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  • On the island of Okinawa, a bustling metropolis and rugged coral beaches support one of the longest living populations on the planet.

  • There's a super food ingredient that they eat more of than anywhere else in the world, and today, I'm due to visit a revered master in the art of its production.

  • But before I meet him, I'm taking part in another of Japan's early morning rituals.

  • [speaking japanese]

  • [speaking japanese]

  • Radio Exercise is a workout program that is broadcast nationwide every morning.

  • People either do the morning routine in their homes, or like these lovely lot, meet up in groups to do it.

  • This lady here is 93.

  • I think the average age is about 85 here.

  • But they learn these exercises in primary school.

  • So kids across the whole country do it.

  • The old age pensioners do exactly the same, and it's great.

  • Our kids should be doing it in Britain.

  • Daily exercise coupled with a healthy diet seems to be working wonders for Okinawans.

  • And there's one food they champion more than any other.

  • Okinawans eat more tofu than anyone else in the world.

  • And if you're not sold on tofu yet, then bear with me, because it's incredible, really, really nutritious.

  • And I'm going to get to meet a third-generation tofu maker that still makes it by hand.

  • 55-year-old Shigaro Ngata is one of Okinawa's artisan tofu makers.

  • To make the tofu, he starts with dried soybeans and grinds them to produce a milk, which is decanted into these vessels, ready to be heated.

  • What temperature do we heat this to?

  • [speaking japanese]

  • The nigari, made from Japanese sea salt, causes the mixture to split into soy milk and curds, which is separated off to become tofu.

  • And I'm about to taste it freshly made, a rare treat.

  • [speaking japanese]

  • This is an opportunity that no one gets.

  • Oh.

  • Oh, it's really, really good.

  • The depth of flavor is unbelievable.

  • [speaking japanese]

  • This is the best tofu I've ever had in my life...Kyoto, Tokyo.

  • How important is tofu to Japan and Okinawan culture?

  • [speaking japanese]

  • Shigaro makes two types of tofu, the first is bags of super soft, silken tofu.

  • I've slowed him down a little bit today.

  • Okay? okay, okay.

  • So I'm going to have to do a little bit of work now.

  • For the second type, the curds are decanted into block molds and weighed down to remove the liquid.

  • This forms a more familiar, firm tofu.

  • One of the reasons Shigaro and Okinawans, young and old, may be living such healthy lives is because in a diet with very little meat, tofu is an important source of protein.

  • It's naturally lower in saturated fat and helps lower cholesterol.

  • If we're talking about the longevity and health of Okinawans, it's kind of impossible to rule out the important connection to tofu.

  • It's so prolific in their diet.

  • It's such an incredible protein.

  • This is definitely something that we should get in our life.

On the island of Okinawa, a bustling metropolis and rugged coral beaches support one of the longest living populations on the planet.

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