Can you guess which country’s kids enjoy the heartiest of lives? If the title hasn’t given it away already, it is indeed Japan. According to an insightful health study published in The Lancet (which ranks among the world’s most reputed medical journals), Japanese kids are not merely healthy in childhood, but they also go on to live long, fulfilling lives as adults.
This is in direct contrast to the rest of the world, as children have steadily become more obese and diseased. In fact, studies from the past decade have shown that while children from across the world are getting heftier, Japanese children have only gotten that much fitter. Japan is undoubtedly doing something right!
Here, we explore seven fantastic habits that are common across Japanese people of all age groups, but especially among their kids. By emulating them, we too can hope to raise happy children who enjoy a long and healthy life.
7. Celebrate Meals with Your Family
The family constitutes the very core of a Japanese individual’s life. Whether you are a young child, a teenager, or someone in your later years, it is your family that continues to remain the centerpiece of your existence. This culture is particularly relevant in the dining room, as the entire family gets involved to “celebrate” meals.
Conversation flows easily and is filled with meaning and plenty of laughter. Meal ingredients are consciously and carefully chosen, keeping in mind the individual tastes of all family members and general nutrition needs. This also means that the young ones are no longer left to their own devices to mindlessly binge on chips and sweets in front of their laptops, cell phones, or television sets. Parents can rest easy, as this craftily and smoothly eliminates most cringe-inducing junk foods. That is a winning solution already!
6. Include More Plant-Based Foods in Your Diet
The Japanese consider anything that comes from Mother Earth to be nourishing. Therefore, they make it a point to include plant-based foods in every single meal. Food is largely structured around vegetables, lentils, whole grains, and beans. They believe this practice to be inherently nurturing, and it automatically eliminates excess consumption of processed foods and meat.
Their tradition also naturally aligns them to the “good stuff”, as they prefer brown rice over fattening bread or pasta, and fruit over sugary desserts. You may not want to snack on their sushi, ramen, or seaweed, but you have to admit the intelligence of choosing such plant-based meals. It is no wonder that we rarely find an obese Japanese person!