Official studies have claimed that in order to live a very long life, it is important to maintain friendships, to keep a positive attitude, not to stress out too much, and to just have really amazing genes. Apparently, it also helps if you are a woman. But can that be it? Or is there an ultimate, literal life hack that we are all missing? Here are some seemingly odd ways that centenarians and supercentenarians (a person who lives at least 110 years) claimed helped them live such a long time.


When he turned 108 years old, former Army Chaplain and minister Reg Dean gave out the usual spiel on the secrets to longevity, claiming there were five things to remember: "Good friends, a religion, looking for the best in people not the worst, and being a vegetarian for 30 years have all helped ... but I can't remember the other one." Two years later, his son filled the press in on what that fifth secret was: "When he was out in India, just before World War I, he was given an elixir by a local there. He did a favour for one of the locals and this guy said, 'drink this and you'll live til at least 100.'" Dean supposedly drank the "muddy mixture," and lived to be 110.


Jeanne Calment passed away on August 4, 1997 at the age of 122 years and 164 days old, still the longest confirmed human lifespan on record. The Arles, France-born Calment—who recalled witnessing the Eiffel Tower being built—smoked two cigarettes a day for almost 100 years. The habit was so strong that Calment only quit when she was 117 and too blind to see well enough to light her own cigarettes. Jeanne credited her long, long, long life to drinking Port wine every day, eating two pounds of chocolate every week, and keeping a sense of humor. Most prevalent of all was extra virgin olive oil—Clement consumed a rich diet of the stuff, which she put in everything but milk, and also rubbed on her skin.


Besse Berry Cooper-Brown was a retired Georgia school teacher who lived to be 116. She took pride in her mostly spotless voting record—since 1920, when the 19th Amendment was passed allowing women to vote, she had only missed voting twice. Those two years were 2012, when her health was finally starting to fail her, and in 1948, when she was one of many who erroneously believed that a Thomas Dewey victory was a lock.

Cooper predictably credited refusing to eat junk food as one reason for living so long, but she also said that her secret was "staying out of others' business."


Susannah "Miss Susie" Mushatt Jones is currently the oldest living resident of New York. As a reward for never smoking, drinking alcohol, partying, wearing makeup, or dyeing her hair, the 115-year-old Jones enjoys eating four strips of bacon every morning, in addition to scrambled eggs and grits. One of her nieces claimed that if she doesn't have her gum, barbecue chicken, or beloved bacon, you'll get "told off." Another niece theorized that only being married for "about five years" and never having children was good for Susannah's health.


Emma Morano is currently the oldest living person in Europe. Morano too made a point to mention that she enjoys chocolate on occasion, but Emma also consumes three eggs and drinks a glass of homemade brandy every day.

Staten Island, New York resident Nancy Lamperti, 101, was born in Italy, and she also drinks alcohol—but unlike Emma, she drinks wine. And Southern Comfort. And Budweiser. Every day.


Christian Mortensen passed away in 1998 at 115 years and 252 days old. He gave credit to living for so long to friends, no alcohol, staying positive, singing, a good cigar, and drinking lots of good water—specifically, boiled water. He claimed that moderation was the key to being able to smoke cigars throughout his long life.

Another supercentenarian cigar aficionado was Walter Breuning, a man who remembered getting his first haircut on the day of the assassination of President William McKinley. Breuning actually quit smoking when he turned 103 because they became too expensive, but started smoking again years later when he began receiving cigars as gifts.


Jiroemon Kimura passed away last June at 116 years and 54 days old, and is currently the verified oldest man in recorded history. A former post office worker, Kimura lived in his later years with his grandson's widow in a two-story wooden house. He ate a breakfast of porridge and miso soup with potatoes and vegetables every day, kept a positive attitude, and always paid attention to contemporary politics in his native Japan. His motto was “to eat light and live long," never smoking, only moderately drinking alcohol, and eating until he is 80 percent full. How you can tell exactly when you are 80 percent full is something that Kimura never got a chance to elaborate on.


Maine native Fred Hale Sr. was 113 when he passed away in November 2004, a few weeks after witnessing his beloved Boston Red Sox win the World Series for the first time in 86 years. At 108, he became the Guinness record holder for oldest driver and was allegedly still getting annoyed at people he believed to be driving too slowly. Fred said he partook in the "occasional nip" of whiskey, and every day ate bee pollen and honey. His snack choice might have something to do with the fact that Hale retired in 1957 as a railroad postal worker, and beekeeper.