Supercentenarians (generally people who live past 110) almost always get asked what kind of foods they eat. 

But if you expect their food choices to be consistently healthy, you’re in for a surprise.

  • Edna Parker, a US schoolteacher who lived to 115 said her diet consisted mostly of meat and starchy vegetables, and she particularly loved eggs, sausage, bacon and fried chicken.
  • Jiroemon Kimura, a 116-year-old Okinawan, recommended not eating very much at all, saying he would stop eating when he felt 80 percent full.
  • Bernice Madigan, another American who lived to be 115, said she stayed clear of medicine and vitamins, and ate a hot meal every morning for breakfast.
  • Jeanne Calment, a Frenchwoman who died at 122 and may be the oldest fully verified supercentenarian on record, ate nearly 2.2 pounds of chocolate per week and also loved Port wine.
  • Emma Morano, an Italian who lived to 114, ate two eggs a day: one cooked and one raw.
  • Jose Aguinelo dos Santos, a still-living Brazilian who claims to be 126 years of age, eats four meals and smokes a pack of cigarettes a day.

The lesson from all this?

Longevity is clearly not about the food, although Jeanne Calment’s 2.2 pounds of chocolate per week tends to support claims made for chocolate’s benefits.

If most of the supercentenarians have common ground it’s that, when young, they led very active lives.

Photo credit: iStock – sonia62.