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Tips On Living To 100 From Centenarians Around The World

Everything from bananas to bacon, here are some foods, activities, and states of mind that can keep you alive for longer than a century.

How do you live to be 100 and more? Science has some possible answers. Taking steps to reduce chronic inflammation is likely to extend life and has been associated with higher cognitive capacity in people who lived to be 105.

Preserving your chromosomes is also a good strategy… if you can figure out how to do that. As we age, our telomeres — protective caps on the end of DNA strands — tend to shorten. Centenarians were found to have longer telomeres.

Apart from medical science and genetics, the long-lived have some tips of their own.

Stretch It Out

senior runner stretching

Dr. Bill Frankland still practiced medicine at age 106. The alert semi-supercentenarian attributed his long life to staying active and doing an exercise and stretching routine every morning. He passed in April, 2020 at 108-year-old.

Wine Time

wine glasses

When she turned 105, Clara Meadmore, a Scottish former secretary, attributed her longevity to walking, an occasional glass of wine — and celibacy. About sex, she told The Guardian, "I imagine there is a lot of hassle involved and I have always been busy doing other things.” She passed in 2011 at 108-years-old.

Well Hello, Mrs. Robinson

tennis lesson

On the other hand, Daisy Dunnett, who celebrated her 100th birthday in 2013, is happily married – to a man 33 years younger. She attributes her good health at her advanced age to her whippersnapper husband.

Bacon Bacon Bacon

bacon stack

Alabama-born Susannah Mushatt Jones, the world’s oldest woman when she died in 2016 at age 116, credited her longevity to “lots of sleep” and her regular breakfast of bacon, eggs, and grits.

Eggs Eggs Eggs

frying eggs

After Jones died, the title of world’s oldest woman passed to Emma Morano of Italy, who turned 117 in November, 2016 and was the only documented person still alive who was born in the 19th century. She attributed her longevity to being single — she left an abusive husband in 1938 — and going to bed early. She didn’t eat meat, but consumed three eggs a day, two of which were raw. She died in April, 2017.

Smoke ‘Em If You Got ‘Em


At age 112, America’s oldest veteran still smoked “sometimes 12 cigars a day… the healthy way [without inhaling],” and drinks four cups of coffee — or sometimes replaces it with whiskey — in the morning.

Richard Overton, a Texan born May 11, 1906, fought in the South Pacific in World War II. In 2016 National Geographic presented a short documentary about him:

“I still walk, still talk, still drive,” he told the filmmakers. The supercentenarian passed a vision test and got his driver’s license renewed at age 109. "Man will kill you, but God is the one keep you alive,” he says. Cash has done right by him too. “I don’t fool with a credit card. Never.”

Overton, who passed in December, 2018, unfortunately was the victim of identity theft six months before his death, with someone taking a "considerable amount" of funds from his personal bank. This is why it's so important for the eldery to have trusted family and friends helping to manage their affairs — like Overton's cousin who alerted the authorities to help recover the money and start an investigation to find the perpetrator.

The Air Up There

isla del sol lake titicaca bolivia

Bolivian Carmelo Flores Laura lived in a dirt-floor hut near Lake Titicaca at 13,100 feet. He may have been as old as 123 when he died in 2014, though his real age hasn’t been verified. “I walk a lot, that’s all,” he explained in his native language, Aymara (he didn’t speak any Spanish). A study showed that living at high altitudes reduces heart disease risk.

That’s Just Bananas


Spaniard Salustiano “Shorty” Sanchez lived to be 112. Bananas and daily Anacin tablets were his secrets to a long life.

ABL: Always Be Learning

professor teaching a class

"If I could leave any message, never stop learning. Period," says centenarian Maurice Eisman.

Overindulge In Moderation

tiny plate of food

Says 105-year-old Cuban philanthropist Jessie Lichauco: "The whole secret of life is moderation – a little bit of everything."

Can’t Stress This Enough

beach meditation

102-year-old Marianne Crowder of Palo Alto, CA opined that “the worst thing is stress.”

Painter Frank Handlen, who has lived to 100 in spite of a heart attack, a stroke, and congestive heart failure, agrees: “I don’t have any stresses in life that work me up. I live a very tranquil life.”

They Put The “OK” In Okinawa

okinawa japan

The elders of Okinawa in Japan cite an optimistic attitude as one key to a long life as well as what you eat. The Okinawan diet is primarily vegetarian – heavy on vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds, and fruit – and fish, rich in omega-3 oils and protein. They cite an active life as well, which includes walking, gardening, dancing, and practicing martial arts like Tai Chi.

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