Sardinia has nearly 10 times more centenarians per capita than the U.S., which could be attributed to a combination of genetics and a traditional lifestyle. The rare genetic M26 marker is common in this population and has been associated with longevity; due to the geographic isolation of the island, this gene is not prevalent in other areas worldwide. Sardinians eat a plant-based diet with pecorino cheese made from grass-fed sheep that is high in omega-3 fatty acids and drink wine in moderation. Laughter may be good medicine on this island – men in particular here are known for their afternoon laughing sessions in the street.
- Poulain M, Pes GM, Grasland C, Carru C, Ferrucci L, Baggio G, Franceschi C, Deiana L. Identification of a geographic area characterized by extreme longevity in the Sardinia island: the AKEA study. Exp Gerontol. 2004;39:1423–1429. doi: 10.1016/j.exger.2004.06.016.