STORY SO FAR: top-rated ways to live to 100

Twenty entries in to our ‘101 ways to live to 100′ and already one or two trends are emerging. Alcohol and religion both turn up in quite a few of our centenarians’ secrets to longevity, as does chocolate. So far, no one has mentioned genetics (though a few have mentioned ‘family’). And our surprise leader is mountaineering.

Our league table below is surely the only time these words have ever appeared in a list together:

9/10: Mountaineering
8/10: A loving family; Be happy and enjoy life;
7/10: A good doctor; praising God
6/10: One meal a day; sleep; hard work
5/10: ChocolateMonogamy; Guinness; Yoga; a lot of booze
4/10: Two raw eggs;
3/10: Work less overtime;
2/10: Bacon
1/10: Water from a wishing well
0/10: Pearls
No score: Good food; stem cells

Back soon with: Does a sense of humour help you live longer?

Secret no.6 Good food

Actually, this way to live to 100 is a bit of cheat.

Ruby Byford – better known as Peggy – celebrated her 103rd birthday on 23rd June 2015 in the Colchester care home where she has lived for the past couple of years. According to local media reports Peggy still enjoys walks in the garden. Her family also says she ‘eats for England’ and until recently she had a glass of sherry every day, with champagne at celebrations.

And these comments have, with a little journalistic licence, become the possible secrets for her longevity in the local newspaper report. Peggy appears never to have said them or to have claimed them as the keys to her long life.

So just as reasonably it could have said that a strong family was the key: Ruby has two children, five grandchildren, four great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild. Or an active working life: Ruby and her late husband Edward ran a small bakery and she worked in a pharmacy after the death of Edward 40 years ago.

Feasibility: n/a. Ruby herself doesn’t seem to have attributed her long life to any one factor, which may be very wise of her. If she had, eating well would certainly be a factor in longevity (assuming ‘well’ doesn’t mean ‘too much’) and there is variable evidence about the importance of a small amount of alcohol. Good walks could certainly help. But without Peggy’s blessing, we’ll let this one slide.