Alright, so we may not ever win the battle against good ol’ Father time – but I’ll be damned if I’m not going down without a fight!
Believe it or not – drinking a few glasses of your favorite beer (or wine) after work is more than just a great way to unwind after a rough day, it could literally extend your time on this planet!
There have been two massive studies conducted in the last 30 years that examined the mortality rates of those who abstained from alcohol vs those who drank. The results from both of these long term case studies indicate rather clearly that those who abstain from alcohol entirely have on average, a 68% increased mortality rate versus those who drink in moderation.
The most recent study was conducted by physiologist Charles Holahan of the University of Austin, Texas and published in 2010. For the last 20 years, Charles and his team periodically surveyed 1,824 adults ages 55 to 65 and recorded their mortality rates, detailed information about diet, excercise, socioeconomic status, depression, and a myriad of other factors. While each of the aforementioned variables in these peoples lives influenced their over all health and well being – None were better indicators than whether or not the participant imbibed!
As you can see from the graph above, mortality rates among abstainers and heavy drinkers were clearly the highest at 69% and 60% respectively. (yep that’s right…Heavy drinkers have better odds than the non-drinkers!) While Light drinkers came in at 46% and moderate drinkers had the lowest mortality rates of the entire group sampled at just 41%!
Still not convinced?
From 1982-1991 the American Cancer Society surveyed 490,000 adult men and women, asking them about their diet, tobacco use and alcohol consumption. During their 10 year study, participants were contacted every 2 years to recieve any updates in their daily routines and habits – Changes were noted and of course deaths were still recorded along the way.
Despite the increased risk for cirrhosis and a few types of cancer, moderate drinkers saw a 30-40% reduction in cardiovascular related deaths. What’s truly amazing here is that even with the exclusion of former alcoholics and the many variables taken into account during these case studies, moderate drinkers were still shown to have a vastly lower mortality rate than the non-drinkers.
While the statistics represented in these studies are pretty amazing, it’s important to note that at the end of the day they are just that… statistics. In fact it is believed that the alcohol in and of itself may not be responsible for the reduced rates of mortality at all. Aside from a bit of stress relief and a healthy dose of anti-oxidents found in beer and wine, alcohol is a pretty potent social lubricant. One possible explanation for the huge difference we see in these studies between abstainers and drinkers, is that statistically speaking people who drink are generally more sociable and out going as a result. While (again statistically speaking) those who abstain have higher rates of depression and more inhibited social interactions. If nothing else this study should serve as a reminder that no matter who you are, we are social beings who benefit from social interactions more than we realize.
I don’t know about you, but I think it’s about time for a drink.
To good health and good friends…