Health

How to live longer: A plant known to reduce the risk of cancer to boost life longevity

With so much uncertainty of late and so much emphasis on one's health, finding ways to boost our longevity may sound like something from a fairytale. But leading health experts agree that eating more of this type of food will help you live a long and healthy life. What is it?

When looking how to boost your own longevity, turning to other nations who are known for their impressive longevity figures is a smart way.

On the Japanese island of Okinawa, there is a widely held cultural belief that "food is medicine."

The typical Okinawa diet is largely plant-based, rich in vegetables with sweet potatoes, bitter melons, tofu, herbs and spices and their secret weapon, seaweed.

Seaweed is low in calories, high in antioxidants and could boost your life longevity.

READ MORE: How to live longer: Five habits to adopt into your life to increase life expectancy

Research has found that fucoidan, a natural compound in brown seaweed, may have cancer-fighting effects.

Japanese life expectancy is one of the highest in the world and it might come down to their love of this food.

In fact, scientists believe that a diet rich in seaweed, pulses, vegetables and fish may help you live a long and disease-free life.

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In a study published in the US National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health, fucoidan and its reduction in cancer risk was investigated.

The study noted: "Fucoidan, a natural component of brown seaweed, has anti-cancer activity against various cancer types by targeting key apoptotic molecules.

"It also has beneficial effects as it can protect against toxicity associated with chemotherapeutic agents and radiation.

"Thus, the synergistic effect of fucoidan with current anti-cancer agents is of considerable interest.


"Fucoidan is a natural sulphated polysaccharide that exists mainly in the cell wall matrix of various species of brown seaweed.

"The brown seaweeds containing fucoidan are widely consumed as part of the normal diet in East Asia, particularly Japan, China and Korea.

"Fucoidan mediates its activity through various mechanisms such as induction of cell cycle arrest, apoptosis and immune system activation.

"Additional activities of fucoidan have been reported that may be linked to the observed anti-cancer properties and these include induction of inflammation through the immune system, oxidative stress and stem cell mobilization." 

Seaweed has been a dietary staple in Okinawa for centuries.

The Okinawan people have always included a number of different varieties of seaweed in their everyday diet and in large amounts.

Seaweed is filling, low in calories, and rich in vital nutrients which all help to boost longevity.

The attitude of the Okinawans to their food is unique and their everyday diet is something to inspire to. 



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