How Wine Helped Her Live Longer

Published July 13, 2017, Lifezette.com

By Christine King

One-hundred-year-old Florence Bearse of Bangor, Maine, credits her longevity to — yep, you guessed it — drinking wine.

Born in Massachusetts, Bearse spent her life in the restaurant industry serving others. Now a resident at Bangor’s Westgate Center for Rehabilitation, she is known for her sense of humor and her no-nonsense attitude, both very natural for a New England woman.

Bearse believes people “shouldn’t take any baloney” if they want to live to 100. She’s right! Centenarians have certainly put in their time and shouldn’t take nonsense from anyone. Instead, folks who are younger than her should take heed and follow her advice.

Stress kills — that’s no longer a secret. If a woman’s nightly indulgence of a little vino reduces stress and lengthens her life, more power to her.

Drinking alcohol is a common practice in aging adults. I know this as a health and wellness professional. When I meet with them to discuss their physical activity, nutrition, and hydration habits, it’s not uncommon for these folks to threaten my life (jokingly, of course) if I even suggest they cut back on their cocktail hour.

So I don’t. If an individual is relatively healthy and his or her doctor approves of the habit, I eliminate the alcohol discussion. I know better! Our clients refer to themselves as “well preserved” as a result of their nightly libations.

There are numerous studies on the health benefits of wine, particularly red wine — which is Bearse’s elixir of choice. There are benefits of polyphenols in red wine; this is well known. Polyphenols are antioxidants found in plants, and studies show they can reduce inflammation, neutralize free radicals and slow the growth of tumors. Other findings show that polyphenols can protect against heart disease, osteoporosis, and diabetes; however, further scientific studies are needed to confirm these.

Wine can also help the brain. Neuroscientist Dr. Gordon Shepherd of the Yale University School of Medicine has found that drinking wine engages the brain more than any other type of human behavior. In his new book, “Neuroenology: How The Brain Creates The Taste of Wine,” Shepherd notes that “drinking wine sparks a reaction in the sensory and emotional parts of the brain.”

So there’s a double whammy of benefits in drinking the sweet nectar.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has created guidelines for alcohol consumption for adults, including one moderate drink per day for women and up to two per day for men. The experts are clear, however, “that [this] is not intended as an average over several days.”

Unless a physician has specific (and different) guidelines for a patient, and unless there is cause for worry, I don’t suggest any of us discuss with older men and women their drinking habits, assuming they seem well and in control. If you do choose to take this up — stay at arm’s length! At these ages late in life — just as Florence Bearse made clear — these folks aren’t about to take any nonsense from interfering types. After all, they have lived to be 100. Give them some credit!