What the World’s Oldest People Eat (or Ate) Every Day

Spoiler: They don’t necessarily stick to a healthy diet

Oatmeal is a favorite of some centenarians. 

It’s something we’ve been told time and time again: If you want to live a long life, make sure that you eat a healthy diet. But judging by the diets of some very, very old people, eating a conventionally healthy diet may not necessarily be the secret to longevity. We tracked down the self-reported favorite foods and daily diets of the oldest people who ever lived, and they range from reasonable to bizarre to downright hilarious.

What the World’s Oldest People Eat (or Ate) Every Day Gallery

It’s pretty clear that the foods that we eat play a relatively small role in determining the length of our lifespans. Exercise, happiness, overall lifestyle, smoking and drinking habits, and just plain old luck (genetic and otherwise) also come into play.

For whatever reason, these people just kept on living, some well past 110. Most supercentenarians, as they’re called, are regularly asked if they have any secrets; several of the world’s oldest women have claimed that not getting involved with men had something to do with it, while other supercentenarians swear by specific foods. And as for what they ate and drank (or for those still living, eat and drink), it’s as diverse as the people themselves.


Holly Van Hare and Dan Myers contributed to this story.