` Three Ways to Live 120 Years

Food & Cooking

Three Ways to Live 120 Years

Feb. 27, 2012
By Yardley Messeroux

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Jeanne Cal­ment on her 122nd birth­day (Jean Pierre Fizet / Sygma / Cor­bis)

Jeanne Cal­ment was born in 1875. She had one daugh­ter with her hus­band Fer­nand Nico­las Cal­ment, and they all lived in Arles, France.

Mariam Amash was born in 1888. She has 10 sons, 1 daugh­ter, 120 grand­chil­dren and 250 great-grand­chil­dren. Amash cur­rently lives in Jisr az-Zarqa, Israel.

There are two things that these women have in com­mon. They lived past the age of 120 and both have attrib­uted their longevity and youth­ful­ness to olive oil.

For cen­turies, olive oil has been highly regarded for its nutri­tional, med­i­c­i­nal and cos­metic value. Accord­ing to Cal­ment and Amash, addi­tional attrib­utes are longevity and the enhance­ment of aes­thetic beauty.

Per­haps liv­ing to the age of 120 is not a goal that all aspire to achieve. How­ever, liv­ing a rea­son­ably long and healthy life while appear­ing youth­ful doing so is some­thing most of us deem quite desir­able.

Cal­ment and Amash have tapped into the olive oil foun­tain of youth’ and they’ve shared their reg­i­men.


1. Sip two table­spoons of qual­ity extra vir­gin olive oil daily.

This prac­tice may help increase arte­r­ial elas­tic­ity and decrease vas­cu­lar stress to the arter­ies, reduc­ing the risk of heart dis­ease and heart attacks. Sip­ping a lit­tle olive oil daily can help con­trol blood pres­sure lev­els and inhibit the growth of can­cer cells.

Although Amash claimed that she drank 1 full glass of olive oil every day, this may not be a real­is­tic rou­tine for even the most avid olive oil con­sumer. Just two table­spoons each day will suf­fice.

Mariam Amash

2. Pour it on.

The monoun­sat­u­rated fatty acids (MUFAs) in olive oil are asso­ci­ated with lower lev­els of total cho­les­terol and LDL bad cho­les­terol.” It will also con­trol insulin lev­els and blood sugar — espe­cially help­ful for indi­vid­u­als with type 2 dia­betes.

Begin and fin­ish all meals with extra vir­gin olive oil as Cal­ment was known to do. Driz­zle the cook­ing pan or pot prior to cook­ing, and con­clude by dress­ing with extra vir­gin olive oil.

3. Apply extra vir­gin olive oil to the skin.

The largest organ of the body is the skin, and it requires care by way of mois­ture. Olive oil has been used for thou­sands of years as a mois­tur­izer and wound heal­ing. It also appears that it may pro­tect against DNA dam­age of the skin after expo­sure to UV light.

After show­er­ing, apply olive oil directly to damp skin as a mois­tur­izer. The water will help the oil pen­e­trate the lay­ers of the skin.

Other Tid­bits on Cal­ment and Amash’s Diet

Wikipedia said Cal­ment ascribed her longevity and rel­a­tively youth­ful appear­ance for her age to olive oil, which she said she poured on all her food and rubbed onto her skin, as well as a diet of port wine, and she ate nearly one kilo­gram of choco­late every week.”

Jeanne Cal­ment died in 1997 at the age of 122.


Also accord­ing to Wikipedia, Amash said the key to longevity is a healthy diet abun­dant in veg­eta­bles. In par­tic­u­lar, she attrib­utes her own longevity to drink­ing olive oil every day, avoid­ing alco­hol, and eat­ing a local herb Pales­tini­ans often used in sal­ads. She also stated that she expected to live another ten years,” accord­ing to the arti­cle.

Mariam Amash is still liv­ing in Israel today.

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