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.
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.”
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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.