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The view that, if there is a Garden of Eternal Life, it is likely located in Okinawa, may be a touch exaggerated but few places offer better models for the correlation between food, health and longevity than Japan’s southern islands.

“Being Okinawan, being different,” Donald Richie wrote, “makes for vitality.” Part of that vitality comes from elements found in its indigenous cuisine. Deriving from the Chinese notion that the same principals apply to both medical treatment and daily diet, Okinawans use the term “nuchi gusui” to define their traditional cuisine, “nuchi” denoting life, “gusui,” medicine.

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