Plot Twist: The Key to a Long Life Just May Be Coffee and Alcohol


For those who happily admit that some days are a stretch of making it from a morning cup of coffee to an evening glass of wine, a long life might be in your future. The 90+ Study, a research project conducted at the University of California, Irvine, found that both alcohol and coffee may be linked to longevity.

In an attempt to understand what types of food, activities, and lifestyles are associated with living longer, researchers began studying people aged 90 and older back in 2003. One of the major findings of this long-term research was that people who drank moderate amounts of alcohol or coffee lived longer than those who did not.

Participants agreed to biannual visits from researchers who performed neurological, neuropsychological, cognitive, and physical tests to measure their functionality. Nonagenarians also provided information about their diet, activities, medical history, and medications.

Surprisingly, other findings from this research showed that people who were overweight in their 70s lived longer than those who maintained a normal weight or were underweight. In addition, researchers found that about half the people with dementia over the age of 90 did not have enough neuropathology in their brain to explain their loss of brain function.

Of course, the most immediate takeaway for us remains the connection between alcohol and coffee and longevity. So what does this mean? While drinking excessive amounts of coffee or alcohol doesn't exactly align with a healthy lifestyle, there appears to be some evidence that suggests indulging in moderation could be beneficial in the long term.

"I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity," co-principal investigator Claudia Kawas, MD, said at the American Association for the Advancement of Science's annual conference. There you have it—scientific evidence that coffee and alcohol could really be good for you. We'll drink to that.

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