Besse Cooper, world’s oldest living person offers tips on longevity

Lia Grainger
Shine OnAugust 28, 2012

What does it take to live to be the oldest person on the planet? Besse Cooper knows. The American super centenarian celebrated her 116th birthday on Saturday, a milestone that the Guinness Book of World Records says only eight people have ever reached.

The oldest living person — she's held that title since 2011 — celebrated her birthday surrounded by friends and family in the nursing home where she resides in Monroe, Georgia. Cooper was born in Tennessee in 1896, and moved to Monroe to look for work before World War One. She's been living in the small southern city ever since.

So what are the secrets to her incredible longevity? "I don't eat junk food," was one tip Cooper told the Guinness Book of World Records.

Whether it's genes or lifestyle, we can't deny that Cooper offers some sound advice to living to a ripe old age: "I mind my own business," she also says. Words to live — a really long time — by.

[See also: Celebrities who've aged gracefully]

Cooper isn't the only centenarian with tips to share on living an extended lifespan. In his book "The Blue Zones", author Dan Buettner identifies five zones in the world where people live significantly longer than everywhere else: Sardinia, Italy; Okinawa, Japan; Loma Linda, California; Nicoya Peninsula, Costa Rica and Icaria, Greece. Buettner carefully studied what the oldest people in these communities were doing differently, and compiled a group of characteristics shared by these populations.

Apparently, those who live the longest in the world have a particular way of doing things, including maintaining an active lifestyle, having a purpose in life, having strong family ties, being a part of a faith-based community, eating very little meat, drinking lightly but regularly, and eating until you are only 80 per cent full.

CBS conducted their own poll of 100 centenarians back in 2008, and received responses that line up very closely with the values espoused by the elderly living in the Blue Zones. In addition to the Blue Zones ideals, the American centenarians said it was important to laugh and have a sense of humour, maintain a sense of independence, and stay on top of current events.

More from Shine on Yahoo! Canada

Food that lower blood pressure
10 ways to age backwards

Tips for better digestion

Melt away dirt, oil and makeup!

Try our one-step facial cleanser for the ultimate clean or our cleansing wipes for Purity on the go! Natural oil extracts condition and refresh skin.

Delta Reserve Credit Card

Earn Miles and MQMs with Miles Boost™. Learn More. Terms Apply.

Skirts and Shirts

Try This Soup, You Must.

Find Yoda and all your favorite Star Wars characters on Campbell's soup cans in a store near you!

Discover resort-style living in Warrenton

The Lakes at Brookside offers close-knit hometown living with Lakes, amenities & large yards right next to vibrant Vint Hill. From the $400s

Your Dream Home Just Got Better

Parkside at Westphalia townhomes have an Upper Marlboro address near 495, a spa, sauna, game room, theater, pool, tennis courts and more. Low $300s.

Always be trading with every possible advantage.

Trade Stocks & ETFs. Get exclusive tools. And pay $7.95 for online U.S. equity trades—less than TD Ameritrade, Schwab, and E*Trade. Open an account.

Tour the Most Beautiful Sports Courts in the World