Let’s drink this: the daily drink helps you reach 90 as scientists discover that the drinkers who took part in a study were 40% more likely to become nonagenarians than abstainers
- The effects of age were limited to those who limited themselves to one drink per day
- The study found that spree drinkers died before those who abstained
- A spirit a day has been found to help men and women benefit from wine
Enjoying your favorite drink every day could increase your chances of living at 90, scientists found.
They found that men and women enjoying a daily drink were up to 40% more likely to reach their 90th birthday than those who abstained or seldom touched alcohol.
The effects of age extension were limited to those who limited themselves to one drink a day – binge drinkers died earlier.
According to experts, a glass of night wine offers a number of health benefits, including increasing the number of antioxidants and helping to prevent stroke (stock image)
And while women seem to live longer when they drink wine, the biggest benefit for men is from spirits like whiskey, brandy or gin.
The study, conducted by a team of researchers from the Medical Center of the University of Maastricht in the Netherlands, suggests that drinking alcohol in moderation may be better for a longer life than not drinking at all.
Some previous studies have found similar benefits but others have ruled out any impact on longevity.
The Dutch team tracked down more than 5,000 men and women, most of whom were born during the First World War of 1914-18.
When they were sixty and seventy, volunteers were questioned about their drinking habits before researchers tracked them to see how many had reached 90.
The results, published in the journal Age and Aging, showed that 34% of women and 16% of men survived that age.
But when they compared daily drinkers to teetotalers, they found that men and women who consumed 5 to 10 g of alcohol per day were 40% more likely to become nonagenarians.
Ten grams of alcohol roughly equals a small glass of wine, a pub measure of a spirit or half a pint of beer.
Drinking up to 15 g per day has improved the chances of volunteers reaching 90 for a slightly lower amount.
No more than 15 grams and the benefits disappeared when the higher daily alcohol intake led to premature death.
UK government guidelines recommend men and women to drink no more than 14 units of alcohol per week, equivalent to a daily serving of two small brandies, a pint of medium light beer or a 175ml glass of wine per medium intensity of about 12%.
In a report on the results, researcher Dr Piet A. van den Brandt said: “We found that alcohol intake was positively associated with the probability of reaching 90 years of age in both men and women.
‘Wine was associated with women who turned 90, but not with men. Instead, the intake of gin, brandy and whiskey increased their longevity. “
The researchers said it is unclear why small daily amounts of alcohol add years to our lives.
But one possible explanation is a scientific phenomenon called oresis – in which something is potentially beneficial in small doses but highly toxic and dangerous in large doses.
However, they warned that alcohol can interfere with the medications prescribed by most older people and although their results have shown that drinkers live longer, there is no need to be healthier.
Dr Van den Brandt said: “This should not be used by anyone who currently does not drink alcohol as a motivation to start drinking.”
In 2018, there were 584,024 people aged 90 and over in the United Kingdom, compared with 579,776 in 2017.
Lucy Holmes, director of research and policies of Alcohol Change UK, said: “This study shows once again that all the evidence indicates and what the best doctors in the United Kingdom 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 light beer, spread over three or more days. But if you don’t drink right now, this isn’t a reason to start. ”