Updated 09 January 2017

Lifestyle keeps 96-year-old woman healthy

According to a Free State doctor, elderly people who eat fresh produce are healthier than young people who have grown up on processed foods and junk food.


Mmakoloi Mokoena, a 96-year old resident from Clarens in the Free State, says she says she owes her long life and good health to a healthy lifestyle and good food.

No hamburgers and pizzas

“I grew up staying with my parents in a farm in Warden where my parents worked. Our lives were not as fancy as the way we live now,” Mokoena said.

“We used to eat spinach and grow our own vegetables in the garden. I don't remember eating hamburgers and pizzas. All we ate was pap and milk, spinach and homemade bread. Also tripe when a sheep or a cow was slaughtered at the farm,” she remembered.

“I remember eating a chocolate only in December and because I was not used to it, I could enjoy it very much.”

Read: Healthy lifestyle fights ageing

Mokoena said her late mother fed the family well, and did not believe in deep frying food in oil.

'I watch what I eat'

“I am now 96 years old, and still eating the food that my mother used to give us. But since we have moved to Clarens, there are now all these restaurants here. My children work there they will sometimes bring home food from those restaurants and I will look at them eating all these oils and unhealthy food and I just eat my spinach.”

Mokoena said her advice to younger people is to avoid junk food.

Read: Minister targets junk food

“The only chronic disease I suffer from is high blood pressure. I believe I never got any of these other sicknesses because I watch what I eat, and I only drink tea, water and juice. That's all. I am not into these fizzy drinks and unhealthy foods,” she said.

According to Dr Strike Mabasa, elderly people who eat fresh produce are healthier than young people who have grown up on processed foods and junk food.

“I always advise my patients to follow a healthy lifestyle, but they always tell how they can't resist the temptation of unhealthy food,” he said.

Read more:

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Should government ban junk food?

Fitness protects ageing brain


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