Here's what the French do differently to live healthy

Here's what the French do differently to live healthy

Most people consider themselves lucky to live to be 100 years old. But two women lived far beyond that, and both are from France.

Jeanne Calment is believed to be the world's oldest recorded person, having graced the Earth for 122 years. And most recently, a French nun named Sister André was the world's oldest person until January 17, when she died at the age of 118.

"It is difficult to determine exactly what helps people live past the age of 100," says Jean-Marie Robine, an expert who studies the relationship between health and longevity, "but there are several factors that may give France the upper hand in life expectancy".

Here are some reasons why the French tend to live longer:

1. Education is free

"More educated people have a longer life expectancy," says Robine. "They have better knowledge of what to do and what not to do to stay healthy."

2. Access to health care is free

Countries with the highest life expectancies, including France, Japan and Denmark, all offer free health care. "And that's an important difference," says Robine.

3. Better diet choices

Residents of the south of France, where both Jeanne Calment and Sister André were born, adhere to a Mediterranean diet. A Mediterranean diet prioritizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, seafood, and healthy fats while limiting or reducing consumption of red meat, dairy, and sweets.