They Drink Wine, Eat Fish, Bask in the Sun; Living Large at 90+

Italy’s oldest residents drink and smoke a lot, and will probably outlive you … 

(Peter Hess, In the rural villages of southern Italy, between the mountains and the Mediterranean,  lives a particularly remarkable group of people.

They spend their days outdoors, eating fish, smoking cigarettes, drinking wine. Many of them are overweight.

Despite lifestyles that might seem unhealthy on the surface, an astounding number of them live to be quite old — many over the age of 90. 

But it isn’t just good genes and that world-famous Mediterranean diet that account for their extraordinary health and longevity, a team of international researchers have reported.

Researchers from Italy, Switzerland, and the United States highlight a handful of psychological traits that play a significant role in the ability of these people to maintain their mental health into old age.

The elderly citizens display higher levels of mental well-being than their younger neighbors.

A positive attitude and a purpose in life 

“Exceptional longevity was characterized by a balance between acceptance of and grit to overcome adversities along with a positive attitude and close ties to family, religion, and land, providing purpose in life,” the researchers write.

The results indicated robust trends.

All of them exhibited high levels of mental well-being and low levels of depression and anxiety — all of which is rooted in their sense of purpose and relationship to their surroundings.

“The group’s love of their land is a common theme and gives them a purpose in life. Most of them are still working in their homes and on the land.

They think, ‘This is my life and I’m not going to give it up,’” said Anna Scelzo, first author of the study.

The oldest residents exhibit high levels of resilience and optimism.


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Also of interest: No One Can Explain This ONE Habit of Active Older Women