I believe that that Japanese do so much better because of a factor that Reid probably doesn’t consides: They eat tons more fermented food than Americans do. In a Tokyo restaurant, the woman sitting next to me, a nurse, said she believes that regular consumption of fermented foods is important for health. Does everyone in Japan think this? I asked. A large minority, she said.
The eating habits of the Japanese, as far as I could tell, bear this out. On a Japanese food blog, the writer described a breakfast that had five fermented foods: pickles, miso, yogurt, natto, and kimchi. The Japanese eat miso at every meal, more or less. They also eat lots of pickles. Natto is popular in some parts of the country but not others. They eat lots of yogurt; they are the country that gave us Yakult. They drink vinegar drinks. (Whereas in America only health nuts drink apple cider vinegar.) In other words, their diet is loaded with fermented foods. If I’m right about this, Japanese rates of autoimmune diseases should be much lower than American rates.
When people get sick much less, health care costs go way down.
Good point. Contrast that against how American bad habits reduce longevity.
See my previous post: More Natto, Please