How to Eat to Live Longer
If you’ve been following us on our site, you know that this spring we took an incredible trip to Japan. We could go on and on about the incredible things we saw and learned there, but we wanted to share one special tip with you today.
Have you heard of the concept of hara hachi bu?
It’s the Japanese concept of eating until you are 80% full and then stopping. Instead of filling up your plate, polishing it clean, and then still reaching for a dessert to finish it all off, you enjoy a well-rounded meal without reaching that completely full feeling. Which, let’s be honest, isn’t always pleasant!
When we eat, we don’t always focus on what’s going into our mouths. We eat and eat, and by the time we realize we are actually full, we have already passed the point where we should have put down the fork. But eating only to 80% is like a helpful food awareness tracker.
How many times have you eaten a meal or a snack only to look down and realize it’s already gone, but you don’t even remember eating all of it? Mindless eating can easily lead to overeating and weight gain, but keeping a strong awareness of what you are eating and how much you are eating can put you more in touch with what is really going into your body.
While being aware of what you eat is good a thing, this concept of hara hachi bu gets even better. As scientists have studied why certain groups of people tend to live longer than others, it was concluded that part of what makes people like the Okinawans have so many of their population living into their 100s is following this rule of hara hachi bu.
From their research, scientists have come to believe that only eating to 80% full may actually hold a key to living longer! Though they aren’t sure how it works exactly, they do know that it works. And who wouldn’t want to cut a little food out from today’s meal knowing you could live well into your 100s feeling great!
Eat until you’re only 80% full.
Now this doesn’t mean eat whatever you want and then stop when you feel 80% full. You still need to be choosing a diet full of fruits and veggies, low in sugars and preservatives, and including only small amounts of meat. But as you continue to improve your diet and exercise, consider adding in this idea of hara hachi bu. It might just be the simple tweak that could completely alter the length of your life.
People have spent lifetimes searching for the key to long life. But who would have guessed one of the secrets to longevity was staring us in the face every single time we sat down to eat! So let’s take a cue from our Japanese friends and eat to live a long, full life!
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