Is Whiskey the Secret to Long Life?

whiskeyAt 105-years-old, Jack Reynolds credits whiskey as the secret to long life. Reynolds drinks whiskey multiple times a day and credits the habit for his long, healthy life. Not only does he add a shot of whiskey to his morning cup of tea, and nightly lemonade drink, Reynolds looks to his beloved drink as a medicinal remedy for what ails him.

Scientists support the man’s claim with reports that a large shot of whiskey can help protect against heart disease. Researchers by the Rowett Research Institute in Aberdeen and part sponsored by the Scotch Whisky Research Institute state the body’s defenses against disease increases by drinking the equivalent of three to four pub measures of whiskey. However, the greatest benefit is achieved by drinking only once a week.

According to Merriam Webster, the word derives from the Scottish Gaelic uisge beatha, and actually means water of life. Hugh Morison, director general of the Scotch Whisky Association, said:

It is no surprise to Scotch whiskey drinkers that a shot of their favorite drink is good for their heart. This research is yet further evidence that the moderate consumption and enjoyment of all alcoholic beverages is beneficial to health.

Perhaps, Reynolds is on to something because the name whiskey suggests it could possess qualities that prolong life. At 105, he declares whiskey the secret to long life. Not only has he lived over a century, but also reportedly is the oldest person to have done the viral ice bucket challenge and is the Guinness World Record holder for oldest roller coaster rider.

The idea of alcohol as medicine is not new. During Prohibition, alcohol was “just what the doctor ordered.” The U.S. Treasury Department authorized physicians to write prescriptions for medicinal alcohol. Historian W. J. Rorabaugh wrote:

Americans in the early 18th century classified whiskey, rum, and other liquors as medications that could cure colds, fevers, snakebites, frosted toes, and broken legs, and as relaxants that would relieve depression, reduce tension, and enable hardworking laborers to enjoy a moment of happy, frivolous camaraderie.

Some have reduced this theory to another way for doctors of that day to earn more money, however, not all agree. One doctor, although he does not prescribe alcohol to his patients, said:

I have always maintained that every family ought to have an alcoholic stimulant in the house all the time. There is nothing more valuable in an emergency.

Reynolds is not the first centenarian to prove booze helps you live longer. Is whiskey really the secret to long life? Richard Overton, at 111-years-old, also supports this claim. As of September 2017, he was the oldest living WWII veteran. He still lives in his Austin, Texas home and drives himself around town. Overton spends most of his days smoking cigars and drinking Tennessee whiskey.whiskey

Despite its history of medicinal use, doctors today will likely never advise drinking alcohol for health purposes. According to the American Society of Clinical Oncology, drinking any alcohol raises cancer risk. In 2017, the organization released a statement warning that there is no safe level of alcohol consumption.

From the smallest shot of alcohol to multiple cocktails a day, these living legends all agree that a daily helping of booze keeps them living longer and stronger. They firmly believe that daily drinking habits are what helped them become supercentenarians.  Those who struggle with alcoholism or have a history of alcohol abuse should refrain from consuming any “adult” beverages.  For all others, the question remains, “Is whiskey the secret to long life?”

By Cherese Jackson (Virginia)

DISCLAIMER:  We do not encourage drinking and if you do, please drink responsibly.


BBC: It’s for medicinal purposes, honest…
Smithsonian Magazine: During Prohibition, Your Doctor Could Write You a Prescription for Booze
Good News: 105-Year-Old Man Credits a Whiskey a Day For His Long Life
Liquor: Living Legends Who Prove Booze Helps You Live Longer

Image Credits:

Top Image Courtesy of Dominick Guzzo’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Inline Image Courtesy of Elizabeth’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License
Featured Image Courtesy of Dario-Jacopo Lagana’s Flickr Page – Creative Commons License

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