People from the islands of Ryūkyū (of which Okinawa is the largest) have a life expectancy among the highest in the world., although their life expectancy rank among Japanese prefectures has plummeted in recent years. Their unusual longevity has been attributed in part to the traditional local diet, but also to genetic inheritance, lifestyle, and environmental factors.
Generally, the traditional diet of the islanders was 20% lower in calories than the Japanese average and contained 300% of the green/yellow vegetables (particularly heavy on sweet potatoes). The Okinawan diet is low in fat and has only 25% of the sugar and 75% of the grains of the average Japanese dietary intake. The traditional diet also includes a relatively small amount of fish (less than half a serving per day) and somewhat more in the way of soy and other legumes (6% of total caloric intake). With exception of pork, almost no meat is consumed; virtually no eggs or dairy products are consumed either. Okinawans include pork in their diets. However, the fat content of the pork is eliminated; prior to the preparation of the pork, the fat is boiled off.
An Okinawan reaching 110 years of age has typically had a diet consistently averaging no more than one calorie per gram of food and has a BMI of 20.4.
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