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The USA's Oldest Person Lived to 114—Her Family Credits This Superfood

The USA's Oldest Person Lived to 114—Her Family Credits This Superfood

Lessie Brown's family said she ate one every single day, starting when she was a child.

Last year, the world celebrated the life of Francisco Olivera, the Spanish native who exclusively enjoyed the Mediterranean diet and held the title of the "World's Oldest Person" up until 113. There may be another superfood, however, that could be the dietary secret to living a long, healthy life, says the family of Lessie Brown, who was believed to be the oldest living person in the United States until she passed away on Tuesday at the age of 114.

According to Associated Press reports, Brown was born in 1904 in Georgia and grew up on a farm, where she was one of 12 children, before moving to Cleveland in the 1920s. She maintained two routines for most of her life: She attended Cleveland's Emmanuel Baptist Church, and she enjoyed at least one sweet potato every single day.

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Did the starchy, sweet-tasting potato actually help her achieve such a long life?

“Oh I don’t know. A lot of them say it’s because I ate a lot of sweet potatoes, but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know, God’s will,” Brown explained to Cleveland's WJW-TV when pressed about her secret to longevity during her 109th birthday in 2013.

Sweet potatoes have a reputation for being a healthy swap for regular starches, but are they healthy enough to eat every day? Data provided by the United States Department of Agriculture shows that a medium-sized sweet potato contains just 103 calories, 24g of carbs, no fat, and 7g of naturally-occuring sugar, while providing 4g of fiber as well.

Our best sweet potato recipes:

Twenty-four grams of carbs may seem like a lot for a vegetable, but they are complex carbs which take longer for your body to digest, meaning they'll help keep your energy up and make you feel satiated for longer. Sweet potatoes also contain plenty of fiber, helping negate some of the sugar intake you would experience at mealtime.

For those watching blood sugar levels, sweet potatoes are actually known to help keep sugar and insulin levels low due to their fibrous nature, which helps them earn a glowing recommendation from the American Diabetes Association. Sweet potatoes should be on heavy rotation for those dealing with inflammation as they're high in anti-inflammatory compounds that can help negate inflammation, and thus many other chronic diseases, at the cellular level.

Other reasons to love sweet potatoes? They're very high in vitamin A, packing upwards of six times the recommended daily value, and contain 43mg of calcium, 31mg of magnesium, 542mg of potassium, 62mg of phosphorus, and 22mg of vitamin C.

We won't know for sure why Brown made it to 114—she celebrated her last birthday in September, when she had learned that she had earned the title of the "oldest" living person in America. Her daughter, Verline Wilson, told the press that her mother said, "That's good," when she discovered the distinction… right before she most likely enjoyed a sweet potato to celebrate.


114-Year-Old Man Dies These 5 Foods Kept Him Alive

Bernando LaPallo was the 114 year old man who had the internet going crazy at how young he looked and that he never had any illnesses, had died. He died recently in the city of Tempe in the presence of his oldest granddaughter, Erika Chamberlin.

&ldquoHe died quickly and without any chronic illness. His heart simply stopped beating. He followed the same daily routine the day he died as he did every single day of his life. It was simply his time to go. He was at peace with himself and his life.&rdquo says Chamberlin. LaPallo was born in Victoria, Brazil in 1901 migrating to the United States as a little boy with his father residing in Philadelphia and later New York City.

He had never been sick a day in his life, used to go for a walk every morning and ate mostly organic fruits and vegetables. He has a recipe for longevity that he learned from his father, who was a doctor who lived to be 98.

The centurion even has written a book about how to live longer. The book, appropriately titled, &ldquoBeyond 100: How To Live Well Into Your 2nd Century&rdquo is one of his favorite accomplishments. You can find out more about the book here .

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According to his website, up until his death, Bernando felt better than ever. &ldquoI feel great,&rdquo he said after his 113th birthday. &ldquoI feel wonderful. It&rsquos all about obedience and moderation. That&rsquos the story. The key to my success has been obedience and moderation. I have been doing everything my daddy told me to do all these years. Obedience is the key. Moderation is the back up.&rdquo

On his 110th birthday, a local news station did a story on Bernando and he revealed the top FIVE foods that have kept him alive this long:


The oldest living American, Alelia Murphy of New York, has died at 114

Alelia Murphy, the oldest living person in America, has died at the age of 114.

When asked what is her secret to living a long life, Murphy said: “Trust in God and be a good person.”

Posted by WXYZ-TV Channel 7 on Thursday, November 28, 2019

Murphy, a North Carolina native who moved to New York at the height of the Harlem Renaissance in 1926, worked as a seamstress and had been widowed since 1953, CNN reported.

According to the Gerontology Research Group, which tracks the oldest people in the world, Hester Ford of North Carolina is now the oldest living American, and 116-year-old Kane Tanaka of Japan remains the world's oldest person. Ford was born Aug. 15, 1905, or a little more than one month after Murphy.

The cause of Murphy's death was not immediately available, CNN reported.

According to Time, New York State Sen. Brian Benjamin declared Murphy a "Harlem landmark" earlier this year on her July 6 birthday.


Georgia’s oldest person is 113 years old

A: The oldest resident of Georgia is Ila Sewell Jones, who is 113 and lives in Rome. Her son, Ike Sewell, has several thoughts about how she has lived for so long, but two stick out.

“The first observation is that she comes from a line of people that have lived a long time,” Sewell said. “The second observation is she’s a 5-foot-1 lady who has never weighed more than 110 pounds, and she always ate right.”

Jones was born Ila Arminda Stargel on Aug. 21, 1903, in a two-room log cabin in the Cane Creek community of Lumpkin County, just north of Dahlonega. The retired teacher is the world’s 13th oldest person, according to the Gerontology Research Group, and second oldest in the United States, behind Delphine Gibson.

Gibson, who lives in Pennsylvania, is four days older than Jones. Following Jones are Vera Van Wagner, born and living in New York, and Lessie Brown, born in Georgia but now living in Ohio, who were both born in 1904. Jamaica’s Violet Brown, at 117, is currently the world’s oldest living person.

A physical education teacher for years, she regularly worked out, even participating in exercise classes at the assisted living facility where she now lives until she was 105. Sewell said his mother takes vitamins and appetite supplements regularly, but no long-term medications.

The world’s oldest people often stick to routines, such as exercise and healthy eating, said Robert Young, Guinness Book of World Records’ senior consultant on gerontology and director of the Gerontology Research Group’s supercentenarian research.

In addition to her physical health, Sewell said his mother didn’t carry mental baggage and has an outstanding outlook on life.

A positive outlook is common among centenarians, Young said.

“They tend not to get stressed about things,” Young said.

When she was just 7, Jones witnessed the 1910 passing of Halley’s Comet from a hilltop near her home, Sewell said. Nine years later, just after the end of World War I, she began her lifelong career as a teacher, starting in a one-room schoolhouse in Cane Creek and then later at the Georgia School for the Deaf and a range of schools in north Georgia and Alabama, teaching subjects from math to physical education. She was married twice, and lived in Alabama, Texas and California before moving back to Georgia at 88 years old.

Jones lived on her own until she was 95, after which she moved to Roman Court Assisted Living in Rome.

Becky Sewell, Ike’s wife, said Jones still maintains her sense of humor, which her family sees on their regular visits.

“Ike and his brother went to visit, and [they] said, ‘Here are your two boys, aren’t we good looking?” Becky Sewell said. “She said, ‘You think I can’t see, don’t you?’”


Smuggling Food In

When the lake froze solid enough to support traffic, people were able to smuggle food into the city across the lake however, many died in this attempt. They could freeze, fall into the water, be captured or shot for their cargo, or they might run into army factions and die in battle. There was money to be made smuggling, but most who brought food into the city did it to help the starving people. The government brought in as much food as possible, telling smugglers that they were saving lives with every load.


Secrets to Oldest Living Family's Longevity: Genetics, Quality of Life and Diet Play Role in Sardinian Family's Long Life

Genetics, quality of life, diet contribute to a Sardinian family's longevity.

World's Oldest Man Jiroemon Kimura Turns 115

ROME, Aug. 22, 2012— -- Consolata Melis, whose family has been officially declared the longest-living family in the world, celebrates her 105th birthday today, and it's a party in her small remote hill town on the island of Sardinia.

Four of Melis' eight siblings -- three brothers and five sisters -- are in their 90s, three are in their 80s and "la piccolina" (the little one) is 78. On June 10, all nine a combined age of 818 years, 205 days, and received a certificate from the Guinness World Records for "highest combined age, nine living siblings." It took years of research to establish that the Melis' family holds that title.

Melis' family, a crowd made up of her siblings, nine children, 24 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren, gathers for a private celebration at her home this evening to share a large cake topped with candles.

Perdasdefogu, the remote town in the region of Ogliastra where they live, has about 2,000 inhabitants and is set in the wild Mediterranean-brush hills of inland Sardinia. Long life is no novelty to these parts. The Ogliastra region has the highest concentration of centenarians on the island, where there are 370 residents older than 100, or 23 for every 100,000 inhabitants.

The town's mayor, Mariano Carta, delivered a bunch of roses and a silver rosary to Melis this morning. "She seemed very happy today and in great form," he told ABCNews.com, and although she needs assistance when walking, is "absolutely lucid."

Melis, dressed head to foot in traditional black clothing and headscarf, now spends most of her time reading a worn prayer book she was given a long time ago by a missionary father, but she has always kept a wicked sense of humor, Carta said. "Make love every Sunday" she says with a wink when people ask her for her secret to long life.

Researchers searching for clues to the elixir of long-life in these lands have studied these ancient island communities for years now, and most conclude the secret lies in a mix of factors: genetic make-up, diet and environment, and a sense of belonging to a community.

Luca Deiana at the University of Sassari on the island has studied the statistics and personal data of people living all over the island. "The only thing one can really say now is that the secret to long life does not depend just on one factor," he told La Republica newspaper. "Genetics are important. This we know because longevity is inherited. We can see that the last names of the over- 100-year-olds on the island are often the same, but then there are other factors, like the goodness of the land and its produce, like the pears and the plums, which have properties that can contribute to long life."

Carta agreed. "Certainly genes matter, but then there is our quality of life, the tranquility, relaxed behavior and very wholesome, simple local food." He said that diet has a lot to do with longevity. "Sardinia is famous for very good but very simple cuisine . no elaborate recipes and complicated cooking methods, and little use of spices and sauces."

But the mayor says some people believe long life comes from an easy life, but that's not so, he said. "These were very remote towns until recently, with no electricity. The road to the city was only paved about 30 years ago. These people had a really hard and poor life working the land."

Over the years, six members of the Melis' family have lost their spouses, and some of the children have died. Most members of the family now spend their days at home surrounded by children and grandchildren. But all still keep active and are familiar figures in town.

Adolfo returned to Perdasdefogu after World War II and set up the main bar in 1958, where, at the age of 89, he still works. Claudina, who just turned 99, attends morning Mass every day, ever present in her spot in the front row pew. Her doctor has tried, timidly, to give her medicine, but she has always refused, telling La Republica, "I only have one illness, old age, and nobody can cure that!"

Consolata Melis, who received little schooling and speaks in the Sardinian dialect, said, "In my time women had to wash clothes in the river. My granddaughters have washing machines and dishwashers," she told the newspaper Correre Della Sera. When I hear this new word 'stressed,' I just don't understand."


The Oldest Man in America Is 112 and Smokes 12 Cigars a Day

Richard Overton is celebrating 112 years of life today. He's the oldest man in America and the oldest veteran, and believed to be the third-oldest man in the world. He was born in 1906, served in a segregated Army unit in World War II, and became a celebrity at 106. He once said his secret to longevity is, "Just keep living, don&rsquot die."

This is how Overton keeps living his life without dying.

According to a profile by the Dallas Morning News, Overton wakes up before the sun and gets his vitals checked by one of his around-the-clock caretakers. He starts the day with a Tampa Sweet Perfecto cigar&mdashhe'll follow it with as many as 11 more throughout the day. Later, he'll eat something sweet for breakfast, like a cinnamon roll or waffles, and at night something sweet for dessert, like ice cream.

He takes his coffee with three spoonfuls of sugar, and he drinks Dr. Pepper, which he calls "sweet juice." But his favorite drink is a whiskey and Coke.

Overton spends most of his days on his front porch, smoking cigars and greeting the folks who come to take pictures with him. He's outlived his two wives and he doesn't have kids, but he's got extended family who started a GoFundMe page to help pay for his healthcare. For his birthday, there'll be a big party in his front lawn.

Generally speaking, doctors do not recommend smoking 12 cigars a day, or even one. They don't recommend starting (or ending) your day with sugary foods, and they're not too keen on alcohol. But Overton's 112 with "no pains, no aches,&rdquo he told Dallas Morning News, and who would you rather believe? Here's to a happy birthday for Overton and a life full of vice.


116-year-old Japanese woman honoured as oldest person by Guinness

A 116-year-old Japanese woman who loves playing the board game Othello was honored Saturday as the world’s oldest living person by Guinness World Records.

The global authority on records officially recognized Kane Tanaka in a ceremony at the nursing home where she lives in Fukuoka, in Japan’s southwest. Her family and the mayor were present to celebrate.

Tanaka was born January 2, 1903, the seventh among eight children. She married Hideo Tanaka in 1922, and they had four children and adopted another child.

She is usually up by 6 a.m. and enjoys studying mathematics.

The previous oldest living person was another Japanese woman, Chiyo Miyako, who died in July at age 117. The oldest person prior to Miyako was also Japanese.

Japanese tend to exhibit longevity and dominate the oldest-person list. Although changing dietary habits mean obesity has been rising, it’s still relatively rare in a nation whose culinary tradition focuses on fish, rice, vegetables and other food low in fat. Age is also traditionally respected here, meaning people stay active and feel useful into their 80s and beyond.

But Tanaka has a ways to go before she is the oldest person ever, an achievement of a French woman, Jeanne Louise Calment, who lived to 122 years, according to Guinness World Records.

Guinness said the world’s oldest man is still under investigation after the man who had the honors, Masazo Nonaka, living on Japan’s northernmost island of Hokkaido, died in January at 113.


People in the blue zones consume about the same amount of naturally-occurring sugars as Americans, but only about a fifth as much added sugar — no more than 7 teaspoons per day. They reserve sweets, cookies, and bakery items for special occasions, usually eaten as part of a meal.

People in the blue zones eat about 2 handfuls of nuts per day. They eat almonds in Ikaria and Sardinia, pistachios in Nicoya, and all varieties of nuts in Loma Linda. The Adventist Health Study 2 found that nut eaters live 2–3 years longer on average than people who don’t eat nuts.


35 of the Most Beautiful Lighthouses in America

How many of these photogenic landmarks have you visited?

Some of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world can be found in America, from the coasts of California to the shores of Mississippi. Let these lighthouse photos inspire you to take a trip around the country, so you can experience the scenic beauty and historical significance for yourself.

This gorgeous red lighthouse is the tallest in Florida, and one of the tallest in the United States. Its history goes way back to 1835, though it was out of use for decades because of destruction and construction. It's been back in business since 1982, though, and was named a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

If you can't travel down to the deep South to see this Mississippi attraction in person, don't worry: The kind folks of Biloxi set up a live video feed from the top of the lighthouse so everyone can enjoy the view.

On the coast of Little Brewer Island you'll find the oldest lighthouse in the U.S. The first structure was built in in 1716, and the current one was erected in 1783. If you're in the area, you can take a tour of the Boston Harbor&mdashwhich includes this National Historic Landmark&mdashduring the summer.

According to the National Park Service website, this Bay Area beauty has "helped shepherd ships through the treacherous Golden Gate straits" since 1855. You can visit the lighthouse and trail on Sundays and Mondays from 12:30 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., weather permitting.

Looking to own a lighthouse? Back in 2015, this was one of six being offered for free by the Federal Government as part of the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000.

Diamond Lady Lighthouse stands tall above the shimmering sand at Cape Lookout on North Carolina's central shore, an area accessible only by boat. Built in 1859, it was painted with its distinctive black-and-white checkered pattern in 1873.

Michigan is home to more lighthouses than any other U.S. state. The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association is raising funds to repair Ludington State Park's Big Sable Point Lighthouse&mdashthe last of the Great Lakes lighthouses to become electrified.

This picturesque lighthouse has been a shining beacon along the central California coastline since 1872.

This charming lighthouse was saved from demolition in the 1960s and is today one of the most beloved landmarks in Lorain, Ohio.

One of the most architecturally sophisticated lighthouses in the country, this Rhode Island beauty is an impressive example of the High Victorian Gothic style.

Located in the Florida Keys and originally known as the Dry Tortugas Light, this iconic structure became America's most powerful lighthouse when it was electrified in 1931.

An early keeper known as "Ernie" is said to haunt this historical Connecticut lighthouse.

Located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine's oldest lighthouse (it dates to 1791) is also one of the state's most photographed landmarks.

Considered to be one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the world, this Oregon treasure now operates as a bed & breakfast.

Michigan's only barber pole lighthouse can be found on the state's Save Our Lights license plates.

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, this is Oregon's only surviving historical, wooden lighthouse.

This picturesque San Diego lighthouse operated for only 36 years. Built in 1855, it was decommissioned in 1891 after its location proved too foggy to show its beam.

Perched high on a rocky cliff, the Split Rock Lighthouse resembles something only Hollywood could dream up. Naturally, it made a cameo appearance in the 2013 film The Great Gatsby.

A black-and-white wonder, this whimsical tower replaced an earlier lighthouse (the second on the site) that was blown apart during the Civil War.

As one of California's first lighthouses (and arguably its most spectacular), this Crescent City icon has been helping mariners navigate the rugged coastline since 1856.

Noted New York architect John Norris&mdashwho was responsible for some of Savannah's most celebrated buildings&mdashdesigned this charming little lighthouse near Tybee Island in 1848.

Rising 193 feet above ground, this is the tallest brick lighthouse in America and it's open for full moon climbs on select evenings throughout the year.

It's in Cape Disappointment, but Washington's North Head Lighthouse is anything but! Visit this 117-year-old tower to take in sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean and Long Beach Peninsula.

With its majestic setting and quirky octagonal shape, this Alaska lighthouse tops our list of "must-see" places.

Accessible by ferry, this 10-room lighthouse now operates as a museum showcasing what life was like for 19th-century light keepers.

Miraculously, all of the historic support structures have survived on this preserved, five-acre site that contains one of Georgia's prettiest beacons.

Automated since 1966, the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse is kept by "Sarah," a blond, uniformed mannequin in the second story who watches over the site and guards it from vandals.