Secrets of longevity from the world’s oldest people

The world's oldest person, Misao Okawa of Osaka, Japan, died on Wednesday, April 1, nearly a month after her 117th birthday. She was the third person ever in human history to reach 117 years old, and is replaced as the oldest person currently living by Arkansas resident Gertrude Weaver, 116. 

Interviews of the worlds' oldest people over the years have turned up a range of advice for longevity, from smoking cigars to avoiding men. Although these tips are not necessarily medically supported, they show the intriguingly wide range of behaviors to which people attribute their long lives. Here are a few of the things that the oldest people in the world have credited with keeping them alive:

  • Abstaining from alcohol: Alexander Imich, an American of Polish-Jewish descent who was briefly the oldest man in the world before dying at 111, claimed that his longevity was due to his teetotaling. This claim may hold up scientifically, as communities that forbid the consumption of alcohol tend to be longer-lived. 
  • Drinking alcohol: On the other hand, Richard Overton, the oldest living American veteran at 108 years old, attributes his long life to adding whiskey to his morning coffee and smoking up to 12 cigars daily. Try out this strategy at your own risk.
  • Belief in a higher power: This is a particularly popular attribution for long-lived Americans, referenced by both Gertrude Weaver and 115-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones of Brooklyn. Studies have shown that religious people tend to live longer, though it may be due to community support rather than religion itself.
  • Staying single: Several especially long-lived people have attributed their longevity to their lack of romantic partners, the most recent being Jessie Gallan, 109, who credits her long life to "staying away from men."

For advice on how to age gracefully from a more scientific perspective, contact the Longevity Centres of America today.