123-year-old owes incredible longevity to ancient Andean diet
Bolivian man says quinoa, mushrooms and coca have kept him alive for so long.
Mon, Aug 19 2013 at 12:37 PM
Carmelo Flores Laura counts quinoa among the foods that have given him such a long life. (Photo: Aizar Raldes/AFP/Getty Images)
An indigenous farmer who may be the oldest person to have ever lived is perhaps the best inadvertent infomercial yet for a diet rich in superfoods.
Carmelo Flores, who lives in a thatched hut 4,000 meters high in the Andes, says the key to his long life has been quinoa, mushrooms harvested from the riverside, and constant chewing of coca leaves, reports NBCNews.com.
"Potatoes with quinoa are delicious," said Flores in his one language, Aymara.
Although Guinness World Records has bequeathed the title of oldest human being ever to have lived to France's Jeanne Calment, who died at the age of 122 in 1997, authorities in Bolivia are looking into documents to verify Flores’ age.
The South American country has only issued official birth certificates since 1940, but Flores says that his baptism certificate lists his birthday as July 16, 1890, he also has national identity documents that repeat the date.
What’s life like after more than 12 decades? He is still strong enough for his daily walks, but he spends most of his time lounging outside, watching life in his village of Frasquia pass by; he doesn’t have many friends left.
"Everyone who lived here has already died, men and women; I am the only who is still alive. Even my wife died," he said.
"I don't know how long I shall live," he adds. "Only God knows. He'll tell me if I will die or keep living."
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