Human life expectancy has been steadily rising among people in the developed world for nearly two centuries. In the first half of 2020, however, COVID-19 trimmed life expectancy 0.9 years to 80.5 years for women in the U.S. and 1.2 years to 75.1 for men. Yet there are still many who vastly exceed that and live a century or more, including the 1 in 7 million Westerners estimated to live past the age of 110. Each of these centenarians and supercentenarians (110+ years) seems to credit their extraordinary longevity to something different, so let’s review some of their colorful claims — healthy and otherwise — and see which have a basis in science. Just remember to take some with a grain of salt, as researchers believe it’s mostly a matter of genetics.

Woman rejecting more alcohol from wine bottle in bar19 / 38
BrianAJackson/istockphoto
Never Wearing Makeup34 / 38
Cecilie_Arcurs/istockphoto