Foods And Drinks The Oldest People In The World Swear By

An apple a day keeps the doctor away... or does it? This old adage has been drummed into our heads all our lives, but we now know — thanks to the least surprising study conclusion ever — that a daily fruit habit probably will not keep the doctor away. It might, however, keep you out of the pharmacy. JAMA Network, who studied the association between apple consumption and physician visits reports, "Evidence does not support that an apple a day keeps the doctor away; however, the small fraction of U.S. adults who eat an apple a day do appear to use fewer prescription medications."

But what about daily bacon? Or beer? According to these centenarians — many of whom have held the title of oldest person in the world — that's exactly what you should be consuming on the regular if you want to sail past 100. They might not be doctors, but their prescription to a long life is a steady intake of the following foods and drinks. And really, doesn't bacon sound better than an apple anyway?

Bacon, and Doublemint gum for good measure

When you live to be over 100 years old, you are officially allowed to eat whatever you want, whenever you want. If you want to eat the same thing every day, that's just fine, even if that food is bacon. So what if dietitians and nutritionists say that a daily bacon habit is a bad idea. So what if high sodium and high saturated fat and too many nitrates are known to contribute to a whole host of health problems. Do you think 116-year-old Susannah Mushatt Jones cared about any of that? No, no she did not. Because the Brooklynite ate bacon every day.

Mushatt Jones' niece reported that her aunt's meals didn't vary much: Breakfast was bacon and scrambled eggs, though it was noted that "she'll eat bacon all day long." Lunch was fruit. Dinner was meat, vegetables, and potatoes, and of course Mushatt Jones would "eat the meat first." She also had a penchant for chewing gum, specifically Doublemint, and was even said to have grown another molar at age 96.

What more proof do we need that bacon and Doublemint are the key to longevity and superior dental health?

A daily soda... or three

We've all heard the rumor about Coca-Cola dissolving a nail, and we've all been warned that drinking too much soda contributes to weight gain, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. Maybe that's enough to make you swear off the fizzy stuff, but if you're looking for two good reasons to keep on chugging, you've got them right here.

Meet Theresa Rowley. She's 104 years old, and she says she's lived so long because she drinks at least one Diet Coke every single day. "I drink it because I like it. I'm going shopping Wednesday, and I need more Diet Coke. I have a bag full of empty Diet Coke cans that I need to return to buy more Diet Coke," she said.

Then you've got 104-year-old Elizabeth Sullivan, who drinks not only one Dr. Pepper a day, but three. She recalled, "I saw the doctor and he said, 'Are you careful about what you eat?' and I said, 'Certainly not, I drink three Dr. Peppers a day,' and he said, 'Oh my goodness, that's too much sugar. You will die if you keep drinking that. But 10 years later he died and I had to change doctors. So I'm still drinking three Dr. Peppers a day and people said that's bad for me but you know, not very many people live to be 104. So I guess the sugar in the Dr. Peppers have kept me alive all this time." Well, she sure showed him.

Whiskey, and not worrying

Good news, whiskey lovers: Next time someone questions how healthy your daily dose of sour mash is, you can refer them to Grace Jones and Mariano "Pops" Rotelli.

The 107-year-old Rotelli seems to have the secret to longevity all figured out. For starters, he says you must "make every day a holiday, and never worry." Besides that, you've got to start your mornings off right. He attributes his health to the ingredient he adds to his daily cup of joe, saying, "I've had a shot of whiskey in my coffee every morning for 100 years. I went to the doctor three times in 100 years. He's dead. I'm still living." Can't argue with that logic.

For the past 58 years, 111-year-old Jones has taken a shot of whiskey every single day. She's referred to as "Amazing Grace" due to her exceptional health, and her daughter says she swears by her daily libation. Jones' daughter also credits her mother's good health with her carefree outlook on life — which happens to echo Rotelli's sentiment — saying, "She doesn't worry. She's always said, 'Worry doesn't do you any good at all.'"

Hot dogs... or maybe not?

We all know and love the hilarious Betty White, who at 96 is quite the youngster compared to these centenarians. Though she hasn't yet hit 100, she believes she's got some useful tips on living a long life. Similar to what others have advised, White told Parade, "Enjoy life. Accentuate the positive, not the negative." Aside from that, she reveals a love for vodka and hot dogs, "probably in that order." Sounds simple enough.  

But while White swears by booze and processed meat products, 110-year old Bernando Lapallo disagrees. He says his secret is eating properly, and living by the old rule that "you are what you eat." Lapallo swears by a diet of five foods: garlic, honey, cinnamon, chocolate, and olive oil. He follows his father's advice — a doctor who lived to 98 — when it comes to what he won't eat. Red meat (except lamb), hot dogs, and French fries don't make the cut. Sorry, Betty.

Porridge, but stay away from men

At 108, Jessie Gallan became Scotland's oldest woman, a title most people would be thrilled to hold. But she didn't seem too impressed by her momentous achievement, insisting to The Scotsman that she didn't have any big secret to reveal. "Ach, I've never known any different," she said. "All I would say is that I like my porridge. I have all my life." A year later, at 109, she did offer a new piece of advice, but was still committed to the breakfast she'd eaten all her life. Gallan told The Daily Mail, "My secret to a long life has been staying away from men. They're just more trouble than they're worth. I also made sure that I got plenty of exercise, eat a nice warm bowl of porridge every morning and have never gotten married."

And she's not wrong about the porridge. Oatmeal is an excellent source of fiber and necessary nutrients, it's low in calories, and keeps you feeling full, which in turn, helps control your weight. Basically, it's the miracle breakfast.  

For those of you keeping track, that's "yes" to porridge, and "no thanks" to men. 

Beer, on doctor's orders

Another centenarian, another recommendation to drink on the regular. But this time, the practice is actually endorsed by their doctors.

When it comes to a long life, 103-year-old Mildred Bowers says that it's the luck of the draw. "It's all in the genes," she insists. But there is one daily habit she credits with her longevity, and that's beer. According to Bowers, it's doctor's orders. Every day, at four o'clock, she sips on a beer that her doctor approved. As her friend says, "Doctor said it was good for her and obviously it is, still kicking."

110-year-old Agnes Fenton would agree. After being diagnosed with her only health problem — a benign brain tumor — her doctor advised her to drink three beers every day. Fenton recollects, "He said, 'Agnes, you must drink three Miller High Lifes a day.'" And so she did for about 70 years, also adding a daily shot of Johnnie Walker into her routine for good measure. All good things must come to an end though, and her caretakers eventually removed the booze from her diet, saying it was suppressing her appetite too much.

Three eggs a day, plus cookies

The debate of how many eggs is too many eggs has been raging for decades. Depending on your overall well-being, one per day might be just fine. But two or three eggs every single day? That would probably be pushing it. As you can probably guess, at 117 years old, Emma Morano doesn't seem to care. She says, "I eat two eggs a day, and that's it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth." That egg count is down from her previous three a day — two raw and one cooked — a habit she developed decades ago when diagnosed with anemia. Her doctor, Carlo Bava elaborated on her diet saying, "Emma has always eaten very few vegetables, very little fruit. When I met her, she ate three eggs per day, two raw in the morning and then an omelette at noon, and chicken at dinner."

If you're wondering just how many eggs that amounts to over a 90 year period, hang onto your hat — it's upwards of 100,000. 

Booze, but skip the fruit and dairy

A diet that gives alcohol the green light but excludes fruit and dairy might seem a bit odd, but it seems to be working for this 100-year-old barmaid.

Marie-Lou Wirth might sling the hard stuff for a living, but says she doesn't partake... too much anyway. She told BBC News the secret to her longevity is as much about what she doesn't consume as what she does. "Never eat fruit. And never drink milk or eat yogurt," she said, though she offered no explanation for her recommendation. She continued, "I have water with food. And a glass of something else... in moderation. If I had been a big drinker, I wouldn't be here now. But it's what I sell!" As it turns out, that glass of "something else" is her morning cherry brandy, which she sips with her first customer. If you can't beat 'em, join 'em, right?

Whatever the heck they want

The only real identifiable theme here seems to be that these centenarians eat and drink what they want, dietary recommendations be damned. And why not? They've made it this far. 

That's certainly how Misao Okawa lived her life. The 117-year-old loved beef stew, ramen noodles, and hashed beef and rice. "Eating delicious things is a key to my longevity," said Okawa, giving us further proof that carbs are not, in fact, the enemy.

It sounds like Violet Mosse Brown subscribed to the same theory when it came to diet. Her son said that his 116-year old mother liked small meals, preferring "sweet potatoes, Irish potatoes, breadfruit, and fruit, especially oranges and mangoes." He continued, "She like[d] fish and mutton and sometimes she [would] have cow foot, but she [did] not eat pork or chicken"

Maybe that's the real secret to a long life — doing, and eating, what makes you happy.