As most Japanese people know, Nagano is the prefecture of longevity. Nagano was ranked #1 among Japan's 47 prefectures in 2010 at the average lifespan of 80.88 for male and 87.18 for female. National average then was 79.59 for male and 86.35 for female. Those for Karuizawa residents in the same survey is 81.6 for male and 87.0 for female. Interestingly, Karuizawa male lives longer than the Nagano prefecture average.
Researchers have been studying why Nagano citizens have such long lifespan. They concluded so far that the secret is in vegetable intake volume of people in this area. According to the survey by the Japanese government in 2012, Nagano male eats 378.1 grams of vegetable per day while national average is 295.6 grams. Nagano female eat 364.8 grams per day while national average is 280.2 grams. Of course, these numbers are ranked #1 among the 47 prefectures.
Actually, what amazed me after my move to the town was the wide variety of vegetables sold in a local supermarket. Nagano is famous as a major national production site for lettuce and mushroom. Amazingly, Nagano has more than 80% of domestic shipping share among all domestic lettuces in summer and autumn. Local people in Toshin (Eastern Nagano, including Karuizawa) are known to have a unique culture to cook the lettuce in variety of ways. Putting lettuce leafs in miso soup for example is one of unique local cooking recipes in this region.
Karuizawa Kirishita Yasai (vegetables grown under fog) are especially regarded as premier vegetables among those Nagano vegetables. It is named so because Karuizawa is known as a foggy highland area. Such branded vegetables include lettuce, cabbage, spinach, corn, etc. They are so popular not only by local residents but also by visitors that they tend to be sold out within an hour after a store opened. Though they are premier in terms of quality but not in terms of price. They are currently only sold at the JA Saku Asama certified shops in the area.
I personally feel I have became healthier since I moved from Tokyo. Though my body weight has not changed much, blood pressure and glucose level are improving every year since I started living here, and finally those values went well below the national average of my age this year. Of course, the vegetable intake volume is not the only cause of it, but I my meal menus have changed certainly. I may be able to live longer than average males in this country. Living in Nagano should be an option for vegetable lovers and people who seek to improve their health.
10/17/2022 04:41:40 am
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