Mystery of World's Oldest Human | The Secret of Living 120+ years

News Vale
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In 1875, in the quaint town of Arles, France, a girl named Jeanne Louise Calment was born. It was an era devoid of modern conveniences; cars and airplanes were yet to be invented, and horse-drawn carriages and candles were the norms for transportation and lighting. No one could have foreseen that this girl would one day make history by becoming the world's oldest living person, a testament to the extraordinary potential of human longevity.

A Century of Historical Milestones

Jeanne Louise Calment's life spanned three centuries, witnessing monumental changes and historical events. At 14, she saw the Eiffel Tower's completion in 1889. By 1896, when she married, Mahatma Gandhi had just moved to South Africa, where he would begin his journey toward becoming a global icon of peace. Calment's lifetime encapsulated the seismic shifts of the 20th century: she was 39 when World War I erupted, 59 when Hitler's rise preluded World War II, and 72 when India gained independence under Prime Minister Nehru.

By the time humans first set foot on the moon in 1969, Jeanne was 94. She moved to a nursing home at 110 and gained global attention for her longevity. When she passed away at the age of 122 in 1997, the world had entered the digital age of computers and the internet.

The Search for Longevity Secrets

Jeanne Louise Calment's extraordinary lifespan raises the question: what enabled her to live so long? While luck undoubtedly played a part, research suggests that lifestyle and environment significantly impact longevity. The Danish twin study of the late 19th century concluded that genes dictate only 20% of lifespan, while lifestyle and environment account for 80%. This implies that our daily habits and surroundings are crucial determinants of how long we live.

To uncover the secrets of longevity, explorer and author Dan Buettner embarked on a mission in the early 2000s. Collaborating with anthropologists, historians, dietitians, and geneticists, Buettner identified five regions with the highest concentration of centenarians—people who live to be 100 or older. These regions, dubbed Blue Zones, include Sardinia (Italy), Okinawa (Japan), Loma Linda (California, USA), Ikaria (Greece), and the Nicoya Peninsula (Costa Rica).

Nine Lifestyle Habits for Longevity

Buettner's research distilled nine common lifestyle habits from these Blue Zones, which he called the Power 9. These habits offer valuable insights into living a longer, healthier life.

1. Move Naturally

In Blue Zones, people engage in natural physical activity throughout the day. They walk, garden, and perform daily chores without relying on modern conveniences like cars. This constant movement contrasts sharply with modern sedentary lifestyles. Studies show that even 11 minutes of daily walking can reduce the risk of premature death by 25%.

2. Purpose

Having a sense of purpose, known as "Ikigai" in Okinawa and "Plan de Vida" in Nicoya, can add years to your life. Purpose provides motivation and fulfillment, contributing to mental and emotional well-being.

3. Downshift

Blue Zone inhabitants have routines to manage stress, such as prayer, meditation, naps, and socializing. Chronic stress accelerates aging and increases the risk of numerous diseases. Reducing stress through daily rituals can significantly improve health.

4. 80% Rule

The Okinawan principle of "Hara Hachi Bu" advises eating until 80% full. This practice, similar to ancient Ayurvedic teachings, helps prevent overeating and promotes longevity. Scientific research supports the benefits of calorie restriction for extending lifespan.

5. Plant Slant

A predominantly plant-based diet, rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and legumes, is common in Blue Zones. These diets are associated with lower risks of chronic diseases and contribute to longer lifespans.

6. Wine at 5

Moderate alcohol consumption, particularly red wine, is practiced in some Blue Zones. However, the latest research suggests that any alcohol consumption can be harmful, so it may be better to focus on the beneficial compounds found in grapes and grape juice.

7. Belong

A strong sense of community and belonging is vital. Nearly all centenarians interviewed were part of a faith-based community or engaged in community service. Social connections and support systems play a crucial role in emotional health and longevity.

8. Loved Ones First

Family is a priority in Blue Zones. People often live close to or with their aging parents and grandparents, and invest time in their children. Strong family bonds provide emotional support and stability.

9. Right Tribe

Social networks influence health behaviors. Blue Zone inhabitants surround themselves with people who practice healthy habits, creating an environment that supports long-term well-being.

Can These Habits Be Adopted Elsewhere?

While Blue Zones offer a blueprint for longevity, their principles can be applied anywhere. Singapore, for instance, is emerging as a modern Blue Zone. Government policies promote healthy living through subsidies for nutritious food, taxes on junk food, and urban designs that encourage walking. These measures have significantly increased life expectancy in Singapore.


Jeanne Louise Calment's record-breaking lifespan exemplifies the potential for human longevity. While genetics play a role, lifestyle and environment are far more influential. By adopting the Power 9 habits, we can enhance our chances of living longer, healthier lives. While breaking Calment's record may require a stroke of luck, embracing these principles can undoubtedly help us lead fuller, more vibrant lives.

Disclaimer: This article is for informational purposes only and should not be considered as medical advice. Always consult with a healthcare professional for medical concerns and before making any significant lifestyle changes.