Meet Emma Morano of Italy, who was born in 1899 and has attained the status of both “oldest living person” and “only person born in the 19th century”. She turned 117 on November 29.
Click on the screenshot below to go to a video of the world’s oldest woman. Be sure to turn the sound on.
The New York Times also documents her life, which was tough. But thanks to her diet of three eggs per day (according to the video, two raw and one fried), she’s still here. Times writer Elisabetta Polvoledo says this:
I wrote about Ms. Morano two years ago, when she was only 115, and she told me she believed that her secret to longevity was eating three raw eggs a day and remaining single.
Ms. Morano has no doubts about how she made it this long: Her elixir for longevity consists of raw eggs, which she has been eating — three per day [JAC: note disparity between Reuters video and this piece] — since her teens when a doctor recommended them to counter anemia. Assuming she has been true to her word, Ms. Morano would have consumed around 100,000 eggs in her lifetime, give or take a thousand, cholesterol be damned.
She is also convinced that being single for most of her life, after an unhappy marriage that ended in 1938 following the death of an infant son, has kept her kicking. Separation was rare then, and divorce became legal in Italy only in 1970. She said she had plenty of suitors after that, but never chose another partner. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.
Ms. Morano, who has cut back to two eggs a day, lives a very simple life. She has been homebound for some years, and her diet remains Spartan, if unorthodox: In addition to eggs, she eats bananas and ladyfinger cookies.
Of course when all these people are asked the “secret of longevity”, they say the same thing, which is basically “do what I did.” Still there’s some wisdom in the following:
Ms. Morano’s doctor of nearly two decades, Carlo Bava, said that despite her age, his patient was still in excellent health, and her memory sharp. “She’s in great form,” he said. “And I think she’s happy to have made it to this birthday.”
Diet aside, Dr. Bava said he thought Ms. Morano had lived such a long life because she was cared for. “The secret is in growing old with people who love you, which is different from growing old and being put up with,” he said.
But maybe there’s something to eggs after all. I just remember that the world’s oldest cat, Creme Puff, who lived to be 38 years and 3 days old (!!!!), was fed on a diet of asparagus, coffee with heavy cream, broccoli, and bacon and eggs.