Sardinian secrets for a long life

ItalianSide stories: Time Changes Everything (Almost)
December 27, 2012
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December 31, 2012

How would you like to live to 100 years old, still vibrant and healthy? Impossible? Not in Sardinia. Just ask the Melis family, who this year was declared the oldest living family in the world. The combined age of the nine siblings is an incredible 818 years!

The Melis family is from Perdasdefogu, in the region of Ogliastra of southeastern Sardinia, the Italian island known for having a large number of centagenarians. Consolata Melis celebrated her 105th birthday this past August. Four of her eight siblings are in their 90’s, three are in their 80’s and “la piccolina” (the little one) is 78. And what do they credit their longevity to? Consolata, who still has a great sense of humor, says with a wink, “Make love every Sunday.” But her brother, Alfonso Melis, 89, credits the local food and hard work. “We eat genuine food, meaning lots of minestrone and little meat and we are always working. Every free moment I have I am down at my vineyard or at the allotment where I grow beans, aubergines, peppers and potatoes,” he said. Claudina, 99, agrees. “You just keep working and you eat minestrone, beans and potatoes.”

So take it from the Melis family—eat well, work hard, and be active. It’s the Sardinian secret for a long, robust life.