As drinking is an integral part of most meals, something must be said about today's drinking habits. Huge amounts of tea and coffee are consumed in the West and consumption is on the increase [as are many of the associated ills].
Coffee, tea and many soft drinks are stimulating drinks because of their caffeine content. But caffeine is a poison (the lethal dose is around 10 grams), and the "lift" it gives, lessening fatigue and brightening thoughts, is very temporary and far outweighed by its long-term side effects.
Caffeine has been repeatedly reported to increase stomach acid secretion and promote ulcers. A recent study showed that it also produces anxiety, irritability and depression. It also raises blood pressure, damages blood vessels and causes heart attacks. Birth defects have recently been correlated to coffee consumption during pregnancy. And, finally, caffeine has been shown to promote breast cancer, bladder cancer, and infertility.
"Tea has been found to be a major source of aluminium in the daily diet, especially tea leaves that come from Ceylon, Assam, Darjeeling, and some supermarket blends. These contain a greater amount of aluminium in their physical makeup than do other teas." (Dr. H. R. Casdorph & Dr. M Walker, Toxic Metal Syndrome, p.108)
Theophylline, which is contained in tea, is five times more potent than caffeine as an irritant to the nervous system. Tea also contains tannin, which is an astringent drug. Tannin contributes to constipation and impairs the secretion of digestive enzymes. In fact, drinking coffee or tea after a heavy meal is a common cause of heartburn.
The undesirable effects of tea and coffee do not stop here, however. The huge amounts of sugar which are taken with them promote tooth decay. And cigarette smoking, which is often part of tea and coffee breaks, promotes high cholesterol levels and aggravates duodenal ulcers.
"Coffee and tea are two beverages that anyone who cares about his or her health should try to do without. Instead, there are numerous types of cereal beverages and herb teas available in many flavors and fragrances to suit practically any taste." (Dr. Michael Sharon, Complete Nutrition, p.109)
More About Caffeine
Caffeine is a mild stimulant. High doses can make someone feel jittery or on edge and may prevent sleep. Very large doses may cause flashes of light or odd noises. As with other stimulants, the greater the high, the greater the fall. It also can increase heart rate and blood pressure, is a weak diuretic (encourages urine formation) and increases the respiratory rate.
Coffee is drunk in every country of the world and is a mainstay of most offices in Europe and the US. The standard dose needed for stimulant effects is 200mg, or the equivalent of two cups of strong coffee or three cans of soft drink. As many as 30% of coffee drinkers say they "couldn’t do without it" and are probably mildly addicted. Tolerance can develop rapidly.
Death from caffeine has been known, but only after doses of around 10 grams, the same as 100 cups of coffee. High doses of caffeine may affect the size of babies at birth. The foetus is especially likely to be harmed in the last three months of pregnancy, when the mother’s ability to get rid of caffeine is reduced. Low birth weight, miscarriage and withdrawal symptoms in babies (breathing difficulties) have all been described.
Mothers who are heavy drinkers of coffee or cola drinks in pregnancy have twice the risk of their babies dying suddenly, even when other factors are allowed for such as age at motherhood, smoking and bottle feeding. Heavy caffeine intake also increases the risk of sudden death of babies after birth. Tea, coffee and cola should therefore be avoided in large doses in pregnancy.
Caffeine increases the effect on the unborn of other substances, such as tobacco and alcohol, shutting down the blood supply to the placenta, starving the foetus of oxygen and increasing the risk of low birth weight or malformations.
A possible reason for increased cot death in babies of heavy caffeine consuming mothers is that caffeine stimulates respiration and when this is removed, the baby has less drive to breath. That may make all the difference when it comes to fighting off infection or other problems. (As published at www.globalchange.com)
And Still More About Caffeine
Caffeine, the white, crystalline alkaloid in coffee, acts as a temporary stimulant to the brain and artificially lessens fatigue. And it does other things which are less advantageous:
Intensive tests on guinea pigs, who were given doses of coffee, indicated that the effect on their brain and nervous tissues caused more destruction than doses of morphine.
"Regular coffee drinking produced dose-related changes in most standard electroencephalogram-electrooculogram sleep parameters of normal adult males monitored in a sleep laboratory. The changes were always in a direction that indicated sleep disturbance. Drinking four cups of regular coffee, without cream, milk, or sugar, produced equal effects." (Dr. H. Richard Casdorph & Dr. Morton Walker, Toxic Metal Syndrome, p. 86-87)
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