Hara hachi bun me (腹八分目), also spelled hara hachi bu, and sometimes misspelled hari hachi bu, means “stomach until 80%” or “eat until you are at 80%.“
That is, don’t eat until you burst or until you can’t eat anymore . This lifestyle is practiced in the Okinawa region of Japan, one of the longest-lived regions with the highest number of centenarians in the world.
Because it is called hara hachi bu [腹八分] or hara hachi bun me [腹八分目].
Hara (stomach) hachi (8) bun-me (10%), and that is why it is literally said that hara hachi bu or hara hachi bun me is stomach up to 80%.
- There is a great Japanese proverb that says: 腹八分目に医者いらず If you eat moderately, you don’t need to see a doctor.
Eat less and live longer is the original basis of ‘hara hachi bu‘, a Japanese precept to be longer-lived and increase our quality of life to the maximum.
Practice of hara hachi bu or hara hachi bun me
According to some studies, residents of the island of Okinawa in Japan have the longest life expectancy in the world, living up to one hundred years or more. This is because Okinawans continue to practice Hara Hachi Bu.
They consume about 1,800 to 1,900 kc (kilocalories) per day. The BMI of their elders is about 18 to 22, compared to a BMI of 26-27 for adults over 60 in the United States or Europe. Okinawa has the world’s highest proportion of centenarians, with approximately 50 per 100,000 people.
Why practice Hara Hachi Bu?
The ancient Japanese gastronomic tradition hara hachi bu, proposes never filling the stomach to 100% and always stopping when it is 80% full. They consider that more than 80% is overeating, which makes the digestive system take longer to process food and this leads to cellular oxidation that makes you age faster.
When the stomach is 80% full as in hara hachi bu, it has some extra space, which allows it to perform the digestion process faster. It also helps you to churn and break down food more efficiently and quickly.
Health benefits of Hara Hachi Bu or hara hachi bun me
There are many health benefits of Hara Hachi Bu. It helps to maintain a body weight without excesses and a healthy waistline. In addition, it also helps to avoid obesity, gastrointestinal problems, acid reflux and metabolic disorders, thus resulting in a better quality of life and not going to the doctor so much thanks to the hara hachi bu method.
It also helps in better functioning of the digestive system. Hara Hachi Bu also leads to less free radicals in the blood, which means a lower risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer and other diseases related to old age.
How to practice Hara Hachi Bu?
There are 3 basic and easy tips to get started with Hara Hachi Bu as follows:
- Eat slower: eating faster results in eating more quantity. Slow down to allow your body to respond to the hara hachi bu (80%) signals, which tell us that we are no longer hungry.
- Concentrate on the food: turn off the TV, computer or cell phone. If you are going to eat, just concentrate on that. You will eat more slowly, consume less and enjoy the food more, if you like you can chat with friends and family who are in the place, which would translate as eating slower and chewing more slowly.
- Use small glasses and plates: choose to eat on smaller plates and use narrow glasses. This results in eating less without even thinking about it, since to the eye it will look like a big plate like every day and you won’t notice the difference.