Raw Eggs and No Husband Since ’38 Kept Her Young at 115 by Elizabeta Povoledo

VERBANIA, Italy — Celebrity came late to Emma Morano. Her routine life, in fact, might have raised barely an eyebrow were it not for the fact that she’s managed to hold on to it for so long.

One of the oldest person in Europe

At 115 years and nearly three months, Ms. Morano is the oldest person in Europe, the fifth oldest in the world and one of only a handful of people whose lives have straddled three centuries.

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In her time, she has watched Italy evolve from a monarchy to a republic that spawned nearly 70 governments in seven decades, with a 20-year foray into Fascism in the middle. She survived two world wars, and the hardship of their aftermath; years of domestic terrorism, and years of economic prosperity that transformed Italy from an agrarian economy to one of the world’s most industrialized nations.

On a recent chilly January morning, trussed up in hand-knit shawls, next to a warm radiator, she summed up her life simply: “115 years are a lot.”

Ms. Morano has no doubts about how she made it this long: Her elixir for longevity consists of raw eggs, which she has been eating — three per day — since her teens when a doctor recommended them to counter anemia. Assuming she has been true to her word, Ms. Morano would have consumed around 100,000 eggs in her lifetime, give or take a thousand, cholesterol be damned.

She is also convinced that being single for most of her life, after an unhappy marriage that ended in 1938 following the death of an infant son, has kept her kicking. Separation was rare then, and divorce became legal in Italy only in 1970. She said she had plenty of suitors after that, but never chose another partner. “I didn’t want to be dominated by anyone,” she said.

Gerontologists agree that there is no one key to longevity. “You talk to 100 centenarians, you get 100 different stories,” said Valter D. Longo, the director of the Longevity Institute at the University of Southern California, whose studies suggest that diet is an important factor in living longer.

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