April 30 (Bloomberg) -- Half a glass of wine a day may add five years to your life, a new study suggests. Drink beer, and you’ll live only 2 1/2 years longer.
Dutch researchers followed 1,373 men for more than four decades, noting their eating and drinking habits. Men who had about 20 grams of alcohol daily -- equivalent to a half a glass of wine -- had 2 1/2 years added to their life expectancy at age 50, compared with men who didn’t drink at all, according to the research published today in the Journal of Epidemiology and Community Health. Men who consumed only wine had twice as much added longevity.
Light alcohol intake was linked to lower cardiovascular, cerebrovascular and overall mortality in the study. Researchers had known that moderate drinking is tied to a lower risk of heart disease, possibly because of an increase in high density lipoprotein or so-called good cholesterol as well as a reduction in platelet clumping, making it more unlikely for clots to form. It is the first study to show that one kind of alcohol is superior to others in prolonging life, the researchers said.
“In this study, 70 percent of all wine consumed was red wine,” the researchers, led by Marinette Streppel of the University of Wageningen in the Netherlands, said in the paper. “This suggests that the cardioprotective effect of wine could be due to a protective effect of polyphenol compounds in red wine, but other explanations cannot be ruled out.”
Polyphenols are chemical substances found in plants such as tannins and flavonoids.
The research, dubbed Zutphen Study after the Dutch town from which the participants were recruited, followed men born between 1900 and 1920 and examined them several times between 1960 and 2000.
Huh. Now I'm really glad I stopped drinking beer. Wine taste better anyway.