Eating chocolate and drinking coffee or tea could help you live longer, research suggests.
Indulging in the treats while taking zinc supplements activates a compound that slows down aging, a study found.
This reverses the 'internal stress' of Alzheimer's.
Zinc is a long-term safe supplement and can be used regularly.
Chocolate, wine, coffee and tea contain the antioxidant polyphenols, which help combat cell damage.
Chocolate, wine and coffee could help you live longer, research suggests (stock)
Researchers from the University of Erlangen-Nuremberg found zinc activates a compound in polyphenols in the lab.
This activation then protects against a gas that is produced as a waste product by cells, according to the research in the journal Nature Chemistry.
This gas can damage a person's DNA – oxidative stress – and is thought to play a key role in the aging process.
It also links to inflammation that can cause cancer and degenerative diseases such as Alzheimer's.
Polyphenols can not break down this damaging gas alone. But when combined with zinc, they create a 'mega complex'.
This complex mimics the naturally-occurring superoxide dismutase enzyme that destroys the gas to help protect the body from its effects.
This study is the first time the effects of this enzyme have been copied without resorting to the chemical properties of metals such as iron or copper.
Excessive exposure to these metals can cause so-called internal stress on their own. Zinc, however, is much less toxic.
Too much iron has also been linked to liver disease, diabetes and even heart failure, while too much can cause fever, anemia and low blood pressure.
Zinc, however, can be tolerated at higher doses with overexposure becoming just nausea and a change in your taste.
The researchers hope it can be used as a supplement or as part of a drug with fewer side effects.
It is therefore plausible to add polyphenols. It already found in high quantities in red meat.
It is certainly possible to drink wine, coffee, tea or chocolate [the] future with added zinc, lead author Dr Ivana Ivanović-Burmazović said.
'However, any alcohol content whatsoever would destroy the positive effects of this combination.'
Chocolate milk boosts recovery more than sports drinks.
The popular milkshake allows athletes to intensely exercise for around six minutes longer than sports drink without tiring, according to Iranian scientists.