Drinking alcohol helps more than exercise in allowing people to live beyond 90 years old, according to long-term research known as The 90+ Study.

There have been different outcomes for research on the benefits of drinking alcohol, with one study claiming that it increases cancer risk and DNA damage and another study showing that it is good for "cleaning" the brain. The difference between these two examples, however, is the amount of alcohol involved, which is also an important point in this latest study on living a long life.

Drinking Alcohol Better Than Exercise For Long Life

The 90+ Study, led by neurologist Claudia Kawas from the University of California and initiated in 2003, studied over 1,600 people within the "oldest-old" group. The group, made up of people with ages of 90 years old and above, was described as the fastest-growing age group in the United States.

The participants in The 90+ Study were visited every six months by the researchers involved in the project. The researchers perform various tests, including neurological, neuropsychological, cognitive, and physical examinations, while obtaining a wide variety of information that includes medical history, activities, diet, and many others.

The findings of the study are definitely interesting. One conclusion is that the subjects who consumed about two glasses of alcohol per day, whether beer or wine, were 18 percent less likely to suffer from a premature death. In comparison, daily exercise of around 15 to 45 minutes only reduced the risk of premature death by 11 percent.

"I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity," said Kawas at the American Association for the Advancement of Science annual conference in Austin, Texas.

Drinking too much beer and wine will certainly have negative side effects, but for people with ages of over 90 years old, modest drinking of alcohol surprisingly contributed to a longer life.

What Else Will Help People Live Beyond 90 Years Old?

Moderate drinking, however, was not the only activity reported by The 90+ Study that had a positive impact on longevity.

The study also found that those who spent about two hours daily on a hobby lowered their risk of premature death by 21 percent. Meanwhile, subjects who drank two cups of coffee each day saw the risk fall by 10 percent.

In another surprising result, 90-year-olds who were a bit overweight, but not obese, reduced the chances of premature death by 3 percent.

"It's not bad to be skinny when you're young but it's very bad to be skinny when you're old," said Kawas.

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