An Italian village credits a healthy diet and “rampant” sex for several of its community members living to see 100 years and older.
Researchers have spent the last six months studying residents 80 years or older, including 25 centenarians, from the small town of Acciaroli – just 90 miles south of Naples – where one in every 10 people live to see at least 100 years old. During a press conference on Tuesday, researchers from Rome's Sapienza University and the San Diego School of Medicine explained the secret to resident’s longevity was their healthy Mediterranean diet and highly active sex lives, the Daily Mail reported. The study also revealed the locals were less prone to heart disease, dementia and other conditions associated with aging in the Western world.
Alan S. Maisel, a San Diego cardiologist who led the study, said longevity in Acciaroli is due to a number of reasons, but one of the most interesting factors was how the pungent herb rosemary may have been a link to old age. Maisel said that villagers ate rosemary – mostly grown in their own gardens – everyday.
“Maybe this does something that helps. We know that rosemary improves brain function,” he suggested.
He added that Acciaroli villager’s healthy sex lives could also be a primary factor for longevity. “Sexual activity among the elderly appears to be rampant. Maybe living long has something to do with that. It’s probably the good air and the joie de vivre,” he told reporters.
Other studies have shown that people who follow a Mediterranean diet, which is known to be heavy with fruits, vegetables, grains, low-fat dairy products, legumes and fish, have a significantly reduced risk of Alzheimer’s and forms of dementia. People following a Mediterranean-based diet were also less likely to suffer from heart attacks, strokes or death due to heart failure.
As for Maisel and his team of researchers, the scientist are hoping that their findings in Accialroli will cause other people to mimic the Italian villagers' lifestyle choices in hopes of living longer.
“What we would like to create is a sort of clinical scoresheet, a tool that says that someone who wants to live well for a long time should have a certain type of diet, a certain level of physical activity, a certain type of social life and a certain way of thinking,” Maisel explained.