Can Ikigai Diet Help Dementia? Part 4 Why Does Your Living Environment Matter to the Gut Microbiota?

Although diet seems to be the most significant factor to prevent dementia, other factors such as physical exercises, mental exercises, living environment, and social life all contribute to keeping your cognitive function healthy.

Today, I will talk about the living environment. So stick around.



Hi, my name is Sachiaki Takamiya. I am in my late 50s but haven’t had any problems at my yearly checkups so far. I am the founder of Ikigai Diet. Ikigai Diet is a diet and an integrated lifestyle that will help you stay young and healthy so that you can enjoy your 100-year-life. It is based on the traditional Japanese diet and the modern understanding of health and wellness.

In the last post, I said that gardening is one of the good exercises to maintain your brain health, and it has some other factors to support your well-being.

First, it provides you organic ingredients to cook food. By growing your own food you can choose the kinds of seeds and fertilizers so that you can make it as pure as you like.

Another factor is that by working on the soil, you have a lot more access to microorganisms within the soil which foster your gut microbiota. According to Dr. Shinjiro Honma, the author of Byoki Ni Naranai Kurashi Jiten, A Complete Guide to A Lifestyle without Getting Sick, and Byoki Ni Naranai Shoku To Kurashi, A Diet and Lifestyle without Getting Sick., it isn’t only what you eat affect your gut microbiota, but also microbiomes you come to contact in your daily life such as in the soil or household. He encourages us to work in the garden and make fermented food at home so that we will be more exposed to diverse bacteria.

The fact that many people in Blue Zones work in their garden and many people in Japanese Satoyama, where we find a lot of centenarians, grow rice and vegetables might suggest that they are healthy because they get enough exercises but also they are exposed to plenty of microbiomes in their daily life to create a rich gut microbiota.

If you want to know about the connection between longevity and Satoyama lifestyle, read the following post which I wrote in the other blog site.
Satoyama Near Lake Biwa: Satoyama Lifestyle is the Japanese Secret to Health and Longevity

The third factor that gardening supports your brain health and longevity in general is that you become more aware of the natural world through observing how plants grow; how the sunlight and temperature affect them, how water affects them, how the weeds and insects affect them, and how microorganisms in the soil affect them. This awareness helps you understand how your body works because the gut microbiota works in the same way as the natural world. Another word, you become more sensitive to your microbiota. You also feel Ki energy in the plants, weeds, insects, and microorganisms, and I think this Ki energy affects your gut microbiota because, in Japanese martial arts, we feel Ki energy in our Hara, which is the belly area.

Therefore the living environment is crucial for your health and I recommend that you live in the countryside to lead a Satoyama lifestyle.

Even if you live in cities, you can do a roof-top-gardening or find a community garden. You can also make fermented food at home to create a lifestyle where you are more exposed to diverse microbiomes.