The oldest person ever documented was a French woman who was 122 years old when she passed! Her name was Jeanne Calment. She was born in February 1875 and died in August 1997. She remembered the Eiffel Tower being built and she actually met Vincent Van Gogh! Almost as fascinating as how long she lived was her lifestyle:
- At 85, she took up fencing.
- She rode her bike until she was 100.
- She continued to walk until she was 110.
- She smoked two cigarettes a day until she was 117.
- She used a lot of olive oil.
- She drank Port wine.
- She ate two pounds of chocolate per week.
So, if you are like me, after reading about Jeanne's lifestyle, you probably have several questions:
- What was it that made her quit smoking at 117? Did she suddenly decide: "Man, I have to quit these, they will be the death of me someday!"
- What am I wasting my time on eating healthy for? Bring on the Italian food, Port wine and chocolate!
To be fair, Jeanne also attributed her longevity to attitude as well:
"If you can't do anything about it, don't worry about it."
- Madam Calment
This, in fact, may have been her most important contribution to longevity, especially in today's society. On the surface, Jeanne appears to have defied all reason and lived how she wanted, and still made it to 122. But consider the following:
- She obviously stayed active and "exercise" was a part of her lifestyle.
- She lived in a time and place where preservatives and additives in food either did not exist, or were not likely present for many, many, many years!
- She utilized olive oil, which is a healthy fat.
- She lived her entire life close to the ocean and in a rather temperate climate, meaning her food source likely consisted of seafood, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
- The wine she drank has a high content of resveratrol, a strong antioxidant.
- The chocolate she ate was not likely a Snickers Bar, but dark chocolate, which is also known for it's strong antioxidants and health benefits.
- And she smoked... I have no idea what to say about that!
And finally, there is her attitude about stress. How do you find fault with that?
There is a lot more you could explore in the French culture, especially regarding how they eat. But I think I will leave it at this. Since Jeanne lived (a very long time) and died in the Mediterranean, we are going to take a closer look at the Mediterranean Diet next week, one of the more common approaches to healthy and tasty eating!
To Your Health,
Dr. Doug Williams Care Chiropractic Lafayette, Indiana