Acciaroli, located in south west Italy, is probably a great place to retire. After all, the businesses and shops must cater to the extraordinarily high number of centenarians that reside there.
Over 10% of the small town of 700 is 100 years or older, and the hidden secret of a village is now the focus of a study to figure out why its residents live so long.
Researchers from Rome’s Sapienza University and the San Diego School of Medicine spent six months on a study in the area, where they noted that the region’s elderly have abnormally strong blood circulation for their age.
They examined blood samples from over 80 residents, finding extremely low levels of adrenomedullin, a hormone that widens blood vessels. To put their adrenomedullin levels into perspective, they mirrored the results in what you’d find in a person in their 20s or 30s. Elevated levels of the hormone can lead to blood vessels contracting, causing circulatory problems or other problematic health ailments.
While they found part of the reason these Italian villagers persist for 100 years, they did not pinpoint the reason for this phenomenon. But, they do believe it’s related to diet and/or exercise.
The study did find one element in common amongst their study group: all the locals eat rosemary, which is believed to improve brain function. Local rosemary is on deck for another round of studies in relation to longevity in the region.
“When we tested it, we found a dozen different compounds in there. Scientific studies have shown that acids help the function of the brain,” Dr. Alan Maisel, a cardiologist from the School of Medicine at the University of California San Diego, said in an interview with The Telegraph.
The residents of Acciaroli also experience less disease than those living in western counties.
“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,” Dr. Maisel continued.
“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.”