Dr. Shigeaki Hinohara was Japanese doctor who died recently at the age of 105. He spent most of his career researching the subject of health and longevity – and his research seems to have paid off.
Not only did he live to a ripe old age but he was also fit and active almost to the end. In his late 90’s, Dr. Hinohara was still travelling and giving about 150 lectures each year.
So, what is his secret to a long and healthy life? Well, let’s start with his diet. This is going to shock you.
Here is what Dr. Hinohara typically ate each day.
Breakfast: orange juice (with some olive oil in it), a glass of milk and a cup of coffee.
Lunch: home-made cookies and a glass of milk.
Dinner: meat or fish, vegetables and rice.
He said he ate pretty much the same thing every day, adding he was so busy he didn’t have time to think about food, so liked to keep it simple.
How did he live to 105 on a diet like that!
Looking at his diet, most nutritionists would be horrified. So, how did he manage to live to 105 on a diet like that!
He believed the secret to good health was to eat moderately. It doesn’t matter so much what you eat, as long as you keep it simple and don’t eat too much.
Though Dr. Hinohara didn’t seem to eat much, he said he never got hungry because he was focused on his work, which also may have been a secret to his longevity.
I’m not suggesting we should all start following Dr. Hinohara’s diet. We are all different. What worked for him, is not going to work for everybody.
But look at the principles behind his diet. Simple foods. Not too much. Three meals a day and no snacks.
No faddish or “special” foods. And no fear of dairy products (he drank two glasses of milk a day). And what would a nutritionist say about cookies and milk for lunch!
This doesn’t fit into any modern fad diet plan. It’s not vegan. Nor is it keto or low-carb. Nor is it high carb.
In fact, terms such as “low” and “high” are relative anyway. Dr. Hinohara’s diet was low in everything, in terms of the total amount of food. He just didn’t eat much at all!
This is the real secret…
Moderation in eating seems to be the secret of all people who live long and healthy lives. They might eat different foods, but they all share the common feature of eating very little. Particularly as they get older.
As Benjamin Franklin said: “To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals.”
The Guardian newspaper (in the UK) had a fascinating article looking at why Japanese people seemed to live such long, healthy lives compared with Westerners.
They interviewed two elderly Tokyo residents – both in their 80’s and exceptionally fit and active.
Michiko Ono (82 years old) described her daily menu as follows:
Breakfast (6:30am) Boiled white rice mixed with raw egg; bread roll; green tea.
Lunch (11:30am) Small bowl of rice; nimono vegetables (potato, daikon radish, carrots, taro root); thinly sliced stir-fried pork and bean sprouts; miso soup; green tea.
Dinner (6:30 pm) Sushi with her family; green tea.
Masaru Nishimori (aged 85) typically eats the following:
Breakfast (10am) White rice; miso soup containing Chinese cabbage, sliced onion; green tea; occasionally milk or fruit juice.
No lunch but an afternoon snack of rice crackers or sweet bean mochi; green tea.
Dinner (5pm) Grilled sardines; rice; miso soup; tsukemono pickled daikon radish, lightly rinsed to remove brine coating; green tea.
Both these diets are remarkably simple but they seem to be effective in producing good health.
You can read the full article here.
Long-living people are the best “scientific proof” when it comes to diet
There are countless different theories about what we should and shouldn’t eat. It has never been more confusing for the ordinary person to figure out the truth.
Many people are looking for “scientific” proof before they will accept anything. But I believe the best scientific experiments when it comes to diet and health are those of actual people, who live long and healthy lives. They are real-life scientific experiments, continued long enough so we can see the proof that their diet actually works.
It really comes down to simple, plain food, which agrees with your particular body type – eaten in moderate amounts.
This is what any centenarian will tell you. And I tend to believe them.