Health / Centenarians

World's oldest people revealed the secret to their long life

Misao Okawa, 5 March 1898 - 1 April 2015, was a Japanese supercentenarian who was the world's oldest living person from the death of Japanese man Jiroemon Kimura on 12 June 2013. Born on March 5 1898, Okawa finally died of heart failure just a few weeks after she celebrated her 117th birthday.

Okawa is the verified oldest Japanese person ever, the oldest person ever born in Asia, and the fifth oldest verified person ever recorded. Okawa was the 30th person verified to have reached age 115, the tenth verified person to reach the age of 116 and the fifth verified person to reach the age of 117.

Okawa said that sushi and sleep were the reasons why she lived so long.

Okawa previously told The Japan Times that the key to her longevity was "eating delicious things," such as ramen noodles, beef stew, hashed beef and rice.

Here are other secrets to longevity that centenarians and super-centenarians have revealed in recent years:

  • "Believe in the Lord," the third-oldest American Susannah Mushatt Jones, 115, shared with TIME during a visit to her Brooklyn home.
  • Pork, the second-oldest American, Jeralean Talley, 115, told TIME in 2013. Her signature dish is hog's head cheese (pigs' ears and feet in a jelly stock)
  • "Kindness," the oldest American, Gertrude Weaver of Camden, Arkansas, revealed to TIME shortly after her 116th birthday.
  • At 111 years old, Bernando LaPallo of Mesa, Ariz., massages his feet in olive oil.
  • A Scottish 109-year-old Jessie Gallan advised "staying away from men" and eating porridge.
  • Duranord Veillard, a 108-year-old from Spring Valley, N.Y., who has been married to his wife Jeanne for 82 years, gets up at 5:00 a.m. every day and does five to seven push-ups.
  • Alexander Imich of New York City, formerly known as the world's oldest man, said he didn't drink alcohol.
  • On his 115th birthday, the former oldest man in Japan, Jiroemon Kimura, attributed his longevity to sun-bathing.
  • Eating raw eggs, said 115-year-old Emma Morano-Martinuzzi of Verbania, Italy.

More great suggestions:

  • Alfred Date, a 109-year-old Australian man, said knitting, is "a good way of getting along in life." Recently, he knitted sweaters for injured penguins.
  • During her 107th birthday celebrations, Downing Jett Kay of Baltimore said drinking lots of coffee was a big part of her long life.
  • Richard Overton, who has been called the oldest living veteran, adds whiskey to his morning coffee and smokes up to 12 cigars a day, he claimed around his 107th birthday.
  • When Adelina Domingues of San Diego was 114, she told U-T San Diego, "I've never been to a beauty shop and I've never been vain."

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