Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Liquor Up!

Steve and I went on a vacation with friends to their parents Rhode Island summer home. All generations were there including the 95 year old MiMi, my friend's grandma. This is how the lazy summer days went:

  • Wake up--Mimosas (at least two)
  • Go walk by the beach/swim
  • Lunch--Start the beer
  • Swim in the ocean, ride boat around lagoon
  • Dinner--Start the hard liquor (Wild Turkey, Absolut on the rocks)
  • After dinner--Some sort of Brandy, or other appropriate nocturnal alcohol

MiMi drank with the best of 'em. Steve and I, our pathetic little livers taxed, pooped out at dinner time. Most times, actually, we were done in by lunch. MiMi was alert, smart as a whip and having a raucous good time. So, yes, drink up in your elder years.

Drinking. It's good and good for you.


Gina Cobb said...

Any theories as to why alcohol helps with longevity?

My own suspicion is that the alcohol may possibly kill some viruses and/or bacteria in the mouth, throat, esophagus, stomach and/or intestines and may possibly prevent some such viruses or bacteria from living long enough to get absorbed into the bloodstream or accidentally inhaled into the lungs. That, in turn, may prevent some heart damage and/or cancers caused by viruses.

I guess the first question would be whether alcohol as imbibed actually kills bacteria and viruses on contact. I don't know, but it seems logical that might.

I do know this: Whenever you read a story about a really, really old person who just died, you'll find that they consumed at least some alcohol in one form or another. Maybe I'm overgeneralizing here, but I haven't found an exception yet.

P.S. - You're on my blogroll now.

Dr. Melissa said...

My theory has more to the dialation of blood vessels. Alchohol relaxes muscle and blood vessels are lined with muscles (arteries) that when relaxed dialate. That would increase blood flow to the brain and the heart.

In addition, drinking often has a social element. So, people who drink are surrounded by friends and family. Social isolation is implicated in all sorts of health problems.

Finally, drinking in moderation negates the effects of stress. It lowers heart rate, it inhibits cortisol, and it alters the minds brain chemistry--giving that good "buzz" feeling. This too, can encourage longevity.

As for the anti-bacterial aspect? Maybe. Too much alcohol can actually create an environment where certain bugs grow. But, with red wine and beer, at least, there are heavy-duty anti-oxidants that boost immunity. That would be an indirect way of killing bacteria, so you might have something there.

P.S. Thank you for adding me! I'll get to it.