How to live to 100: From eating pigs’ feet to 30 cigarettes a day
Imagine being born in a time before electric lights, television, phones and cars were normal and living through two world wars – and still being alive in 2018.
Living to be older than 100 is rare but becoming more common – the UN expects there to be 3.2 million centenarians worldwide by 2050, up from 316,600 in 2012.
And, according to a website that trawled through interviews with 100 people who reached the landmark birthday, the secret to surviving may not just be a healthy diet.
A pint of Guinness every day, eating pigs’ feet and kicking out your husband are all genuine nuggets of wisdom from people who have lived to 100 and beyond.
Richard Overton, a 112-year-old World War II veteran from Texas, is thought to be the oldest living man in the US and credits his long life to cigars, whiskey and ice cream
US senior citizens’ advice website, A Place for Mom, searched through newspaper interviews with the world’s oldest people to pick out their tips for living for so long.
On the list of people offering their wisdom was Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 as the oldest woman ever at the age of 122.
And above her, Leandra Becerra Lumbreras, a Mexican woman who died in 2015 claiming to be 127 years old – though her birth date was never confirmed.
While a quarter of centenarians credit a healthy diet for their long lives, even more of them – 29 per cent – recommend indulging in unhealthy treats like greasy breakfasts and fizzy drinks.
Jeanne Calment, who died in 1997 aged 122, was the oldest women ever and credited her staggeringly long life to olive oil, chocolate, cigarettes and wine (pictured: Ms Calment on her 117th birthday)
Italian woman Emma Morano, who died in 2017 aged 117, said she owed her long life to ‘kicking her husband out and never marrying again’
And exercise isn’t a popular habit among the super-aged either – only 21 per cent of them said regular workouts were what kept them ticking over.
THE STRANGEST SECRETS TO LIVING A LONG LIFE
Out of 100 people aged over 100 who were interviewed about their secrets to living a long life, these were some of the strangest and least expected:
- Sleeping for days on end and avoiding marriage
- Olive oil, chocolate, wine and cigarettes
- Kicking husband out and never marrying again
- Coca Cola
- Pop’ems glazed doughnut holes
- Eating plenty of pigs’ feet
- No make-up
- Plenty of exercise and butter
- Going with the flow
- Never marrying or having children
- Eating sweets
- No dieting or sports
- 30 cigarettes a day
- 12 cigars and 4 glasses of whiskey a day
- 4 strips of bacon every morning
- Chewing food properly
- 5-7 push-ups a day
- Full English breakfast every day
- Whiskey with tea in the morning and whiskey with lemonade in the evening
- Diet Coke
- 3 cans of Dr Pepper a day
- Eating once a day and lots of women
- Peanut butter M&Ms
- Having sex
- Keeping up with daily news
- A daily pint of Guinness
Source: A Place for Mom
The 10 most common tips for ageing gracefully were predictable enough – watch what you eat, stay active and maintain relationships.
But many of the centenarians’ suggestions were downright rebellious.
Ms Calment – who was married for 46 years and then lived for another 55 years after her husband died – credited olive oil, wine, cigarettes and chocolate for living so long.
Mr Overton, a World War II veteran who is thought to be the oldest living man in the US, says ice cream also helped increase his lifespan, alongside the cigars and bourbon.
Emma Morano, an Italian woman who lived to 117 before dying last year, said she owed her long life to kicking her husband out and never marrying again.
Jeralean Talley, from Michigan, lived to 115 thanks to ‘eating plenty of pigs’ feet’.
Other people’s unlikely fountains of youth have included Pop’Ems glazed donut holes, ‘going with the flow’, 30 cigarettes a day, five to seven push-ups a day, and a daily pint of Guinness.
Sex made an appearance on the list, too – and Vincenzo Baratta, an Italian who lived to 103, said eating once a day and ‘lots of women’ were his secrets.
The consensus is there’s no sure-fire way to live for a long time and for every person who recommends drinking wine there will be someone who says the opposite.
Dr David Demko, a gerontologist – someone who studies the science of ageing – said: ‘Our genetic makeup and lifestyle habits influence longevity, but the impact each element plays is a hotly debated topic.
‘The current ratio suggests that genetic risk factors control 25 per cent and lifestyle risk-factors control 75 per cent, but this ratio fluctuates in line with new research on factors reported to reduce risks to morbidity and mortality.
‘Regardless of the precise weighting of this ratio, it’s clear that a long life boils down to far more than simply smart genes and dumb luck.’
|127||Leandra Becerra Lumbreras||Mexico||Chocolate, avoiding marriage, sleeping for days on end|
|122||Jeanne Louise Calment||France||Olive oil, chocolate, wine, cigarettes|
|119||Sarah Knauss||Pennsylvania||No stress, not worrying about age|
|117||Emma Morano||Italy||3 eggs a day (2 of them raw), kicking husband out and never marrying again|
|117||Violet Brown||Jamaica||Faith, healthy diet with coconut sauce, fish and mutton|
|117||Nabi Tajima||Japan||Delicious food, sleeping well|
|117||Chiyo Miyako||Japan||Delicious food including sushi and eels|
|117||Misao Okawa||Japan||Sushi, ramen noodles, sleeping for 8 hours, relaxing|
|116||Gertrude Weaver||Arkansas||Kindness, positive attitude, sleep, no drinking or smoking|
|116||Jiroemon Kimura||Japan||Eating lightly|
|116||Susannah Mushatt Jones||New York||Supportive extended family|
|116||Besse Cooper||Tennessee||Staying out of others’ business, no junk food|
|115||Boxin Huang||China||Vegetables with every meal (including breakfast)|
|115||Tava Colo||France||Respecting others|
|115||Dina Manfredini||Iowa||Making bread and pasta|
|115||Maria Giuseppa Robucci||Italy||No alcohol, no smoking, eating lightly and healthily|
|115||Kane Tanaka||Japan||Family, sleep, hope|
|115||Bernice Madigan||Massachusets||No children, no stress, breakfast of honey, Eggos, banana and 4 Pop?ems glazed doughnut holes|
|115||Jeralean Talley||Michigan||“Do unto others as you desire them to do unto you”, faith in God, eating plenty of pigs? feet|
|115||Ana Maria Vela Rubio||Spain||Positive attitude, compassion for others|
|114||Adelina Domingues||California||Religion, no makeup, no drinking or smoking|
|114||Eudoxi Baboul||French Guiana||Eating lots of couac (cassava-based semolina)|
|114||Neva Morris||Iowa||Working hard, eating hearty, healthy meals prepared from farm produce|
|114||Yukichi Chuganji||Japan||Drinking milk every day, avoiding alcohol|
|113||Mariya Kononovich||Belarus||Being kind to others, loving everyone, no enemies|
|113||Maggie Kidd||Georgia||Faith in God|
|113||Goldie Michelson||Massachusetts||Morning walks, chocolate, never smoking or drinking|
|113||Adele Dunlap||New Jersey||Oatmeal|
|113||Francisco Nunez Olivera||Spain||Working hard, eating home-grown vegetables, daily glass of red wine|
|113||Bessie Camm||United Kingdom||Hard work, lovely people, good food|
|112||Peg Vivian||Australia||Never smoking, rarely drinking, walking a lot|
|112||Ellen Gibb||Canada||Good genes, no drinking or smoking, plenty of exercise and butter|
|112||Isabel Casta¤o Restrepo||Florida||Going with the flow|
|112||Jeanne Bot||France||Never marrying or having children|
|112||Gustav Gerneth||Germany||No dieting, no sports, drinking only on special occasions|
|112||Masazo Nonaka||Japan||Soaking in hot springs, eating sweets|
|112||Yasutaro Kode||Japan||Taking it easy|
|112||Batuli Lamichhane||Nepal||30 cigarettes a day|
|112||Salustanio Sanches-Blazquez||Spain||1 banana and 6 Anacin tablets a day|
|111||Bernardo LaPallo||Arizona||Practicing moderation, sleeping well, keeping stress away, fresh fruits and vegetables|
|111||Merle Phillips||Illinois||Faith in God|
|111||Alelia Murphy||New York||Kindness of God|
|111||Alexander Imich||New York||Healthy diet including chicken and fish, abstaining from alcohol|
|111||Richard Overton||Texas||12 cigars a day, 4 glasses of whiskey in the morning, butter pecan ice cream every night|
|111||Grace Katherine Jones||United Kingdom||A little drop of whiskey every night|
|110||Marguerite Robertson||Canada||Eating well, avoiding milk, being loved|
|110||Agnes Fenton||New Jersey||3 bottles of Miller High Life and a glass of whiskey daily|
|109||Alfred Date||Australia||Staying out of trouble, waking up every morning|
|109||Ruth Benjamin||Illinois||4 strips of bacon every morning, no smoking, no drinking, 43-year marriage|
|109||Mohammed Mohyeddin||Iran||Regular exercise, chewing food properly|
|109||Jessie Gallan||United Kingdom||Exercise, daily bowl of porridge, staying away from men|
|108||Alice Herz-Sommer||Czech Republic||Laughter, optimism|
|108||Downing Jett Kay||Maryland||Spending time with family and friends, participating in local church and community|
|108||Duranord Veillard||New York||5-7 pushups a day, drinking tea, eating oatmeal, fish and vegetables|
|108||Eric Gottfrid Andersson||Sweden||Taking care of your body, eating good food, not smoking|
|108||John Mansfield||United Kingdom||Full English breakfast with fried eggs and sausages every day|
|107||Jo Sunderland||Minnesota||Don?t worry, be happy|
|106||Irene Cole||Texas||Positive lifestyle, staying single, abstaining from smoking and alcohol|
|105||Francis Smith||Florida||Keeping active, moving to Florida|
|105||Marian Cannon Schlesinger||Massachusetts||Coffee in the morning, liquor in the evening|
|105||Lucille Boston Lewis||Tennessee||Faith, family, working hard, loving others|
|105||Pearl Cantrell||Texas||Bacon with every meal|
|105||Jack Reynolds||United Kingdom||Whiskey with tea in the morning, whiskey with lemonade at night|
|104||Theresa Rowley||Michigan||Drinking a Diet Coke every day|
|104||Mildred Bowers||South Carolina||Beer|
|104||Charlotte Henderson||Texas||Practising moderation, eating and sleeping well, not overdrinking or overeating, exercising regularly|
|104||Elizabeth Sullivan||Texas||3 cans of Dr Pepper a day|
|104||Pauline Dunhill||United Kingdom||Gin and tonic every evening|
|103||Samuel Henry Ball||Florida||Good marriage, whiskey|
|103||Vincenzo Baratta||Italy||Eating once a day, lots of women|
|103||Imogen Young||Maryland||Peanut butter M&Ms, bacon, eggs, ice cream|
|103||Ruth Coben||New York||Exercise, celebrate every day|
|103||Mary Todisco||New York||Low-sugar diet, keeping busy, staying positive, not taking life too seriously|
|103||George Boggess||Washington, DC||Walking|
|102||Elsa Bailey||Colorado||Sunshine, eating healthily|
|102||Dorothy Custer||Idaho||Daily exercise|
|102||Edris Mathiesen||Indiana||Crossword puzzles, reading, playing cards|
|102||Eunice Modlin||Indiana||2 dark chocolates a day, naps|
|101||Paul Marcus||Colorado||Genes, luck, unrestricted diet|
|101||Antonio Ramirez||Florida||Happiness, staying calm, no anger, coffee every morning|
|101||Luigina Vigiconte||Italy||Optimism, politeness|
|101||Bel Kaufman||New York||Laughter|
|100||Ephraim Engleman||California||Falling in love, getting married, having sex|
|100||Norma Martin||Florida||Being optimistic|
|100||Marie-Louise Wirth||France||No fruit or milk, alcohol with every meal|
|100||Gregoris Tsahas||Greece||Couple of glasses of red wine every day|
|100||Florence Bearse||Maine||A good glass of wine|
|100||Dorothy Cammon||New Mexico||Working hard, getting enough sleep|
|100||Emanuel Chuse||New York||Keeping up with daily news|
|100||Malvina Hunt||New York||Vigorous exercise|
|100||Elsie King||New Zealand||Keeping occupied with hobbies|
|100||Paulina Spagnola||Pennsylvania||Drinking alcohol|
|100||Christina Kislak Wahala||Pennsylvania||Walking a lot, fresh fruit and vegetables|
|100||Frances Prus||Pennsylvania||Family, faith, occasional junk food, glass of merlot|
|100||Rebecca Sommerville||United Kingdom||Laughter, not taking things too seriously|
|100||Doris Olive Netting||United Kingdom||Daily pint of Guinness|