Enjoying a small bit of booze on a daily basis could actually help boost your life-span to a healthy 90 years of age, researchers have found.
The study, spearheaded by a team of scientists at Maastricht University Medical Centre in the Netherlands, discovered that men and women who indulge in a daily drink are 40 percent more likely to reach their 90th birthday than those who completely abstain.
But before folks get carried away, it is important to note that the benefits of booze are restricted to those who stick to one daily drink, as binge-drinkers are prone to die earlier.
While women can benefit most from drinking wine, men were found to benefit most from such liquors as brandy, gin, and whiskey.
For the study, lead researcher Prof. Piet van den Brandt and his team tracked the drinking habits of over 5,500 people over the span of 20 years. Most of those people tracked by the Dutch team were born in 1914-1918, during the First World War.
The volunteers were surveyed on their drinking habits while they were in their sixties and seventies before researchers monitored how many of them made it to the age of 90.
According to the results published in the journal Age and Ageing, 34 percent of the women and 16 percent of the men reached that age.
However, those who drank between 5 to 10 grams of alcohol per day – the equivalent of a half-pint of beer, a small glass of wine, or a standard shot of liquor – were 40 percent more likely to reach 90 years.
And while drinking up to 15g per day slightly improved volunteers’ chances of reaching 90, any more than that led to premature death.
In his report on the findings, Dr. van den Brandt said:
“We found alcohol intake was positively associated with the probability of reaching 90 years of age in both men and women.
Wine was associated with women reaching 90 but not with men. Instead, intake of gin, brandy and whisky increased their longevity.”
Researchers remain unclear as to why the small daily doses of alcohol are so beneficial.
However, researchers also warned that older people should be aware of how alcohol could potentially interfere with prescription medications. They also noted that the study should not be seen as an endorsement of imbibing alcohol.
Dr. van den Brandt said:
“This should not be used by anyone who does not currently drink alcohol as motivation to start drinking.”
According to the Daily Mail, Lucy Holmes, a director of research and policy at Alcohol Change UK, said:
“This study shows again what all the evidence points to and what the UK’s top doctors tell us – the healthiest choice is to drink 14 units a week or less.
That’s a bottle and a half of wine, or six pints of normal strength lager, spread over three or more days. But if you don’t drink at the moment, this isn’t a reason to start.”