"Italian newspapers reported that the Melis family had been recognized by [Guinness World Records] as officially being the world's oldest siblings," Phil Lempert, a food industry analyst, trend watcher and creator of supermarketguru.com, said in a statement.
"Residing on the island of Sardinia the nine brothers and sisters total 818 years between them. Consolata, the oldest, just turned 105, followed by Claudia 99, Maria 97, Antonio 93, Concetta 91, Adolfo 89, Vitalio 86, Vitalia 81, and Mafalda 78. Consolata has nine children, 24 grand children and 25 great-grand children."
Researchers at the University of Sassari in Sardinia said the family's longevity might be due to genetics, strong family traditions and the seasonal fruits and vegetables -- particularly pears, prunes, or plums -- that they consumed as part of their Mediterranean diet.
For example, pears are high in flavonoids when eaten with the skin, which contains about half of the fruit's dietary fiber -- beneficial in preventing type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some forms of cancer. The pears are also high in phytonutrients as well carotenoids -- providing antioxidant and anti-inflammatory protection, Lempert said.
"The high antioxidant content, combined with carotenoids in plums and prunes has been found to ward off macular degeneration, as well as being another good source of fiber," Lempert said.