Tips from Spain's centenarians on how to live to 100

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Tips on how to live to 100 -- from centenarians
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Tips on how to live to 100 -- from centenarians
Esperanza Alles (L), 100, poses for a portrait next to her daughter in the living room of her home in Ferreries, on the Balearic island of Menorca, Spain, August 6, 2016. Alles lives with her daughter. She brightens when remembering her father taking her as a child to see the first airplane that flew over the island. She remembers seeing soldiers from both sides of Spain's Civil War in the mountains on the day the war ended in 1939. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Esperanza Fernandez, 103, poses for a portrait in the living room of her home in Salamanca, central Spain, October 21, 2016. Fernandez lives with her daughters. Two of her sisters lived past 100 and another is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. She remembers when an outbreak of influenza killed nearly half of her village as a child. Her father shut the family in their house and prevented anyone from entering. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Gumersindo Cubo, 101, poses for a portrait with a picture of himself when he was young, in his home in Casavieja, Avila, near Madrid, Spain, July 12, 2016. Cubo puts his longevity down to a childhood spent in a house in the woods with his eight brothers and sisters, where his father was a park ranger. "It's from inhaling the pine resin from the woods where I lived as a child," he says, telling of how his mother would put a jar of the resin under the bed of the sick. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
A military service card of Francisco Nunez, 112, showing his birth date, is seen at his home in Bienvenida, Badajoz, southern Spain, December 11, 2016. Nunez lives with his octogenarian daughter. He says he doesn't like the pensioners' daycare centre because it's full of old people. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Rafaela Pons, 102, poses for a portrait with a picture of herself when she was young, in the living room of her home in Ferreries, on the Balearic island of Menorca, Spain, August 10, 2016. Pons lives alone although her daughter visits her daily. She is a devoted supporter of Real Madrid soccer club and takes a spoonful of honey every day. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Lucia Manzano, 100, poses for a portrait in a residential home for the elderly in La Adrada, Avila, near Madrid, Spain, July 12, 2016. Manzano laughs as she recalls dressing up in the colours of the fallen Second Spanish Republic to taunt visiting authorities in her village during the dictatorship of Francisco Franco. "The most important thing in life is to stay loyal to yourself," she said. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Maximino San Miguel, 102, holds a picture of himself when he was young as he poses for a portrait in a park near his home in Leon, northern Spain, September 3, 2016. San Miguel discovered his passion for amateur dramatics at the age of 80 and has participated in many local productions. He didnÃt go to school as a child because he was sent to work as a shepherd. He enjoys reading books about traditions. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Esperanza Fernandez, 103, holds a picture of herself and her daughters, when she was young, in the living room of her home in Salamanca, central Spain, October 21, 2016. Fernandez lives with her daughters. Two of her sisters lived past 100 and another is about to celebrate her 100th birthday. She remembers when an outbreak of influenza killed nearly half of her village as a child. Her father shut the family in their house and prevented anyone from entering. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Pilar Fernandez (2nd L), 101, poses for a portrait in the kitchen of her home with her daughter Pili (L), granddaughter Flori (R) and her great granddaughter Ana in Ambas, Asturias, northern Spain, October 18, 2016. Fernandez suffered hunger and hardship during the war years alongside her nine brothers and sisters. To avoid history repeating itself, she limited herself to just one child. "From pure fear, I didn't have anymore," says the sprightly woman who lives with her daughter's family and tends livestock and a vegetable garden. REUTERS/Andrea Comas 
Pedro Rodriguez, 106, plays piano at home in Cangas de Onis, Asturias, in northern Spain, July 9, 2016. Rodriguez plays piano every day in the living room of the flat where he lives with his wife who is nearly 20 years younger than him. Their daughters visit them often. "The nuns taught me how to play the piano as a child," he says after giving a rendition of a Spanish waltz. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Francisco Nunez, 112, poses for a portrait at his home in Bienvenida, Badajoz, southern Spain, December 11, 2016. Nunez lives with his octogenarian daughter. He says he doesn't like the pensioners' daycare centre because it's full of old people. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Esperanza Alles, 100, holds a picture of herself and her husband from when she was young, in the living room of her home in Ferreries, on the Balearic island of Menorca, Spain, August 6, 2016. Alles lives with her daughter. She brightens when remembering her father taking her as a child to see the first airplane that flew over the island. She remembers seeing soldiers from both sides of Spain's Civil War in the mountains on the day the war ended in 1939. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Edelmira Abascal, 102, poses for a portrait in her room of a residential home for the elderly in Torrelaguna, outside Madrid, Spain, November 22, 2016. " (The famous American author) Ernest Hemingway used to say there goes the brunetteà when he saw me pass by in the street," she said. Abascal worked as a secretary for a Republican general during the Civil War and once it became clear the Republicans were losing the city of Madrid to Francisco Franco, she was put in a convoy fleeing Madrid for Barcelona. In the convoy was a truck full of explosives that were used to blow up four buildings in central Barcelona, she recalls. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Francisco Nunez, 112, poses for a portrait at his home in Bienvenida, Badajoz, southern Spain, December 11, 2016. Nunez lives with his octogenarian daughter. He says he doesn't like the pensioners' daycare centre because it's full of old people. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Maximino San Miguel, 102, poses for a portrait in a park near his home in Leon, northern Spain, September 3, 2016. San Miguel discovered his passion for amateur dramatics at the age of 80 and has participated in many local productions. He didnÃt go to school as a child because he was sent to work as a shepherd. He enjoys reading books about traditions. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Pedro Rodriguez, 106, plays piano at his home in Cangas de Onis, Asturias, in northern Spain, July 9, 2016. Rodriguez plays piano every day in the living room of the flat where he lives with his wife who is nearly 20 years younger than him. Their daughters visit them often. "The nuns taught me how to play the piano as a child," he says after giving a rendition ofÃa Spanish waltz. REUTERS/Andrea Comas 
Maria Josefa Guillen, 103, poses for a portrait on the patio of her home in Cazalla de la Sierra, Seville, southern Spain, September 18, 2016. Guillen lives with her disabled son. She started working as a seamstress aged 12 and laughs when she recalls that the first item she had to sew was a ball gown. Guillen loves gazpacho a traditional Spanish cold tomato and cucumber soup. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Pilar Fernandez, 101, poses for a portrait in a garage of her home in Ambas, Asturias, northern Spain, October 18, 2016. Fernandez suffered hunger and hardship during the war years alongside her nine brothers and sisters. To avoid history repeating itself, she limited herself to just one child. "From pure fear, I didn't have anymore," says the sprightly woman who lives with her daughter's family and tends livestock and a vegetable garden. REUTERS/Andrea Comas 
Rafaela Pons, 102, poses for a portrait in the living room of her home in Ferreries, on the Balearic island of Menorca, Spain, August 10, 2016. Pons lives alone although her daughter visits her daily. She is a devoted supporter of Real Madrid soccer club and takes a spoonful of honey every day. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
Maria Josefa Guillen, 103, holds a picture of herself with her husband from when they were young, in her home in Cazalla de la Sierra, Seville, southern Spain, September 18, 2016. Guillen lives with her disabled son. She started working as a seamstress aged 12 and laughs when she recalls that the first item she had to sew was a ball gown. Guillen loves gazpacho à a traditional Spanish cold tomato and cucumber soup. REUTERS/Andrea Comas
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CANGAS DE ONIS, Spain, Dec 30 (Reuters) - With more than 100,000 people aged 100 or over, Spain is the country with the greatest life expectancy after Japan, OECD data and the latest population census shows.

Over a year, Reuters photographer Andrea Comas interviewed and photographed Spaniards aged 100 or more across the country from the green-hilled northern region of Asturias to the Balearic island of Menorca.

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Average life expectancy at birth in Spain is 83.2, according to the latest OECD statistics made available in 2013, just a shade below the 83.4 years on average a Japanese newborn can expect to live.

Most of the men and women Comas interviewed showed a zest for life and an interest in pastimes from amateur dramatics to playing the piano. Many also continued to carry out daily duties from farm work to caring for a disabled child.

Pedro Rodriguez, 106, plays the piano every day in the living room of his flat in Asturias, northern Spain, where he lives with his wife who is nearly 20 years younger than him. Their daughters visit them often.

"The nuns taught me how to play the piano as a child," he said after giving a rendition of a Spanish waltz.

The majority of these elderly people were surrounded by family or had loved ones calling in on them daily showing how Spain continues to be a closely-knit society, where family ties are paramount.

Related: Meet the people who have recently been designated as the world's oldest:

15 PHOTOS
The world's oldest people
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The world's oldest people
TO GO WITH AFP STORY Centenary twins, Paulette Olivier (L) and Simone Thiot (R) pose with an old picture of their 20 years inside their room at the retirement home 'Les Bois Blancs' on February 11, 2016. The twins, birth name Lamolie, were born on January 30, 1912 at 11 o'clock at the address Impasse 'du coteau' in Limeray, a few kilometres from Amboise. The two sisters aged 104 years are believed to be the two oldest twins in the world. / AFP / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
TO GO WITH AFP STORY Centenary twins, Paulette Olivier (R) and Simone Thiot (L) walk in the corridors at the retirement home 'Les Bois Blancs' on February 11, 2016. The twins, birth name Lamolie, were born on January 30, 1912 at 11 o'clock at the address Impasse 'du coteau' in Limeray, a few kilometres from Amboise. The two sisters aged 104 years are believed to be the two oldest twins in the world. / AFP / GUILLAUME SOUVANT (Photo credit should read GUILLAUME SOUVANT/AFP/Getty Images)
Worlds oldest person Jeralean Talley attends the 17th Annual Ford Freedom Awards at Max Fischer Music Center on May 5, 2015 in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by Monica Morgan/WireImage via Getty)
Misao Okawa, the world's oldest Japanese woman, poses for a photo on her 117th birthday celebration at Kurenai Nursing Home on March 4, 2015 in Osaka, Japan. Japanese woman Misao Okawa is oldest living person in the world as certified by the Guinness World Records, who celebrates her 117 birthday on March 5. Okawa has been dubbed the worlds oldest living person since the June 12, 2013 death of 116 years and 54 days old Jiroemon Kimura, also Japanese. She is ranked first Oldest Japanese person ever and third person reached to 117in the world. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
Misao Okawa, the world's oldest Japanese woman looks on before her 116th birthday celebrations at Kurenai Nursing Home on March 5, 2014 in Osaka, Japan. Okawa, born in Tenma, Osaka, on March 5, 1898 to a family of Kimono merchants, married in 1919 and had three children, of which a daughter and a son are still alive, and has four grandchildren and six great-grandchildren. (Photo by Buddhika Weerasinghe/Getty Images)
Family Portrait Of Sarah Knauss (Seated Left) The World's Oldest Women June 15, 1999. (Photo By Theo Westenberger/Getty Images)
Christian Mortensen enjoys a birthday cigar during his 115 birthday celebration at The Aldersly Garden Retirement Community where he resides 15 August. Mortensen, the world's oldest man, attributes his longevity to drinking lots of water, living life with a positive attitude, and smoking a weekly cigar. (Photo by Monica M. Davey/AFP/Getty Images)
Christian Mortensen, 114 years-old, takes a puff from his cigar at his home in the Aldersly Retirement Community in San Rafael, California Mortensen is the oldest man alive as he will celebrate his 115 birthday on August 16th. (Photo by John G. Mabanglo/AFP/Getty Images)
Walter Breuning, the 'World's Oldest Man,' receives one of the Freemasons' highest honors, a George Washington Gavel, at his 113th birthday party on September 21, 2009 at the Rainbow retirement home in Great Falls, Montana. Breuning, born Sept. 21, 1896 in Melrose Minnesota, inherited the title of 'World's Oldest Man' when Henry Allingham of England died last July 18. Breuning moved to Great Falls in 1918 with the expansion of the railroad and worked in the railroad business for 50 years. He says he stays healthy by eating just two meals per day and exercises by strolling the halls of the retirement home with the aid of a walker. His earliest memory is of hearing his grandfather talk about fighting as a Union soldier in the Civil War. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Walter Breuning, at age 112 now considered the oldest man in the world, smiles while at the Rainbow Assisted Living Facility on July 23, 2009 in Great Falls, Montana. Bruening, born Sept. 21, 1896 in Melrose Minnesota, inherited the title when Henry Allingham of England died last weekend. Breuning moved to Great Falls in 1918 with the expansion of the railroad and worked for the railroad for 50 years. He says he stays healthy by eating just two meals per day and excercises by strolling the halls of the retirement home with the aid of a walker. He shuns medicine, except for one low-dose aspirin per day. His earliest memory is of hearing his grandfather talk about fighting as a Union soldier in the Civil War. The Guinness World Records is expected to make the official announcement soon, after verifying his records. (Photo by John Moore/Getty Images)
Yukichi Chuganji, certified by Guinness World Records as world's oldest man, celebrates his 113th birthday in Ogiri, Fukuoka Prefecture 23 March 2002. Chuganji was born in 1889 and made living breeding silkworm and working for a bank. (Photo via Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
Spanish Joan Riudavets Moll, born 15 December 1889 in Es Mitjorn Gran, Menorca, poses for photographers during his birthday party. Riudavets, a former shoemaker, sleeps up to 14 hours a day, only suffers pain in his legs but can walk. He watches TV, reads newspapers and gives a lot of importance to food, especially yoghurts. (Photo by Oscar Pipkin/AFP/Getty Images)
Spanish Joan Riudavets Moll, born 15 December 1889 in Es Mitjorn Gran, Menorca, blows candles next to Rosa Estaras the Vice-President of the Balearic Government during his birthday party. Riudavets, a former shoemaker, sleeps up to 14 hours a day, only suffers pain in his legs but can walk. He watches TV, reads newspapers and gives a lot of importance to food, especially yoghurts. (Photo by Oscar Pipkin/AFP/Getty Images)
Japan's oldest person Yoneko Minagawa, 113, smiles as she receives a flower bouquet at a nursing home in the town of Fukuchi in Fukuoka prefecture, on Japan's southern island of Kyushu 15 September 2006, ahead of the Japanese holiday 18 September, 'Respect for the Aged Day'. Yoneko Minagawa was born 04 January 1893, becoming Japan's oldest person when Ura Koyama died last year. Meanwhile Japan's oldest man, Tomoji Tanabe of Miyazaki prefecture, also on Kyushu island, turned 111 years old 18 September to coincide with the national holiday. (Photo via Jiji Press/AFP/Getty Images)
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CIVIL WAR

Francisco Nunez, 112, is the oldest person Comas interviewed. He lives with his octogenarian daughter in his house in Badajoz, south-western Spain. He says he doesn't like the pensioners' daycare center because it's full of old people.

"He hasn't had to leave his home. I'm single and I live here with him," says daughter Maria Antonia Nunez, 81, as she adjusts his beret.

When questioned about their most vivid memories, many recall Spain's 1936 to 1939 civil war which set neighbor against neighbor and resulted in hundreds of thousands of deaths followed by the 36-year dictatorship of Francisco Franco.

Pilar Fernandez, 101, suffered hunger and hardship during the war years alongside her nine brothers and sisters. To avoid history repeating itself, she limited herself to one child.

"From pure fear, I didn't have any more," says the sprightly woman who lives with her daughter's family in Asturias and tends livestock and a vegetable garden.

Tips for long life ranged from a spoonful of honey a day to regular intake of gazpacho, a traditional cold Spanish soup made from tomatoes and cucumbers.

Gumersindo Cubo, 101, from Avila, puts his longevity down to a childhood spent in a house in the woods with his eight brothers and sisters, where his father was a park ranger.

"It's from inhaling the pine resin from the woods where I lived as a child," he says, telling of how his mother would put a jar of the resin under the bed of the sick.

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