The “1975 Diet” and the Secret of Japanese Longevity

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Japan is known to have the world’s longest life expectancies, and the Japanese diet is known to play a vital role in this. Numerous research papers over the years have tried to link longevity with food. And The Japanese diet has been the researcher’s favourite. The overall consumption of this kind of diet has been linked to fewer deaths from heart problems, although not specific diseases like cancer. Interestingly, it also appears connected to lower rates of mortality overall. 

So, what is the 1975 diet?

 In the early 1990s, Tōhoku University conducted a study on The Japanese vs The American diets. This study was conducted by freezing and drying meals and then fed them to rats for three weeks, whose health the researchers then observed. The study’s overall results showed that the Japanese participants had increased metabolism, decreased expression of stress-response, and also had less fat in their abdomens and lower levels of fat in their blood. However, both diets had the same amount of fats, proteins, and carbohydrates. 

When researchers dug deeper, they found out that not all Japanese diets were equal. With westernisation, many of the Japanese food items had now a western influence to it. Mice fed the diet from 1975 had a lower risk of diabetes and fatty liver disease than the others, and when the scientists examined their livers, they found genes that kept fatty acids from being made, among others, were activated. It was also found that the 1975 diet led to longer-lived mice, with better memory and fewer physical impairments as they aged.

What differentiated the 1975 diet?

  • Variety: The diet featured a range of dishes in smaller quantities in addition to soup and rice.
  • Cooking Methods: The methods used to prepare the dishes were simmering, steaming, boiling, grilling or some ingredients were served raw. Methods like frying and sauteing are less common. Frying can often lead to elements in losing their nutritional values.
  • Ingredients: The 1975 diet was rich in soy products, seafood, tubers, green and yellow vegetables (including pickles), fruit, seaweed, mushrooms, and green tea. Eggs, dairy products, and meat were consumed as well, but in moderation.
  • Seasoning: Use of salt and sugar were avoided, and instead fermented condiments such as soy sauce, miso, vinegar, mirin, and sake along with dashi broth were used to impart the required flavour.

With so many benefits associated with the Japanese diet, it seems like one would do well to add some of these food habits to their daily meals. If eating a lot of fish and seaweed isn’t your thing, then the components believed to be responsible for many of this diet’s success can definitely be integrated into your life.

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