Saturday, June 15, 2024

120-year-old’s key to longevity: eat lots of enchiladas

Doña María Antonia doesn’t remember all the events that she has lived through in her 120 years on Earth, but she does remember vividly the day she married her husband, the day they built the first school in her small Veracruz town, and constantly hearing shootouts between fighters during the Mexican Revolution.

Born on June 13, 1900, the grandmother of 44 and great-grandmother to 130 became a celebrity when the Ministry of Well-Being recently shared photos showing her living through another memorable life moment: receiving her Covid-19 vaccination.

“I am well. I feel good,” she said from her home in Platón Sánchez. “The only thing that bothered me a bit is when they gave me the vaccine, but … now that I’ve received the vaccine, I’m content. But then I’m always in good spirts,” she said in a Náhuatl dialect that her relatives had to translate for the Milenio newspaper reporter who interviewed her.

She understands Spanish, but does not speak it, her family said.

She also doesn’t really get all the fuss over her, she said.

The centenarian and a great-granddaughter.
The supercentenarian and a great-granddaughter.

Sitting on an easy chair, she told a reporter about growing up in a farming family and making crafts. She also talked about the hardships in her life: her parents died early during an epidemic. She also remembers vividly when she lost her 3-month-old child not long after she had lost her husband.

Asked about her memories of the Revolution, which she lived through as a young child, Maria Antonia said she mainly remembers everyone being terrified of encountering any of the soldiers they heard engaged in warfare off in the distance.

Her parents would take the entire family to hide in the hills at night.

“We heard the shootouts, and we always were worried that at any moment they would come across us,” she said. “Most everyone was afraid, and we all hurried to finish our work so that we could eat early and leave for the hills. Our parents gave my siblings and me tortillas, but they were tortillas made from tree seeds, not corn.”

However, despite some of the tough times she’s gone through, she maintains a sunny disposition, she said. On her 120th birthday, she danced with her grandchildren.

Asked about her secrets to longevity, one of her grandchildren told Milenio that Maria Antonia eats very healthily, “no junk food or soda.”

The supercentenarian herself, however, had clarifications to add:

“I like to eat everything,” she said. “And I eat a lot of enchiladas. I like them.”

Source: Milenio (sp)

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