Tags: Obesity | longevity | italian | town | senior | 100 | centenarian

Want to Live to 100? Move to This Italian Town

Want to Live to 100? Move to This Italian Town
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:41 PM

U.S. longevity researchers are studying an Italian resort village whose elders claim to have more 100-year-old residents than any other place in the world.

Alan Maisel, a cardiologist and professor at the University of California-San Diego, tells the New York Post he has teamed up with the Sapienza University of Rome to determine why so many of the town of Acciaroli’s residents live so long.

Maisel took a vacation to the village — on the southern end of Italy’s Amalfi Coast — in August 2012 and discovered 300 of the city’s population of 2,000 have reached the age of 100 or more — with about 20 percent having celebrated their 110th birthdays.

He also learned the city low rates of Alzheimer’s and heart disease — despite a diet filled with cigarettes and wine.

“I was at the beach, and I saw all these leathernecked, tanned people in their 90s and 100s who looked nine months pregnant and were smoking cigarettes,” the doctor tells The Post.
“Things didn’t seem to add up: [They were] smoking and fat, but so relaxed and unstressed … At first, I asked if it was the Mediterranean diet, but they do that all over Italy.”

The study just launched in March, but Maisel has already learned two dietary staples may be a factor: rosemary and anchovies.

“Everybody eats rosemary — they all grow it, they use it as a garnish, they use it in oils,” says Maisel. Studies have shown the herb contains a chemical compound that increases blood flow to the brain and head that may boost concentration and memory, and even prevent Alzheimer’s disease.

Maisel adds that anchovies, which appear in almost every meal in Acciaroli, are loaded with antioxidants, which keep cholesterol low, boost arterial function, and cut down on inflammation, which is tied to a variety of age-related conditions.

There is also little pollution or industry in the town, which may be a factor. And the residents are physically active.

“There’s the beach and these hilly mountains, so there’s a lot of activity,” says Maisel, “even if they don’t take exercise classes or swim laps or do yoga.”

Researchers plan to collect blood samples and survey residents over the next six months to see what role genes may play in keeping these folks alive. In the meantime, Maisel suggests three ways you can add years and boost health by following the healthy lifestyle of the Acciaroli elders:

Get some fresh air: Spend time spend time in the great outdoors. Even walking in city parks or other green spaces that allow you to experience nature can be beneficial to your mental and physical health.

Avoid or manage stress: Stress destroys the function of your immune system. De-stress by going for an evening stroll or taking a yoga class after a hectic day at the office.

Eat good food: The Mediterranean diet — loaded with olive oil, healthy meats, fish, nuts, vegetables, and wine — has long been tied to health benefits and longevity. Maisel recommends following the diet and incorporating rosemary and anchovies, two key staples of the Acciaroli diet.

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Longevity researchers are studying an Italian resort village whose elders claim to have more 100-year-old residents than any other place in the world.
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Tuesday, 12 April 2016 12:41 PM
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