This 108-Year-Old Woman Says Champagne Is the Secret to Longevity—Here's What the Science Says
A recent article went viral last week regarding a cententarian named Dorothy Flowers, who claims Champagne is her secret to 108 years of life—and counting! Besides receiving more than 650 birthday cards from around the world, Flowers also received four of her favorite things in the world: Champagne, gin, flowers and chocolate. Talk about a gal after our own hearts! However, is there any evidence to back up the belief that Champagne can increase your lifespan?
Helene Ballinger, the resident manager of the nursing home Flowers lives in told Metro, "Her real secret for longevity though has to be Champagne. It's the only thing we ever see her finish a glass of. Needless to say, we've been toasting her birthday."
The potential health benefits of alcohol is a hotly debated topic, as one day we are told to drink red wine for better heart health and advised to abstain from all boozy beverages the next. One of the largest alcohol and health studies to date essentially found that drinking alcohol in moderation or less—no more than one drink a day for women and two for men—likely isn't doing any favors for your health.
Further analysis of this headline-grabbing study showed that there's no need for an alarmist mentality regarding this study and alcohol consumption in general, but our reason for drinking alcohol should be purely for enjoyment, rather than any touted health claims.
We asked Jessica Ball, M.S., R.D., assistant digital nutrition editor at EatingWell and Nicolette M. Pace MS, RDN, CDE, CBC,CDN, CFCS, FAND to get the scoop.
"There are some potential benefits of moderate alcohol consumption, namely for your heart and your brain," Ball says. "However, there are also some well-established negative health impacts from regular alcohol consumption, especially heavy drinking (greater than three drinks a night)."
Ball adds that there are several other factors at play when it comes to longevity, and eating a variety of fruits and veggies can help boost any potential benefits and protect against the risks of alcohol consumption.
"All foods—and drinks—can fit into a healthy pattern, in moderation," Ball says. "Unfortunately, Champagne alone is probably not the key to the fountain of youth."
Pace agrees that Champagne—and other alcoholic beverages—can certainly fit into a healthy diet, one just needs to be mindful of the reason why they are drinking.
"When you're stressed you're not drinking for your health, you're drinking to get a buzz," Pace says. "All over the world drinking is done in proportion, but this is not always the case in America. Either we drink too much or we don't drink during the week, and then drink too much on the weekends. In Europe, a lot of people drink every day in moderation."
While we aren't so sure that Flowers' belief in bubbles for longevity lines up with science, Pace notes that there is some science behind enjoying your meals, and several studies have found communal dining can be great for one's mental health. Eating and drinking in moderation to celebrate life with the ones you love certainly can't be bad for your health.
"The research supports that when you relax about food and stop obsessing, it promotes longevity," Pace says. "Relax and have some Champagne!"