Habits – good and bad

 Alcohol

is not just a question of the more you drink the healthier you will be. In the UK. the Health Education Authority recommends that women drink no more than 21 units of alcohol a week man no more 28 units a unit being a glass of wine or half-pint of beer It is also advisable to have one or two alcohol-free days a week

Some people either cannot or should not drink alcohol. If you are taking certain medication, you may be told that it will not respond in the presence of alcohol. People with hepatitis or raised liver enzymes, directed in blood tests carried out by a doctor may be advised to go without alcohol for three months or longer. Some people simply feel bad when they drink alcohol it just doesn’t suit them It has become apparent from recent research that not only does alcohol tasto good,

it also does you good However, they feel hung over after a single glass or develop allergic reactions such as urticaria (nettle rash) or migraine. Young children have very sensitive hearts, lungs. livers and brains, which can be seriously affected by alcohol. If they accidentally drink alcohol, they should never be left to sleep it off but should be taken to casualty immediately for treatment. For teenagers, I think the French have the right idea when they introduce wine in diluted form, it teaches young people the correct use of alcohol, as a pleasant adjunct to a sociable meal

 BENEFITS

The most well documented benefit of alcohol is the effect of antioxidants on our blood lats. Of all alcoholic drinks, red wine contains the most antioxidants. In simple terms, antioxidants have a protective effect on our overall health as our body uses oxygen it creates by products known as free radicals (free radicals are also produced as a result of stress, too much sun, and environmental pollution, including cigarette smoke). While a few free radicals are necessary to the body, too many will cause damage to cell walls, which can result in heart din certain cancers, arthritis, cataracts and ageing of the skin. Antioxidants which include vitamins A. C and E. minerals such as selenium and zinc, and other compounds, such as the anthocyanin and tannin found in red wine) can fight’ the free radicals and prevent cellular damage

Other antioxidant compounds are being researched; some are found in all wine; others are present in far greater amounts in specific wines. Flavonoids found in grape skins, for example, may offer some protection against cancer the effect will be less powerful in Beaujolais Nouveau, which is relatively low in flavonoids and tannin because the grape skins remain in contact with the Juice for a very short time. Other antioxidant compounds include resveratrol,

quercetin catechin and ruin, which have been demonstrated to help prevent cancer of the digestive tract. These seem to be higher in red wines grown in cooler, damper dilates, and those made with the Pinot Noir or Pinotage grape. Resveratrol can also reduce the risk of thrombosis and atherosclerosis. Apart from the antioxidant effects, regular moderate drinking of any sort of alcohol can reduce stress and blood pressure and can therefore reduce the likelihood of heart disease.

Moderate drinking has also been shown to increase the proportion of HDL in the blood (HDL is the good form of cholesterol, which escorts had LDL cholesterol hack to the liver where it can be recycled or destroyed and therefore reduces the incidence of heart disease Beers like wines, vary in their health benefits: dark brown beers contain more flavonoids than light beers, but not as many as wine. 

THE DOWNSIDE

 if taken in excess alcohol has many health-hindering effects. Too much alcohol of any sort can cause cardiomyopathy (disease of the heart muscle cirrhosis of the liver and an increase in the bad blood lats triglycerides and LDL. Too much alcohol can also adversely affect bone marrow, and the blood’s ability to clot and heal. It can also be psychologically addictive. Too much alcohol can also affect your sex life. While a tipple can release stress and remove inhibitions, it tends to make you very tired, and too much affects men by anaesthetizing the nerves in the penis in women it can decrease their ability to orgasm.

If men consume alcohol to excess over a long period it can lead to testicular atrophy shrinkage of the penis and an increase in breast size. Too much alcohol not only causes a beer belly it can decrease the level of testosterone in the body, and increase the level of estrogen (in men!), both of which decrease libido and the production of sperm People metabolize and tolerate alcohol differently some can drink copious amounts before feeling the effects, while others sway after a single glass. One of the major factors that influences how your body responds to alcohol is food, Drinking on an empty stomach causes the alcohol to whizz through the stomach into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) where the absorption is rapid,

so the effect of the alcohol is greatly increased Food helps to keep the alcohol in the stomach, and slows down its absorption Alcohol also increase your appetite by lowering your blood sugar level. Alcohol prevents sugar that is normally stored in the liver from being used by the body. This interrupts the body’s natural blood sugar control cycle and means that your blood sugar level drops soon after you drink alcohol. The resale is that you feel hungry.

While this can be advantageous for people with poor appetites for the majority of people it causes them to lose control over what they are eating and how much they need to eat before they feel full It also cause weight gain because it provides calories without supplying any useful martinets fop art from the antioxidants in red wine). Drinking on an empty stomach can causeenergy levels to crash. leaving you feeling shattered. If you are aware that your energy levels tend to fluctuate you should definitely take your drink with food as this helps to cushion the effects of the alcohol. 

HANGOVER CURES 

Contrary to popular belief, strong black coffee is about the worst thing you can consume a bit dehydrates the body even further. Both caffeine and alcohol Imitate the kidneys to produce more diuretic hormones. Drink as much water as you can throughout the day. The best morning-after cure is to eat some breakfast consisting of carbo hydrate foods such as cereal or toast, along with a glass of fresh fruit juice and an analgesic if necessary.

If you can’t face eating, mix a teaspoon of honey into a glass of fresh juice to help bring your blood sugar up to an acceptable level Prevention is better than cure drinking water before you go to bed is one way to reduce a hangover. Eating something small, even if it’s just a piece of fruit or bread, before you go out also helps.

Coffee and tea 

Throughout the book, you will find me warning against excessive tea and coffee drinking It is not that I am totally against these drinks, rather than the way many people drink them leaves a lot to be desired. Often, it is out of sheer force of habit. How many people do you know who can’t start the day without two or three cups of tea or coffee? Or who accept cup of coffee or tea without thinking in business meetings or on social occasions? These people are not removing are- mastic coffee or refreshing tea, whereas if they limited themselves to two or three cups a day they would be able to look forward to and appreciate the experience. 

Problems arise because the calcine in coffee and tea and in cola drinks) is mildly addictive, the more you drink the more you want. If you have more than two or three cups of caffeine containing drink a day, the caffeine in your body becomes excessive and inhibits the absorption of vitamins and minerals, leaving you, at best, sapped of energy, at worst, suffering from a deficiency of vital nutrients Good coffee can be enjoyed within a healthy lifestyle. You just need to make sure that you choose a good coffee and don’t drink too much. or you risk upsetting the balance of vitamin and mineral absorption 

DECAFFEINATED COFFEE 

Patients sometimes ask whether they should drink decaffeinated coffee, since it is excess caffeine that is bad for you? The problem here is that the majority of decaffeinated coffee is made using a chemical solvent to remove the caffeine. Not only does this not taste so good, but these chemicals are potentially carcinogenic Consumer outcry has led many coffee companies to seek alternative deafen- nation techniques, and they have developed the water method and the carbondioxide method

Both are currently more expensive – but produce fine-tasting coffee Look out for them in specialty coffee shops the decaffeinated coffee you find in supermarkets is most likely to be a solvent type, unless it is labelled water method or carbon dioxide (CO2) method. Decaffeinated tea subject to the same techniques Refresh your thirst with water or hartal tea There are So many delicious herbal teas in the shops, you should be able to god see that you really like.

Smoking 

Sadly, smoking is still sometimes portrayed as glamorous or ‘cool”. There is nothing cool about cancer, asthma, red eyes and wrinkles. Smoking has been shown to be a risk factor in sudden infant deaths. asthma, heart disease and many sorts of cancers. Even if you decide to ignore these facts, you should bear in mind that smoking also drains the body of many essential vitamins and minerals. This affects not only smokers themselves but everyone in contact with smoky environments A smoke-filled body is less efficient at absorbing and retaining nutrients than a smoke free body.

The major nutrient to be hit is vitamin C. The more you smoke, the more vitamin C you lose from your tissues and blood. The damage smoke inflicts on your cells causes your body to need more vitamin to counter act this damage. You don’t need me to point out that smokers are more likely to smoke a cigarette between meals than to eat a piece of fruit so it is relatively easy to deprive your body of the vitamin C it so desperately needs.

Smokers lose out on the beneficial effects of vitamin C because they need more, bur eat less, absorb less and excrete more Since vitamin C is one of the major antioxidants which has been linked to the prevention of cancer, cigarette smokers are at a much greater risk of developing cancer as a result of poor antioxidant intake and damage to the cells inflicted by the smoke. The main organs to be exposed to an increased risk of cancer are the lungs, stomach, mouth, breast and cervix. In order to try to counteract the disturbance in vitamin C metabolism.

a smoker’s requirement for vitamin C increases to approximately 2000 mg a day However, it would be almost impossible to get this amount from food alone you will need to take a vitamin C supplement If you cannot give up, which of course would be the greatest favor you could do yourself and everyone around you, you must make sure that you eat plenty of fresh vegetables and fruits every day as part of a generally healthy diet, to help minimize the damage