Saturday, August 15, 2009

Benefits of High-Saturated Fat Diets (Part V): The Traditional Okinawans

Goya Chanpuru dish courtesy of TastyIsland

According to Dr. Willcox, Principal Investor for the Okinawa Centenarian Study that started in 1975, "Among the entire population, which takes a sparing approach to food, there is 90 percent less coronary artery disease than in the wider world, a third less incidence of cancer, and breast cancer is virtually unheard of." HERE. In long-living Okinawan and Japanese, their dietary intake as surveyed in the 1970s was higher in both protein and dietary saturated fatty acids (see below abstract) compared to their shorter-lived peers at that time. When Okinawans move away (like to Brazil) heart disease risk factors appear (see last abstract). Diet is 80-90% of our health I believe because our bodies are designed to express what is dictated by our environment and food macro- micronutrients (foraging/hunting v. lounging; fecundity v. fasting). (These are the PPAR alpha gamma and delta receptors; their role is to 'sense nutrients' and to 'sense energy demand' in order to ultimately balance our energy needs). To me, the observations from blue zones and centenarian data always seem to reinforce that the physically active, low carb mod-high fat Paleo/TYP approach is the most optimal at this time, as it was for centenarians studied in the 1970s.

Protein and Fats?

Dietary Protein and Fatty Acids activate PPAR alpha gamma delta. (Like drugs but no adverse effects and gosh so yummy...)
(a) PPAR Delta: Omega-3 PUFAs, Fish Oil, Grassfed Beef
(b) PPAR Delta: Dagger in the Heart of CAD
(c) PPAR Delta: Prevent Sarcopenia, Poverty of the Flesh
(d) PPAR Delta: Saturated Fatty Acids Are Anti-Atherogenic

Okinawan culture not only embraces one of the most heart-healthy diets (high seafood, animal meat, milk, eggs, saturated fats, high minerals and low carb) but also a very physically active lifestyle. Additionally, like other long-living societies, they display a distinct community spirit and lifestyle that values every members' contributions including elders, daily prayer, frequent festivals honoring ancestral spirits, playing/dancing (Bali, Polynesian style) regularly, exercising/tai chi together, working diligently until the day they pass away, hot baths (sweat out toxins) daily, avid music listening, folkmusic singing, instrument playing (sanshin) and is tied around all generations of extended families yet promotes self-sufficiency and self-reliance. Traditional Okinawan livelihoods and common activities are still farming, fishing and gardening.

Internet? I am not sure if it would be embraced by these happy, busy, peaceful inhabitants of this subtropical semi-Paleo-fantasy island... They are too busy LIVING. *ahaa*

Carbohydrate intake (less than mainland Japan, ALL GLUTEN-LESS):
--sweet potato
--mochi (sticky rice dessert)
--buckwheat noodles
--raw goat milk (alkaline, more similar casein profile to human milk)

Here are some 'secret' foods from this ancient society:
--goya (twice the vitamin C as citrus) Okinawan version of Chinese bitter melon known to lower blood glucoses and inflammation; the above pictured dish goya chanpuru is a staple (goya, eggs, pork, lard, bonita shaved taurine/fish)
--nigari (more Magnesium and Calcium than trad'l tofu)
--sweet potatoes (anti-inflammatory, rich in carotenoids and hormone precursors)
--fish fish fish seafood seafood seafood (taurine, iodine, omega-3s, carotenoids, krill oil, astaxanthin)
--goat meat: stewed, stir fried
--raw goat sashimi which is considered a delicacy (taurine, omega-3s, CLA, and other muscle building/fat-burning fatty acids)
--raw goat milk (plant sterols, short and medium-chain saturated fatty acids, CLA)
--LARD LARD LARD (anti-inflammatory, lowers sdLDL-particles and %-sdLDL, increases particle buoyancy like other saturated fatty acids like lauric acid)
--BOAR PORK BOAR PORK BOAR PORK (pork belly, stews, stock, etc)
--miso (centenarian Okinawans have ME-SO-PRETTY skin and coronary arteries! ..."source of vitamin E, saponin, isoflavones, lecithin, choline, and dietary fiber from soybeans; vitamin B2 from koji mold; and vitamin B12 from lactic or propionic acid bacteria" ...fermented foods and probiotics that promote longevity are staples Japanese food)
--fermented fish sauce (source of vitamins B12, K2, MKs) Ishiru/squid, Ishiru/sardine, Shozzuru (pickled juices of mackerel-sardines-anchovies)--red tofu (fermented source of vitamin K2 MKs)
--seaweed (iodine, marine minerals and antioxidants like FUCOIDAN/ fucoxanthin)

Nutrition for the Japanese elderly.
Shibata H et al Nutr Health. 1992;8(2-3):165-75.

The present paper examines the relationship of nutritional status to further life expectancy and health status in the Japanese elderly based on 3 epidemiological studies.

1. Nutrient intakes in 94 Japanese centenarians investigated between 1972 and 1973 showed a higher proportion of ANIMAL PROTEIN to total proteins than in contemporary average Japanese.

2. High intakes of MILK and FATS and OILS had favorable effects on 10-year (1976-1986) survivorship in 422 urban residents aged 69-71. The survivors revealed a longitudinal INCREASE in intakes of ANIMAL foods such as EGGS, MILK, FISH and MEAT over the 10 years.

3. Nutrient intakes were compared, based on 24-hour dietary records, between a sample from OKINAWA Prefecture where life expectancies at birth and 65 were the LONGEST in Japan, and a sample from Akita Prefecture where the life expectancies were much shorter. Intakes of Ca, Fe, vitamins A, B1, B2, C, and the proportion of energy from PROTEINS and FATS were SIGNIFICANTLY HIGHER in the former than in the latter. Intakes of CARBOHYDRATES and NaCl were LOWER.

PMID: 1407826

Impact of diet on the cardiovascular risk profile of Japanese immigrants living in Brazil: contributions of World Health Organization CARDIAC and MONALISA studies.
Moriguchi EH et al. Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2004 Dec;31 Suppl 2:S5-7.

1. Japanese immigrants from Okinawa living in Brazil have a higher mortality from cardiovascular diseases and have their mean life expectancy shortened compared with their counterparts living in Japan.

2. A cross-sectional study comparing Okinawans living in Okinawa (OO) and Okinawan immigrants living in Brazil (OB) was designed to characterize the dietary factors that could interfere with the profile of cardiovascular risk factors and with this reduction on the life expectancy when Okinawans emigrate to Brazil.

3. In total, 234 OO and 160 OB (aged 45-59 years) were recruited to the present study to undergo medical and dietary history, blood pressure measurement, electrocardiograph (ECG), blood tests and 24 h food/urine collection.

4. In the present study, OO subjects presented with 37% less obesity and 50% less systemic hypertension than OB. The OB subjects used threefold more antihypertensive medication than OO. Meat intake was 34% higher in OB than OO, whereas fish intake was sevenfold higher in OO than OB. Serum potassium levels were 10% higher in OO than OB. Urinary TAURINE (an index of seafood intake) was 43% HIGHER in OO than OB. Urinary isoflavones (an index of the intake of soy products) were significantly lower in OB than in OO. Of (OMEGA-3 PUFAs) acid (20:5) and docosahexaenoic acid (22:6) were TWO- TO THREE-FOLD HIGHER in OO than OB, respectively.

5. The rate of ischaemic ECG changes in OO subjects was only 50% of that of OB subjects.

6. There were no differences in the smoking rate between OO and OB subjects.

7. The results of the present study suggest that coronary risk factors and cardiovascular health are not only regulated by genetic factors, but that the impact of LIFESTYLE (MAINLY DIET) can be large enough to modulate the EXPRESSION OF GENES.

PMID: 18254187

The Food of Paradise: Exploring Hawaii's Culinary Heritage

By Rachel Laudan (Kolowalu Books, 1996) HERE

Read more about Okinawan food, culture and lifestyles:

Diary of Local Okinawan TASTY Dishes *YUMM* Goat sashimi, boiled testicles with miso and vinegar, slow cooked stews (fatty pork), goya chanpuru
Children of Heaven Interview: Live SLOW Live LONG
Okinawan 'Lard' Recipes *ahhhha*
The Way of ChoJu: Consuming Longevity in a Rural Japanese Village (Masters Thesis by J. Busch)
Mashed Okinawan Purple Sweet Potato Recipe (americanized)
Goat Meat and Milk Productivity in Subtropical Okinawa for last 80-130+ years
Goat Meat and Pig Rearing in Okinawa Prefecture
Traditional Yagi (Goat) Dishes and changes in modern Okinawan youth -- Yagi-jiru Goat soup, stir-fried goat, raw yagi-sashi goat sashimi, etc
Raw Grassfed Goat Milk in an Okinawa Study Tolerated due to different type of non-allergenic beta-A2 casein and better saturated fatty acid profile (butyric, propionic, lauric, caprylic, etc)
Okinawan Goat Milk
Traditional Japanese Condiments: shoyu, miso, ishiru, preparations
Truth About Saturated Fats by M. Enig and S. Fallon: "In Okinawa, where the average life span for women is 84 years—longer than in Japan—the inhabitants eat generous amounts of pork and seafood and do all their cooking in LARD (Franklyn D, Health, September 1996, 57-63 .)" This is not apparently the case currently... as canola and other refined omega-6 oils which oxidize super rapidly increased to predominant use after the 1980-90's; canola is not great but less omega-6 compared with corn, soybean, safflower, sunflower, cottonseed, grapeseed, or peanut oils.
Okinawa Centenarian Study and Genetics
Ex-Pats in Okinawa and Crossfit Asia/Okinawa
Bizarre Food's Andrew Zimmern checks out: traditional Okinawan sea snake soup, raw goat ball and testicles, yako-gai (giant sea snail), squid ink soup, and giant tuna eyeballs, stewed in mirin, garlic, ginger, and brown sugar
"Blue Zone Okinawans formed moais to support each other in good times and bad" HHhmmmmm.... sounds like... our TYP forum? our Paleo blogoshere? our Xfit gym networks?
Goat's Milk, Blue Zones and Longevity: "Goat's milk - 80 percent of all people over 90 have consumed goat’s milk many times per week throughout their life. It is rich in blood-pressure lowering tryptophan and antibacterial compounds."
Blue Zone concordance: Ikaria, Greece similar to Okinawa, Japan in lifestyles, hot baths (?Magnesium, Iodine), raw goat milk consumption, wild greens, tea-drinking, relaxing, embracing community and family closely, etc