That’s where we drink: Daily tipple helps you reach 90, as scientists discover that drinkers who participated in a study were 40 percent more likely to become nonagenarians than abstainers
- Age-prolonging effects were limited to those who held one drink a day
- The study found that binge drinkers died earlier than those who abstained
- One spirit per day was found to help men and women benefit from wine
Scientists have discovered that they enjoy your favorite drink every day.
They discovered that men and women who enjoyed a daily drink were up to 40 percent more likely to reach their 90th birthday than those who were teetotal or rarely touched.
The age-extending effects were limited to those who clung to one drink a day – binge drinkers died earlier.
According to experts, a glass of wine per night has a number of health benefits, including increasing your antioxidant count and helping to prevent strokes (stock image)
And although women seem to live longer when they drink wine, the biggest benefit for men is from spirits such as whiskey, cognac or gin.
The study, by a team of researchers from the Maastricht University Medical Center in the Netherlands, suggests that moderately enjoying alcohol is better for a long life than not drinking at all.
Some previous studies have found similar benefits, but others have not ruled out any impact on lifespan.
The Dutch team followed more than 5,000 men and women, most of whom were born during the First World War of 1914-18.
When they were in the sixties and seventies, the volunteers were questioned about their drinking habits before researchers monitored them to see how many reached 90.
The results, published in the magazine Age and Aging, showed 34 percent of women and 16 percent of men survived until that age.
But when they compared daily drinkers with abstainers, they discovered that men and women who drank five to ten grams of alcohol a day were 40 percent more likely to become a non-alcoholic.
Ten grams of alcohol roughly corresponds to a small glass of wine, a measure of a strong drink or half a liter of beer.
Drinking up to 15 g per day improved the chances of volunteers reaching 90 with a slightly smaller amount.
Even more than 15 g and the benefits disappeared when greater daily intake of alcohol led to premature death.
British government guidelines recommend that men and women drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week – which is equivalent to a daily topping of two small brandies, half a liter of medium-strength lager or a glass of medium-strength wine of 175 ml of around 12 percent.
In a report on the findings, researcher Dr. Piet A. van den Brandt said: “We discovered that alcohol intake was positively associated with the chance of 90 years of age in both men and women.
“Wine was associated with women who reached 90, but not with men. On the contrary, the intake of gin, brandy and whiskey extended their lifespan. “
Researchers said it is not clear why small daily amounts of alcohol add years to our lives.
But a possible explanation is a scientific phenomenon called hormesis – where something is potentially beneficial in small doses, but very toxic and dangerous in large doses.
However, they warned that alcohol can interfere with prescription drugs that most older people use and although their findings have shown that drinkers live longer, it is not necessarily the case that it is healthier.
Dr. van den Brandt said: “This should not be used by someone who is currently not drinking alcohol as a motivation to start drinking.”
In 2018 there were 584,024 people aged 90 and over in the UK – an increase compared to 579,776 in 2017.
Lucy Holmes, director of research and policy at Alcohol Change UK, said: “This study shows again where all the evidence points to and what the British top doctors tell us – the healthiest choice is to drink 14 units per week or less.
“That is a bottle and a half of wine, or six pints of normal strength beer, spread over three or more days. But if you don’t drink right now, this is no reason to start. ”