Food for the Joints

July 5, 2010 Updated: July 6, 2010

This konnyaku root contains glucomannan, which is a water-soluble fiber. It expands 30 to 50 times in the digestive system, making one feel full. Used to make jelly, tofu, or noodles, it is low in carbohydrates, lowers cholesterol, prevents high blood pressure, and normalizes blood sugar. (Bromo Agroindustry of Indonesia)
This konnyaku root contains glucomannan, which is a water-soluble fiber. It expands 30 to 50 times in the digestive system, making one feel full. Used to make jelly, tofu, or noodles, it is low in carbohydrates, lowers cholesterol, prevents high blood pressure, and normalizes blood sugar. (Bromo Agroindustry of Indonesia)
Reading about a Japanese village where the inhabitants live into their 90s with their faculties intact, youthful skin, eyes, and joints, I was intrigued.

How do they do that? The source was a mailer for a company marketing a pill with a “secret” ingredient—the one that makes it possible for these Japanese to work hours in their fields into their 90s and have joints as flexible as those of youth.

Their village, called Yuzurihara or the Village of Long Life, is in a mountainous part of Japan about one and a half hours from Tokyo. You may have seen the program about the inhabitants on ABC news with Connie Chung in 2000. (Appliedhealth.com/ABC_News_HA.htm)

The “secret” ingredient is hyaluronic acid (HA), but the answer is not a simple change in diet, adding the foods eaten in Yuzurihara. Dr. Toyosuki Kimori, medical doctor and native to the village, investigated the reason for people’s longevity and found that Yuzuriharas had an abundance of HA.

This substance is found throughout connective tissue, in brains, eyes, and joints and is abundant in youth. Throughout life, there is a natural process whereby HA is broken down and replaced. Unfortunately, as we age, the breaking down increasingly overtakes the building up process.

The Yuzurihara diet is a difficult one to follow, even for other Japanese. There is very little rice, as their mountainous area will not grow it. The diet consists mainly of starchy tubers: satsumaimo, a type of sweet potato; taro, a sticky white root; konyaku, a gelatinous root vegetable; and tamaji, a small sweet potato. The diet also includes barley, vegetables, bean paste, fish, and fermented soy. (Thewolfeclinic.com/pdf_news/joint_c.pdf)