Plenty of sleep and a varied diet are the secrets to a long and healthy life, according to Misao Okawa, the world’s oldest person, who celebrated her 116th birthday on Wednesday.

Okawa is one of only five people alive all women confirmed as having been born in the 19th century.

While she has spoken of her love mackerel sushi, which she eats at least once a month, Okawa isn’t particularly fastidious when it comes to food.

According to an employee of the nursing home where Okawa has lived for the past 18 years, “She eats sushi, her favourite, and whatever she likes beef stew, spaghetti, or sashimi every day,”

Okawa, who became the world’s oldest person last June following the death at 116 of fellow Japanese Jiroemon Kimura, was given a cake with just three candlesat her nursing home in Osaka , one for each figure in her age.

In 1898, the year Okawa was born, the Spanish-American war was in its infancy and Queen Victoria was still on the British throne. Okawa married in 1919 but her husband died in 1931, more than eight decades ago. Their marriage produced three children, two of whom are still alive and in their 90s. Okawa has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

© 2014

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