Science says that your diet, how much you exercise, and your genes all play a role in determining how long you'll live. Those who have lived to blow out 100 candles, however, say they've used other strategies for achieving their old age. Here, longevity tips from 11 centenarians around the worldsome legit, some hilarious, and some downright bizarre.
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Emma Morano, lived to 117
Emma Morano, who was the world's oldest person until she passed in April 2017, said ending her abusive marriage in 1938 contributed to her longevity. "I didn't want to be dominated by anyone," she told The New York Times. Morano, who lived in the northern Italian city of Verbania, also had a few unusual diet quirks: she ate two raw eggs per day, plus lots of cookies. In fact, CNN reports that Morano loved cookies so much that she'd hide them under her pillow to prevent others from eating them.
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Agnes Fenton, 111
Agnes Fenton of New Jersey credits her 111 years to downing three bottles of Miller High Life and a glass of whiskey every day. She told ABC News in August 2015 that her booze-filled diet began 70 years ago, when a doctor advised her to drink the "Champagne of Beers" daily after finding that her only health problem was a benign tumor. Fenton followed her doctor's orders for years, even adding some Johnnie Walker Blue Label into the mix, until her caretakers nixed the alcohol when she began to eat less.
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Gertrude Weaver, lived to 116
Gertrude Weaver, one of the last surviving people born in the 1800s when she passed in April 2015, credited her 116 years to simply being kind. Her advice for a long life: "Treat people right and be nice to other people the way you want them to be nice to you," she told TIME in 2014. Weaver also credited her lack of chronic health problems to not drinking or smoking and getting plenty of sleep.
Jessie Gallan spent her life eating lots of porridge, but you never would have found her spending her time with a man. In her 109 years, this independent lady never married. In January 2015, shortly before her 109th birthday and just three months before she passed away, Gallan linked the lack of men in her life to her longevity. "They're more trouble than they're worth," she told The Daily Mail. Instead she spent her life getting plenty of exercise, surrounding herself with nice people, and working hard starting at age 13.
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Alexander Imich, lived to 111
Alexander Imich of New York City was born the same year that the Yankees played their first season and more than a year before the New York Subways opened for business. In May 2014, a month before his death, the 111-year-old told NBC New York that he stayed in tip-top shape with a lifetime of healthy eating and abstinence from alcohol. His diet included chicken and fish, and he spent his younger years swimming and participating in gymnastics.
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Duranord Veillard, 110
New York resident Duranord Veillard, 108, starts each day with oatmeal, fruit, and a cup of tea and ends with fish and vegetables. According to USA Today, Veillard has always done five to seven pushups every morning, even now. He celebrated his latest birthday in February with his wife of 82 years, Jeanne, who turned 105 in May.
Adelina Domingues, who passed away at age 114, never fractured a bone, didn't take any medications, and never needed to go to the hospital. The secret to her longevity? Never wearing makeup. "I've never been to a beauty shop and I've never been vain," she told the San Diego Union Tribune. Her Union-Tribune obituary also claimed that she never smoked or drank and considered religion to be her best medicine.
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Susannah Mushatt Jones, lived to 116
Susannah Mushatt Jones held the title of world's oldest person until she died in May 2016 at age 116. She said she has always kept up on her sleep and held a steady diet of bacon, eggs, and grits for breakfast. Her family told USA Today that her longevity came from her love of family and generosity to others.
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Ruth Coben, 103
Even in her 100s, New York City resident Ruth Coben lifts weights, practices Pilates once a week, and has been known to showed off her fashion chops online. She told Advanced Style, a fashion blog that features senior women, that her motto for long life is to celebrate every day and not look at the calendar. She also believes that as long as you are able to move, you can do some form of exercise.
After serving in World War II, marching with Martin Luther King Jr. and serving at the D.C. Superior Court, George Boggess lived to 104. His advice for living a long life: lots of walking. "I attribute my longevity to a great extent to walking, not being in the back of the car strapped down," he told Washington's Top News in 2013.
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Paul Marcus, lived to 103
Paul Marcus clocked in time at his local fitness facility, even into his 100s. Despite his dedication to keeping in shape, Marcus said the secret to longevity is luck. "One, you gotta have good genes," he told the Denver Post in 2013. "Two, you gotta be god damned lucky for 100 years. And three: Try not to eat anything that's healthy. It's true. I eat whatever I want. The secret to longevity is ice cream." Marcus died on November 21, 2016, in Denver.
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Misao Okawa, lived to 117
Okawa was the word's oldest person leading up to her death in April 2015. According to the UK's Mirror, she credits her long life to her diet of sushi, getting eight hours of sleep each night and relaxing. Japan is believed to have more than 50,000 people who have lived to be over 100 years old. This is often attributed to the country's low-fat diet, which is rich in sushi and fish.