Only a handful of people live long enough to earn the title of supercentenarian, folks who live past the age of 110. This week, Alelia Murphy celebrated her 114th trip around the sun; born July 6, 1905, she’s the oldest living person in the United States, according to the New York Post. Murphy’s heart rate, blood pressure, communication, and overall well-being remain relatively healthy—so what’s her secret?
Natalie Mhlambiso, a nurse who made twice-weekly visits to the 114-year-old for seven years, says Murphy owes her health to a series of wellness choices—eating and drinking well, staying active, eschewing alcohol, and giving in to her sweet tooth—in addition to faith. “She doesn’t like water. She likes things that are sweet. She tells you she wants something like soda, ice cream, chocolate,” Mhlambiso tells the New York Post. Murphy has lived lived in Harlem since the 1920s, but she was born in North Carolina during an era when processed food didn’t yet exist.
Murphy also lives her life with an inspiring kindness. “There are many good patients but she is different in temperament, in who she is, her distinctive age. At her age, this is rare. This is history,” says Mhlambiso. Murphy still sends out handwritten Christmas cards each year and remains remarkably “feisty,” says the nurse.
Murphy is one of just 33 living supercentarians (all of whom are female), reports the Gerontology Research Group. No, I can’t play god and guarantee that you’ll one day be able to look back on a full century of #YOLO, but Murphy’s tips for living well are yours for the taking.
The people living in the world’s Blue Zones also know a thing or two about longevity. Find out what a 105-year-old women eats every day for breakfast.