The Beer Diet

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or sometimes a few too many!

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To fully enjoy drinking beer for as long as you can, you have to take good care of your body.
And that's best done the natural way.

Stress Less with Adaptogens 

By Gary Greenberg
  SuperWriter, Inc.

     Researchers from the government's National Institutes of Health, the American Medical Association and National Beer Sellers Association have all concluded that drinking moderate amounts of beer is actually good for health and longevity. No one seems sure why this may be, because alcohol is basically a poison. But the presiding theory is that the warm and fuzzy feelings that alcohol imparts relieves stress, which can make you old and wrinkly before your time.
     As we should all know by now, stress is bad for health. This is because stress causes glands in your body to release the so-called "fight or flight" hormones, such as adrenaline and cortrisol. These hormones are designed to give you a temporary boost of energy when trying to do someting like outrun a bear but can be damaging when the stress comes from things like traffic jams, cranky kids, work and anything involving politics.
     These days, most people are pretty streessed out for a lot or even all of their waking hours. And since you can't drink beer all of the time, you may want to consider trying adaptogens, a select group of herbs that have been calming people down for thousands of years. They still work today, but are not widely publicized because they can't be patented like Prozac.
     Traditional Chinese and Ayurvedic medicine practioners have long been frim believers in the stress-bustung capabilites of adaptogens, but they did't begin to gain much modernday credibilty until the Soviet Union started studying them durng the Cold War.
     At first, the research was done in secret with hopes that the herbs could give the Soviets an edge in their battle with the West by boosting the strength, stamina and overall performance of soldiers, athletes, cosmonauts, KGB agents and others.
     Eventually, the Soviets published more than 1,000 studies about adaptogens, concluding that they helped reduce stress by regulating hormonal balance.
     “As far as something with concrete evidence of promoting health across the board, there is nothing even in the same ballpark as adaptogens,” proclaims herbalist Donnie Yance, author of Adaptogens in Medical Herbalism.
Rosea rhodioloa
Rosea rhodiola
 There are just a handful of widely-recognized adaptogenic plants, most of which live in harsh climates. One of them, rhodiola rosea, grows in the arctic highlands of Europe and Asia. The botanical compounds that protect it against cold, altitude and other extremes also help humans deal with the rigors of their environment, whether it’s a blizzard or a bad day at the office.
     “They’re called adaptogens because of their unique ability to ‘adapt’ their function according to your body’s needs,” explains leadning integrative internist Dr. Frank Lipman. “Adaptogens can calm you down and boost your energy at the same time without over-stimulating.”
      The hormonal imbalance created by stress can hogtie the immune system, cause digestive problems and induce inflammation, which can lead to heart disease, cancer, obesity, Alzheimer’s and just about every other malady known to man (or woman). Adaptogens help to normalize hormone levels, so even if you start getting worked up over being late to your kid’s soccer game, your body knows better and calms itself down.
      So, you might ask, if these herbs have incredible powers that have been known for thousands of years and their
Donnie Vanxce
Donnie Vance
value has been supported scientifically, why have most people not even heard about them?
      “That’s true across the board when it comes to herbal medicine,” notes Yance, founder of the Mederi Foundation, a natural health clinic and research center. “Adaptogens haven’t been marketed much when compared to things like pharmaceutical drugs.”
      And they also don’t get a lot of respect from the established medical community.
     “Mainstream medical people are typically uneducated in herbal treatments and tend to say that these types of things haven’t been validated scientifically,” says Yance. “But, in fact, there is more validation and support for these plants than many things seen in mainstream medicine.”
     Because adaptogenic supplements are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration, Yance warns that quality among products varies immensely.
     “I’d suggest buying an adaptogen formula rather than single herbs,” he suggests. “Do your research and make sure to get good quality products from a reliable company.
    Some commonly used adaptogens include:
         *Ashwagandha.  Native to arid areas in India, North Africa and the Middle East, ashwagandha has been used in Indian Ayurvedic medicine since ancient times to increase energy and endurance, boost the immune system and promote longevity.
          *Rhodiola rosea. This cold-weather herb is a great at balancing cortisol levels, and promoting brain function and heart health.
          *Ginseng (Asian or American). The Asian is said to be more potent, but both help regulate the endocrine system, improve pancreatic function and boost vitality.
          *Eleuthero root. Another Chinese native, this small, woody shrub helps fight chronic fatigue and is good for folks with stressful jobs, such as emergency room workers.
          *Schizandra. Called the “five flavor berry” because it is sweet, salty, sour, pungent and bitter, schizandra is found in northern China and Eastern Russia. Studies show it helps with work accuracy and fights fatigue. 

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