The tiny Italian town of Acciaroli (photo) on the Mediterranean coast south of Naples is home to more than 300 centenarians – one-third of village’s total population. But what is their secret to longevity?
It is well known that Italians live the good life – long, leisurely meals, excellent wine, breath-taking scenery, and a laid-back lifestyle, but does this contribute towards the unusually long lives lived by the people of this village or is there something else?.
A recent study by Dr. Alan Maisel, cardiologist at the University of California, has been launched to try and figure out what the people of Acciaroli are doing so right to live for so long. But he’s got a hunch – he suspects their longevity is due to a combination of good genes, healthy diet and life free from stress.
On a recent visit to Acciaroli, Maisel noted that all the residents of the town had two dietary habits in common – they all ate anchovies and added plenty of rosemary to every meal.
“Everybody ate anchovies,” he told NPR. “Also, every meal, they have the plant rosemary in almost everything they cook with.”
Anchovies are packed with heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids, while rosemary has long been considered a healing herb, and is said to soothe sore muscles, help with bloating and aid in the protection from carcinogenic compounds.
Maisel also observed that Acciaroli’s residents don’t seem overly preoccupied with exercise and live at a very much slower pace of life with rarely any stress. This slower pace of life might not work for everyone, but recent studies have found that people who lead lives with minimal stress tend to be more positive and happier – all factors that contribute towards living longer.
“In the evenings, in the late afternoon, [the locals are] all sitting around the cantinas, the restaurants. They’re drinking some wine, some coffee,” Maisel reported. “They’re relaxed and stress-free.”