Secrets to Longevity

The Secrets to Longevity from Centenarians around the globe might surprise you, because they aren't busy hunting down goji berries, or exotic kelp. And their 'ways of being' create health enhancing biology.  Let's take 117-year old Emma Morano....

Raw Eggs 'n cookies - one of the secrets to Longevity?

We're warned against eating raw eggs - it's said they will give you Salmonella poisoning.   But Emma Morano claims that one of her secrets to living so long was eating 2 raw eggs every day!  She hailed from Verbania in Italy, was born on November 29, 1899 and died in April 2017 at 117.  I can't say my grandfather ate quite as many raw eggs as Emma, however, one of his much loved favorites in our was what we called 'egg flips':  raw eggs beaten into raw milk with cinnamon and a teaspoon of sugar.  

So you decide....salmonella poisoning or a secret to longevity?  Well maybe, the other secret ingredient to living forever is cookies. Emma Morano, says a CNN report ate a lot of them.  Or maybe it's not just the cookies but the fact that she ate them with a childlike joy according to her doctor, she ate lots of cookies with childlike joy.   'Gramps' (who lived to 101) ate two cookies with his morning tea every morning, he ate them heartily and loved them.  His favorites were my mother's 'crunchies'.  Whether you eat with en-joy-ment or guilt makes an enormous difference to your biology and how well your body processes food.

Could standing your ground be a longevity measure?

Emma Morano also claims that getting out of an abusive marriage in 1938 contributed to her longevity.  Well there is plenty research showing that happy partnerships contribute to health and longevity.  So leaving a bad marriage seems like a no-brainer when it comes to secrets to longevity.  

  • In the research of Julianna Holt from Brigham Young University, the quality of one's intimate relationships was ranked second to one's sociability and how often mixed and mingled with others in terms of healthful measures.  Way above diet (ranked 7th) or exercise (ranked at 6th).  
  • And in one of the longest longevity and health studies ever undertaken at Harvard, Dr. Robert Waldinger, claims that the quality of one's relationships at age 50 was more important than cholesterol levels at this age.  

She also had the gumption  to stand up for herself in challenging situations which is another trait that Centenarians appear to share.  She told the New York Times that she  "didn't want to be dominated by anyone." 

And what about maintaining self-respect?

This reminds me of my grandfather, who was taking part in an jury many years back when South Africa was still under the laws of apartheid.  He made the tough choice but one that would enhance his longevity.

secrets of longevity

Stories about my grandfather's longevity lifestyle

secrets to longevity

His son, my father, records this:  "Dad was called for jury duty at the circuit court.  One of the foremost local farmers, was accused of gunning down a black man with a 12-bore shotgun in cold blood.  Even though this was in the height of the apartheid era when the conviction of a white man for killing a black was regarded as likely, NOBODY wanted to be on THAT jury.... Dad was relatively new in the small drop (town), had started a fledgeling building business and relied on the goodwill of the populace for his family's read and butter.  His social standing was therefore not match for the accused, who was wealthy, hugely popular and something of a local hero.  The case dragged on for several days. Eventually the jury turned in a verdict of "Not Guilty".  

The judge was flabbergasted!  "Mr. Forman, was your verdict unanimous?"  Many years later when I asked my Father to confirm this story, he expressed it this way "Son, you could have heard a mouse fart in that room when the answer came, "No, your Honor, one juror vote against."  

Even though the foreman of the jury tried to insist on a unanimous verdict my grandfather refused over and over and even though it meant incurring the wrath of his white neighbors and the entire town, he would not allow the majority decision to dominate him.  He stood up for what he believed was right no matter the ultimate cost.

Other than cookies and raw eggs, what else did Emma Morano and my grandfather have in common - they: 

  • maintained their self-respect, 
  • they didn't give in to domination.  
  • They refused to live with self-regret and self-disappointment for the rest of their lives.

Your cells know....

Central to these secrets to longevity are that your cells 'know' your thoughts and intentions and react with corresponding biology.  Being self-respecting means health-enhancing biology, so does standing up for yourself and making honorable decisions.  And I'd hazard a guess, given what we know about the placebo affect that if you don't think raw eggs and cookies will harm you, they most likely won't!

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