The Longest Living Men in the World: Ogliastra Region, Sardinia, Italy

Alba sulle spiagge d'ogliastra

Tucked away on a mountainous island off the western coast of Italy, in the Ogliastra region, lies a group of people where the men that live there are the highest concentration of centenarian men in the world.  Who wouldn’t want to live into their 100’s in Italy? They have great food, great wine, great music, great culture, great views, and great people.  So what’s their secret? Did Ponce De Leon go too far? Could he have just gone to Italy instead of Florida? No, unfortunately, there’s still no magical elixir that grants eternal youth…yet.  Longevity is all about making the right choices.  

What Do They Eat?

Most of us have heard of the Mediterranean diet by now.  The people of Ogliastra, as a matter of fact, their island is surrounded on all sides by the Mediterranean Sea. They don’t know what the Mediterranean diet is, because they LIVE IT.  It features mostly fruits and vegetables grown around the Mediterranean, as well as fish, cheese, wine, and olive oil.  Now we’re sure most of us when we think of Italy, we think of PASTA!  The region of Ogliastra paints a different picture, sure they eat pasta but their portions are smaller than in western countries, and the star of the meal isn’t the pasta but the vegetables, the sauce, and the protein that goes with it.  

The Mediterranean Diet is often hailed as one of the healthiest diets in the world, it embraces both good quality carbs and fats and doesn’t shy away from either.  Those of us in the United States would do well to learn a thing or two from these Italians! First on the list, move to an island in the Mediterranean! 

How Do They Exercise?

Ogliastra is tucked into the mountains on an island, both mountains and islands individually can create a certain amount of isolation, together you get a picture straight from the past.  The people of Ogliastra hardly have any monikers of modern life, including modern transportation. Mountains are difficult to trek, and the people of Ogliastra have to trek it daily to live their lives.  Hiking through the mountains to get everywhere is a great form of exercise, combined with the high elevation of the mountains this creates the ideal scenario for athletic training.  

Support and Family

The elderly of the Ogliastra region are considered to be sages, they take care of their elderly and revere them as wise sagely advisors.  They don’t view their elderly as a burden but as a blessing. This quality of care and attention to family can make the transition of aging easier, more manageable, and healthier.  So we all need to make sure we help our grandparents, it’ll help them live longer! 

So if we want to surpass our hundredth birthdays, we need to eat as the Mediterranean do, walk up and down a mountain all day, and our grandchildren (borrowed is fine) need to take care of us into our ripe old age.  Living in a beautiful place near the equator, with great temperatures all year round doesn’t hurt the quality of life either! 

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