Top Longevity Secrets from the World’s Oldest People

You can learn a lot from Sardinians.

Top Longevity Secrets from the World’s Oldest People

You can learn a lot from Sardinians.


Sardinia isn’t just a gorgeous little island off of the Italian coast. It is also one of only five Blue Zones—a name that bestselling author Dan Buettner gave to describe five geographic areas where people live statistically longest (the other four are Okinawa in Japan, Nicoya in Costa Rica, Icaria in Greece, and the seventh-day adventists in Loma Linda, California).

In his book, Lessons for Living Longer From the People Who’ve Lived the Longest, Buettner identifies some characteristics that all four of these societies share, including moderate physical activity, a largely plant-based diet, and high social engagement. But in a recent article, USA Today writer Matthew Vickery traveled to this Mediterranean paradise and interviewed some of the villagers to learn their secrets to a long and happy life. Here’s what they had to suggest. And for more advice from the Mediterranean, don’t miss these 5 Italian Healthy Living Secrets That Will Change Your Life.

Drink Wine at Lunch

“Two fingers width of red wine, and no more, at lunchtime every day,” said Zelinda Paglieno, age 102. “I’ve never smoked, but a little wine is good for you—and that’s something I still do now. We have very good grapes here.”

The emphasis here, however, is on just a little bit of wine. “I’ve already had mine for today. It’s one of the secrets, but just a little. Don’t abuse it.”

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Work Hard

“Since I was young I have always worked,” Caterina Moi, age 97. “Salvato was a hard worker also. There were no machines to help you. We had to do everything by hand. When it came to working I’ve never said, ‘I don’t feel good, I can’t do this today,’ I’ve just got on with what needed to be done.” And while you’re working, don’t miss these 20 Daily Confidence Booster for Getting Ahead. 

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Eat Fresh Food, But Not Too Much

“We ate what we grew. If you wanted vegetable soup one day, you had to go collect the ingredients yourself,” Moi said. “We didn’t need to think about eating healthy. We ate what we had, and it was healthy.”

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Do Whatever You Want, In Moderation

“Go live your life, work hard and be active—and a little wine,” Paglieno said.

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