Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat

Sitting relaxed at the dining room table can be very comfortable, it is not necessarily the best for your health. We spend a lot of time sitting at work and come home sitting in the car or on public transportation only to find ourselves sitting down for dinner again.

But most Japanese families eat off the floor, and you probably won’t find chairs, not even in five-star restaurants in Japan.

We were surprised to find that people in Japan eat sitting on the floor, and not just because Japanese houses are often very small. In fact, this habit has so many health benefits that you may want to give it a try.

It Helps Digestion

Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat

When you sit cross-legged on the floor and eat, you are doing yoga effortlessly at the same time. This cross-legged position is called the “easy” pose, or sukhasana, and it is believed to increase blood flow to your stomach, helping you digest food easily and get the most vitamins and nutrients.

When you lean forward to remove food from the plate and then return to the starting position to swallow it, you are strengthening your abdominal muscles, which in turn can prevent bloating.

It May Help You Lose Weight

Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat
© Shutterstock.com

Sitting on the floor while eating helps the vagus nerve work better. When your digestive system releases a hormone called leptin, it sends a signal to the vagus nerve that it is full, and the proper function of that nerve can prevent you from overeating.

It Makes You More Flexible

Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat

Sitting in a chair for a long time can cause back pain and eventually stretch the spinal discs, sitting on the floor stretches the knees and hips.

Since this position helps you sit straighter with each bite, it prevents leaning and strengthens your back and shoulders.

It May Help You Live Longer

Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat
© Album / Prisma/EAST NEWS

If you can easily get up from a cross-legged position without any support, you will likely live longer. It turns out that sitting on the floor while you eat and getting up multiple times a day is one of the easiest ways to add extra years to your life.

It Keeps Your Joints Healthy

Why People in Japan Sit on the Floor to Eat
© Depositphotos.com

When you sit in a chair for a long time, your hips are stiff. However, sitting on the floor allows you to stretch your hips and ankles, making your joints more flexible.

Some sitting postures, such as kneeling and squatting, make your muscles work even when you are resting by encouraging you to engage muscles that are not active when sitting in a chair.

Have you ever tried to eat sitting on the floor?

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