Pennsylvanian Pauline Spagnola told a local reporter that ‘a lot of booze’ is the key to her reaching 100. The video of that advice briefly made her an internet star and also earned her three crates of free beer from the local Lion brewery, her favourite (though Pauline is also quoted as saying ‘Anything they buy me – I drink it’). This was reported by the local TV station as “Booze Drinkin’ Granny Gets Free Brew”.
Those crates may not have lasted long: Pauline says she has ‘one at noon, one in the evening and one going to sleep – put me to sleep’. You can almost hear the nervousness in the director of the supported housing where Pauline lives, who is quoted as saying cautiously: ‘As long as there’s no restrictions with medication or any type of dependency issues, there’s nothing wrong with having a beer here or there.’ And in fairness, Pauline did say she planned to share her free drink with friends.
Plausibility rating: 5 out of 10. There is plenty of evidence that alcohol – particularly but not exclusively, red wine – can improve health and longevity. Typically, the studies find that drinkers even have a lifespan advantage over teetotallers. However the research is disputed and studies also tend to suggest that moderation is key. Too much alcohol is generally found to limit life rather than extend it.
We cover the subject of alcohol and its impact on longevity more fully in the posts on Whisky, Guinness and brandy, and the effects of heavier drinking in gin and tonic and – incredibly – four bottles of red wine a day.