You probably don’t need another reason to to grab a beer but we’ll give you one anyway. A new study claims that drinking in moderation can help extend life expectancy. Maybe Betty White was really on to something when she credited vodka and hot dogs for her long life and career following her 96th birthday?

The 90-plus study led by Dr. Claudia Kawas, a neurologist from the University of California, Irvine, looked at over 1,600 nonagenarians (you know, folks in their 90s). It analyzed their food, drink, and lifestyle habits since 2003 and here is what they found: Those who drank up to two glasses of beer or wine a day upped their chances of living longer than those who didn’t by about 18 percent.

“I have no explanation for it, but I do firmly believe that modest drinking improves longevity,” Kawas said in her keynote address at the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s annual conference in Austin, where the research was presented. I love that’s she’s just as baffled as we are, and also willing to just go along with it. Ah, the power of science!

And here’s more good news for those of us who like to pig out. Those who were slightly overweight, though not obese, were reported to have a three percent chance of not dying as early as those who weren’t. Yay, let’s eat more pizza and french fries and ice cream in celebration.

Other habits correlated with longer life expectancy include having a hobby, as well as exercise. But no one wants to hear about how 15 to 45 minutes of daily physical activity also reduces their risk of an early death, because that’s boring and takes actual effort. Plus, the reported reduction was only by 11 percent, which is still less than drinking alcohol! Take that, treadmills.

Header image courtesy of Shutterstock.

Jessica is a former Associate Editor at Chowhound. Follow her on Twitter @volume_knob for updates on snacks and cats.
See more articles