So researchers reckon they’ve found the answer to one of life’s greatest questions, and apparently it involves a whole lot of wine, pasta and enjoying sunsets like this…
Acciaroli is a small village on the southern coast of Italy and apparently, upwards of 300 of its residents are over 100-years-old. Because of this, scientists have decided to set sail for this inconspicuous town and ask the question on the tip of everyone’s tongue: um… how!?
As NPR reports, a joint US-Italian research team, lead by Dr. Alan Maisel, a cardiologist at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine, have begun a long-term study of the centenarians of Acciaroli. While visiting, Dr Maisel actually found that of the residents over 100, almost 20 percent of them have reached 110 years of age. Impressive, to say the least.
So how has this tiny Italian town been producing so many happy and healthy people over the age of 100? Well, if you ask Dr. Maisel, it’s quite a surprising phenomenon. He noted that the people in the village don’t seem to be doing anything particularly healthy. “What shocked me is that I don’t see people jogging,” he recalled, “I do not see people in active exercise classes. I don’t [even] see them swimming laps in the ocean.”
Ok, so exercise is out. What about food? Well, apparently many of the elderly residents of Acciaroli are quite overweight – and smokers too! Baffling, right?
Dr. Maisel does have a theory for it though – he suspects it’s a combination of both good genes, and an unconventional diet. “Everybody ate anchovies,” Dr. Maisel mused, “Now, you know, I actually like anchovies on my Caesar salad, but I never thought they would help me live to be 110. But they seem to eat [them] with every meal.” He also recommends herbs – rosemary, in fact. “Every meal they have the plant rosemary in almost everything they cook with. Whatever form they put it in has been shown in scientific studies to prevent cognitive dysfunction and some ageing.”
The lifestyle of the Acciarolian people is very relaxed, as well. “In the evenings, in the late afternoon, they’re all sitting around the cantinas, the restaurants,” Dr. Maisel said, “They’re having some wine, some coffee… They’re relaxed.” It makes sense too – stress has recently been linked to an acceleration in cellular aging. Add that to the news that found that people who lived closer to greener spaces reported greater happiness and significantly higher life satisfaction than those who lived in densely populated areas.
Dr. Maisel and his team will be continuing their study for the next six months. I don’t know about you, but I’ll definitely have what they’re having. Is it time for an Italian getaway yet?