Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Liver approved

Since we are closing in on St. Patrick's Day, it seems only appropriate that the news would start trotting out stories about how drinking can negatively affect people, especially when the drinking is done binge-style, as so many seem to do every March 17th. After all, the week between Christmas and New Year's tends to feature stories about depression, and Valentine's Day always has the featured articles on how to either a) avoid, or b) deal with, a break-up to your relationship. Labor Day has birth announcements. So why not just repeat an article that's been run many times before.

But wait, it seems like someone isn't following the rules. Dangers of drinking, people, not any potential benefits from doing so.

Okay, let's be clear on this. People have long accepted the notion that a glass of wine every day can help their heart. Well, if the doctor in the article is right (and, since he's Johns Hopkins-educated, we have no reason not to believe him... we went to a State school), then wine isn't the only thing that will help your health. And it's not just one glass a day, either. It's still moderation, instead of drinking to get drunk, but his experiences, and the research to back up those experiences, tend to point out that people who drank a little bit every day actually lived longer than people who never touched a drop.

In a lot of ways, this makes sense. True, longevity has gone up overall in people due to us taking better care of ourselves, and being better prepared to handle diseases and assorted accidents that would have previously cut our lives shorter. But, how often does one hear of a person making it to (or past) their 90th year, all the while drinking, smoking, and eating fatty foods, things that, by common belief, should have killed them years ago? Not saying that anyone should go out and embrace those lifestyles, especially in the face of a more moderate approach, but something has to be said for those people who allow themselves a little more enjoyment out of life, without worrying if every little thing they do is going to give them cancer.

Of course, when you take it to an extreme, you end up driving a car with only three tires. And nobody wants that.

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