Rosemary May be Helping Italians Live Past 100

Hundreds of people from the small Italian village of Acciaroli are living beyond a century’s mark, and an international team of researchers want to know how.

A group of California researchers are teaming with colleagues from Rome, Italy to learn why denizens of a remote Italian village are outpacing the national life expectancy by 20 years. A long-term study is being set up by the University of California, San Diego (UCSD) and the University of Rome La Sapienza to examine 300 residents over the age of 100 and to understand the factors that are contributing to their longevity, low rates of heart disease, and Alzheimer’s. A key factor, the teams suspect: rosemary. The herb is widely used in many dishes, and it is thought that its potent antioxidant, anti-imflammatory, and immune boosting qualities might be helping these Italians lead long, healthful lives. Other factors such as an active mountainside lifestyle and a Mediterranean diet consisting of fresh vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats (including olive oil and nuts), are contributors, UCSD lead health investigator Alan Maisel, MD said, but that a six-month study with a full genetic analysis will hopefully uncover the secrets to healthful aging.

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