One hundred and sixteen are a lot of candles to fit on one cake! But Misao Okawa, the world's official oldest living woman, managed them like a pro today as she celebrated her 116th birthday. And this year she has a present for all of us: the secret to her amazing longevity.
The Japanese grandmother of four and great-grandmother of six swears by two things: sushi and sleep. No matter what is happening in her life—and that's been a lot, considering it's spanned three centuries—Okawa makes sure she eats three times a day and sleeps for eight hours.
“She insists that her favorite meal is sushi, particularly mackerel on vinegar-steamed rice, and she has it at least once every month," said Tomohito Okada, the head of the Kurenai retirement home where she lives, in an interview with The Telegraph.
Mackerel is known to be high in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been linked to a host of health benefits, including longevity. A 2013 study from Harvard found that one to two servings of fatty fish a week adds about two years to a person's life.
"Our findings support the importance of adequate blood omega-3 levels for cardiovascular health, and suggest that later in life these benefits could actually extend the years of remaining life," study author Dariush Mozaffarian said in a press release.
In addition, a separate Harvard study found that people who consistently skimp on sleep have a higher incidence of chronic disease and shorter lives. The scientists recommend making a shift to "think of sleep as a priority, rather than a luxury."
And hey, if eating delicious sushi and taking naps is the key to a longer, healthier life, then sign us up.