‘Japanese Diet’ Linked to Longer Life

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Eating the traditional Japanese diet may lead to a longer life, a new study finds.

Adults in Japan who closely followed that country’s government-recommended dietary guidelines had a 15 percent lower risk of dying during a 15-year time period, as compared to people who didn’t follow the guidelines, according to the new study.

Japan’s dietary guidelines, presented as the “Japanese Food Guide Spinning Top,” emphasize five types of dishes: grains, vegetables, fish and meats, milk, and fruits, the study said. The guidelines are represented by an inverted pyramid, with grains at the top, resembling a spinning top.

The study included data from more than 36,000 men and 42,000 women across Japan. All of them completed questionnaires about their health, including information on their food intake, at the beginning of the study, and then again at five- and 10-year follow-ups.

Using the results from the food-frequency questionnaire, the researchers calculated how closely the participants stuck to the dietary guidelines, according to the study. Those who followed the guidelines more closely had a 15-percent lower risk of dying during the follow-up period, compared with those who stuck to the guidelines less closely.

The overall lower rate of death in the group that followed the guidelines is likely due to the lower rates of death from cardiovascular disease, and in particular, stroke, the researchers wrote in the study. The people who ate a lot of vegetables and fruit, and ate enough fish and meat dishes, seemed to fare the best, the researchers said.