It seems that every few years, a new study arrives that either reinforces or undermines the belief that moderate alcohol consumption can have health benefits. The same goes for coffee—few beverages have had more conflicting reports. Is it good for you? Is it shortening your lifespan? Well, here’s the latest.
A brand new study out of the University of California-Irvine is making the rounds on the web, suggesting that consumption of “moderate amounts” of both alcohol and coffee is indeed linked to longer lifespans. Called “The 90+ Study” and started in 2003, this large-scale effort in data collection focused explicitly on the nonagenarian age group—people 90 years of age and older—to determine what factors were significant in reaching such a lofty goal. And as it turns out, those factors included alcohol and coffee consumption.
The study found that people “who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who abstained,” and surprisingly, that “people who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than normal or underweight people did.”
“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” said Dr. Claudia Kawas, a researcher for the study, at the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Austin.
Specifically, subjects who drank “two glasses” of standard-strength beer or wine every day (this is apparently the definition of “moderate”) had an 18 percent lower chance of premature death than those who abstained. Those who drank two cups of coffee a day, meanwhile, decreased their chance of premature death by 10 percent.
The same study also found evidence of what has been accepted general knowledge forever—that regular exercise and hobbies are also linked to living a longer life. But at the very least, it suggests that regular alcohol consumption can have a place within a healthy lifestyle. And isn’t that good news for us all?