Living a long life may not be as complicated as we once thought. Researchers are now studying the long life expectancy rates among the citizens of a particular Italian village. While the results won’t be in for another few months, the researchers already have an idea about what may be contributing to their longer lives.
Acciaroli is off the southwest coast of Italy. It’s a quiet village, known as a fishing port and a once beloved hideaway for Ernest Hemingway. Recently this little town has gotten a lot of media attention due to their high number of centenarian citizens. Acciaroli has only 2,000 residents, but they have hundreds of citizens over 100 years old. This is quite remarkable considering that Italians typically have a lifespan of 81.86 years.
Researchers from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine partnered with the University of Rome La Sapienza to study a group of 300 Acciarolian citizens over the age of 100. For the next few months, the researchers will be taking blood samples for genetic analysis and send questionnaires to further examine the citizens’ lifestyle behaviors. The hope is that this study can help improve clinical care for our own aging population.
With the average American lifespan of 78.8 years and the average global lifespan of 71.4 years, there is a lot to be learned from Acciaroli. In fact, the researchers already have already noted that the group has very low rates of heart disease and Alzheimer’s. In their preliminary findings, researchers have also noted two factors that may be contributing to Acciaroli’s longer lifespans and they are listed below.
- Rosemary. The researchers believe that the Mediterranean diet may be contributing to the healthy lives of the centenarians, particularly herbs like rosemary. Rosemary is a key ingredient for Mediterranean food. It can prevent cancer, according to some studies, and also improve memory, which may contribute to the Acciaroli centenarians’ low Alzheimer’s rate.
- Daily walks and hikes. Acciaroli is nestled between the ocean and mountains. Locals are said to walk and hike long distances on a daily basis. This exercise is definitely thought to contribute to their long lifespans.
Check back later for more information on the findings from the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine.