Texas Woman, 105, Reveals Sizzling Longevity Secret

By Gillian Mohney

May 8, 2013 1:22pm
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Pearl Cantrell starts her day with a few slices of bacon. ( Getty Images)

At 105, Pearl Cantrell has one “healthy” habit she swears by: a daily dose of bacon.

Cantrell’s son Billy Allen, 81, said that along with a morning cup of “coffee pudding,” or coffee with lots of milk, sugar and a biscuit, the Texas centenarian starts each day with a few pieces of bacon.

“Every day she gets up and [today she] said Bill ‘I’m ready for my bacon,’” Allen told ABCNews.com. “[She] eats two pieces nearly every morning.”

But bacon isn’t the centenarian’s only ‘healthy’ habit, Allen said his mother was active his whole life. She spent her days in the fields of the family farm in San Saba County, Texas,  after Allen’s father died in the 1940′s. After her husband’s death she raised her seven children on her own.

Allen said not only was his mother active by picking cotton in the fields during the day, but that she always loved to dance and even waltzed at her 105th birthday for a few dances.

However, it was Cantrell’s daily routine of eating bacon that grabbed attention of the Oscar Mayer company. The company famous for their meat and cold cut products sent free packages of bacon and hot dogs to Cantrell in honor of the great-grandmother’s birthday and even let the great-grandmother ride in the famous Wienermobile through town.

“She really enjoyed it. She went all through town and up by the school house,” said Allen.

In spite of her longevity, Cantrell’s habits are not recommended  by the medical community for those looking to survive to 105. A study released last year by the Harvard School of Public Health found that people who ate a daily serving of processed meat, equal to two strips of bacon or a hot dog, had a 20 percent increased risk of death.

“It’s not really surprising because red meat consumption has been linked to an increased risk of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular disease and cancer,” said Dr. Frank Hu, professor of nutrition and epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health and co-author of the study, told ABCNews.com last year. “What is surprising is the magnitude of risk associated with very moderate red meat consumption.”

However, Cantrell doesn’t have plans to change her habits.

“She’s [slowed] down a bit,” said Allen, who along with his four surviving siblings takes care of his mother. “[But] she’s getting to be a handful.”

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