María Félix, a woman from Mexico just turned 118 and attributes her health to eating “good food” specifically food from the desert.
María Félix lives in Jalisco, and she is 118 years old, but this isn’t about the mythical movie actress, but about a Mexican woman who could be the oldest in the world.
Doña María or Mariquita, as her family and friends call her, was born on July 20, 1900.
Felix grew up in the arid villages of the state of Zacatecas, in north-western Mexico.
Since she was a child she was orphaned, because she says that her father was killed for being a supporter of the rebel Pancho Villa during the Mexican Revolution.
With great detail, she narrates the way in which she migrated from one place to another, living on the charity of others or cleaning houses for food, at a time when the armed conflict had left thousands in poverty.
“I was very hungry, there was no corn, there was no bean, you could not get what you want to eat,” she says as her eyes fill with tears.
Alongside her husband for more than 50 years, she had 10 children, of whom she has seen six die; She has 20 grandchildren, 53 great-grandchildren and 23 great-great-grandchildren who live between Jalisco, Zacatecas and Mexico City. Some of them she only knows from pictures.
Felix does not suffer from the conditions common for a woman of her age. She does not have diabetes, nor hypertension and her lungs are healthy, even occasionally she takes “a drink” or a beer to “give it a taste,” she said with a certain mischief.
She does have problems with her right leg, where she has a metal plate after a fracture and suffers from a gradual loss of vision that prevents her from going out to talk with the neighbors, as she likes.
“I do not go anywhere anymore, sometimes I go to the store with my friend, and if I had my eyes, it would be something else,” she says.
With more than a century of stories and experiences behind her, she says that the years “have been good.” She keeps the smile and the strength to the surface.
“It’s very nice to know how to say things, what (one) suffers, what you crave, what happens to you because you do not get locked in. Pure pleasure (joy) is what I have,” she says.
The old woman says that her secret was to eat “good food” specifically from the desert.
“What helped me was the nopales (Opuntia cacti), the pingüica (a type of fruit), the purslane and the quelite (a grass),” said Felix.
Until a few years ago, Felix maintained the habit of eating those fruits and plants, but now she drinks soy milk.