On the way to find the fountain of youth and the secret to long life, there is a detour sign to the liquor cabinet. I have read many articles on how to add quality years to your life, but this headline: Moderate to heavy drinkers are more likely to live to 85 without developing dementia * was a head turner. It comes no less from a study done and published in the Journal of Alzheimer Disease. By its (federal) definition, moderate drinking involves consuming up to one alcoholic beverage a day for adult women of any age and men aged 65 and older; and up to two drinks a day for adult men under age 65.
It brought me back to the results of my Blue Zones longevity test and the suggestion that to add more years to my life, I should consume alcohol on a regular basis. So what if you are a person who really does not enjoy more than an very occasional drink of wine or a cocktail? There are stories of families eating oatmeal twice a day and living long lives. How many anecdotes have you heard from centenarians claiming both that they never had a drink or that they had a daily toast to their long life.
While everyone including those in the leading edge of the boomer crowd hope for at least one anti dementia drug trail from Big Pharma not to end in failure, good health habits are the best defense. Proponents of regular exercise, brain challenges and more social contact abound. We have yet to see a Public Service Ad about adding a glass of wine to your daily vitamins.
They key word here is not really alcohol, but antioxidants. A recent study found drinking coffee extends the life span. It was not the caffeine but the antioxidants in the coffee bean. Following a good diet screams out the same promise. How many blueberries can you consume? In researching where you can find these magic tools for better health I stumbled upon the fact that one of the supplements I have been taking has the equivalent of the antioxidants in 20 drinks a day!**
Yes, I seem to have been binge consuming copious amounts of polyphenols that are healthy part of red wine. I had started taking Resveratrol because it was recommended as a natural way to help lower cholesterol levels. That did not happen but I kept on taking it because of my own consensus of other positive results. Free radicals attack us round the clock and antioxidants are one of the few weapons we have. Going back to this study understand it was done in an upper middle class community in California where other variables of education and having good health care may be contributing factors. The socialization in having a drink before dinner with others may also be part of it. Having worked in the behavioral health/substance abuse field, I could preach about slippery slopes. Before you sign up for Jimmy Buffet’s Margaritaville lifestyle retirement communities, do some research and critical thinking of your own.
DISCLAIMER: “In conclusion, this study found a positive association between moderate alcohol intake and cognitively healthy longevity, an association that was greatest in individuals with a regular, moderate drinking pattern. In the United States, alcohol use contributes to 88,000 deaths annually and has a substantial number of additional adverse health, economic, and societal consequences . For these reasons, it is not appropriate to recommend that abstainers initiate drinking. However, among those who choose to consume alcohol, regular, moderate drinking may play a role in promoting cognitively healthy longevity.”