Secret no.17 Guinness

Gladys Fielden has been drinking a bottle of Guinness every morning at 10.30 and reckons it’s the key to her having reached 100. She told the Daily Express: ‘They say it’s good for you and it’s certainly done something for me‘.

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Gladys started drinking Guinness when she was pregnant with daughter Linda. She now has two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren. One of the grandchildren, Michelle Clews, says: ‘I’ve always known her to drink it. She’s always believed it’s what keeps her healthy. Gladys is very stubborn in her ways and she’s got to have her Guinness. If anyone in the family is ever ill she tells them to get a Guinness down them.’

Whether it’s the Guinness or not, Gladys is not just long-lived but has also stayed healthy and active. She only gave up baking when she was 90. Says Michelle: ‘She’s a remarkable woman and very good for her age. I think we all hope we can be like Gladys if we get to her age.”

Plausibility rating: 5 out of 10Guinness had stopped using it’s famous slogan in Britain by the 1980s (though it continued in use in Africa and some other countries until the 1990s when – with a nudge and a wink to the belief that it was good for the libido – it was replaced with ‘Guinness: the power’). Whether because of the slogan or not, belief that it was in some way medicinal and – in particular – was a good source of iron has prevailed: a free pint of Guinness after donating blood was only ended in Ireland in 2010. We’ve already seen (Ways to live to 100, number 2) that alcohol in moderation is generally associated with longer life (albeit with some reservations) – but is Guinness any better for you than other alcohol? Well, just possibly. Researchers at the University of Wisconsin found that dogs given Guinness had less blood clotting than those who drank lager – an effect similar to aspirin. It is also surprisingly low in calories compared to most other beers. On the other hand, it’s not a good source of iron: you’d need to drink 15 pints of Guinness (definitely not good for longevity) to get the same amount of iron as there are in two Weetabix. And – sorry Gladys – not many doctors would recommend drinking in pregnancy these days. So, all in all, Guinness is probably good for longevity in moderation – but no more than other alcohol. That’s not much of an advertising slogan though, is it?

photo credit: Old Advertisements via photopin (license)

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