Is A Beer A Day Good For You?

Nebraska's oldest man, Mark Behrends, turned 110 on May 16, and his secret to longevity will likely surprise you. While some tout whole grains or arthritis supplements for prolonging the lifespan, Behrends followed his own formula: a beer a day — a can every day at 3 pm, usually Miller, to be exact. “He always joked that that was his medicine since he takes very little medicine,” his daughter Lois Bassinger told Well, I guess it paid off, because Behrends told that he not only is alive at 110 but also feels far younger than he is: When asked about his old age, he replied, "I don’t even notice it."

If you've ever taken a statistics class, however, you're probably thinking, "Hold your horses. Don't all these people understand that correlation does not mean causation?" Unfortunately, while we'd all like to subscribe to the beer-a-day formula, you're right. We cannot verify that beer is responsible for Behrends' age. Perhaps his longevity is the result of good genes, other healthy lifestyle habits, or, as Medical Daily suggests, being young at heart. Behrend worked as a custodian until he was 80 and continued driving until 106, though, understandably, "his reaction time wasn’t quite as quick" by that time, according to his daughter.

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While youth at heart or just plain old good luck may be the real reasons for their old age, the superlatively elderly have definitely come up with some interesting theories to explain their accomplishments. Here are a few more secrets to old age according to those who have lived long enough to test them out.

1. Jessie Gallan, 109, and Emma Morano, 115, chose singlehood over unequal relationships.

Emma Morano, the oldest living woman in Europe, credits her lifespan to three raw eggs a day, originally recommended to treat anemia, and remaining single after a separation in 1938 — before divorce was even legal in her home country of Italy. The 115-year-old said she had plenty of opportunities to date again but refused "to be dominated by anyone." Jessie Gallan (shown above), the oldest woman in Scotland, also has a dietary secret — a daily bowl of porridge — along with a relationship policy: “My secret to a long life has been staying away from men... They’re just more trouble than they’re worth.” Take note, ladies. Well, hopefully not all men (ugh, MRAs have ruined that phrase for everyone) must be avoided, but to live a long and healthy life, it's probably best to steer clear of those who will dominate you.

2. The late Misao Okawa suggested lots of sushi and sleep at age 117 but admitted she really had no idea.

Before her death earlier this year at 117, Misao Okawa was the world's oldest person. When asked to explain how she arrived at this age, her answer was perhaps more honest than the rest: "I wonder about that too." But, the Japanese supercentenarian speculated, she did eat three large meals per day, often containing sushi, and sleep at least eight hours per night. “You have to learn to relax,” she told The Telegraph. Who knew the recipe for a long life could be so enjoyable? (Sushi bar, here I come.)

3. 85-year-old sex educator Betty Dodson offered up longevity as another excuse for masturbation.

While not a supercentenarian, Betty Dodson is alive, kicking, and relaunching the sexuality workshops she started in the 70s at age 85. A notorious self-love advocate, Dodson not surprisingly credits her good health in old age to lots of it — well, that and "pot and raw garlic." Whether alone or with a partner, orgasms have a number of health benefits, so she may be on to something.

These young-spirited elders' advice is good not just for a long-lasting life but also for a healthy, enjoyable life while it lasts. And unless you're set on waiting it out for some astrological event (or perhaps some earthly event like seeing a woman become U.S. President, which hopefully won't take that long), the latter goal, in my mind, is more important.

Images: xkcd