The people of Okinawa are widely known to be the healthiest and leanest people in the world.
This island pearl on the Pacific Coast also boasts the highest number of centenarians anywhere on the surface of the earth. In Okinawa, heart disease and diabetes are almost non-existent.
Also, compared to 69% of Americans, less than 3 percent of the Okinawan population is overweight. What is so amazing is that more than 70% of the Okinawan diet consists of supposedly fattening carbs such as lentils and rice.
According to a recent study, scientists now believe the good health of the Okinawan people may be directly related to their high consumption of tea. The average Okinawan drinks up to two cups of Okinawan tea daily.
Unlike your regular black and green teas, the Okinawan tea is delicious and very rich in health promoting and powerful nutrients including epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), antioxidants, and catechins.
Scientists have discovered the tremendous health benefits these nutrients carry which explains the remarkable good health the Okinawa people experience.
Varieties of Okinawa Tea
When you visit Okinawa’s northern area, you will see many tea plantations spread throughout the skirts of the mountain. There are a wide variety of teas cultivated in Okinawa. Sapin-cha is the most popular of all the teas in Okinawa. Sapin means Jasmine and Cha in Japanese means tea.
This flavored tea allows you to enjoy the fresh floral scent. Sapin-cha not only promotes digestion, but it is very good for fatigue recovery. This tea is available at restaurants, vending machines, convenience stores, and supermarkets. You can drink Sapin-cha hot or cold.
A good deal of Okinawan tea has vegetables and herbs as their main ingredients and they are often referred to as “healthy tea”. Ucchin-cha is one of these “healthy teas”. Ucchin is a type of spice used for curry and it contains lots of minerals and antioxidants. It has many beneficial effects such as arteriosclerosis prevention, carcinogenesis, and hangover prevention.
There is also a tea made from bitter gourd known in Okinawa as Go-ya. The Go-ya-cha is made by roasting sliced and dried Go-ya. It contains plenty of carotenes and vitamin C. It is also effective for diet and helps prevent lifestyle related diseases. There are other healthy Okinawan herb teas you can add to your souvenirs like Kumisukuchin-cha, Yomogi-cha, and Guava-cha.
Okinawa Green Tea
The Okinawa green tea does not just provide essential antioxidants, but it is also a healthy catalyst for socializing with friends and family. Many Americans typically drink green tea to increase their antioxidant intake but Okinawans have incorporated it into their meal or the ritual of receiving visitors.
Habit and culture give health without conscious effort. When green tea is incorporated into your daily diet as an enjoyable routine, your wellbeing and health will also be improved with little effort.
Green tea isn’t the only source of antioxidants in the Okinawan diet; seasonal fresh vegetables, bitter melon, mugwort, and turmeric are also usually consumed as they also help to boost antioxidants. Mostly, the traditional Okinawan diet is vegetarian with occasional use of pork and frequent use of soy.
Okinawa Milk Tea
Okinawa milk tea is essentially made with roasted brown sugar instead of the regular syrup. This gives it a unique flavor as it helps to add a layer of complexity to this traditional drink. It has an appropriate balance of tea flavor and sweetness, no wonder it is a favorite of many milk lovers. The Okinawa milk tea is milky yet you can still taste its tea flavor. It also has a rich and deep sugarcane taste.
What Does Okinawa Milk Tea Taste Like?
At first, it tastes like caramel milk and once it settles in it tastes like moderately sweet milk.
Okinawa Tea Ceremony
The Okinawa tea ceremony originated between 1336 and 1573 for samurai warriors and has since then been passed down from one generation to another. It is a cultural activity that involves the preparation of powdered green tea or matcha. Today, both men and women administer and take part in them for weddings, holidays, and special occasions.
The Okinawa tea ceremony is such an enjoyable and interesting experience. It usually starts off with a ritual that involves changing into wooden shoes and walking to an outdoor water source where the mouth and hands are washed. If you really want to get into the spirit of this ancient tradition, you can wear a Kimono.
From there, you will pass through the small door into the tea chamber. The door’s miniature size represents each individual’s equality. The door dates back to the time when swords were usually carried and was designed to discourage people from bringing their weapons along. There is no fancy thing about the tearoom – steam pot sits on one side and tatami mats line the floor.
Guest bow and kneel, signifying they will cherish each moment of the tea ceremony and clear their heads. Visitors can either sit on the floor or sit at a table. Inside the room, each person sits in a circle as the sensei explains the symbolism behind some aspects of the ceremony. The sensei will also explain the four principles representing the way of tea: tranquility, purity, respect, and harmony.
The tea preparation’s defined movements are meant to grab the attention of all guests present. Precision governs how water is poured, the tea is retrieved, how the towel is folded, and how utensils are presented. After the steps have been explained, guests are free to concoct their own cups of tea.
Two kinds of teas are served to visitors and small treats made from bean paste usually accompany it. The bean paste treats are made to resemble a sweet river fish. After the tea ceremony’s formality, you are free to take photographs, closely observe the tea utensils, and ask questions. Children are also welcome to this ceremony and they will pay a reduced price.
Okinawa Turmeric Tea
Practically, Okinawa Turmeric Tea is a ritual in Okinawa as they have long benefited from its remarkable and powerful qualities. The Okinawan diet is traditionally low in red meat and caloric density and high in whole grains, fish, vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins including soy. Turmeric is the ideal addition to such an organic and healthy lifestyle.
The rhizomes of turmeric contain abundant strength, 3 to 12% essential oil (Curcuma Xanthorrhiza), and 2 to 7% (Curcuma longa). These ingredients contribute to turmeric’s yellow color and also its powerful medicinal properties. According to studies, curcuminoids promote bile production, has an anti-inflammatory effect, and increase the flow of bile. It is easy to see why turmeric tea is a staple in the Okinawan general way of life and diet.
Turmeric’s incredible qualities enable Okinawan people to maintain a healthy BMI (Body Mass Index). Turmeric is of the ginger family and it delivers powerful antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties. Okinawans drink a lot of turmeric tea on a daily basis. In the Okinawan diet, turmeric is a staple, and it helps to promote the state of life awareness that many communities around the world are now seeking. Due to its powerful therapeutic properties, it has served as a traditional medicine throughout ancient times.
7 Okinawa Tea Health Benefits
1. May Help Boost Energy and Assist Weight Loss
In a recent study, researchers discovered an increased rate of fat burning of up to 40% in people drinking Okinawa tea every day. Individuals in the study lost up to 3 times more weight than those who are not drinking this tea. The active polyphenols in the tea help to raise energy levels while also potentially reducing the possibility of storing excess glucose as body fat.
2. May Assist Diabetes and Blood Sugar Regulation
A healthy diet along with Okinawa tea could help those people with type 2 diabetes. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes is ever increasing, especially in the younger generations. Scientific researchers, doctors, and nutritionists are focusing more efforts in discovering different healthier diabetes diet which may assist with blood sugar regulation that includes the consumption of Okinawa tea.
A study found that this tea may help to reduce triglycerides blood concentration by up to 80% (Triglycerides is the most common fat form in the human body). A study conducted by Osaka City University found that Okinawa tea may help increase the levels of plasma adiponectin. Low levels of plasma adiponectin are related to coronary artery disease (CAD), type 2 diabetes mellitus, and obesity. The study concluded that Okinawa tea may help reduce atherosclerosis progression in patients with coronary artery disease.
3. May Help in Managing High Cholesterol Levels
A group of antioxidants known as catechins has been found in Okinawa tea. These antioxidants help to maintain healthy cholesterol levels. Cholesterol is a special type of fat that is important for health. So there is bad cholesterol and good cholesterol and Okinawa tea decrease the bad cholesterol while increasing the good ones. Also, gypenosides are found in Okinawan tea and they have been shown to help increase HDL cholesterol, lower LDL cholesterol, and total cholesterol. A study by Yang found that drinking Okinawa tea for up to a year may help reduce high blood pressure.
4. May Help in Maintaining Cardiovascular Health and Healthy Blood Pressure
This tea has also been found to directly help improve the heart’s metabolism. It also helps to enhance the release of nitric oxide in the body while also stimulating the nervous system. Okinawa tea helps to relax the arterial walls and the coronary blood vessels, allowing them to help lower the blood pressure.
Okinawa tea is very rich in EGCG, tea catechins, and tea polyphenols which are powerful antioxidants that go to work scavenging for toxins or oxidants. They help neutralize the cells within the body. This tea is a critical component to a healthy heart health thanks to its high concentration of polyphenols.
5. May Promote Healthy Skin
In a recent study, researchers found that Okinawa tea carries certain properties that may help promote a youthful tone and healthy skin.
6. May Support Immune System
Results from human studies have confirmed that some properties in Okinawan tea may help enhance heart pumping function and the contractility of the heart muscle. Other studies showed that the saponins in this tea may help increase endurance and strength in the body.
7. May Boost Mental Well-Being
According to a new study, drinking Okinawan tea can help to induce a pleasurable mental feeling. Several studies have also shown it may help promote healthy mental health and boost brainpower. Many users of Okinawa tea report increased feelings of focus, calmness, and well-being.
Unlike other herbal supplements which tend to carry adverse side effects, many scientific studies have shown that Okinawan tea is 100% nourishing.