Signore enjoying her birthday. Photo courtesy of Jessica Layton

Bronx res­i­dent Louise Signore recently cel­e­brated more than a cen­tury of life. The spir­ited 107-​year-​old New Yorker was born in 1912, the year that New Mexico and Arizona became states.

Italian food. Italian food is very good for you. I was brought up with very good food. No soda, no cake.- Louise Signore, cen­te­nar­ian res­i­dent of New York City

Along with never get­ting mar­ried and exer­cis­ing when she can, Signore attrib­uted her con­sid­er­able longevity to fol­low­ing the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in unprocessed whole grains, pro­duce, seafood and olive oil. Recently, a panel of experts ranked the Mediterranean diet as the Best Diet Overall due to its links to longevity, heart health, and dis­ease pre­ven­tion.

Signore empha­sized that she is proud of her Italian her­itage and cited her adher­ence to an Italian diet as a fac­tor of her impres­sive health.

“Italian food. Italian food is very good for you,” Signore told a local CBS news affil­i­ate. “I was brought up with very good food. No soda, no cake.”

See more: Olive Oil Health Benefits

Signore was born in Manhattan but has lived in the Bronx since she was a teenager. More than a hun­dred peo­ple gath­ered to cel­e­brate her birth­day at a local com­mu­nity cen­ter in the Co-​op City dis­trict, which is in the north of the bor­ough.

Signore her­self, how­ever, did not seem to see the need for her birth­day to be an event.

She told reporters, “I’ve had enough par­ties.”

Signore is known for her vivac­ity, inde­pen­dence and matter-​of-​fact humor.

“She’s got no walk­ing cane, no wheel­chair. She does all her shop­ping. She’s awe­some,” her friend Deborah Whitaker said.

Signore has also never been mar­ried, lives alone and dances reg­u­larly in addi­tion to fol­low­ing a Mediterranean-​style diet daily. She believes these habits may have con­tributed to her long life.

“I think the secret of 107: I never got mar­ried,” she joked. “I think that’s the secret. My sis­ter says ‘I wish I never got mar­ried.’ ”

Longevity may also run in the Signore fam­ily. Despite being mar­ried, Louise’s younger sis­ter is cur­rently 102 and their mother lived to be 97 years old.

However, despite her over­all good health, Signore has faced some chal­lenges. She is legally blind and recently had pneu­mo­nia. Also, at 103 years of age, she expe­ri­enced a rob­bery and assault in her apart­ment build­ing.

Despite these chal­lenges, she still is full of life. Signore said she dances reg­u­larly at the senior cen­ter to get her exer­cise.

“If they have exer­cise, I do the exer­cise. If they have danc­ing, I dance. I still do a lit­tle danc­ing,” she said. “After my lunch, I will play bingo, so I had a full day.”

At 107, Signore con­tin­ues to live a fruit­ful sin­gle life full of danc­ing, friends, and Mediterranean cui­sine.



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