And so, as with every New Year, we welcome the quinoa-packed saucepans, virtuous jars of coconut oil and the herbal remedies which, we hope, will push out the carbs and caffeine binges of last year. The supermarket queue displays a thousand promises of health, wealth and well-being from slim, smiling models.
But in a world where a simple glass of red wine can have a thousand conflicting effects from self-declared health experts, what’s the real secret to longevity? Well, why not take a look at the evidence? Here are sage words of advice from some of history’s centenarians…
Mrs Caroline Trickey
“If you want to live to be a hundred be happy and satisfied. I have always tried to keep in the best of spirits. I’ve been contended with my lot, and never eat more than I want.”
And there’s one more thing we can all take away from Caroline Trickey’s schedule:
Miss Fanny Daniel
The North Devon Journal reported that:
‘In answer to a question as to her views on modern inventions, Miss Daniel laughingly remarked that they were “all very wonderful,” and informed us that the first ride she had in a motorcar was last March, and she heard the wireless for the first time a few weeks ago. “This wireless,” she added, “is a funny thing, but I reckon it’s all wonderful.”’
She advised that “Early rising, plenty of hard work, and plenty of good food, are the things that make you live to a good old age… I have always had substantial food- my people used to kill a bullock for the house, so you see I lived well.”
Mrs Sophia Ellis
“My breakfast consists of two pieces of bread and butter, with a cup of tea; for dinner I have meat and vegetables, sometimes a pasty; bread and butter for tea, and a cup of tea after I am in bed. We hear a lot about the injurious effect of tea, but I have been a tea-drinker all my life.”
When asked to what she attributed her long life, Sophia Ellis said: “Hard work and plain living”.
“I was left with seven children after my husband died, and it was a battle to get along. It meant hard work. This is the secret to health and long life. You can take it from me”
Mrs Elizabeth Ferris
“I don’t mind smoking,” said 104 year old Elizabeth Ferris, “although I have never smoked myself. I often make fun of girls who use lipstick and powder, though I don’t suppose they do any real harm.” Though her eyes weren’t good enough for reading, she did have the Evening Post read to her every day.
Mr Zaro Agha
Perhaps the most unusual of our list, Zara Agha was allegedly one of the world’s longest living humans. Born in Turkey, Agha claimed to have fought in six wars, including the Battle of Plevna when he was 100. He spent his post- centennial years touring Britain and the US.
According to the Dundee Evening Telegraph, Agha didn’t smoke or drink and ate a largely vegetarian diet. Dr Serge Voronoff asked him to take part in his controversial monkey gland treatment, which claimed to rejuvenate the patient by injecting tissue from a primate’s testicles, but Agha refused, stating that he “never felt younger”.
Agha died at the alleged age of 160. Doctors suggested he was at least 40 years younger, but the truth is still unknown.
Mrs Bridget Henley
Perhaps the soundest piece of advice comes from 102 year old Bridget Henley…