Sardinia is famous for being home to the oldest people in the world. It is identified as one of the five so-called blue zones, places with the highest concentration of centenarians. However, this part of the world also hides a super blue zone, namely the village of Perdasdefogu.
In this small town, there are nine centenarians out of 1,780 inhabitants, which is recognized as a record in the Guinness book. This is approximately five times more than there are in Croatia according to the same criteria.
What is the secret of the inhabitants of this place? Scientists studying the Perdasdefogu phenomenon have discovered several explanations for the longevity of its inhabitants. These are clean air, an active lifestyle, and a diet rich in fresh vegetables.
For example, Piuccia Lai, who celebrated her hundredth birthday on February 21, says that she never gets up from the table completely full. He eats little meat and drinks very little coffee. “There is of course the fresh air and the good food, but I believe one of the reasons for their longevity is their approach to stress,” said Luisa Salaris, a demographics professor at the University of Cagliari.
“They were born 100 years ago and certainly didn’t have an easy life – there would have been hunger and war. But they are people who have managed to adapt – if there’s a problem, they solve it quickly”.
In the garden, Adolfo Melis, 99, ate nothing but vegetables.
"What you put in your stomach is important," he points out, convinced that nutrition is the main secret to a long and healthy life. There is a lot of meat and fresh fish in the local diet, as it is an hour's drive from the sea, but the trick is to "eat little, but make good food", notes Adolfo, adding that it is also important to be physically active.
"Our environmental conditions play a crucial role. We live in a place where the air is clean. Our centenarians are constantly moving in a healthy environment. They collect firewood or work in their gardens. Another important factor is that Perdasdefogu preserves a sense of community.
The elderly still live at houses, not in nursing homes. Sociability is extremely important because if you have good social contacts, remember and talk, you live well," believes 100-year-old Vittorio Lai.