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Hara Hachi Bu is a rather curious phrase one could hear from some Okinawan elders before every meal. What sounds like some magical incantation happens to be a secret to longevity for most Okinawan centenarians. - By Nikita Arya
Hara Hachi Bu is becoming increasingly popular among the other parts of the world, and why not! Are you wondering how to crack this Japanese code for your own benefit? Here’s breaking down the basics for you.
For starters, Hara Hachi Bu is simply an ancient eating tradition that literally means Eat Until You’re 80% Full. It dictates that you should stop eating when you are close to being satiated. But how does this help? Scientifically speaking, if you are full or have overeaten, your digestive process takes place slowly, leading to accelerated cellular oxidation, which ultimately makes you age faster. Okinawans never eat to their fullest, which explains their longer-than-the-usual life expectancy rate.
Eating up to 80% also helps in churning down food more efficiently, leading to reduced chances of catching a wide range of health problems such as obesity, gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux, and metabolic disorders. It also helps reduce free radicals in the blood, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases, cancer, and other old-age diseases.
In a nutshell, Hara Hachi Bu is a mindfulness practice that allows you to be focused while you eat. After all, you can’t really tell the percentage of food stored in your stomach if you don’t pay attention! Hara Hachi Bu allows you to eat what’s required and nothing extra. However, as easy it may seem, not many people can put this secret to health into practice. Here’s how to get started.
1. Eat Slow: Your pace of eating has a lot to do with your health. If you gobble up food faster, you tend to eat more. Take at least 30 minutes to finish your food. Eating slow allows you to stay focused and respond to your body when it tells if you are hungry or not.
2. Put Away Distractions While Eating: If you are habitual to eat food while watching TV or you like to team it up with a bit of scrolling, you are likely to eat more than what you require. To put Hara Hachi Bu into practice, put away all the distractions and eat. It will help you focus on the very act of eating and will help you consume less and enjoy the taste more.
3. Serve in Smaller Vessels: It’s a trick. Eating in smaller plates and bowls will create an illusion that you have too much to eat on your plate. So, you are likely to eat less without even thinking much about it.
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