The villagers, who live in Acciaroli, a remote coastal community, have very low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s, and their lifestyle and diets are being researched for the very first time by the University of California at San Diego.
Although the research has only just started, researchers have so far discovered that the villagers eat a healthy Mediterranean diet – but with their own twist: they add rosemary to most meals. They also walk long distances every day and hike through the surrounding mountains as part of their daily life.
In a separate study into longevity, Japanese researchers have discovered that the elderly are low in antioxidants. After people reach the age of 65, they should eat more foods that are rich in antioxidants. They should also exercise to maintain muscle strength, as this diminished as we age.
Researchers from the Okinawa Institute of Science and Technology made the discovery after they analysed metabolites – substances that are created during metabolism – that are related to the ageing process.
(Sources: Italian study: University of California at San Diego; Japanese study: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 2016; 201603023)