Japanese males may expect to live to be 81 years old, which is five years longer than their American counterparts. Japan has led the world league tables for life expectancy year after year. But why is Japan’s life expectancy higher than that of other wealthy nations?
Japanese people have a longer life expectancy due to fewer fatalities from ischemic heart disease and malignancies, especially breast and prostate cancer. This low mortality rate is mostly due to a low rate of obesity, a low diet of red meat, and high consumption of fish and plant foods like soybeans and tea.
Obesity is uncommon in Japan (4.8 percent for men and 3.7 percent for women). Obesity is a significant risk factor for ischemic heart disease as well as a variety of malignancies.
The National Centre for Global Health and Medicine in Tokyo studied the eating habits and well-being of roughly 80,000 men and women over the course of 15 years, and a study published in the spring of 2016 concluded that diet was a major role in the country’s high life expectancy rates.
The end result was a low-saturated-fat, low-processed-food diet that was heavy in carbs. “Our findings suggest that a healthy diet rich in energy, grains, vegetables, fruits, meat, fish, eggs, soy products, dairy products, confectioneries, and alcoholic beverages can help people live longer by lowering the risk of death, primarily from cardiovascular disease, in the Japanese population,” the researchers write.
Lifestyle And Genes
There is evidence that Japanese people have healthy genes that help them live longer. Two genes, in particular, DNA 5178 and the ND2-237 Met genotype have been linked to helping Japanese people live longer by shielding them from certain adult-onset disorders, according to research. This effect, however, is not observed across the entire population.
There was a lot of Japanese immigration to the United States (particularly California and Hawaii) and South America around the turn of the century (Brazil, Peru). The descendants of Japanese migrants assimilated the host countries’ way of life after a few generations.
Despite the fact that the average Japanese cholesterol level has risen since the 1970s, and despite the country’s high smoking rate, the incidence of coronary heart disease remains far lower in Japan than in the West.
Even if these migrants have the same basic risks as their compatriots who have remained in their home country (age, sex, and heredity), simply adopting the host country’s lifestyle increases their risk of cardiovascular disease dramatically.