YouTuber discovers secrets of Okinawa, ‘the healthiest place on Earth’

Science and Health

If you aspire to be healthy and live until 120, Okinawa Island might hold the key. World traveler and YouTuber, Drew Binsky, recently shared his astonishment at discovering why the locals of this “healthiest place on Earth” enjoy such long lives. 

Okinawa, the fifth-largest island in Japan, encompasses a vast area of 1,201.03 km² and is part of the Okinawa Islands archipelago, which consists of over 150 small islands positioned between Japan and Taiwan. 

Nicknamed the “Land of the Immortals,” Okinawa is one of the five recognized regions worldwide where inhabitants enjoy significantly longer and healthier lives compared to the global average. These regions, known as “blue zones,” are isolated islands or communities characterized by exceptional longevity. Besides Okinawa, the other blue zones include the Greek island of Ikaria, the region of Ogliastra in Sardinia, Italy, the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica, and the town of Loma Linda in California.

An analysis of the population census in 2020 revealed that Okinawa boasts the highest number of centenarians, with an average life expectancy of 87.4 for women and 80.27 for men. This surpasses the average life expectancy of 79.1 for women and 73.2 for men in the United States (81.27 for men and 84.58 for women in Israel).

Drew Binsky documented his visit to Okinawa on his YouTube channel, declaring, “I came here to uncover why people live longer and healthier lives here, and what I discovered will leave you amazed.” Through his journey, Binsky provided a glimpse into the wholesome lifestyle embraced by the locals. Elderly residents start their day with a morning workout, as early as 6:30 AM. 

Live a healthy life. An average Okinawan woman (credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)

One woman in her nineties expressed how invigorating the workout makes her feel. When asked about the secret to a healthy life in Okinawa, she responded, “Even when we’re at home, we’re always active—constantly moving.” Inquiring further about the secret to a long and fulfilling life, she revealed, “You need to feel passionate and engage in various activities with the people around you.”

The exploration continued with a shared meal consisting of numerous small dishes, reflecting the essence of Okinawan cuisine. The meal included staples such as miso, rice, sashimi, pork with seaweed, and potatoes with fish. The local cuisine emphasizes fresh vegetables, local meats, and fish, presenting a stark contrast to the processed and fried foods commonly consumed in the United States. 


Virility in old age

Additionally, the elderly in Okinawa maintain active sexual relations even at the age of 80. Known as the “Hara Hachi Bu” principle, local tradition dictates that one should stop eating when 80% full. This practice allows time for the stomach to signal to the brain that it is satisfied, as it takes approximately 20 minutes for this communication to occur.

Consequently, the locals maintain slim figures and are free from excess fat. The health-conscious regimen extends beyond food choices to include the consumption of local herbal teas, known for their natural health benefits. Even the local alcoholic beverage, Awamori, made from rice and a specific type of bacteria, carries sweetness without any added sugar.

Binsky not only marveled at the unique cultural and natural wonders of Okinawa but also observed the island’s sociable elderly population. After spending three days immersed in their community, he discovered why they live such fulfilling lives. “In this beautiful land with rich soil, they live joyfully, healthy, and carefree,” he concluded. “In a world where aging and mortality often evoke fear, Okinawa offers the opposite perspective. They celebrate the journey of aging, providing me with hope for the future.”