Supercentenarians and the Secret to Longevity


It is estimated that there are currently between 150-600 supercentenarians — people who have reached the age of 110 — alive in the world. The exact number is unknown because not all of them are known to researchers, and many have not had their age authenticated by an organization specializing in age validation.

In April 2017, Italian supercentenarian Emma Morano died at the ripe age of 117 years and 137 days. She the last living person verified as having been born in the 1800s. She also held the title of the oldest Italian person ever, the second oldest European person ever, and one of the five verified oldest people ever.

She was the eldest of seven siblings and survived them all. Most scientists claim that the secret to longevity lies primarily in ones’ genes, but she believed it was her daily diet, recommended to her by her doctor, that made all the difference.

For most of her life, Emma ate three eggs a day, two of them raw. She began this diet when her doctor diagnosed her with anemia after World War II. She rarely ate fruit or vegetables and preferred meat.

Her doctor, Carlo Bava said,

When I met her, she ate three eggs a day, two in the morning and then an omelet at noon, then she ate chicken at dinner.

Emma left her husband, who mistreated her, throwing him out of the house after their baby passed away at 6 months old.

In a 2015 interview, Dr. Bava was quoted saying

She left her husband in a fascist time when women were very submissive. She was always very decisive.

Emma worked until 75, first in a bag factory, and later in a hotel. She lived in the same, one-room apartment for 20 years.

She leaves behind the new oldest living person in the world — Violet Brown of Jamaica, born March 10, 1900. Nicknamed ”Aunt V,” Violet is the last known living subject of Queen Victoria, the British monarch who died January 22, 1901. Violet was then 10 months old.

Violet claims that there is no secret formula to her long life. In a recent interview, she said:

Really and truly, when people ask what I eat and drink to live so long, I say to them that I eat everything, except pork and chicken, and I don’t drink rum and dem tings.

Do you have any long-living family members in your family tree? Let us know in the comments below!

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  • Cathy Walters

    June 16, 2017

    My grandmother was 101 for 5 days, her younger sister 102 & their older sister 104, but their 1st cousin lived 105/6. They out lived their siblings, many of them made it into their 80’s & 90’s.

  • Robin hodkinson

    June 19, 2017

    The longest living member I have found so far in my family research was my Great Aunt Alma Braithwaite who lived to 107. she was born in 1899 and lived in three centuries, passing away in 2006. At 91 she was still up to painting her cottage herself . Her father lived into his 90’s as did my father and other family members have done likewise.

  • M Bowman

    June 19, 2017

    My 2nd great grandmother lived to be 104. She swore it was because she had her wee toddy every day – good Irish Whiskey when available no doubt.