Drinking beer and wine may have better health benefits compared to exercise – at least, for a longer life, a new study suggests.
Claudia Kawas and other researchers from the University of California conducted the 90+ Study, a project that began in 2003 and aims to take a closer look at the impacts of everyday habits on longevity, UPI reports.
Among the 1,700 participants in the survey, the researchers found that those who drank around two glasses of beer or wine daily were 18% less likely to die at an early age compared to those who did not drink any alcohol at all. Participants who exercised 15 to 45 minutes per day, on the other hand, cut the risk for premature death by 11%.
The researchers conducted neurological, neuropsychological and cognitive tests on the participants every six months at the Clinic for Aging Research and Education in Laguna Woods, California. They also obtained information on diet, physical activities, medical history, current medications and other factors relating to overall health.
Kawas said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas,
I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity.
Even the participants who were slightly overweight, but not obese, turned out to have a 3% decreased chance of meeting an early death compared to those of normal weight, or those who were underweight. In addition, drinking two cups of coffee a day saw a drop in mortality by 10% compared to those who shunned caffeine.
The participants who spent two hours a day practicing a hobby showed the most promise, as they were 21% less likely to die early.
Kawas said, “These people are inspiring — they drink wine, drink coffee, gain weight, but they exercise and use their brains. Maybe that can tell us something.”
Kawas launched the study 15 years ago in order to understand why some people reach the age of 90, and others don’t.