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A 114-year-old Texan is now the oldest living American. Here are 6 lifestyle choices that may have helped her stay healthy for so long.

A 114-year-old Texan is now the oldest living American. Here are 6 lifestyle choices that may have helped her stay healthy for so long.
  • Elizabeth Francis has become the oldest living American at 114 years and 217 days old.

  • She attributes her longevity to God, but her family thinks lifestyle factors play a part, too.

  • These include not smoking, cooking food from scratch, and being close to family.

In 1909, William Taft replaced Theodore Roosevelt as president of the US, women couldn't yet vote in the US, and Elizabeth Francis, now the oldest living American, was born.

She claimed the title from Edie Ceccarelli, who died at the age of 116 years and 17 days on Thursday of an unknown cause.

Francis, 114 years and 217 days old at the time of writing, was born in Louisiana but moved to Texas in 1920.

She has lived with her 94-year-old daughter, Dorothy Williams, since 1999, though caregivers visit daily, Today reported last summer.

She started using a wheelchair in 2017, at the age of 108, The Washington Post reported, and was bedbound when the outlet interviewed her in August.

Francis also has some memory problems, but she's mentally alert and recognizes her family, Williams told Today. When researchers from LongeviQuest, an organization that verifies the ages of supercentenarians, went to visit her for her 114th birthday in July, she was able to hold court for visitors for four hours.

While Francis doesn't have a secret for living to 114, she credits her longevity to God. She told Today in the summer: "It's not my secret. It's the good Lord's good blessing. I just thank God I'm here."

But her family thinks a few lifestyle factors have contributed to her living so long.

Francis' family thinks her healthy lifestyle helped her to live to 114

Francis has always tried to take care of her health, including by walking regularly until her 90s and never smoking or drinking alcohol, Ethel Harrison, her granddaughter, told Today.

She always cooked using vegetables that she grew in her garden, such as collard greens, mustard greens, carrots, and okra, according to Today.

Harrison told ABC13 that she had never seen her grandmother eat fast food.

"Whenever you went to her house, I don't care what day of the week, she was cooking. So I just think that had a lot to do with it," she said of her grandmother's longevity.

Dietitians typically recommend people center their diets around whole foods, with one study suggesting that eating more plants and less processed food could add a decade to a person's life.

Francis also spends a lot of time with her family: Harrison visits her mother and grandmother at their house most days, and she told Today that they're "always doing things together as a family unit."

Research suggests having strong relationships and socializing are associated with a longer, healthier life.

Francis also worked hard to support her family as a single mother and stayed active even when she retired. "She was a hard worker. That's what I remember most about her. Even when she retired, she still would work. She did domestic work, but she was always working," Harrison said.

LongeviQuest researchers previously told Business Insider that working for as long as possible was common among the supercentenarians they'd met, while a 2016 study found that retiring early increased the risk of death.

Read the original article on Business Insider