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... Fashion and Things Feminine.

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TALKS ON HEALTH.

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TALKS ON HEALTH. f By DR. ANDREW WILSON. A Talk about Feods. There is no subject in the whole range of health science more important than that which deals with the nature of the foods required for the support of the body. The knowledge of the foods we require for the body's nourish- ment forms the foundation of other knowledge regarding foods which it is highly desirable that all of us should possess. Thus, if the question of economic feeding has to be con- sidered, in other words'^ how we may feed our- selves not merely adequately, but also cheaply, and without spending money on foods that are either unnecessary or of an unsuitable charac- ter, it is clear we must obtain preliminary knowledge regarding foods themselves in their chemical composition. Again, an important question in relation not merely to health, but also to the treatment of disease, is that which deals with the digestibility of foods and their suitability for the human body under different circumstances of life and health. It is this' latter question of food digestibility regarding which I should desire to say a few words to my readers on the present occasion. • We may remind ourselves at the outset of our inquiries that food has to accomplish in the human body two purposes. It has in the first place to supply material out of which the bodvis built up and second, it has to afford material out of which the body can develop energy or the power of doing work. In this respect the body may be compared to a locomotive engine. We have, in the first place,to build our engine, and, in the second place, to supply fuel out of which it develops working power. Further- more, just as in the case of the engine, the material of which the engine is made is very different in nature from the coal which is con- sumed in its furnace, so we find that, broadly speaking, there is a striking difference to be noted between these foods which are necessary to build our bodies and to repair the waste of tissue which is inseparable from living, and those articles of diet, which, when perfectly consumed in the body, give us our power of doing work. What Foods We Require. It may be said that the body-building foods are represented by substances chiefly derived from fish, flesh, and fowl, whilst also such substances are contained in many vegetable atters represented by the gluten of flour and the legumin of peas, beans, and lentils, whilst the casein or curd of milk represents a food that contributes to the repair of our bodily substance. On the other hand, the foods which consumed in the body, give us the power of doing work, are represented by fats, starches, and sugars. It may be said of the latter foods that all the starch we eat has to be converted into sugar in the process of digestion before it can be utilised for the body's surface. Be- yond these solid foods we have, of course, to take into account that water is a necessary part of our daily dietary. Indeed, we might term water the most necessary part, seeing that the body consists by weight of two-thirds of water," and that water is always being given off from the body and is required in all the actions of life. Finally, we have to reckon with a certain amount of minerals. As part of our diet we require iron for the blood, phosphorus fOr brain nerve, phosphate of lime to build bones. aod common salt and potash, with other minerals, as necessary constituents of the blood. The Digestibility of Foods. The question of the digestibility of foods is, after all, the most important item which can engage our attention from the practical point of view. It is easy enough by consulting^ table of the chemirad composition of foods,such as we find given in every text-book on health, to ascertain the nourishing properties of one food as compared with those presented by ano- ther. Beyond the particular fact that a food contains so much nourishing material lies the question whether or not it is easily digested and incorporated with the system it is intended to nourish. Cheese, for example, is an excel- lent food from the purely chemical point of view for it is not merely rich in body-build- ing food, but also contains a large proportion of fat. Yet it would obvidusly be impossible for the ordinary individual to consume large quantities of cheese, because it is in itself a most indigestible food, and can be consumed in a fair or adequate quantity only by the verty few of us who possess robust dgestions. In the same way many vegetable foods, such as peas, beans, and lentils, are extremely nourishing, being not merely rich in legumin, or body-building material, but also containing a fair amount of starch. Yet they are found to be difficult of digestion,and cannot be easily consumed in quantities large enough to afford adequate support for the body. A Contrast. There can be little doubt that the foods most easily digested are those derived from the animal world. This may be regarded as a perfectly natural result when we consider that the flesh of animals is in nearer alliance to the composition of our bodies than are Vegetable matters. Again, in the list of flesh sustances, we have to consider that certain of these foods are more easily digested than others. White boiled fish and fowl, for example, are excel- lent foods in respect of their being quickly as- similated, and such foods as oysters and tripe may also be borne in mind by those who have any need to consider the frailties of their diges- tive systems. Again, as a rule, mutton is fout.J to be more digestible than beef, whilst on the other hand venison and pork may be ranked along with the more indigestible foods of the meat series. Knowledge of this kind becomes valuable to us when we have to consider the question of weak digestion,and more especially in relation to persons who are either invalids or who may be recovering from an attack of defease. In their case it is necessary to see that the foods given are easily digested, and when we also take into account the fact that milk is a readily digested food. and that concentrated preparations of meat are also constantly pre- scribed for those who have weak digestions, we may be said to have summed up the chief points connected with the relative digestibility of different foods. Gall-Stones. Several inquiries regarding gall-stones have been made by readers of our health talks. In reply to these inquiries it may be firstly said that gall-stones represent concretions deposited from the bile, which is stored up until it is required for use in the gall-bladder lying on the under-surface of the liver. The danger of gall-stones exists in the fact that when they attempt to pass down the duct or tube lead- ing from the gall-bladder they are apt to cause intense pain if they are of a size which does not permit of their easy passage. Accordingly, when the duct of the gall-bladder is blocked up, more serious results are experienced, be- cause the bile in such a case, unable to escape passes into the system and gives rise to the symptoms of jaundice. The causes of gall- stones, a condition more frequent after the age of forty years than before, and occurring perhaps more frequently in Women than in men, are referred to sedentary habits. Persons, also, who live on a. very luxurious diet also appear to be more subject to attacks than hose who feed sparingly and plainly, and one physician goes the length of maintaining that if too long an interval is allowed 'between meals, so that the bile is kepttpolong in the gall-bladder, and not properly used, a condi- tion favourable to the formation of these con- cretions is created. For the very severe pain which marks the passage of gall-stones the doctor has sometimes to inject morphia, and may even give chloroform. Very large draughts of water should be given, a little Jbicarbonate of soda (20 grains) being added to the water, and hot poultices or fomentations should be applied over the region of the liver. In place of hot fomentations, in some cases it is found that the application of ice in a bag over the liver has a soothing effect. A remedy which has been sometimes given, by way of dissolving gall-stones,consists of 30 to 40 minims of spirits of ether mixed with the yolk of an egg. In place of the ether, 5 or 6 minims of oil of tur- pentine is sometimes used. It may be added that very large doses of olive oil, 5 or 6 ounces taken at a time, and the dose repeated once Or twice during the day, have an effect in caus- ing gall-stones to be easily parted with, and, in the opinion of some physicians, likewise prevent their formation.

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