30 A Day: Why People in Japan Live Longer

In Japan, it is known as Shokuiku, the importance of teaching healthy eating habits. It is so important in Japanese culture that it starts in primary school, and in the home as soon as birth! The guideline is to eat 30 different varieties of food a day. No, that does NOT include pizza, donuts, fries, chips, Oreos, etc. It needs to be nutrient-dense foods. Eating 30 different nutritious foods is the best way to achieve optimal health for your body and therefore a longer life!

So, what should you consume?

I know what you’re thinking, “Eating 30 types of nutritional foods a day sounds tedious,” and I assure you, it is! It takes preparation, time and commitment. For example, my entire Sundays are dedicated to grocery shopping, prepping, cooking, packing, and so on. But to me, it is worth it if it adds a few extra years to my family’s life.

Here are some of the best foods you can put in your body and why:

Seaweed– supports thyroid function, a great source of minerals and vitamins, promotes healthy skin and hair.

Fish– omega 3, promotes brain function, and skin health.

Umeboshi (pickled plum)- high in antioxidants, promotes GI health, protects the liver, prevents cavities and oral disease.

Kimchi (spicy, pickled cabbage)– healthy bacteria (lactobacilli) may prevent cancer growth.

Citrus fruits– vitamin c, supports healthy skin.

Lotus Root– Boosts digestion, improves skin, hair and eye health.

Red beans– antioxidants, fiber, protein (when eaten with whole grain).

Okra– promotes digestion.

Green Tea– antioxidants, cognitive function, energy booster.

These are the foods that are typically in a Japanese diet, and well, they have some of the oldest people in their country so…

What does my 30 a day look like? 


With just these two meals, I have already hit 30. I know, you’re probably counting and saying “there aren’t 30 different foods in this photo.” But drinks (milk, tea, juice) and other ingredients (vinegar dressing, sesame seed topping, etc) still count!

Tip: If you like soup, this is a GREAT way to consume many food varieties in one sitting!


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