Everlasting Diet: Quinoa, Mushrooms & Coca?
THE oldest person in the world says a diet of quinoa, mushrooms and coca have kept him alive for 123 years.
Bolivian indigenous farmer Carmelo Flores, who turned 123 a month ago, attributes his longevity to the traditional Andean diet.
Mr Flores told Reuters he has lived so long by eating quinoa grains, riverside mushrooms and constantly chewing coca leaves.
"Potatoes with quinoa are delicious," Flores said.
To what else does Mr Flores, who has long herded cattle and sheep, owe his longevity?
"I walk a lot, that's all. I go out with the animals,'' he told Associated Press.
"I don't eat noodles or rice, only barley. I used to grow potatoes, beans, oca (an Andean tuber)."
The water Mr Flores drinks streams down from the snow-capped peak of Illampu, one of Bolivia's highest mountains.
He says he doesn't drink alcohol, though did imbibe some in his youth.
He's eaten a lot of mutton, and though he likes pork it is rarely available. He fondly remembers hunting and eating fox as a younger man.
He says he has never been farther afield than La Paz, 80 kilometres away, and has never been seriously ill.
This comes after the Bolivian Government confirmed his age, and consequently that he is the oldest living person. They say he turned 123 a month ago.
The native Aymara lives in a straw-roofed dirt-floor hut in an isolated hamlet near Lake Titicaca at 4000 metres, is illiterate, speaks no Spanish and has no teeth.
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He walks without a cane and doesn't wear glasses. And though he speaks the Aymara language with a firm voice, one must speak directly into his ear to be heard.
"I see a bit dimly. I had good vision before. But I saw you coming,'' he told a group of Associated Press reporters who drove from the capital, La Paz, after a local TV report about him.
Initially it had been impossible to verify Flores' age as the poor, landlocked South American country only started issuing official birth certificates in 1940.
But he has a baptism certificate which lists his birthday as July 16, 1890 and he has national identity documents based on the certificate.
Bolivia's Civil Registry Office looked into the validity of the documents and has confirmed they are legitimate.
The director of Bolivia's civil registrar, Eugenio Condori, showed the AP the registry that lists Carmelo Flores' birthdate as July 16, 1890.
Many in Bolivia are celebrating Flores' longevity. A local government official plans to award him the title of "Living Heritage of Humanity" on August 26.
Guinness World Records says the oldest living person verified by original proof of birth is Misao Okawa, a 115-year-old Japanese woman, while the oldest verified age on record was 122 years and 164 days: Jeanne Calment of France. She died in 1997.