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Matilda Curcia isn't the only centenarian to credit alcohol for a longer-than-average life.

Elisabeth Sherman
March 05, 2018

Society is constantly studying and debating which foods will help humans live the longest, especially the foods we love. Does wine keep your brain healthy? Will coffee extend your lifespan? Can chocolate really make you smarter? Some science speculates it's possible, but no one can really say for sure. There are, of course, the anecdotes of our elders. If we choose to believe them, these stories may hold some good news. Take the case of 100-year-old Matilda Curcia, who has a very specific recipe for long life.

Curcia, who lives in San Francisco, says that she has one beer and three potato chips every night before bed. She credits this nightly routine with her long life.

"I have no pain and do my exercises every day. And have my beer. Eat my potato chips. That's about all,” she told NBC San Diego.

Folks who have lived for a hundred years or more consistently report that alcohol is part of the reason they’ve reached the landmark age. Florence Bearse, from Maine, turned 100 last year. She loves wine, and say it’s the reason that she’s lived so long. 105-year-old Jack Reynolds credits whiskey, which he drinks in his tea every morning and in lemonade in the evening. Not a bad way to retire.

There is some science to back up the claims that drinking will extend your life: One study found that drinking in moderation—from two or four drinks in a night—can actually lower your chance of heart attack and stroke. The occasional glass of wine with dinner may protect your heart, but you should be careful to not overindulge, which can have negative consequences in the long term. 

Will any of these strategies work for you? There’s always a chance, but more realistically, there’s probably no secret snack or cocktail combination that will help you reach your centennial. Still, there’s no harm in trying out all your favorite foods, just in case.