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Wed, 6th May 2015

Alcohol is still the most widely used "medication" in history. It is the universal drug of good cheer. It is claimed to maintain good health and improve mental relaxation, even though doctors know one gram permanently kills a given number of neurones. The scriptures constantly refer to it in a positive way and it has been used in vast amounts both before and since.

Every culture has its own particular brand but the end product is much the same - "ethanol", to use the euphemism. It is even recommended as an alternative power for vehicles to replace petrol. Nineteenth century Europe almost sank in a deluge of alcohol related drinks. Charles Dickens, who ruled the era, was a very sparse drinker, but his characters were all massive partakers. The health conscious western world in the past twenty years has de-socialised cigarette smoking (although one in five still smoke, worse in women), in early Australia, it was a form of currency.

So how good and how bad is alcohol. As the law makers are the law breakers, there is absolutely no chance of it being removed from the social or economic menu in the foreseeable future. In today's medicalised society, most are fully aware that alcohol is responsible for the majority of accidents, it ranks high in marital disputes, fights, killings. Its indirect costs to society runs into billions annually. However, there is such a thing as balance and common sense.

Modest amounts are claimed to significantly reduce risks of heart attack and diseased arteries. However, nearly all published studies are financed by the distilleries! Larger amounts have the reverse effect. Non-drinkers are advised not to start simply for this reason. As a nerve drug, it offers consolation in modest amounts, but this can quickly get out of hand as larger amounts have a stimulating and often negative outcome. Emotional levels are often blunted. Aggression is stimulated. Over moderate amounts reduce sensitivity, sexual enjoyment and sensations. Large regular intake gradually destroys most organs, the liver being hit first, and others inevitably follow. It encourages onset of diabetes, reduced vision, and cataracts. "Sensible drinking" is often promoted as OK - the unlucky few to do this can lead into addiction, which is also bad news. Like smoking it is an absolute No No in pregnancy, as can interfere with early foetal development, specially the brain. On final analysis: Modest drinking is probably OK. Excessive alcohol will produce a negative and adverse outcome. Drinker beware.



Is it best to drink water very cold, room temperature or hot?


It doesn't really matter. Ideally I think is room temperature, which the body readily accepts. Icy cold water may momentarily cool the mouth and stomach, but does little in cooling the entire system. On the other hand, in cold weather, there is nothing like a hot drink to give a general feeling of warmth and well being. It is like a tube of heat being poured into the system. Many simply drink hot water. Others may prefer it first treated with a tea bag or as a lovely cup of coffee! This of course contains caffeine and gives a mental kick as well as warmth. Ideally go easy on caffeine drinks at bedtime. The drug remains active in the system for up to 16 hours! Most do not realise this. The same applies to cola drinks.

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Do pears have any particular food value, or just a nice fruit?


Pears, like all fruit, contain lots of fruit sugar called fructose. Its kJ content is about the same as cane sugar. This provides natural sweetening as well as providing instant energy. It also contains lots of soluble fibre (helps keep cholesterol levels normal), ordinary fibre, and various vitamins and minerals. There is no fat content, and not much protein. As part of the daily food intake, like all other fruits, it is of considerable value. Vary the fruit and veggie intake and colours as much as possible.

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We are constantly reminded we are in the midst of an obesity epidemic, which usually starts in childhood. But just look at the way kids shovel bottled drinks down the throat.


An ordinary sized drink is claimed to contain up to 12-15 teaspoonsful of sugar. This is high in kJ content, and unless used rapidly as energy, must finally be stored as fat. Fat is fat, and as it builds up; soon becomes obvious. It takes an enormous amount of exercise and effort to burn it up, for the body prefers to use the more accessible sugars of the days intake. We are our own worst enemy. There is nothing wrong with sugar - it is simply that too much can help create major health issues.

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Do flies readily transmit germs?


The answer is yes. They flit from object to object, and may carry vast number of germs - bacteria and viruses on their feet and body. Often these may lead to infection, either directly or if they transmit them to food subsequently eaten. Hepatitis A is probably one of the worst. It will not transmit HIV or hepatitis B and unlikely to cause SID (sexually infectious diseases) or tuberculosis. They are notorious for transmitting gastric bugs, so please keep exposed food covered until just before eating and preferably refrigerated. Germs breed prolifically in hot foods so beware.

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I have been feeling a bit "strange" lately and now hear voices. Is this normal?


This may be a serious symptom and needs immediate evaluation. Please see your GP who may refer you to a psychiatrist. A fairly common mental disturbance called schizophrenia may occur in younger people, 15 to 35. Voices and other symptoms of mental impairment can occur. Alcohol abuse is a common initiating issue. Ideally greatly reduce intake, or preferably stop. Substance abuse can also play a part. Today there are many medicinal options, but helping oneself to maintain general good health also plays a part.

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This health advice is general in nature. You are advised to seek medical attention from your doctor or health care provider for your own specific symptoms and circumstances.



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