The town of Acciaroli, Italy, holds the secret to a long life

September 12, 2016

Scientists may have found the key to longevity into an Italian village called Acciaroli, where one in ten people live beyond 100 years.

According to the team of researchers who have spent the last six months finding out why this small town in the Cilento peninsula, located south of Naples and the famous Amalfi Coasts, seems to be the home to so many centenarians, the Mediterranean diet might be one of the key factors.

The scientists discovered that, in Acciaroli, the elderly people have unusually good blood circulation – meaning that their body absorbs all the nutrients and efficiently takes away waste products through the capillaries.

The team that focused on Acciaroli as the best place for a long, healthy life come from Rome’s La Sapienza University and the San Diego School of Medicine, USA: they analyzed blood samples from more than eighty residents and discovered quite impressive low levels of adrenomedullin, a hormone known for widening blood vessels causing circulatory problems.

The researchers stated that this hormone, “in a much reduced quantity in the subjects studied seems to act as a powerful protecting factor, helping the optimal development of microcirculation”.

So far it is not exactly clear what makes the elderly people in Acciaroli so special, but their longevity might be related to their diet and constant exercise. They tend to eat locally caught fish, olive oil and home-grown vegetables and fruit, but also a lot of rosemary – a spice known to helping improve brain functions, together with several varieties of local herbs.

Also, the elderly people of the region have been exercising regularly for centuries, by gardening and walking up and down steep streets.

The scientists are positively surprised by their discoveries: “We found that they don’t have the sort of chronic diseases that we see in the US such as heart disease, obesity and Alzheimer’s. We noticed that they don’t suffer from cataracts. Most people in the US, if you are over 80, you have cataracts. We saw none.”

The next step of the research will be a comprehensive study of all the centenarians in the area. Do you know how many they are? 2000! Impressive for a small and secluded village in Italy.

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