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The World's Oldest Living People Share How They've Managed To Live So Long

Updated January 20, 2019 11.9k votes 2.7k voters 236.4k views12 items

List RulesVote up the living (and non-living) legends with the best aging advice.

Have you ever asked yourself "How do the world's oldest people live so long?" Well, if you have, you've come to the right place - and if you haven't, you're about to learn some stuff anyway. While the lifespans of people seem pretty short in the grand scheme of things, we've compiled a list of centenarians (and supercentenarians) who revealed their varied secrets to longevity, and some of whom were, at one point, the oldest living people in the world.

While much of their luck can be attributed to good genes, some who have reached the 100+ mark don't engage in the kind of "clean living" you might expect. Would you believe some of the folks on our list partook in drinking, smoking and eating things like bacon their entire lives? While these things may not be necessarily related to living a long life, these centenarians will happily tell you otherwise.

  • 1

    Alida Victoria Grubba Rudge, 113, Kept Active With Brain Teasers

    Alida Victoria Grubba Rudge lived to be 113-years-old and credited her long life to keeping her mind sharp—she played cards and other brain teasers regularly to keep her on her toes. 

    She was born in Jaragua do Sul, Santa Catarina, Brazil, in 1903, and also said her secret was to "go the doctor regularly, have a healthy diet, no fried foods, and sweets, and drink a glass of dry wine before meals.”

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  • 2

    Emma Morano, 117, Ate Three Eggs A Day Which Were Prescribed To Her During WWI

    Emma Morano was born in 1899, which made her the very last verifiable living person born in the 19th century. She passed in April 2017. 

    She attributed her long life to genetics and her diet, which included three eggs a day (two were raw.) The Verbania, Italy, resident ate eggs and biscuits after being declared anemic by a doctor during WWI. According to Carlo Bava, one of her doctors: "When I met her, she ate three eggs per day — two raw in the morning and then an omelet at noon, and chicken at dinner."

    She also ended an abusive relationship in 1938 and said, "I didn't want to be dominated by anyone." She never married again.

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  • 3

    Susannah Mushatt Jones, 116, Attributed Her Long Life To Staying Single

    Susannah Mushatt Jones lived to be 116 and was also a bacon aficionado. She lived simply— in her younger years she didn't partake in smoking or alcohol. When alive, she attributed her longevity to staying single most of her life. However, she loved to indulge in lace lingerie from Bloomingdale's and startled her doctors from time to time by wearing it to appointments.

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  • 4

    Jeanne Calment Smoked, Drank And Lived To Be 122

    France's Jeanne Calment lived to be 122 years and 164 days old—hers is the longest confirmed human lifespan on record.

    She ascribed her longevity and relatively youthful appearance to a diet rich in olive oil (which she also used on her skin). She drank port wine every day and ate nearly one kilogram of chocolate every week. She smoked cigarettes from the age of 21 to 117.

    Jeanne had no real health issues and was active throughout her life — she took up fencing at age 85 (1960) and rode her bike until she turned 100. She lived on her own until she turned 110. After starting a small fire in her house, she was moved to a nursing home where she passed in 1997.

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