Not only is thinking about your lifespan something that isn’t top of mind every day, but it’s also something you may intentionally avoid thinking about. (We don’t blame you; it’s a bit of a downer.)
Your longevity may be a pretty dismal topic to reflect on regularly, but it’s worth your consideration. And we have an extremely easy way for you to significantly influence your life expectancy. No, it doesn’t involve keeping track of all the foods that will either shorten or lengthen your lifespan and how they fit into your diet; this tip involves knowing this one drink that is scientifically linked to a longer, healthier life — and then drinking it every day. It’s as simple as that. Best of all? That drink is red wine.
That’s right, consuming red wine every day might just help you live even further into your golden years.
“You’re telling me that drinking alcohol will really help me live longer?” Technically, yes. But it has to be red wine — white or rosé won’t do the trick. And that’s because red wine is one of the best sources of flavonoids: a group of bioactive antioxidants that have been linked to longevity.
A group of researchers examined data from the Nurses Health Study: one of the largest and longest investigations into the risk factors for major chronic diseases. The researchers, who published their findings in the British Journal of Nutrition, found a close link between eating flavonoid-rich foods and a reduced risk of all-cause mortality, compared to those who did not consume these foods in significant quantities. Specifically, the Harvard researchers discovered that red wine had the strongest association with a longer life. (If you don’t drink alcohol, there’s no need to start. You can also opt for drinking tea every day, as the researchers also found the same link between drinking this antioxidant-rich beverage and reaping the reward of a longer life, albeit not as strong as with red wine.)
STAY INFORMED: Sign up for our newsletter to get the latest food news delivered straight to your inbox.
You may be familiar with the connection between red wine and health from the life-extending Mediterranean diet. The diet emphasizes a high consumption of vegetables, fruits, nuts, legumes, fish, and olive oil and reduced consumption of meat and dairy products. It also features a moderate intake of alcohol in the form of red wine during meals. A comprehensive review of the diet found a significant correlation between it and the benefits of a reduced risk of heart attack, stroke, total mortality, heart failure, and breast cancer along with preventing cognitive decline.
So how much red wine should you drink per day to reap the rewards? A study published in the journal Diseases suggests that a moderate intake is between 1 and 2 glasses per day (while also following a healthy diet, like the Mediterranean diet). This amount of red wine can promote improved overall health and prevent chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease, metabolic syndrome, cognitive decline, depression, and cancer.
Drinking a glass of wine every day won’t just help you live longer, it may also keep you mentally sharp into your old age.
A 2020 study published in JAMA Network Open tested nearly 20,000 middle-aged participants in three different areas: mental status, word recall, and vocabulary. Researchers split the cohort into two groups: those who never drink and those with low to moderate drinking (eight drinks a week or fewer for women).
Participants who drank alcohol displayed better total cognitive function and overall had a significantly slower mental decline over the years compared to those who never drank.
Whether it’s to cap off a long day or as a treat to sip on during your nightly reality T.V. binges, unwinding with a glass of wine during dinner both lets you indulge while also benefitting your overall health. While red wine has some great side effects, we can’t necessarily say the same for other alcoholic beverages. See for yourself What Happens When You Drink Beer Every Night.