Coffee, Whiskey, and Cigars Longevity Diet

It’s common for people who have lived a long time to divulge their “longevity secrets”, but in most cases they nor anyone else really knows what the answers to their long lives are. In some cases, centenarians attribute their long life to their vices. Could there be a coffee, whiskey, and cigars longevity diet? Or, as a wag put it: The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms – Longevity Edition.

Look at this man: 107-year-old U.S. veteran says he owes longevity to cigars, whiskey and ‘staying out of trouble’. Richard Overton, the veteran in question, is now 110. Here’s a National Geographic video about him. He’s the oldest living veteran of World War II.

I’m going to make the case here that Mr. Overton’s lifestyle has something to do with his long life.

How he lives

Here’s what I gathered from several articles and videos about Richard Overton:

  • He still drives – a Ford pickup
  • He owns a lot of guns
  • If he wakes up at 2 o’clock in the morning, he just gets up
  • He drinks up to 4 cups of coffee in the morning
  • He adds bourbon whiskey to his coffee
  • He smokes cigars, perhaps 10 a day.
  • He’s very active in his church
  • Has a 91-year-old girlfriend
  • He’s lean
  • He avoids stress – he’s easy going and says he’s stayed out of trouble

How his lifestyle contributes to his longevity

He’s lean and he fasts

I”m beginning to think that drinking coffee and whiskey and smoking cigars is healthier than eating a bowl of Honey Nut Cheerios with skim milk for breakfast. Not that the former is so great, but compare it to the alternative that most people have for breakfast.

By doing so, he’s not raising his blood sugar or contributing to insulin resistance. Coffee is also associated with better health and a longer life, and inhibits iron absorption.

By having only coffee and whiskey for breakfast, he may be practicing a form of intermittent fasting. At least, he doesn’t seem to be eating around the clock like almost everyone else these days.

Moderate alcohol drinking is associated with less heart disease.

He might be practicing hormesis by smoking cigars. Tobacco use is associated with much less Parkinson’s disease. He’s said that he doesn’t inhale; while cigar smoking is associated with higher death rates, much of that appears to be due to lung cancer, which is caused by inhaling smoke. While I’m not recommending cigar smoking, it doesn’t seem to have harmed Mr. Overton.

He’s not overweight. There aren’t too many fat centenarians.

He doesn’t sleep too much

Too much sleep, over 8.5 hours, is associated with higher mortality.

He’s active

He still drives and owns guns. While someone in better health could be expected to stay more active, being active also helps one stay in better health.

He goes to church

Being socially active and especially attending church is associated with longer life. He has a girlfriend and a family and lots of friends.

He avoids stress

Overton appears very easy-going. He’s said that after having bullets fly around him in the Pacific in World War II, nothing else could bother him.

He said that he’s stayed out of trouble. That could mean avoiding bad people and dangerous things, thus avoiding getting hurt in a crime or an accident. If you want to live a long time, that’s a necessity.

Conclusion

Undoubtedly, Mr. Overton is blessed with a great genetic makeup. But some of his lifestyle could contribute to his long life.

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17 comments
Ed says February 8, 2017

Great post. I believe everyone reading it would enjoy an Overton coffee and conversation.

Reply
Coffee, Whiskey, and Cigars Longevity Diet - THE SURVIVAL GARDENER says February 8, 2017

[…] P. D. Mangan just posted an analysis of Richard Overton’s interesting diet over at Rogue Health and Fitness: […]

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Robert says February 8, 2017

My guess here would be a major genetic component. While you highlight certain potential upsides of his lifestyle, it largely wouldn’t generalize…

This might interest you

Why is male life expectancy so high in Israel?http://marginalrevolution.com/marginalrevolution/2017/02/male-life-expectancy-high-israel.html

(spoiler: higher fitness due to army service)

Reply
Coffee, Whiskey, and Cigars Longevity Diet says February 8, 2017

[…] post Coffee, Whiskey, and Cigars Longevity Diet appeared first on Rogue Health and […]

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Oscar says February 8, 2017

Nice story. His active social life and laid-back attitude are the key elements for me. Booze and cigars might have those effects you comment, or alternatively be easily offset by good genetics if you don’t abuse them.

I am not much of a believer but I am also positive religious people are happier and probably live longer. It just gives you a lot of hope. A former philosophy teacher of mine used to say that when Marx talked about religion as “the opiate of the masses” he was not so much considering it an instrument of oppression -as it is often understood- but he meant a cheap way of forgetting about all the misery surrounding poor people (the wealthy would go smoke opium instead, hence the metaphor).

However what matters is quality of life and not so much longevity. As a kid I was terrified of dying young, now in my late twenties I am not so sure. When you look at it, we spend a great deal of our lives doing pretty menial stuff. I am not suicidal, but if I was told that I would die in a few months, provided that it wasn’t a painful death, I don’t think I would care that much. In fact, I would worry more about the suffering my family would endure rather than my own passing.

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    bigmyc says February 8, 2017

    Interesting.

    Didn’t Groucho MARX say that sports “were the opiate of the masses.”?

    Reply
    P. D. Mangan says February 8, 2017

    Oscar, I’m coming closer to your view more and more. I must say, if I got a diagnosis of something really bad, like cancer, it would freak me out. I look on my fitness and anti-aging routine more as just an extended version of looking both ways before you cross the street; if it’s easy enough and will keep you healthy, then why not do it? Plus I want to be fit and look good. But otherwise, when my time is up, well, then it’s up.

    Reply
bigmyc says February 8, 2017

The fella’s an interesting case. Obviously, factor numero uno has to be his hereditary inheritance. I’m a believer that “genetics cocks the hammer and one’s lifestyle pulls the trigger (or not).”

As far as the IF thing, he is probably breaking his fasts with those shots of bourbon. 4 cups of coffee is indeed a lot phytochemicals but there’s no mention if he routinely will sink whiskey into his coffee, all 4 of them. If so, that’s more likely caloric restriction and definitely not IF.

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    Nick says February 9, 2017

    The quantity of alcohol is the question. If his shot of Bourbon is 1.5 oz and 40%, then that could be 100 calories or so per shot. But I’ve also read that alcohol is absorbed and metabolised pretty quickly, so its glycemic load might be gone pretty quickly. Unless, yes, it’s a shot with EVERY cuppa Joe…

    Googling “insulin response alcohol” is somewhat interesting. Light – moderate alcohol consumption seems to increase insulin sensitivity, whereas heavy consumption increases resistance. And “while your liver is busy processing alcohol, your blood glucose drops.”

    Reply
Herman Rutner says February 8, 2017

Oscar almost got it right…a pleasant or brief dying experience would be a blessing. But Shakespeare’s Hamlet contemplating suicide saw it clearer….to die, to die….per chance to dream? For in that sleep what dreams may come when we have shuffled this mortal coil. Yep , Hamlet saw the hook…possibly existence in a real fiery hell forever…. after a brief journey on earth according to a reliable Book that most person do not read or believe. But what if true? Why gamble and risk going to hell when there is better choice and a real bargain: free eternal life insurance in heaven.

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    mark sanders says February 10, 2017

    “Reliable book”? More like a fairy tale book.

    Reply
Robert says February 9, 2017

Interesting how many of his lifestyle habits go against conventional wisdom but seem to have worked for him. Of course he could be an outlier, but I doubt he would have lived that long if he followed the conventional modern American lifestyle.

Hopefully this will open up the Overton window on health discussion.

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    MarkB says February 9, 2017

    Good one, Robert. You beat me to it!

    Reply
      P. D. Mangan says February 10, 2017

      Indeed.

      Reply
Ole says February 10, 2017

It must be hormesis on steriodes

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Jokah Macpherson says February 11, 2017

Just want to emphasize that Overton is a distant relative of U.S. President Andrew Jackson. I guess the cool just runs in the family.

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    P. D. Mangan says February 11, 2017

    Totally!

    Reply
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