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Disclaimer:  This information is not meant as direct medical advice. Readers should always review options with their local medical team. This is the sole opinion of Dr. Meakin based on literature review at the time of the blog and may change as new evidence evolves.

Major In The Majors

Jeanne Louise Calment
Photo of Jeanne Louise Calment from

The #1 Thing You Can Do for Your Health

There was nothing about Jeanne Louise Calment that stood out as remarkable. She was born in Arles, France, in 1875, a year before Alexander Graham Bell patented the telephone. She had a normal childhood. At age 21, she married a well-to-do man who allowed her to live a carefree life without work. She loved the outdoors and led a lifestyle of active leisure. She ate the typical whole-food diet of rural France in the early 20th century. She loved dark chocolate. After her evening meal, she enjoyed a glass or two of port wine. Her husband introduced her to smoking when she was 21, and she smoked one or two cigarettes a day, usually after dinner. Indeed, nothing about Jenne’s life seems out of the ordinary.

What was extraordinary about Jeanne Louise Calment was that she lived to be 122 – the longest verified human lifespan in history.

To put that in perspective, only 1 out of 6000 will live to be 100. One out of every 7 million will live to be 110. But Calment defied all the odds – out of the billions and billions of lifespans ever recorded, she beat them all, not by a small amount.

To be sure, she didn’t live a lifestyle that most health experts would describe as perfect. She started smoking when she was 21 and quit when she was 117. She drank alcohol and ate sweets – although in moderation. She couldn't access modern purported longevity compounds like metformin or rapamycin.

Jeanne’s exceptional longevity raises an interesting question: What variables matter the most to health and longevity? Genetics alone can't explain her long lifespan – careful research has shown that genetics only accounts for 20% of our health and longevity. Jeanne’s parents and siblings lived long lives, but not remarkably so.

Majoring in the "Majors"