Secret Is From The Childhood
When you look at why and how Okinawans live longer, their daily life in eating certain foods such as yams, fruits, and some teas, and having a certain attitude toward life are culturally ingrained. It starts from childhood. When such cultural difference is compared with Americans, it is overwhelmingly clear why they live longer. Americans are fed with cheese products and other junk foods with lots of sugar and salt from early age on. Fast food restaurants have inundated us with high calorie foods. Problem is compounded due to our infatuation with drugs. If food does not kill us, drug will. Certainly, Americans are at the cross road of change. Something must change culturally, for any method of dieting would not work when our bodies are sick and out of balance.

Secret Is The Kidney*
In Oriental Medicine, it is considered that the Kidney controls the life cycle and therefore the longevity. It controls not only the urinary function but also promotes the growth of bones and bone marrows and is the source of sexual energy. It activates our pubescence and controls the sexual maturity and power. Aging is the decline of the Kidney energy and function. Ancient Chinese always emphasized on the Ming Men power which resides in the Kidney. Ming Men literally means the Gate of Life*. If we can control the Kidney energy like some Qi Gong or Daoist masters can, we attain such power over our life cycle.
*Ming Men = The Gate Of Life: points are at L-2 vertebrae. Extremely important concept. Western science has not equivalent. Ming Men energy connects with the bone marrow (the Jing Energy), therefore, the life cycle. When Ming Men Fire extinguishes, it is death.

Stomach And Digestion
Not many people can live longer when having chronic digestive problems. Western science has been discovering that there might be a second brain in the intestinal track since any emotional trauma would affect the digestive system immediately. We know that the digestion is closely related to the autonomic nervous system. The imbalance in the system could cause alternating diarrhea and constipation. The weak system decreases the nutrient absorption rate, so that it lowers the metabolism. The digestive system is therefore essential to the longevity.

*Kidney: the organ functions in Oriental Medicine are somewhat different than western medical science, therefore, all organs are capitalized for the distinction.


As we age, nerve cells that control the muscles in GI tracks will gradually die off and cause constipation. Fibrous food, at least 30 grams/day, is recommended, along with fruits, vegetable, and some beans.

Skin is controlled by the Lung and helped by the good digestive system. It is similar to the lining of digestive tracks. Good digestion is therefore essential for fine complexion and smooth skin. If, for example, there is heat in the stomach, we may have acne breakups or red rashes. The Lung controls the skin. If the Lung is weak, we may have dry and flaky skin. Beta carotene from leafy greens and other sources, fish skin and Omega-3, and enzymes from natto (fermented soy beans) may prevent aging of the skin.

Eyes belong to the Liver. For healthy eyes, taking vitamin C and E, lutein, and omega-3 may not enough in some cases. In Oriental Medicine, any problem with the eyes resides in the Liver. Strengthening the Liver is primary protocol. Exposure to UV light and any surgery of the eyes including cataract (more UV goes through) will eventually hurt the Liver. Taking vitamin Bs and eating carrots are recommended.

Bones belong to the Kidney. During the menopause, decease in estrogen would accelerate the bone loss leading to osteoporosis. Standard like fish, calcium, vitamin D and even K, are recommended. Chinese herbs and seaweeds, however, are far more superior in maintaining the health of the Kidney.

In Oriental Medicine, some practitioners believe that the heart itself does not ever go bad (Heart Yang Qi Deficiency, for example, would be death), but the weak peripheral, namely the Pericardium (the sack protecting the heart) is mainly the cause of the dysfunction. For any heart problem, my recommendation is to reduce the stress. Stress would cause the blood to become acidic, and the acidic blood is more likely to deposit calcium in the heart valves and would not reduce the cholesterol level. Stress will cause the adrenal system to be imbalanced. If you are stressed out, stop and think if your behavior is worth risking your health.

For the heart condition, take Tyrosine* to increase dopamine and may want to take Taurine and CoQ-10, too. Both are good for the heart muscles. Take mineral water or angstrom silver to make the blood more alkaline and detoxify.
For the reduction of cholesterol, I believe Hawthorn berries are the best. Take pill form of the berry for two months and see if cholesterol is reduced in half.

Eat vegetables, fruits, whole grains, fish, chicken, and olive oil to reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol. I agree that a half or a glass of red wine (red only) is good for the heart if you sip. Sip the wine and enjoy a meal by taking time. It is essential to slow things down. Take time, walk, don’t run. Change your attitude to more positive.

*Tyrosine & Taurine: sometimes they are spelled as L-Tyrosine and L-Taurine.

Attitudes Toward Diet:
1) Eat foods rich in protein but with lower calories; such as fish, tofu or other soy products, green leaves, seaweed, mushrooms, nuts, etc.
2) Making sure to eat proteins with main dish. Aging is all about loss of protein from our bones, hair, and skin.
3) Three meals a day at regular time frame. In the morning, breakfast should be considered a supplement for the day. Lunch should be a power charge for the afternoon. Dinner should be to eliminate fatigue for the day. Remember the autonomic nervous system has a close relationship with the digestive system. Irregular eating habits will affect the system, and the irregularity will create many problems especially at the old age.
4) Eat vegetables with different colors. Do not stick with favorites. Mix all colors; red, green, white, black, and yellow. Mix tastes; sweet, bitter, flagrant, and sour.
5) Take a beak. If any frustration happens during the day, change a perspective and relax.

Sample Diet
Breakfast: roll bread with jam, boiled egg, slices of kiwi, sautéed asparagus and tomatoes, and tea.
Not enough breakfast: cinnamon roll and coffee, or green juice with yogurt*.

Lunch: mushroom with chicken, spaghetti with graded daikon sautéed with either soy source or olive oil.
Tea Time: tea with lemon and apples

Dinner: broiled fish, sautéed shredded carrots and gobo (burdock root), some seaweed salad or boiled spinach, miso soup, and brown or semi-brown rice*.

*Yogurt: yogurt is cold in nature. Not recommended when you have diarrhea or having very weak digestion, especially in the morning when the body is trying to warm up.

Pumpkin tea: cook 5 oz of pumpkin, teaspoonful of matcha (powdered green tea), 1 ½ cup of milk, large spoonful of honey, mix all together in blender, then place in a pot, heat, but stop just before the boiling point. Drink as tea.

Apple and ginger tea: 2 cups of apple juice, small amount of graded ginger, large spoonful of corn starch. Place apple juice and corn starch in a pot simmer with weak heat, stir. When it is melted with consistency, stop heating. Pour to a teacup, place ginger, add sugar if you like.

Plum wine with lemonade: 3 large spoonful of plum wine, 3 large spoonful of lemon juice, 2 large spoonful of honey, one or two circular slices of lemon. Place plum wine, lemon juice, and honey in a teacup. Pour hot water and mix. Place a lemon slice.

My Recommendation On Foods And Chinese Herbs
On top of the list is brown rice or semi-brown rice (hatsuka-mai). Brown rice is known to have over 70 anti-oxidants and is full of vitamin B. Next is seaweed: something always lack in American diet. You can buy a package of seaweed for about $3 in Asian food store. Seaweed is a blood cleanser. Since it has iodine, it balances the thyroid and hormones. It detoxifies the body from heavy metals, radioactive elements, free radicals, and toxins. It boosts the immune system.
Third is cultural: natto (fermented soy beans). Most Americans do not like it because of its smell. However, natto is full of vitamin B-12 and enzymes and is well known in Japan for health benefits, weight loss, and beautiful skin. You can eat it with rice, salad, raw tuna sashimi, seaweed, etc.

I highly recommend Ba Wei Di Huang Wan for Chinese herb. Anyone over 50 years old should take one. I have attached a brochure. It strengthens the Kidney. It is very good for diabetes, urination and GYN problems, increase of libido, and overall health of the kidneys.

© 2008 Dr. Y. Frank Aoi/Japanese Acupuncture 480-246-0624