This year, the oldest person ever recorded died at the age of 117! This came just a few years after the oldest male recorded died at a whopping 116. What did these two have in common? They were both Japanese - so it's no wonder the Japanese diet is attracting attention of research scientists studying health and longevity. So what tips can we take from this lifestyle to help us reap the benefits?
Salmon is low-fat, high-protein and filled with high levels of omega-3 fatty acids that help maintain a healthy heart and aid in the functioning of the brain and nervous system. Did you know, salmon is an anadromous fish? Born in fresh water before spending most of its life in the open sea only to swim back to fresh water to spawn. Their ability to return to fresh water is attributed to their memory - one of the reasons why this intelligent fish is considered 'brain food'.
Prawns are a great low-fat source of protein which also contain a good dose of calcium, potassium, omega-3 and vitamin A and B. Not only does your body need omega-3 fatty acids to function, they also deliver some big health benefits such as reducing inflammation. Studies have also found it may reduce your risk of heart disease and arthritis, and improve brain function.
Green-lipped mussel extract has developed a reputation for healthy ageing and aiding arthritis sufferers. The joint-healing properties of green-lipped mussels were first noticed more than 100 years ago by Maoris in New Zealand, where they are sustainably harvested. Over many years of clinical research, this hidden gem has been shown to help relieve symptoms of both osteoarthritis and rheumatism. Although it is native to our neighbours in New Zealand, highly bioavailable green-lipped mussel extract supplements can be found in pharmacies and health food stores.
Jamie Oliver attributed his recent weight loss to seaweed, calling it "the most nutritious vegetable in the world". This natural source of fibre inhibits the enzymes that digest fat, so less is absorbed in the body - no wonder it's fast becoming the next big food trend. Apart from its weight loss benefits, seaweed is also found to be high in protein: 20 per cent in green algae to 70 per cent in spirulina, plus it's high in calcium, iron, magnesium and iodine. Many women are known to be iodine deficient, and iodine is used by the thyroid gland to help regulate metabolism and maintain a healthy skeleton and brain.
A serving of sardines has found to be loaded with energy, protein, omega-3, calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium and zinc. Sardines also contain a high dose of vitamins including niacin, vitamin B6, folate, vitamin B12, A, D, E and vitamin K. They are an excellent source of vitamin B12, which helps synthesise red blood cells and metabolise fats and proteins. 300 grams of sardines is also found to supply 9 per cent of the recommended daily intake of vitamin D - the vitamin you need to maintain strong bones and lower your risk of heart disease.