself easier. He also talked about eating while siting being improtant. This was before science could say siting is best because of digestion or that squating has health benefits.
    Arab contries still have those kinds of “bathrooms”, which consist of a whole in the ground as “your toilet”. Seriously if you cant squat then bring your own toilet if you go to Yemen or such, though it might have been more likely then when i went in 2000 to an arab country, to encounter a “real” toilet.

    Also the Cleanlines: Because i am Muslim, i already do this. Add to that my Autism and this means  i might possibly be a clean and organization freak. Islam says that “Cleanliness is half our deen”, deen means religion or faith. (we take our shoes off at the door just like the Japanese in Arab traditions, and in Islam in general, because it keeps the house clean.)
    One thing though is that taking a shower EVERY day can be bad for your skin, because the oil in your skin. also most people who take showers every day can get lice easier because contary to what most believe, lice like clean hair not dirty or oily hair. Also washing hands to much WITH SOAP can make your habds dry. Again this goes back to the oil think. But also brings up what soap you use. Antibackterial soap or hand sanitizer kills the good germs as well as the bad so its not good to use to much.

    Also Islam says to take care of your parents when you are older. So I understand this entirely. It makes it easier on the parents as well as the kids.

    Please dont be offended if i said anything. And please excuse any miss spellings or non capitalizations, ect.

  • Flowerpower016

    BTW their is someone in Yemen who lived past 113 years old. ANd their is someone who is REALLY OLD, so old i doubt he is human cause he has HORNS on his head. SERIOUSLY HORNS, check it out.

  • Guest

    I call bullshit on the cleanliness as well, specifically Japanese people washing their hands. About half of the bathrooms where I live (Tokyo) don’t even have soap. Some Japanese people quickly rinse their hands under the water for like one second after going to the bathroom but most I see don’t even bother with that! I have never seen a Japanese person some out of a stall and wash her hands with soap and water. I’ve been living here for two years now. It’s kinda gross. Other than that though, they are pretty clean.

  • Ingrid Strasheim

    Japanese school children (elementary and junior high) and their teachers drink a little box of milk each day. I met exactly one person who really couldn’t stomach the milk–it made him feel sick. No one else seems terribly lactose intolerant to me. 

    Japan is clean in some ways, but to get back to school: schools are filthy. Schools are cleaned by students, who generally aren’t terribly interested in doing this properly, especially boys. They use little to no cleaning products, only cold water. I never saw students being encouraged to wash their hands after cleaning time. When influenza breaks out, it really does. There are factors in the spread of the flu, but I’d bet that the cleaning, or non-cleaning, plays a part. 

  • koichi

    Not sure if drinking milk is necessarily a great thing for people. Even if they’re not full-on lactose intolerant, a lot of people are still mildly allergic to milk, even if it doesn’t show signs when drank in moderation. That seems bad :( Still, not like Americans (at least) who drink tonnns of milk, which is apparently not all that great for you to do, I hear.

    As for schools – I’ve always thought they’re pretty clean. Maybe I’m just comparing to American schools. Sounds like you’ve gotten lucky with some really clean schools growing up. No fair :(

    I imagine the spread of influenza has more to do with the close proximity of people more than anything. I don’t think people clean with alcohol rags or anything. But, how would you compare influenza outbreaks to the rest of the world? I imagine Japan might have a higher case of influenza with people, but I’d attribute it to everyone going to the doctors office for every little thing, versus Americans (I can only speak for us on this!) who never go to the doctor until they reach a deathly ill status.

    P.S. Awesome 11 month reply! Hooray for email notifications so I could notice it :D

  • Rgimms87

    I’d have to disagree with the cleanliness thing. Japanese people are cleaner than Western cultures *in some areas* and Western people are cleaner than Japanese in others.

    I work in Japanese elementary and high schools and the kids have to clean the school everyday after lunch. And when I say “clean” I mean the kids get on their hands and knees and use a dirty rag (that is never cleaned) to wipe the floor with water. Just water. The teacher’s kitchen area is the worst as the kids aren’t allowed in there and the teachers are too lazy to touch it.

    But saying that, Japan is the only country I’ve visited where I don’t mind using public toilets. That is REALLY saying something.

  • rdsean

    i love the japanese cuisine. healthy and rich in nutrients.. :P

  • Lazysusan420

    this thing about milk being bad for you is BS milk is high in protein which helps keep your muscles strong and it’s full of vitamins and minerals like iodine and zinc which help with digestion and metabolism.

  • Hishaam-iqbal

    nice. This helped alot with my hw ( or independant lerning -.- ) Thx and really informative

  • juli

    One thing…a LOT of Japanese people don’t wash their hands.  In fact, many public restrooms don’t provide soap, and some don’t even provide sinks!  I lived with a Japanese girl for a couple of months while in Japan and one day she got sick.  We were chatting with someone else about her recent illness and she says casually, “Yeah, it’s funny.  A couple of weeks ago I had decided to start washing my hands, and then as soon as I start I get sick!  Hahaha.” 

  • Fcssaspo

    hey! dude
    first, i’m sure your girlfriend is not a japanese. she’s probably from some third world nation pretending to be a japanese. 2nd is, japanese are some of the most particular people about cleanliness, specially with personal hygiene. try going to china; hongkong; thailand; indonesia; philippines; india and compare their public toilets with those in japan before you make your stupid comment here. public toilets in japan and in many advanced countries don’t use soap anymore.. WE use anti-bacterial liquid soap, bonehead!! where are you from?? and all the public toilets in japan have sinks. i’ve lived in japan for 6 years, and never saw a public toilet without a sink !! this is the most ridiculous thing i’ve heard.
    in your comment, it shows that you never wash your hands too.. and had just started to. my guess is you are also from a third world country trying to prove something here. do some research if you have computers and internet in your country, before you unload your trash here coz you make me puke !!

  • Fcssasp

    hey! dude
    first, i’m sure your girlfriend is not a japanese. she’s probably from some third world nation pretending to be a japanese. 2nd is, japanese are some of the most particular people about cleanliness, specially with personal hygiene. try going to china; hongkong; thailand; indonesia; philippines; india and compare their public toilets with those in japan before you make your stupid comment here. public toilets in japan and in many advanced countries don’t use soap anymore.. WE use anti-bacterial liquid soap, bonehead!! where are you from?? and all the public toilets in japan have sinks. i’ve lived in japan for 6 years, and never saw a public toilet without a sink !! this is the most ridiculous thing i’ve heard.
    in your comment, it shows that you never wash your hands too.. and had just started to. my guess is you are also from a third world country trying to prove something here. do some research if you have computers and internet in your country, before you unload your trash here coz you make me puke !!

  • Scarlet

    Reading about the Japanese life style makes me feel like a fat lard who is spoiled rotten..

  • Scarlet

    Ya’ll are gay.

  • Ladycool

    i love japan

  • Ladycool

    hi chris

  • Iyvurcu

    i hate the way society places blame on red meat / dairy / calories.. these may actually be healthy. the real reason is genetics. japanese society actually has a lot of stress. many japanese who live past 100 drink and smoke as well.. does that make drinking and smoking healthy?

  • Colin Parker

    why squat when you can sit down

  • Mike

    Soy isn’t even real food and is NOT healthy. It is loaded with plant estrogens which cause cancer. The difference is Japan does not eat Soy as anything more than side dishes. They dont eat tofu burgers and drink soy milk (as far as I know) .. Soy is a non-food that has to be highly processed just to be made edible. The Japanese don’t eat Soy in large amounts.

    Not even grains are real food since processing strips everything off of them just to make grains edible. If they genetically altered grains, more power to them, but neither soy or grains are real food. Soy is loaded with estrogen (a FEMALE hormone) and grains damage the digestive system. Not eating red meat probably has a lot more to do with it than anything.

    Also, humans are the only mammals that drink milk as adults and not only that, the milk is loaded with hormones injected into the cows to make them produce milk. You want healthy milk? Almond milk is the best.

    I agree with everything else in this article, but soy and grains? Please, they aren’t even real food, it’s garbage with a few exceptions in the grain category like brown rice. Grains are terrible sources of food, especially “whole” wheat which help to put on weight and keep it on. No such thing as “whole” wheat anyway since it’s highly processed or it would kill you to eat.

  • Mike

    Oh, I see. This is one of those threads where posts are deleted for no reason other than the host of the thread not agreeing with the post. Freedom of speech at it’s finest. Soy isn’t real food and neither are grains.

  • Mike

    Also, as mentioned earlier, the rate of suicide in Japan is the highest in the world, probably due to the pressures Japanese men face in society. Longevity is probably genetic as well, as most things are.

  • Mike

    koichi can also add to his “about koichi” as being a narrow minded destroyer of truth and knowledge. Also, apparently arrogant since plenty of studies have been done on Soy and Grains to prove my points. Geez, what a douche. lol

  • averygoodgame10

    Freedom of speech doesn’t apply if you’re doing something to someone else’s site.
    What if I wanted to post on YouTube’s front page about how I loved NicoNicoDouga and not them?

  • John

    Wow. This is a very bad article.

  • peter breza

    so just say “most people”

  • peter breza

    take out the suicides and that raises the age of death even higher

  • Randy

    Thank you for interesting topic and very informative. Yes, I believe your presentation: 1. Japanese Diet is more healthier than others like eating fish than meat, less dairy products, brown rice than white rice, lots of soy or soy products, tea than coffee, seaweeds, vegetables, smaller plates than bigger plates. 2. Walking, Moving, Doing is action words meaning Japanese people are hardworking people. 3. Family Values relationship with your grandma and grandpa is top priority. You respect and obey them. But let me add something, God is above all our diet, our work, our family. In fact your guidelines above regarding food to eat, life to live, family values is written in the Bible; God’s Word. Therefore, let the Bible is our manual for living, live according to His Word. Thank you and God bless!

  • Laura

    Awesome blog! But the “drinking, socializing” is a bit of a stretch…the after work drinking is mostly down to salary men, I would argue – and often out of social obligation, not necessarily enjoyment. That can’t be “healthy.” I would argue Japanese people are probably healthier because they drink less, even if and when they do go out, than the “typical” Westerner.

  • leon

    cheeses higher in milk have more carbs. carbs get turned into sugar once eaten.

  • Layla

    HELP!! I’ve fallen and I can’t get up!

  • sambapati

    I agree with you, people are evil and anyone can see this

  • pickaname

    if the japanese don’t look very happy yet mass murdering, school murdering, random murdering, drive shootings etc etc don’t exist over there, what should one think of americans

  • fat lard

    you probably are a fat lard, regardless of what you read? look it takes a fat lard to tell one

  • prettypink11

    they sure look old and i mean very old.

  • prettypink11


  • prettypink11


  • prettypink11


  • prettypink11


  • prettypink11


  • prettypink11

    to ur butt.


    I love this article. Diet is king here. If only they did not eat so much salt, they might live even longer.


    Well diet and livestyle doesn’t matter…. If god keeps you alive then of course you will stay alive and if he wants you to die soon then these diet and lifestyles tips wont work :P

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  • Ethan Everton Ngo

    I am with you on this. I am so anti-social. I hate going out. I’d prefer to stay home or driving alone in my car.

  • Copperblade

    Yeah people who can tolerate milk are mutants, just like all people are mutants since they have evolved as the result of mutations. Lactose tolerance was a very useful mutation for humans, which is why almost everyone has it.

  • Copperblade

    Go to Tokyo and see how much soy sauce is in food.




    I luv da semen on deez japanese cokz g, and dem heery pussiezzzz

  • pantinaprovina

    “All children can be breast fed, but is it natural to continue with cow milk after that?”

    Interesting factoid: Some children (like me) are born unable to digest their mother’s breast milk. I had to be put on soy formula. Sometimes it’s because of the lactose, sometimes the baby’s body rejects the proteins present in the milk.

  • Guest

    Ok let me say a couple of things about the nutritiopn advices since I happen to know quite a few things and you’re giving some funny ignorant advices. =P

    1. Red meat vs fish

    Red meat is not bad at all. It is full with micronutrients. Old studies did put a bad wrap on eggs and red meats. The cholesterol we eat from foods has nothing to do with the one in the blood. Ask any good nutritional scientist and google around a little, but watch out for the bullshit articles like such on People tend to be overweight, not active in older rages and this is where health problems come from…not red meats.

  • Martin Uzunov

    Ok let me say a couple of things about the nutrition advices since I happen to know quite a few things and you’re giving some funny ignorant advices. =P

    1. Red meat vs fish

    Red meat is not bad at all. It is full with micronutrients. Old studies did put a bad wrap on eggs and red meats. The cholesterol we eat from foods has nothing to do with the one in the blood. Ask any good nutritional scientist, go take a look at new studies, google around a little, but watch out for the bullshit articles like such on People tend to be overweight, not active in older rages and this is where health problems come from…not the red meats.

    2. Coffee vs green tea

    Both have caffeine and people tend to get addicted to it. That’s why they forget about moderation and all that. I agree it is more healthy as a whole package, but coffee is not really something you can label as “unhealthy”. It’s all about the dosage and it is a great stimulant.

    Good points otherwise and good article !

  • Martin Uzunov

    PS dairy is also not a problem at all. lol it’s healthy and good source of calcium. If you’re not lactose intolerant there is no reason for you NOT to drink it.

  • AjahTheAsian

    If your heritages diet is so good why is the life expectancy so low? It’s proven that diet directly impacts your life expectancy and quality.

  • Poohbear

    actually, we don’t get dirty hands from using the bathroom. Unless u piss and defecate all over your hands when u use the washroom, our hands mostly get bacteria from touching things that other people touched (door knobs, keyboards, shaking hands etc)

  • ManoftheRain

    They don’t look like happy people? You need to spend some time there then. It’s not that every single Japanese person is happy. They aren’t immune to what plagues mankind. They are just overall, as a civilization, better equiped to be healthier. They have America beat so bad it almost isn’t fair to compare.