We never thought that we would be seeing these two words in one sentence – but, a recent study shows that alcohol (glasses of wine or beer), when taken in the right amounts, actually contributes to longevity.
Dr. Claudia Kawas, a specialist in neurology from the University of California, and her team of researchers discovered that people who consumed approximately two glasses of wine or beer a day were 18 percent less likely to experience a premature death, according to British online newspaper, The Independent.
On the other hand, those who exercised daily reduced their risk of early death by 11 percent.
This discovery was part of The 90+ Study initiated in 2003. It looked into the lives of the oldest-old, which is becoming the fastest growing age group in the United States. There were 1,700 nonagenarians who participated in the research.
The participants in the study were once members of The Leisure World Cohort Study (LWCS) initiated in 1981, where its residents were mailed surveys that they had to fill out. Dr. Kawas and her team of researchers were able to use the data from the 14,000 subjects of the LWCS, and through The 90+ Study, they were able to investigate what allows people to live to age 90 and beyond.
They conducted the study by visiting the seniors every six months and putting them through neurological and neuropsychological tests. The researchers also obtained information about their diet, activities, medical history, medications, and numerous other factors. The subjects were also given a series of cognitive and physical tests to determine how well people in their age group are functioning.
Aside from the factors associated with longevity, the researchers also examined the epidemiology of dementia, rates of cognitive and functional decline, and clinical pathological correlations in the oldest-old.
Dr. Kawas presented the results of The 90+ Study at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual meeting held in Austin, Texas.
“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Dr. Kawas said at the conference.
According to the researchers: “Using data from our 1981 survey, people who consumed one to two glasses of alcohol (beer, wine or hard liquor) per day had 9-15 percent lower likelihood of dying compared to those who abstain from all alcohol. Participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes a day in 1981, cut the same risk of mortality by 15-35 percent.”
But these findings don’t mean that you can chug that bottle of wine you’ve been eyeing in your kitchen counter. Remember, the key here is moderation.
Jim Becker, a professor at the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center and the associate director of the University of Pittsburg Alzheimer’s Disease Research Center, also emphasized the importance of drinking in moderation.
“The data are generally consistent with the idea that moderate intake of certain kinds of alcohol, and in particular red wines, are associated with certain positive health outcomes. But that doesn’t mean that if you suddenly decide at the age of 70 to start drinking now that that’s necessarily the solution.”
Both drinking alcohol and exercise appear to increase lifespans, but the results of the study show that those who consume alcohol benefit even more.
Therefore, feel free to have that one or two glasses of wine or beer to accompany your dinner, but remember to always find that balance when consuming alcohol.
(Note: This article is for informational and entertainment purposes only and not to be treated as a professional opinion, recommendation or medical diagnosis.)