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Inside the Oldest Living American's Diet—And How It's Helped Her Reach 114

The Texas woman and her family have given insight into the centenarian's healthy habits.

Most of us dream about making it to 100. But for Elizabeth Francis, that dream has become a reality—and then some. At 114 years old, the Texas woman was just named the oldest living American following the death of her predecessor on Feb. 22. Francis was born in Louisiana on July 25, 1909, but now lives with her 94-year-old daughter Dorothy Williams in Houston.

"It's just amazing," Ethel Harrison, Francis' granddaughter, told Today last August following her grandmother's 114th birthday. "We're so grateful that she's still here, and my mom, who's her daughter—she only had one child—is still alive also."

The 114-year old is confined to her bed and has some memory problems, but she is still alert and recognizes her family, according to Today. Francis told the news outlet that she did not have a "secret" to her longevity—instead crediting it to her faith.

"It's not my secret. It's the good Lord's good blessing," she said. "I just thank God I'm here."

Of course, both longevity experts and Francis' own family think there's a little more to it than that. They say some of her lifestyle factors have likely contributed to her long life, especially in terms of what she eats. Read on for an inside look at the oldest living American's diet, and how it has helped her reach 114.

RELATED: 116-Year-Old Woman With No Major Health Issues Reveals Her Longevity Diet.

She cooked all the time.

Unrecognizable woman making lunch in the kitchen and stirring soup.

A home-cooked meal can do wonders—and it might even help you live longer. According to Francis' granddaughter, one of the 114-year-old's favorite things to do throughout most of her life was to cook for herself and others.

"Whenever you went to her house, I don't care what day of the week, she was cooking," Harrison told ABC13. "So, I just think that had a lot to do with it."

RELATED: People Who Live to 100 Have These 3 Things in Common, New Research Shows.

She used many of her own ingredients.

A man with a harvest of vegetables in the garden. Selective focus. Food.

Francis wasn't stockpiling processed foods from grocery stores for her cooking, however. Instead, she was all about the fresh ingredients. Harrison told Today that her grandmother had a little garden in her backyard where she grew her own vegetables, including collard greens, mustards greens, carrots, and okra.

She would then bring the produce inside and cook it, according to her granddaughter.

"I cooked everything," Francis said. "If they'll eat it, I'll cook it."

RELATED: I'm a Longevity Expert and Here's Why You Need More Fiber in Your Diet.

She never really ate fast food.

Young Man receiving food bag from fast food drive thru window

Since she was always busy growing and cooking her own food, it makes sense that the 114-year-old never had much time to eat a greasy meal from any of our favorite fast food joints.

"I never saw her go to a fast food restaurant much, as like Chick-fil-A and all the places I liked to go," Harrison told ABC13. "She never did that."

She engaged in other healthy habits.

Red wine tasting at home: wine bottle, wineglass, corkscrew and candles on a table in the living room at night

But the diet Francis followed is likely just one of the factors that have contributed to her long life. When asked if she had ever smoked or drank alcohol, the 114-year-old had a clear answer for ABC13: "No."

Francis also regularly went for walks until she reached her early 90s, Harrison told Today.

"[She] took care of herself. She tried to do things to stay healthy," Harrison said. "Her life basically was pretty simple. She didn't go out to parties and stuff like that. She was more of a homebody. She would go to church."

Best Life offers the most up-to-date information from top experts, new research, and health agencies, but our content is not meant to be a substitute for professional guidance. When it comes to the medication you're taking or any other health questions you have, always consult your healthcare provider directly.

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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