The Food Rules This 105-Year-Old COVID Survivor Follows For Long Life

At 105 years old, Lucia DeClerck's advice for health and longevity was already worth listening to. But in the last month, the centenarian also became a COVID-19 survivor, making her life advice even more meaningful. According to the The New York Times, DeClerck was diagnosed with COVID-19 on the day she turned 105, but within two weeks, she had made a full recovery.

Her best advice? The power of prayer — and no junk food. DeClerck and her family shared her best tricks for living her best life, from drinking aloe vera juice and using baking soda for toothpaste to eating nine gin-soaked golden raisins every day. She also leads rosary prayers at the nursing home, and is rarely seen without her rosary beads. "Prayer. Prayer. Prayer," she told The New York Times, was primarily responsible for her recovery. But she quickly followed that up with, "No junk food," which also plays a role.

How do you live to be 100+ years old?

Advice from the 100+ crowd is often mixed: Some will recommend enjoying life and drinking more wine and eating more chocolate. Others will note that healthy eating habits along with regular exercise are responsible for their longevity (via CBC News). DeClerck's story is somewhere in between: A regular diet that does include gin-soaked raisins — but skips other junk food.

Typically, though, cultures that regularly see people living well past the century mark tend to have diets that are primarily whole food based, and skip ultra-processed junk foods, so DeClerck is certainly on to something. Often, these areas — typically called Blue Zones — also allow for moderate alcohol intake (gin and raisins not required), and tend to be very community-engaged, as DeClerck is with her prayer leading within the nursing home (via Inside Tracker). 

DeClerck isn't the only centenarian to defeat the COVID-19 virus: Two fellow New Jersey residents over 100 years old have also survived. 107-year-old Anna Del Priore lived through both COVID-19 and the Spanish Flu (via Forbes) and in May, Sylvia Goldscholl recovered from COVID-19 at 108 (via Twitter). The world's second-oldest person, 117-year-old nun Sister André, also had and recovered from the virus in February (via Smithsonian Magazine).