- Louise Signore of the Bronx turned 107 on Wednesday and said her secret to longevity was never getting married.
- The longest-running study on longevity seems to back up Signore’s theory.
- The study has found that people who married and stayed married and people who’s stayed single are among the two groups who live the longest.
- Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories.
A New York City woman who turned 107 on Wednesday said the reason she’s lived so long is because she never got married.
“I think the secret of 107: I never got married. I think that’s the secret,” 107-year-old Louise Signore told WCBS. “My sister says, ‘I wish I never got married.'” Her sister turned 102 in March.
Signore was born in Harlem in July 1912, the same year the Titanic sank. She celebrated her birthday with friends and family at a senior center in the Bronx, the borough where she has lived since she was 14.
Signore still lives alone and leads an active lifestyle, participating in exercise classes at the center. She doesn’t need a walking cane or wheelchair and does all her own shopping, her friend told the local news.
In terms of diet, she said she eats mostly Italian food and stays away from soda or cake.
What does science have to say about Signore’s marriage free-century?
The longest-running study on longevity, the Terman Life-Cycle Study, backs up Signore’s claims, at least partially, according to Psychology Today.
So far, it’s found that there are two groups of people who live longest: those who stay single their whole life and those who marry and stay married.
People who get married and divorced or remarry have shorter lives in general. So it appears that consistency is the key to a long and happy life.
Here’s what six other centenarians have credited as their secret to longevity, and whether their tips are backed by science.
Andrew Slavonic, 101
Andrew E. Slavonic of Pennsylvania turned 101 on December 1, 2018. In an interview with Fox News, Slavonic said his secret to health is the Coors Light he has drank every day for the past 15 years.
His son, Bob, who he moved in with two years ago, shares the daily ritual with him.
“Around 4 p.m., he tells me that it is 4 p.m., and it is time for our beer,” Bob said. “He gets his Coors Light from the garage beer fridge and enjoys a nice cold one.”
“The bluer the mountains are on the can, the better,” Bob added.
What does science have to say about Slavonic’s hoppy habit? While a recent study found that people over the age of 90 often drink moderately, severalotherstudies have shown that drinking alcohol leads to increased mortality.
Researchers have linked some lifestyle habits to longevity, such as exercising, eating a plant-based diet, avoiding alcohol and tobacco, and maintaining a healthy weight. But a lot of ageing has to do with your genes.
Violet Brown, lived to 117
Violet Brown of Jamaica was the oldest living person for five months, until she died in September 2017.
In 2016, her son Harold told the Jamaica Observer that his mother had stayed healthy for so long by eating small meals and never eating pork or chicken. Her diet was made up of “fish and mutton,” sweet potatoes, breadfruit, oranges and the occasional “cow foot.”
She also didn’t drink.
“Really and truly, when people ask what me eat and drink to live so long, I say to them that I eat everything, except pork and chicken, and I don’t drink rum and dem tings. You know, sometimes I ask myself, ‘Am I really 110 years old?’ because I don’t feel like 110,” Brown told the Jamaica Gleaner in 2010.
She said she thought her longevity had more to do with her faith. The devout Baptist said in the interview that following the Ten Commandments helped her live a long life.
What the science says: A recent Ohio State University study did find that people who were religious typically lived four years longer than those who weren’t. Laura Wallace, the lead author on the study, told Newsweek that “religious affiliation had nearly as strong an affect on longevity as gender does, which is a matter of years of life.”
LiveScience reported that the study backed up previous research, but that the findings did need to be replicated.
Brown’s focus on vegetarian foods likely helped her longevity, as well.
Adele Dunlap, lived to 114
Adele was once the oldest living person in the US before she died in February 2017.
During her later life, the New Jersey woman told CBS New York/AP that she was baffled by her old age because she was never particularly healthy.
“She never went out jogging or anything like that,” her son, Earl, said in 2016. “She smoked, and when my father had his first heart attack, they both stopped. I think she ate anything she wanted.”
But among the foods she did choose to eat was nutrient-packed oatmeal, according to NJ.com.
Susannah Mushatt Jones, lived to 116
Susannah Mushatt Jones was once the oldest person in the world before she died in May 2016 at the age of 116.
A year before her death, Jones told Tech Insider that eating a breakfast of bacon and grits was what kept her going.
She also took a daily multivitamin and blood-pressure medication with a glass of water and cranberry juice.
Her nephew, Lois Judge, said she thinks Jones’ old life was attributed to other things: the fact that she never drank, partied, or did drugs.
What the science says: Most studies say that regularly eating processed meat like bacon leads to increased chance of cancer and heart disease.
But, as mentioned earlier, avoiding alcohol and drugs likely aided in keeping Jones healthy for so long.
Ana Maria Vela Rubio, lived to 116
Ana Maria Vela Rubio, once Europe’s oldest person, died in 2017.
But during her life, her daughter told Spain’s La Vanguardia that it was her mother’s compassion for others and positive attitude that kept her alive.
Her daughter told the paper that Rubio “always sought the best for us, gave us the best education, has made us happy.”
What the science says: Compassion has been found to boost one’s health. A study from Stony Brook University showed a connection between helping others and increased longevity and physical health.
A 2016 analysis of multiple studies found that having “a high sense of purpose in life” was also linked to longer life and fewer cardiovascular events like heart disease.
Emma Morano, lived to 117
Like Signore, the former oldest person alive, Emma Morano, told The Independent in 2016 that her long life was due to “being single.”
The Italian woman left her violent husband in 1938, shortly after their only son died in infancy. She never settled down with another man.
Among her other lifelong habits was drinking brandy and having a breakfast of two raw eggs and one cooked egg every day since the age of 20 when she was diagnosed with anemia.
She also became a vegetarian out of fear that meat causes cancer.
She died in April 2017 at the age of 117.
What the science says: In addition to singledom, being a vegetarian also likely helped Morano live longer. Studies have found that vegetarianism is linked with lower chances of heart disease and cancers, and higher chances of living longer. As for Morano’s egg-eating habit, nutritionists told The Express that eating six eggs a week could boost overall health, which could ultimately help you avoid an early death.
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