In 2013, a small village called Molochio on the hilly Mediterranean coast of southern Italy, home to around 2,000 people, made headlines. Among its inhabitants, there was an incredibly high proportion of people over the age of 100 – five centenarians to be exact.
As National geographic went to investigateone of them, Salvatore Caruso, then 106 years old, spoke of the secret of a long life. “No bacco, no tobacco, no venere— no alcohol, no tobacco, no women. He told the reporter that he lived mostly on figs and beans growing up and never on red meat. Domenico Romeo, 103, said the same – “poco, my tutorial–a little, but everything.
Molochio is in a “blue zone”an unscientific term for an area of the world where people are regularly recorded living longer and with lower rates of chronic disease – Icaria, Greece, is one and the Nicoya Peninsula in Costa Rica is another .
So what is the reason? Why did local people regularly live for over 100 years? Now EU funding and US researchers are coming to investigate.
One hypothesis is that the deprivations they suffered in childhood, the fact that they had very little food and were forced to fast for long periods, played a huge role in their longevity.
The planned clinical trial will take 500 people and divide them into two groups, giving one group the food eaten by people with modern habits and the other the food eaten by those centenarians and only at specific times of the day, as reported by Bloomberg.
Research will determine the impact of diet on longevity of course, but also of fasting. One idea is that fasting is believed to trigger biological processes that may allow people to live longer, helping to regenerate cells and protect against age-related diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and cognitive decline. .
The question that remains though is that even if people knew what might make them live longer, would they want to change their behavior?