The world's oldest person alive celebrates her 117th birthday this month

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Emma Morano's secret to long life may surprise you

Born in 1899, Emma Morano is the oldest person alive, and is the only known living person to have been born in the 19th century. On November 27, she will be celebrating her 117th birthday.

“We’re all thinking that Emma is eternal because despite everything she always recovers,” her doctor Carlo Bava told the AFP. “And quite easily might I add, including when she’s quite unwell, but when she is well, she really is well.”

What’s her secret? A very limited diet of eggs and cookies, apparently. When she was 20—soon after World War I), she was diagnosed with anemia, and a doctor advised her to eat three eggs a day—two raw and one cooked.

"I eat two eggs a day, and that's it. And cookies. But I do not eat much because I have no teeth," she said.

She has been adhering to that diet for 90 years. That makes over 100,000 eggs!

"Emma has always eaten very few vegetables, very little fruit. When I met her, she ate three eggs per day, two raw in the morning and then an omelette at noon, and chicken at dinner," her doctor Carlo Bava, who has been treating Morano for 27 years, explained.

Morano eats biscuits as well, but no meat, because “she doesn’t like it anymore and someone told her it causes cancer,” Bava went on.

Though Morano did have some of her birthday cake last year, she didn't feel well afterwards, and so she probably won't be having any this year.

On the next page: find out what Morano's doctor Carlo Bava says caused her to live so long.

Bava says that his patient’s long life can be partly attributed to genetics. Morano’s mother lived until she was 91, and two of her sisters lived to be over 100. The doctor says that Morano’s routine and strength of character has also probably played a part.

"She is a very determined person. She has never wanted to go to hospital, she's never received any particular (health) care,” he says. “She's suffered from a bit of bronchitis, had a (blood) transfusion, and some stitches, but always at home.”

See how Morano celebrated her 116th birthday last year:

According to The Daily Mail, Morano values her independence, and only took on a full-time caregiver last year. She hasn’t left her apartment for 20 years, and has been bed-bound for a year. Though her mind remains alert, Morano is very deaf, has trouble speaking, and has poor eyesight. She now spends much of her time sleeping or eating.

Though Morano usually keeps to herself—she has outlived her 7 younger siblings, and left her abusive husband in 1938 after her only son died as a baby—she will be celebrating with people from all over the world.

"People come. I don't invite anybody but they come. From America, Switzerland, Austria, Turin, Milan... They come from all over to see me," she said.

READ: 7 common foods that help slow the aging process

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