We're fascinated by the lucky few who manage to live into the triple digits. And the population of these centenarians in the U.S. seems to be growing rapidly, with a 44 percent increase since 2000 putting the current number of 100-somethings at over 72,000.
Some consider living such a long life to be akin to winning the "genetic lottery," but perhaps there's something about these centenarians' habits that we can all learn from to live our best, longest lives.
1. Eat anti-inflammatory foods.
Senior athlete Fred Winter is still competing in track and field events at the ripe old age of 100. His secret? He eats loads of blueberries and salmon, his wife told The Huffington Post last year.
Though Fred eats them for their health benefits, scientists now believe that low levels of inflammation are the key to living a long life. Inflammation is believed to cause a number of chronic diseases. Blueberries are loaded with antioxidants and salmon is rich in omega-3 fatty acids which can both help reduce inflammation.
2. Take naps.
Birthday girl Flossie Dickey became a viral internet sensation on her 110th birthday when she wasn't interested in being interviewed by a TV crew. It seems she'd rather be sleeping.
Dickey said she naps as often as she can, which is also one of the habits of the people in Ikaria, Greece. The small island has been dubbed a "Blue Zone" where an unusual number of people live to 100.
Researchers say it's not uncommon to see shops close up around midday so people can indulge in a little restful shuteye. Naps are said to help give you a second wind to stay productive and also they help give you a break from the stresses of daily life.
3. Keep your mind and body active.
Living 100 years means lots of time on your hands, which means one must learn to fill up the hours in the day with meaningful, engaging or at least productive activities.
One retirement community in Rhode Island is home to a whopping six centenarians. Several of them have one thing in common -- they keep themselves busy. They're exercising daily, whether it's going for brisk walks in the fresh air or diligently hitting the indoor gym. Others swear by hobbies like reading -- all things which keep their bodies and minds in motion.
And they all stay social.
4. Don't stress.
Maybe this one's easier to do with the perspective of 100 years of wisdom. But many centenarians have the ability not to sweat the small stuff. Some avoid men because they're "more trouble than they're worth." Several of the former oldest people in the world said that learning to relax and not worrying were their key principles in life.
Studies have shown that centenarians tend to have optimistic personalities and always laugh a lot.
5. Indulge ... in moderation.
Diet and exercise are good, but hey, you've got to live a little. Centenarians seem to have found a balance between taking care of their health and learning when to indulge a bit. Whether it's a glass of wine, a bowl of your favorite ice cream, a strong cup of coffee or Dr. Pepper, it's all about striking a balance between giving yourself all that you need and a taste of what you want. Just don't go overboard.