All About Good Health by Dr. Christian Barnard, C. Northcote Parkinson and M . K .

Rustomji is an eminently practical book and contains downto-earth and useful suggestions for everyone. This book incorporates much of the latest thinking on health and medical subjects. People imagine that the good health they now enjoy will continue for ever. They spend a considerable amount of time looking after their cars. But just as in the case of a car, the human body also needs looking after and servicing All About Go&d Health is an excellent guide for this purpose. This book could well be the best investment you have ever made. It will help people to keep their most precious asset, their bodies, in good shape.

Extremely g o o d . U s e f u l for b o t h laymen a n d doctors. - D r . Shantilal Mehta, Medical Director, Jaslok Hospital

Dr. Christian Barnard, C. Northcote Parkinson a n d M.K. Rustomji have certainly m a d e a careful examination of matters regarding the prevention of illness and disease. People sometimes tend to forget that prevention is far better t h a n cure. - D r . K.G. Nair President, Association of Physicians of India

These are ideas of some of the best intellects in the world. Dr. Christian Barnard, C. Northcote Parkinson and M.K. Rustomji are the ultimate c o m m u n i c a t o r s . They have a knack for making the most abstract a n d complicated ideas intelligible to the c o m m o n m a n . — Onlooker


The extensive research carried out on medicine and health has made it all very highly specialised; so much so that even medical men are finding it difficult to keep up with the new developments and the enormous amount of information that is becoming available. For the layman, of course, the position is much more difficult a n d he or she tends to become completely muddled and confused on these subjects. In order to m a k e all these-matters relatively clear and easy to understand, we have consulted the writings of a very large number of internationally recognised experts on health and medicine. It is for this reason that it is not at all possible for us to thank a n d acknowledge individually the very great debt we owe to each one of these numerous experts and doctors in the preparation of All About Good Health.

All About Good Health

Illustrated by

Roma Chakravarty



By M.K. Rustomji: GETTING A L O N G BETTER WITH PEOPLE EXCELLENCE IN MANAGEMENT T H E I N C R E D I B L E J A P A N E S E (Co-author: S.A. Sapre) Some best-sellers in collaboration with C. Northcote Parkinson: BUSINESS IS P E O P L E CHILDREN: HOW TO MANAGE THEM N O W T H A T Y O U ' V E G O T T H E M (Co-author: S . Pavri) REALITIES IN MANAGEMENT ALL ABOUT BALANCE-SHEETS The Easy Way

Cover Design by Ashok Gokhale © Christian Barnard, C. Northcote Parkinson and M . K . R u s t o m j i , 1982 First published: 1982 Reprinted: 1982 (twice)

Phototypeset by Lettratype Services, Industrial Assurance Building, Churchgate, Bombay 400 020 Printed by D . G . Mirchandani at IBH Printers, Marol N a k a , M a t h u r a d a ? Vasanji Road, Andheri East, Bombay 400 059 Published by P . C . M a n a k t a l a for IBH Publishing C o m p a n y , 412 Tulsiafli Chambers, 212 Backbay Reclamation, N a r i m a n Point, Bombay 400 021

SEX 1. How Sex Can Contribute To Good Health PSYCHOLOGY 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. How To Overcome Tension And Stress Some Popular Medical Myths Medical Frauds How To Treat Yourself When You Are 111 Are Periodical Medical Check-Ups Necessary? What To Do About Insomnia How To Make Use Of The Unconscious Or Subconscious Mind 9. Why Do People Take Cannabis And Other Such Drugs 10. Why Some People Commit Suicide FOOD 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. C o m m o n Sense About Food And Eating How Not To Be Overweight High Fibre Diet—A Medical Breakthrough Constipation—How To Avoid It How To Avoid Food Poisoning And Infections How To Have Good Teeth Bad Breath And Its Cause v 61 67 78 83 87 94 96 15 25 32 34 39 43 49 55 58 1

EXERCISE 18. H o w Exercise C a n Lead T o G o o d Health PHYSIOLOGY 19. H o w To Prevent H e a r t Diseases And Strokes 20. Backaches A n d Slipped Discs A n d H o w To Prevent Them 21. W h a t One C a n D o A b o u t Cancer 22. H o w To Deal With Diabetes 23. Ulcers A n d H o w T o C u r e T h e m 24. H o w to Avoid Liver T r o u b l e 25. How To Keep Your Kidneys Healthy 26. H o w T o Prevent H e r n i a 27. P r o s t a t e — H o w T o Avoid A n Operation 28. Headaches A n d Their C u r e 29. C o m m o n Colds A n d C o u g h s And Their T r e a t m e n t 30. W h a t T o D o A b o u t G o u t And Arthritis GENERAL 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. A l c o h o l — S o m e Useful Tips W h a t Smoking Does A n d How To Dea With It T h e E f f e c t Of Noise Jetlag And Night S h i f t — H o w To Deal With It The E f f e c t Of Climate On Health A C h a n g e Of Scene A n d Health The Real Value Of Saunas, Massages A n d Hot Springs 38. Some interesting Facts A b o u t Sun-Bathing A n d SeaSwimming 163 168 175 177 179 181 183 185 113 129 132 140 144 147 149 152 154 156 158 160 98



Dr. Christian Barnard is one of the world's most eminent doctors—his main claim to fame being the successful carrying out of the first-ever heart transplant operation. A leading liberal of South Africa, Dr. Barnard has written extensively on various issues of public interest, including racial inequality. He is the author of ten best-sellers; the prepublication sales of his latest health book The Body Machine have already reached over 300,000 copies. C. Northcote Parkinson needs little introduction to his many readers. Educated at St. Peter's School, York, and Emmanuel College, Cambridge, he became a Fellow of the College at the age of twenty-four. He has taught in universities as far apart as Illinois and Liverpool, Harvard and Malaya. C. Northcote Parkinson is the world-famous author of several best-sellers. His Parkinson's Law and other books have sold in millions. M.K. Rustomji: All About Good Health is Rustomji's seventh book in collaboration with C. Northcote Parkinson. Rustomji's books have been published world-wide and have received universal acclaim. He has a unique knack of summarising and simplifying the ideas of world-famous experts and putting them into crystal-clear language. His easy-to-read and informative books are wittily illustrated and have been translated into over ten languages. One of Rustomji's books on management has been made into a prize-winning film by the Government of India.

Chapter 1

Sex, like sleep, is a very individual thing. W h a t suits one person might be a n a t h e m a to another. Although sex concerns everybody, it is a subject about which many, even educated and well-read persons, have the most quaint ideas.

Marriage And Sex

Many of the failures in marriage result f r o m sexual incompatibility. Impotence in men and frigidity among women are the factors mainly responsible. Superficially, it would appear that in-law complications, money difficulties, personality differences and the like are the main causes for dissolving a marriage. Few would admit in any court of law that sexual disharmony was the cause of their unhappiness. Many couples are even unaware of the relationship of their sexual unhappiness to what they claim to be the grounds for divorce. Psychoanalysts, however, report that over half the people w h o come to them for advice are experiencing problems directly related to sex. • The high divorce rate is only one of the m a j o r consequences of sexual incompatibility. Doctors are well aware of the relationship of sexual frustrations to neurotic health complaints among their patients. They know that women who suffer f r o m lack of sexual response complain of a multiplicity of psychosomatic disturbances such as backaches, chronic headaches, menstrual discomfort, stomach and intestinal disorders, insomnia, nervousness, fatigue, depression, as well as many others ailments. The wife who is sexually unsatisfied is usually difficult to live with. She expresses her frustration in the f o r m of nagging, irritability, temper tantrums and weeping spells. She may try to compensate for her thwarted sex life by becoming fanatical about housework, expending her pent-up and unfulfilled urges in this way. Many not only project their unhappiness on to their husbands but take it out on their children, without being aware of what makes them behave the way they do. There exists an urgent need to educate people regarding the facts about sexual problems. Some are completely uninformed about these matters, while others are misinformed. For example, many people believe that a w o m a n who is frigid does not desire sexual relations and as a consequence cannot enjoy the sex act. This is not correct. W o m e n become frigid because men have little conception about the true nature of love-making. Very few women •2

are frigid by nature. The vast majority have become frigid because of the way in which they have been treated. But both frigidity and impotence can be put right and sexual incompetency can be eliminated through education in the principles of sexual harmony.

Research On Marital Sex

A r a n d o m research study on the sex life of a group of married couples revealed that 50 per cent of the persons studied suffered f r o m an unsatisfactory sexual relationship, a relationship which was distasteful to one or both the partners. Forty per cent of the remaining couples studied reported that their sexual activity was

mechanical and not something which they looked forward t o J n any way. Only 10 per cent of the people studied enjoyed their sex life thoroughly and f o u n d it a source of health and well-being. The above figures explain why so many divorces and separations are taking place in western countries. Detailed studies of sexual behaviour by the well-known U.S. sexologists, Masters and Johnson, have brought out the significant point that the average couple — and this goes for even the educated ones — have little real knowledge about the techniques required for making love and this has resulted in considerable unhappiness.

Many Women Unfulfilled
The. most significant recent finding of psychiatrists was that they had virtually 'proved' that a large proportion of women — and this might even be as high as 50 per cent — had never experienced an orgasm during intercourse. This discovery was in the nature of a bombshell in the knowledge of h u m a n relations. This is possibly the main reason f o r a large number of -women remaining completely unfulfilled a n d frustrated. The reason for this is that many men have never understood even the basics of the techniques of love-making. M a n y women are capable of having multi-orgasms: one coming soon after the other and each more intense in enjoyment than its predecessor. If, then, a w o m a n has two or more orgasms, each following soon after the other, she becomes satisfied, relaxed and fulfilled. The converse also applies with equal force. A n d this is why it is so important that men should learn the techniques of making love. Masters and Johnson gave special courses on the art of making love and through these courses were successful in making n u m e r o u s 'entirely frigid' women normal. These women had become frigid because their husbands were ignorant of the techniques of making love. The multi-orgasmic nature of women was explained to the husbands by Masters and J o h n s o n and they were also shown the various techiques which aroused women and enabled them to have an orgasm. 4


Marital Sexual Boredom
Sexual boredom is a real problem with many couples and expert sexologists have suggested in no uncertain terms that sex should never be allowed to becoming boring. There should be constant change in the methods, the timings and the postures of sexual intercourse and no sense of shame whatsoever should be attached to any of them. A woman, by her bearing, behaviour and dress, should always appear to be seductive to her husband; and the same applies to the husband — he should continue to use some of the tactics he employed when he was courting his wife or during the early years of marriage. The actual place of love-making should be varied and should not always be in the bed-room — try the garden, the country; ide, even under the table !

Sexual Intercourse
There is nothing at all shameful about any of the poses or postures of sexual intercourse. Dr. David Reuben estimates that 70 or 80 per cent of couples in the United States indulge in oral sex, such as fellatio and cunnilingus. The most satisfactory sex can be experienced if there is total sexual stimulation. Every available sensory pathway must be explored: whispering in the ear, oral sex, biting, the sense of tou:h — all these devices must be used to make the sexual experience as stimulating and satisfactory as possible.

Frequency Of Sex
This again is a very individual matter. It depends very much on the vigour of a person and also the age group. Women are generally able to have more frequent sexual intercourse than men. However, there are also women to whom sexual intercourse is distasteful, especially after a certain age; this is mainly because their own past sexual experience has been unsatisfactory. Some •5

couples can have sexual intercourse every day without any h a r m whatsoever, while others cannot have it more than once a week. Generally speaking, after the age of 45, the frequency of sex is reduced to about two or three times a week for most people but there are no rules.

Sex And Exercise

as much physical e f f o r t as about 15 to 20 press-ups. For many middle-aged couples, sexual intercourse is their only exercise. Physicians nowadays recommend that patients with cardiovascular disease should take regular physical exercise and sexual intercourse is an excellent way of achieving this. Again, the amount of physical effort expended in sexual intercourse is a very individual matter and the a m o u n t can be varied to suit the •6

inclination of the person concerned. An avei'age act of sexual intercourse consumes about 200 calories.

A Heart Attack Patient and Sex
It has been f o u n d that the pulse rate becomes very high during sexual intercourse, often as high as 170 heart beats per minute as against a normal of 70 to 80. For people recovering from a heart attack, this high pulse rate might be dangerous and they would have to be careful. It may even be advisable to keep a few nitroglycerine tablets har.dy in case of angina pains during intercourse. But as the strain of sexual abstinence is sometimes greater than the strain of sexuil intercourse, sexual intercourse may become important for the survival of a heart patient. In such cases, a great deal of adjustment has to be made between the couple. In order to avoid an undue rise in the pulse rate, the m a n or woman, depending on who is free f r o m heart disease, would have to take the role of the active partner.

Need For Sex
It has been said that Church of England clergymen who are allowed to marry have a longer and healthier life than their R o m a n Catholic counterparts, who are expected to remain celibate. This point has been made to prove that regular sex helps to p r o m o t e health and longevity. However, one must take these findings with a pinch of salt. It is possible that the members of the R o m a n Catholic and Protestant Churches who were involved in this survey were not fully representative of their respective Churches. • It is believed that sex disperses and wastes energy and that the vital life-force of sex should be used for a more useful a n d creative purpose. In fact, some time ago the thinking of M a o ' s regime in China was that love-making was wasteful and useless. The R o m a n Catholic Church has held that sex can make one •7

Sex in Mao's China deviate f r o m one's main purpose in life and reduce one's powers of concentration. It'would appear that M a h a t m a Gandhi also believed this. In spite of all the advances made in science, there is no agreement on this important question. And there probably never will be a clear answer. Some people, (Napoleon was an example of this) work better if they have sex regularly, while others are most inspired when they have no distractions whatsoever by way of sex.

Most cases of impotency are psychological in origin and results from emotional causes. The machinery is all in good order, the tests are all normal, but erection does not take place because there is some problem in the mind and this causes impotency.

Excess alcohol depresses the sexual function and is very often the cause of impotency. But alcohol in small doses might also have the effect of intensifying sexual desire. From the mechanical point of view, the female genitalia are a m o n g the most perfect example of fail-safe design in the world today. There's very little that can go wrong. In the great majority of cases, frigidity in women and impotency in men is entirely psychological and this applies right up to a ripe old age. There is convincing evidence that the source of potency is the mind and there have been excellent results in curing impotency through psychiatric treatment. In most cases, honest, straightforward sexual education is all that is needed for eliminating impotency. When a person has been asked to avoid physical activity because of a heart attack or some other such disabling disease, he never feels he has fully recovered until he can resume normal sexual activity. It does not matter what else he can do. But if he cannot perf o r m the sex act adequately, he is not convinced that he has been fully cured. Even among perfectly fit and well people, there is no greater measure of 'manliness' or 'womanliness' than one's ability in bed. All men experience physiological impotence after intercourse; f o r some it lasts only a few minutes, for others, hours—even days.

Sex Appeal Explained
If you like yourself as a physical being, if you are filled with a feeling of well-being, this enables you to relate more readily to others. You send out signals. You are happy to have people look at you, touch you, or have relations with you. If you d o n ' t feel good about yourself, you can't send effective signals to another person. Persons who relate to others in this manner, are said to possess sex appeal. a 9

Sex Necessary

' M a k e love and save your heart ... A healthy night of sex is nature's tranquilliser, reducing stress and creating a general feeling of relaxation and well being,' states Dr. Eugene Scheimann, a well-known American sexologist. This, of course, does not mean •10

that one should be indiscriminate and start hopping in and out of every other bed. Not at all; this could have very serious psychological consequences. Nevertheless, sex remains one of the few pleasures which are not h a r m f u l as long as one is reasonably fit. In fact, quite apart from it being a form of exercise, it is a first-class release f r o m tension.

From time immemorial, aphrodisiacs have been sold to increase sexual stimulation. Even today, the powdered horn of the rhinoceros is in great demand, as is ginseng root powder. There is, however, no medical basis whatsoever for the various potions that have been declared aphrodisiacs throughout the ages. The efficacy of an aphrodisiac, if there is any, is entirely psychological. If one imagines that it is going to improve one's potency, it may result in doing so. The only really effective aphrodisiacs, according to Dr. David Reuben, are drugs such as marihuana and LSD. Alcohol, if taken in small amounts, can also be an aphrodisiac in that it has a relaxing effect and removes many of the tensions and inhibitions that might otherwise be present.

Masturbation is a common practice with both men and women, and most people have indulged in masturbation at one time or another. It causes no physical h a r m whatsoever. The problem with masturbation is the guilt felt over the practice, and this o f t e n does considerable damage. It used to be popularly believed that forty drops of blood go to make a drop of semen. Semen was considered to be the body's most precious fluid and it was thought that frequent loss of it would lead to dissipated nerves and mental and physical exhaustion. This, of course, is absurd: ejaculation of semen causes no harm to the body unless it is continued after the body is already totally fatigued. •11

Certainly, masturbation is not as much f u n as full-fledged sexual intercourse, but it is the next best thing. Masturbation is naturally the only outlet for people who do not have opportunities for actual sexual intercourse, such as people separated from their husbands or wives. There are many appliances in the market, such as artificial penises of various types, dildoes for the vagina and small electric vibrators, that may help to make the masturbation process even more enjoyable.

Venereal Disease
It is said that Americans won the last great war but lost the peace. The word got round that nobody need be worried about getting venereal disease because of penicillin. So everyone forgot to worry. They also forgot about wearing rubber sheaths. The result was rampant V.D. • Syphilis and gonorrhoea can be cured in most cases by a few injections of antibiotics. But as a result people have become careless and the fact is that the rate of V.D. among all categories of persons all over the world is going up enormously. It is specially high among young people who are often too afraid of parental wrath to go to a doctor. It is said that V.D. is increasing faster in the United States than in any other country in the world. Mobility, leisure, affluence and personal freedom have created perfect conditions for the spread of V.D. The pill has also contributed; in the old days when a rubber sheath was widely used, it gave some protection against V.D.

Sex And Age
No one is too old for sex. As a matter of fact, continuous sexual interest and activity after the age of 60 can even be considered therapeutic. •12

Sex and all the incidents leading up to it can give much vitality and verve to our daily life; it makes life stimulating and exciting, especially f o r those who are getting on in age. There is nothing at all wrong in people having sex in old age. Sex is one of the two renewable pleasures available to h u m a n beings. Each sexual experience can be just as enjoyable as the one before — the 2000th time can be as much f u n as the first. The other renewable pleasure of course, is eating — a man of 60 can enjoy eating as much as he enjoyed it when he was 16 — maybe even more. Just as there is no valid reason to give up eating at an arbitrary age, so there is no reason to give up sex. It has been claimed by some specialists that sex may even benefit people with arthritis. Some doctors have observed that there is less arthritis among people who remain sexual' active. H o r m o n e study has proved that it is sexual activity which has helped persons beyond the middle age from the degenerative changes of arthritis.

Interesting Points About Sex
Among older people, if sex is given up altogether for some months for various reasons such as illness, they can lose interest in it permanently. Masturbation is recommended in such cases. } • In America, women retain their interest in sex much longer than men. In the age group of 50 to 90, the overwhelming majority of women give up sexual intercourse only because their husbands are no longer willing or able to have sex. Men, however, give up sex much earlier because of impotence, illness and lack of interest. It is quite wrong to say that some people are undersexed or oversexed. Nothing can be further f r o m the truth. These things are only psychological. With rare exceptions, everyone has the capacity for full sexual enjoyment. •13

A really satisfying sexual experience is linked with good health and energy. The healthier a person the more satisfying and fulfilling will be his or her sex life, assuming, of course, that the partnei is equally healthy.


Chapter 2

In simple terms what psychosomatic disease means is that the mind causes m a n y of our illnesses, in particular, asthma, colitis, ulcers, migraine a n d pain in the back.

The Mind And Illness
Some years ago scientists, through experiments with dogs, established the close relationship between the mind and physical illnesses. They f o u n d that dogs went wild with anxiety and developed ulcers through expecting f o o d which they did not receive. • There was another well-known experiment with electric shocks on cows: it was f o u n d that the tension created in the minds of the cows t h r o u g h the fear of having an electric shock proved to be f a r more destructive to their health t h a n the electric shock itself. The thesis established was that if there is a relationship between the mind and the body in the case of animals, this relationship must be much more applicable to h u m a n beings.

Close Relationship Of Mind And Body
Emotion, therefore, is not just a feeling in the mind; it also affects 15

the body. Fear and anger make the heart beat faster, raise blood pressure and cause changes in the metabolism. There is the case of a prize-fighter who was regularly awakened by anginal pains because he used to dream of his fights, blow by blow, and this caused great stress to him even in his sleep. • Some doctors believe that illnesses caused by tension and stress amount to well over 50 per cent of all illness. Anxiety and tension appearing at frequent intervals wear away the nervous system. Similarly, illness, or death in a family, or the loss of a j o b , bring on a sense of neurosis which ultimately results in physical illness.


Stress And Heart Disease
When a body is under stress, it means that some hormones are being pumped in excess into the system. This, in its turn, means that the blood sugar in the system is being raised. If this stress goes on for a long time, it results in raising the sugar content of the blood and this in the long run leads to diabetes and atherosclerosis. • The well-known American heart specialist Dr. Weiss and his staff compared the life-histories of 45 coronary cases with those of an equal number of persons who did not have coronary disease. They made the comparison as far as possible on a like-with-like basis, taking persons with a similar background, age-group and sex. •17

They found a great deal of more tension and stress in the background of the patients who subsequently developed heart attacks than in the others. • Make no mistake about it. If the body is under constant tension and stress, it is bound to be harmed. It is rather like a car which has both the accelerator and the brakes full on. In time, something is bound to give. It is all very well in the case of a car: you can always get spare parts. But in the case of a body harmed by continuous stress and tension, spare parts are very difficult to come by.

Example Of Tension And Illness
A good example of the relationship of stress and health is when a marriage goes on the rocks. This often results in a breakdown of health of one or both partners of the marriage. • Stress is a normal part of our lives. One can never completely escape f r o m it. But reactions to stress can vary enormously. The •18

most frequent undesirable reaction to stress is continuing anxiety. Some c o m m o n symptoms of anxiety are insomnia and lack of attention at work. • Tension works in many different ways. Some men get more tense playing golf than working in an office. One man can relax by merely walking up and down in his office while somebody else can take a pleasure trip round the world and still be filled with tensions. The neurotic m a n is only half alive. He is anaesthetized against the joys of life and prevented by his neurosis f r o m the accomplishments and happiness that would otherwise be his. It was f o u n d that people living in high-rise flats developed various types of illnesses because of the stress brought about by this type of living. Similarly, the tension caused by severe floods or the death of a loved one, all have a very definite physical effect on the body.

How To Overcome Tension And Stress:

An attempt to identify the cause of stress and anxiety is an important and necessary step in solving the problem of stress and tension. One should try to discover the cause of the tension. Once having established the cause of the stress, it is greatly reduced if one talks about it with friends or counsellors. This is perhaps the main task of psychoanalysts: they spend hours probing tjie cause of tension. They often have to go back to the childhood of the patient. Once the cause of the stress is known, it then becomes much easier to find a solution. Often just talking about it helps to find a cure. The system adopted by Catholics of confession with trusted and trained priests is very much on these lines. Talking about intimate and personal problems with a sympathetic priest during confession, or with a friend, tends to reduce the cause of the tension and anxiety.

Examine Patient's Life Situation More and more doctors now believe that for successful treatment of any disease, and specially when one caused by stress and emotion, they must investigate the patient's history and present life situation, as a high percentage of illnesses are psychosomatic. The cure for such illnesses is not medicines at all but an entirely different way of thinking and a complete readjustment to the environment.

The famous pilgrimage centres of Lourdes in France and Shirdi in India, among others, are places where miraculous 'cures' have been affected. It is felt by many, however, that these cures result because of the great faith of the people that visit these places of pilgrimage. In the rriind of many of these pilgrims there is a conviction that they will get well and so they get cured. Faith is a great factor in healing: that is why many doctors sometimes often give just coloured water as medicine. Appreciation And Love Help Appreciation, love, and respect, is another area where the body and the mind have a close relationship and can affect the whole personality and bearing of a person. If you give plenty of love to a person, you may even bring about a complete physical transformation in the person.

Psychotherapy Doctors have found that some of their patients have not only lost their muscular difficulties, but also the pains of arthritis under psychotherapy. This just gives you an idea of the power of the mind in the treatment of disease. Effect Of Continuous Repetition The famous Frenchman Coue based his whole theory of cure on repetition. He used to get his patient to repeat again and again and again that he was cured until the patient was convinced that he was cured — and he was cured! This is another example of the power of the mind for healing. Youthful Mind And Its Effect On Body Bernard Shaw, Bertrand Russell, Somerset M a u g h a m , Michaelangelo and Winston Churchill are just some examples of people whose youthful minds and imagination kept their bodies

young and active long past the normal span of ageing. A strong intellectual interest can work wonders for the body. To ward off ageing, an entire change of work, say, every 10 or 12 years, is often necessary, or maybe an absorbing hobby can be pursued. All this helps to keep the body and the mind young and olert. Psychological ageing is an important factor and often begins much before physical ageing. The signs are clear: one becomes dogmatic, one does not want adventure for the sake of adventure, one dislikes change, and sex becomes a habit like brushing one's teeth. Watch out for this. Your mind plays a very big part in your ageing process. The Shavasana

Another way of overcoming tension is to practice both physical and mental relaxation and this is done best by the ancient yogic exercise Shavasana, which we shall describe in some detail when we talk about coronary disease. The Shavasana excercise if practised correctly can contribute a great deal towards reducing stress. Change In Routine It is always best to have a holiday: this makes a break in the stress pattern. Often just doing something continuously, day in and day out, develops stress. A complete change helps to dissolve this stress. If you normally lead a comfortable and luxurious life, go for a simple life in the wilds. If you live in the polluted atmosphere of a big town, go to the countryside where the atmosphere is not polluted. An interest entirely different from one's normal work also helps to reduce stress. Omar Sharif plays championship-standard bridge, Winston Churchill used to lay bricks and paint, F.D. Roosevelt collected stamps, Henry Ford was very interested in antiques. Some such unwinding technique is essential. Live For The Present Many people who are full of worry, tension and stress are in this •23

position because they are always thinking about what might happen in the f u t u r e or about past difficulties. But the time that really matters is now, today — this is the true reality. There is no point becoming tense about something in the future; the important thing is the present: that is what really matters. Do your utmost to savour and enjoy the present — the f u t u r e will certainly look after itself. This f r a m e of mind will lessen any amount of stress and tension. •24

Chapter 3



Do Not Eat Immediately Before Swimming
Li There is a widespread belief that if a person takes ameal immediate25

ly before swimming one is likely to get cramps. This is entirely incorrect. Cramps are not related to f o o d at all. Any sort of violent activity after an enormous tuck-in is bound to cause discomfort but you can certainly have a leisurely swim immediately after a moderate meal. The normal body can easily cope with the swimming and the meal, provided there is no excess.


One Can Put On Weight As One Grows Older
• The popular concept that it is normal to have a gradual weight gain every year is not true. In the older age groups, it is a definite health hazard to weigh 10 or 15 kilograms more than what one used to weigh when one was, say, 21, because, with ageing, there is a decrease in muscle mass and increase in the fat content of the body. The ideal weight in old age should be one's weight when one was about 21


Extra Protein Gives Immediate Extra Strength
• A normal body has such large reserves of proteins and fat that it normally does not need any food supplements in the way of extra protein. The average diet normally gives the body all the food it requires and no special diet is necessary f o r special bodily activity. But what often happens is that if any food is taken on the assumption that it will help, it usually does result in better physical performance. But this is not due to the food at all — it is entirely psychological. In fact, extensive tests have established that the kind of food you eat before you undertake any special •26

physical activity performance.



difference ^whatsoever in your


Extra Hours Of Sleep Help
• This is not at all correct. You cannot store sleep. The body just needs a certain a m o u n t of sleep and no more. In fact, a long bed rest has a deconditioning effect.


Never Take Fluid While Exercising Or During Meals
• This is entirely wrong. The body needs fluid while exercising. When one exercises, one becomes thirsty and dehydrated. Fluid then becomes very necessary. In fact, it is h a r m f u l not to have fluid while you are exercising if you are thirsty. One should drink until one's thirst is quenched but not in excess. Drinking water during meals is all right and does not dilute the digestive juices to the extent of harming digestion, as long as no excessive water is drunk.


Sugar Taken Before Exercise Raises The Energy Level
• This is probably not correct. In fact, excessive sweet-taking over a long period of time makes demands on insulin production which the body may not be able to cope with: this might eventually lead to diabetes. Although it is not completely established it is unlikely that extra sugar gives direct extra energy. •27


Put On A Sweater After Exercise
• There is no danger in being comfortably cool after youhave exercised. So it is not at all necessary to put on a sw:ater after exercise. In fact, it is far better to leave your sweatff off after exercise and let your body slowly come back to its noimal stage. The best clothing for hot weather exercise is the raked skin. When you no longer feel hot and your sweat has subsided, you can then put on your sweater but only if you feel coid.


Take A Cold Shower After A Hot One To Close Your Pores

This is entirely unnecessary. So m a n y people put themselves to the discomfort of a cold shower after a hot bath under the entirely false belief that it will close their pores and prevent them f r o m getting a chill. This is incorrect. Pores d o n ' t have to be closed.

Sex Should Be Avoided Before Athletics
• The popular notion that sexual abstinence keeps one strong a n d gives one strength has no scientific f o u n d a t i o n whatsoever. In fact, it has been f o u n d that athletes seem to p e r f o r m better after sexual intercourse, even when they have h a d intercourse on the morning of a competition.


Big Muscles Make You Stronger
• Big muscles are all right if there is need f o r a massive body to push against a heavy load; but t o d a y ' s champions accept the fact that small muscles are the best. The m a j o r objective today is not big muscles, but to develop a high-quality b o d y possessed of vigour and the capacity to resist stress and strain.


Never Exercise In The Hot Noon Sun
• There is a widespread belief that you will come to h a r m if you exercise in the noon-day sun; but this is incorrect. In fact, if the sun is directly overhead, perhaps all you require is a hat to protect your head. In mid-morning or m i d - a f t e r n o o n there is no way to protect your body f r o m the sun's rays which come to it at an angle. Exercise as much as you like in the hot noon-day. It will do you no h a r m as long as you do not feel uncomfortable. •29


Women Who Exercise Lose Their Femininity
• This is utter nonsense. In fact, exercise usually gives women more attractive contours. They move with greater grace. Exercise gives a delicious feeling of well-being and relaxation which can be most seductive. N


The Hard-worked Executive And His Ulcer
• Those in responsible positions in management and professional groups have about half the incidence of ulcers compared to employed persons in general. Executives look after their health far better than the general run of people. Many realise that health is their most precious asset and they take care to keep their bodies in good working order. The usual picture of the over-stressed executive who suffers f r o m ulcers is a myth — he is normally much fitter and healthier than the general run of people.


Stress And Pace Of Modern Life Increases Some Illnesses
The theory that relates the prevalence of certain illnesses today to the rapid pace of modern life does not take into account two points: • Have the illnesses, in fact, become c o m m o n e r or are we just better at recognizing them? And are there not many illnesses today which one did not have in the old days simply because people today live much longer? H a s stress really increased? The life of a doctor, say in London today, is surely much less stressful than that of a peasant in the Ganges valley in the old days with the ever-present menace of flood, hunger, pestilence and war. It could therefore easily be argued that present-day life is much freer f r o m stress and tension than in the old days.



Chapter 4


It is estimated that over two billion dollars are spent yearly in the U . S . A . alone on false cures and medical frauds. The probability is that all of us contribute to this windfall when we buy drugs or take massive amounts of vitamins or buy cures advertised in the back covers of magazines or as a result of TV advertisements. In •32

almost every case, the claims m a d e are false and the motive of the marketeer is only to make money f r o m a gullible public. T h e testimonials a n d photographs on the advertisements before and after are usually contrived and m a d e u p . Below are some typical examples of this type of f r a u d .

For Overweight People
All sorts of cures are sold to people w h o are desperate because of overweight. These cures may even result in a temporary lessening of weight through the liquid in the body being reduced, but n o n e of these cures will result in anything permanent.

Arthritis is another ideal subject for exploitation. Since there is no certain cure f o r arthritis, people in their desperation and pain are willing to try any quack a n d therefore waste their money.

Cancer is the area of the cruellest hoaxes and the people who are taken in by this f r a u d are the people w h o feel that they have nothing to lose. There appears to be no cure available for them. But people who indulge in such hoax medicines and cures, lose their dignity. Most cases of cancer can be cured if action is taken early enough but there is no ready-made short-cut cure for cancer.


Chapter 5

If people went to doctors for all their ailments, doctors would be overwhelmed and would be able to deal with only a fraction of their cases. In actual practice, however, for well over half the cases of illnesses, people usually become their own doctors and medicate themselves.

Advertised Cures Are Big Business

The enormous pharmaceutical concerns of the world which are now multi-billion dollar industries make numerous patent medicines to cure various types of diseases. These cures are vigorously advertised through newspaper advertisements, TV and radio. The cost of the advertisements alone runs into many millions of dollars but in spite of this the pharmaceutical firms make huge profits. There is always a vast and gullible public which is very willing to pay large sums and purchase such highly advertised patent medicines. These medicines are usually purchased direct by the public f r o m chemists' shops — and in most cases they are entirely unnecessary. This just proves what high-pressure advertising can do, especially when one is not well.

Most Medicines Not Necessary
Most medicines are entirely unnecessary — in fact, one could go so far as to say that in most cases one would be better off without any medication whatsoever. • One can safely say that 90 per cent of illnesses cure themselves. They take their course. In most such cases, there is no need for medicines; and if medicines are taken, they probably have a

marginal effect as far as quickening the cure is concerned, but they may help to make the patient more comfortable. • For example, the average cough-mixture has no real effect on curing a cough. It may, however, relieve the hoarseness in the throat or congestion in the chest and therefore make the patient feel more comfortable. At best, it may tend to cure a cough only a little quicker than if no cough-mixture was taken. But even a relatively harmless cough-mixture taken in excessive amounts may cause unpleasant side-effects. And that is why a growing number of wise people nowadays never take medicines of any kind.

Interaction Of Drugs Dangerous

The interaction of a number of drugs on the body is such that even a physician cannot really understand it fully. Extreme caution should, therefore, be exercised when taking drugs, especially antibiotics which often give rise to serious side-effects. In fact, drugs should not normally be taken unless it is absolutely necessary. In most cases it is better to let an illness take its course: a •36

cure is bound to come. But, of course, if an illness continues, then one should go to a doctor.

Vast Consumption of Aspirin
Aspirin or and make not cure a analgesics • other such analgesics may help to bring down a fever the patient more comfortable, but they will certainly malady: the disease itself is not being treated by taking or anti pyretics.

Over half of all the patented medicines sold over the counter without prescriptions are analgesics or pain-killers of various types. Most of these contain aspirin in some f o r m or other. The a m o u n t of aspirin consumed i< vast. It is estimated that for the population of Britain, on an avei age two tablets are taken by every member of the population every week and a small percentage of both men and women take aspirin every day of their lives. It is interesting to note that the well-known British physician Lord Horder has said that aspirin is the most valuable weapon in the doctor's armamentarium.

Aspirin: The Super-Drug
Aspirin is a super-drug but as we have said earlier, it does not cure — it only makes a patient's life much more comfortable. It is the base medication of all the analgesics. Its maximum effect occurs in about two hours. Aspirin in its various brands is probably more used than all the other types of medicines put together. • Aspirin is a relatively safe drug. It is extremely difficult f o r an adult to kill himself with an over-dose of aspirin. Moreover, aspirin has few side-effects. If taken in very large quantities, it might lead to bleeding in the stomach. That is why it is best to take it after a meal. •37

Drugs And Saving Money
A good physician can save you a great deal of money when you are buying drugs. The cost of a generic drug such as aspirin will be much cheaper than an entirely similar drug, which, however, has a special b r a n d name. In most cases there is no need to take an expensive brand name at all. A physician should know the relative costs of alternate drugs and he can recommend a drug which serves the purpose but which is much less expensive.

Drugs And The Future
If a physician gives you no medicine, consider this a very good thing. The present practice of using drugs to control symptoms may be a temporary phase in the history of medicine. Some doctors think that in the f u t u r e , the taking of drugs may be considerably reduced, except, of course, in the case of operations and other similar types of serious treatment.


Chapter 6


Many organisations have a compulsory A n n u a l Medical Check of their executives. An executive becomes m o r e and more valuable as time goes on and it becomes important f o r an organisation to ensure that he is in good physical condition and stays healthy. •39

Compulsory Check Beneficial
The interesting thing about these compulsory Annual Medical Checks is that in many cases they have resulted in a complete change of regime and living habits of a fairly high percentage of executives: some are overweight, some are diabetics, some have high blood pressure or a high cholesterol level, and so on. This indicates that unless there is a certain amount of compulsion, a large proportion of even educated people never bother to have periodic medical checks of even some of the most important basic matters connected with their bodies. • This is especially interesting as most executives go to great lengths to have their cars periodically serviced. But in the case of their own bodies they do not do so even though their physical condition is so very important to them — certainly as important as the condition of their cars.

Cost Of An Annual Medical Check
The disadvantage of a comprehensive annual medical check is that it takes up a considerable a m o u n t of time and costs a great deal of money; and in certain cases, it was found that in spite of the expenditure and time taken, these checks did not always detect diseases in time. • However, what is important to know is that some of the essential periodic medical checks are easy and inexpensive to undertake. In fact, many of them can be done by trained nurses. What is significant, however, is that most people, even the educated ones, do not have even these essential periodic medical checks. The reason is twofold: fear in case something serious is discovered; and laziness. Because of this, a compulsory periodic medical check of the essential points might be advisable. It at least ensures that all the essential and necessary medical checks are car•40

ried out regularly. Even if a periodic medical check finds nothing wrong, it is good for people to know that they are healthy, because everyone always has a little worry at the back of his mind about his health.

Only Check What Is Necessary
W h a t certain organisations and individuals are now doing is that instead of having a comprehensive and expensive annual medical check, it is arranged that each person is checked periodically f o r certain important symptoms only. The checks for these symptoms can be done easily and inexpensively. • An early warning system for health is most necessary. Many diseases can be nipped in the bud and put right before they have time to do h a r m . That is why a periodic health check-up is so important. And this is especially important after the age of forty.

Some Important Checks
• • Urine should be checked for possible diabetes. Blood pressure should be checked and kept within the prescribed limits. This will help to prevent heart diseases. Blood should be checked f o r high cholesterol and triglyceride. This may help to avoid a coronary attack. If you are a woman over 25, you should have a p a p smear test taken annually to detect any signs of cancer of the cervix, which is the commonest site of cancer for women. A w o m a n ' s breasts should be examined periodically to ensure that they have no lump as this may indicate cancer even if it is entirely painless. •41

A test should be made f o r glaucoma of the eyes for persons over 40 and especially when there is a family history of glaucoma. There should be a simple X-ray test of the chest for possible tuberculosis or cancer. Weight should be checked periodically to ensure that it is within the limits given by the height-weight charts. If it is not, steps must be taken to bring the weight within these limits, as overweight can lead to diabetes, coronary disease and a host of other ailments. In our section about cancer we have spoken about the early warning signs f o r a possible incidence of cancer.


Chapter 7


Sleep is a matter of vital concern to everyone, but it is an entirely individual matter; one cannot lay down any rules about it. Some people, f o r example, Napoleon, could manage perfectly with four hours of sleep while others require eight to nine hours. Napoleon could sleep at will. Even in the middle of a battle he could take a short n a p . There is the case of Lord Nuffield, who never slept at all and yet his brain was razor-sharp throughout his life. Winston Churchill used to sleep for three hours every afternoon, but worked regularly until the early hours of the morning. •43

Causes Of Sleeplessness

There is a close relationship between worry and sleeplessness. If one has a number of worries, for example, insecurity in one's work, children doing badly, sickness or marital disharmony, these factors often play on the subconscious and the result is sleeplessness. Insomnia may also be due to climate, ill-fitting pyjamas, uncomfortable mattresses or bad-clothing, drinking too much coffee — one cup will not keep you awake — fear, sexual abstinence or unsatisfactory sex relations.

Sleeping Pills
When there is some special worry, say, a death in the family Or some serious problem at work, one m a y be justified in taking •44

some of the numerous tranquillisers or sleeping pills one finds on the market. Tranquillisers generally have few side-effects and enable the mind*temporarily to forget its worries. However, one should never make a habit of taking tranquillisers or sleeping pills

for going to sleep. The reason is that in course of time, sleeping pills will lose their effectiveness and excessive and continuous taking of such drugs is bound to have some bad effects.

Worry About Sleeplessness Bad
One of the most common problems relating to sleeplessness is the •45

worry which so many people have because they think that they are not getting enough sleep. In most cases, this worry is entirely un-< necessary as such people probably do not need more sleep: they get all the sleep they need. Often, these very same people have brief cat-naps during the day, and this together with the sleep which they have had at night is more than enough for their wellbeing. In fact, such people should consider themselves fortunate as they have some extra hours every night during which they can read and which less fortunate people who sleep eight or nine hours every night do not have.

Special Diet, Drink And Sleep
There are a very large number of patented drinks and foods advertised for bringing about sleep. But in most cases, the effect of these rather expensive preparations is almost entirely useless for inducing sleep. They are usually purchased by people who are so desperate for sleep that they are willing to try anything. There is a widespread belief that hot milk taken before going to bed brings about sleep, but there is little medical basis to support this.

Suggestions For Insomniacs
W h a t very o f t e n brings about sleeplessness is an upset t u m m y which might be caused through over-eating and over-drinking. A tablet of sodamint or milk of magnesia might just do the trick and put right the upset t u m m y and the result will be sleep. • Persons who have difficulty in sleeping should not take the o f f e n sive: let them use the hours during which they cannot sleep by reading something useful. This is very o f t e n a time when the brain is clear and capable of learning and absorbing difficult ideas a n d concepts. In time, sleep is b o u n d to come; this is certainly far better than just tossing about restlessly in bed. Anxiety about lack of sleep is much more h a r m f u l t h a n any actual loss of sleep. Some of the insomniac's time could also be spent taking in large doses of fresh air or by exercising. A useful exercise which very o f t e n brings about sleep is to lie flat on o n e ' s back: hands by the side, legs slightly apart. In this, posture, one should breathe deeply and slowly through, the nose, both, in and out. The: brain should concentrate on the breathing a n d the body should! be completely relaxed. In time, sleep will come; and even if sleep does not come, it does not matter: this posture and breathing will refresh and relax the body even without actual sleep. When one is physically tired, one goes off to sleep immediately. Take a walk after dinner or in the evening or play games to produce a healthy physical tiredness and banish tension. Exercise is the best antidote to emotional tension. And once tension is removed, sleep comes very soon. A f t e r a certain age persons tend to wake very early, as they may need only four or five hours of sleep. It may be advisable for such persons to go to sleep much later in the night to avoid waking up in the small hours of the morning. •47

Myths About Sleep
• T h a t a certain number of hours of sleep are necessary for one's health. If one loses sleep for any reason over a night or two, one must make it up as soon as possible. That insomnia is dangerous to health and may lead to insanity or death. One hour of sleep before midnight is worth two after midnight.

Facts About Sleep
• Old people sleep less than youngsters and men sleep less t h a n women. Married people sleep better than single folk. Fifty-two per cent of Americans suffer some difficulty getting to sleep. One sleeps much better in a single bed compared to a double-bed. Sleep comes in waves: it is light or it is heavy. Heavy sleep may only last f o r about one or two hours but even that can be quite enough for a good night's rest.

• •


Chapter 8


The subconscious mind is an important part of our system and an e n o r m o u s a m o u n t of research is being done on it. This study is especially important as it is now established that the subconscious •49

mind plays as important, if not a more important part, as the conscious mind. It is estimated that the amount that can be stored in the subconscious mind is very many times more than in the conscious mind. In fact, in popular parlance, the conscious mind compared to the subconscious is often likened to the iceberg — the part of the iceberg not in the sea representing the conscious mind and the hidden part standing for the subconscious mind.

The Early Years Vitally Important
Many psychiatrists believe that the impressions formed and stored in the subconscious mind during one's early years — from birth to about five years — determine the actions of a person for the rest of his life. During these early years, the mind is not only like a computer storing everything it hears, but also like a video taperecorder, recording everything visual. These early stored impressions play a big part in the actions of a person in his later life. It is

for this reason that parents should pay special attention to their children's upbringing during the vitally important early years of their life. Another body of psychiatrists, however, maintains that it is not only one's early years that are important in the development of one's personality but all the subsequent years are also equally important.

What Psychoanalysts Do
If any abnormality appears in the thinking or the actions of a person, psychoanalysts usually try to probe into the life of a person so as to understand the reason for this abnormality. Some psychoanalysts like to concentrate on the very early life of the patient — up to the age of about five years. This helps to give them a clue to the abnormal behaviour of a person.

The Conscious And Subconscious Mind
The conscious mind can take action; it can evoke memory when it wants to; it can think actively and towards a certain objective. • The subconscious mind is a very big store of signals, sounds, emotions and impressions; but even though it is not active like the conscious mind, the subconscious mind can play a large pari in the actions, thinking and behaviour of a person. When one sleeps, the active mind also rests, but the subconscious mind is awake.

Analysis Of Dreams
Dreams are a direct reflection of what is happening in the subconscious mind and that is why so many psychoanalysts try to analyse dreams. It helps them to understand the reasons for the

actions of people. Once the reasons are understood, it is then easier for them to take corrective action. A proper analysis of dreams may help to reveal a great deal about a person and pave the way for curative action.

Study Of The Subconscious Mind

Much of the work of psychoanalysts is concerned with the subconscious mind, because, by studying the subconscious mind, they are able to get behind the reasons of their patient's behaviour. •52

While the study of the subconscious mind is still a relatively new field of research, there are strong indications to suggest that in the f u t u r e , a m a n ' s actions and behaviour can be directed and improved by having a better knowledge of the subconscious.

Let Sleep Solve Your Problems
An experiment made on the possibility of putting the subconscious mind to work showed that if some difficult problem was studied before going to bed, this problem became much clearer in the morning by having the subconscious mind work on it. • Very o f t e n , if one has a decision to make, the decision-makers leave the problem for a while to their subconscious mind. A f t e r some time, maybe the next morning, the subconscious mind helps them to arrive at a fairly reasonable solution. But m a n y psychoanalysts do not agree to this: they say that there is no proof as yet that the subconscious mind can solve problems. It may just be that the problem is solved through the brain being clearer and fresher in the morning.

How The Subconscious Mind Works

When a person has to get up very early in the morning, the waking time is kept in the subconscious mind, and, when the time comes the person wakes up exactly on the dot. The conscious mind is clearly asleep but the subconscious mind is on the j o b . But the exact relationship between the conscious and subconscious mind is still not clear and an enormous a m o u n t of work still remains to be done on this very important and interesting subject.


Chapter 9


Over recent years the habit of taking drugs has caught on considerably, especially in the developed countries of the world. In Britain alone it is estimated that there are as many as 150,000 people who are addicted to amphetamines, barbituarates, can•55

nabis and other such drugs. It is estimated that several million people in Britain have at one time or another committed legal offences by taking cannabis and other such drugs. • Cannabis, m a r i h u a n a , hashish are all parts of the same plant — these drugs are sometimes called ' p o t ' . T h e effect of smoking cannabis comes within thirty minutes. If cannabis is eaten, it takes at least three h o u r s to get the full effect. Taking cannabis o f t e n gives rise to a w o n d e r f u l euphoric feeling a n d increases the person's response to external stimuli, colours and sounds. Social intercourse becomes much more intense and meaningful for such people. Psychedelic drugs such as cannabis are also used more a n d m o r e with the growing popularity of mysticism as an alternative to o r t h o d o x religion. There is considerable controversy over taking cannabis. Some people maintain that it does no more h a r m than alcohol or tobacco a n d that a regular cannabis smoker takes it in doses that satisfy him a n d that this does not generally increase with time. Those against cannabis smoking maintain that it is bad f o r the m e m o r y and that it can affect the activity of the brain. There is, however, no solid proof f o r this. Cannabis makes one psychologically dependent. It may lead to a loss of interest in any purposeful occupation and also cause a general decline in initiative and efficiency. Drugs, such as benzedrine and dexedrine, stimulate mental activity, reduce fatigue and depression, prevent sleep and reduce the appetite for f o o d .

Heroin And LSD
An addiction to ' h a r d ' drugs, such as heroin, has a disruptive effect on the psychological and physical development of drug-users. Heroin is the most dangerous drug and a young heroin drug ad•56

diet can die even within three years. L S D is also a dangerous drug: ' b a d trips' may mean a frightening, unpleasant hallucinatory experience lasting for several hours. A b n o r m a l mental reactions jpay recur f o r hours, days or even weeks after exposure to this drug. F o r example, one m a y want to j u m p f r o m a high window in the mistaken belief that one can fly.


Chapter 10


All over the world, as many as a thousand people try to commit suicide every day. •58

F r o m the survey made in the U . K . it was estimated that a very large number of people make suicide attempts every year. Numerically the largest number of suicides and attempts of suicide occurred in cases of people over 55. Many cases of suicide attempts are those of impressionable young girls who take an overdose of'sleeping pills or tranquillisers; but much less than half the cases of people who attempt suicide really want to die. W h a t is important to know is that m a n y suicide attempts are a means of communication: virtually a cry for help and sympathy. The motives for suicides include bad health, troubled relationships with other people, material problems such as shortage of money, bad housing, a disorganised life, failure in marriage and living in a depressing area. People f r o m broken homes often attempt suicide; chronic alcoholism can also be a cause. Suicide is the ultimate act in succumbing to stress. C o m p a r e d with the so-called working classes in the developed countries the upper social classes are more prone to kill themselves. Doctors, in particular, are two-and-a-half times more likely to commit suicide as other men and one-and-a-half times as likely as their social equals. T w o countries whose suicide rates appear to be going down are J a p a n and Britain. In J a p a n the reason is because ideas of dishonour and disgrace are changing and in Britain because of an organization called the Samaritans.

• •

The Samaritans
To prevent suicide is the reason behind the existence of a worldwide organisation called the Samaritans. Anyone who is considering committing suicide can contact a member of the Samaritans who are specially trained to deal with such cases. Usually, all that is required is a sympathetic ear — somebody who will listen. If •59

persons desperate enough to commit suicide can get someone sympathetic to listen patiently to their problems, the urge to commit suicide frequently subsides and then vanishes altogether. A n d that is where the Samaritans play such an important part. • Ten times more men in the age group 65 to 69 kill themselves each year in the U.K. than do young men aged 20 to 25. They kill themselves by hanging, drowning, by inhaling gas, or taking an overdose of sleeping tablets a n d other such drugs. It is entirely untrue to say that Sweden is the country with the highest rate of suicides. People have said so in the past because the Swedes preserve very accurate figures of suicides, unlike most other countries where the figures are very misleading. Foi example in Britain, only half the cases of suicides are reported as such.


Chapter 11 COMMON SENSE ABOUT FOOD AND EATING Packaged Health Foods

Patented health foods and numerous patented beverages are advertised in a very big way and f o r m a business running into many millions of dollars. The public has always had a never ending interest in new diets guaranteed to preserve and to restore youth and vitality, to give instant sleep, to give strength and so on. • But the probability is that most of the patented health f o o d s sold, normally, in expensive packages and bottles are entirely unnecessary, except in certain cases where people are convalescing after illness and cannot take a normal diet. A simple wellbalanced diet with the right combination of foods will supply all the necessary nutrients and at far less cost. The claims of most of the health food advertisements are highly exaggerated. There is no single food with special health-giving properties. There is no special weight-reducing f o o d . T h e only really effective way of cutting down weight is using more willpower to eat less. An apple a day certainly will not keep the doctor away. N o r can the memory be strengthened if 12 almonds a day are eaten. Gimmicky diets, such as oranges and peanuts, milk and b a a a n a s and the very expensive commercially prepared and patented tins of carefully balanced nutrients of a certain calorie vaiue, m a y work temporarily but are not practicable for a lifetime of healthy living.

Quantity And Frequency Of Food
The m a j o r problem about diet a m o n g middle-class people is that the average adult normally eats far more than is necessary for health. In fact, the excess f o o d that is eaten probably does h a r m . One should eat in such a way that after one has finished a meal, one is in a position to eat some more. One should never eat till one feels fit to burst. This is a very important guide for good health and for a feeling of well-being. Another important point about good health is that it is far better to eat small meals a number of •62

times a day rather than overloading one's stomach by having one or two big meals a day. The best distribution for food is a substantial breakfast, a moderate lunch and a light supper.

Correct Cooking
In countless homes much of the nourishment of food is destroyed by incorrect cooking. For example, the water in which vegetables are cooked should never be thrown away, because this water often contains the bulk of the nourishment of the food which has been cooked in it.

Skimmed Milk
Skimmed milk is an excellent f o o d . It has all the valuable nutrients of whole milk except the fat. A cup of whole milk contains about 180 calories as against a cup of skimmed milk which has only about 60 calories.

The probability is that the normal diet of people both in the developed and underdeveloped countries of the world contains all the vitamins which are necessary for the maintenance of good health. • The diet of the average Indian peasant consists of rice, wheat, pulses and vegetables. This is a fairly well-balanced diet for adults and contains all the necessary vitamins.

In the normal way, therefore, it is not at all necessary to take additional vitamins in the f o r m of pills, as the average diet contains a sufficient quantity of all the vitamins that are necessary for good health. In fact, we need very minute quantities of vitamins for our day-to-day living — it has been estimated that just a cup or two of vitamins,will last us a whole lifetime. It has often been said that the Americans have the most expensive urine in the world — simply because so much of it goes down the drain as expensive vitamins which are quite unnecessarily taken by people who do not need them at all. In certain cases, however, it may happen that the body is not in a position to absorb the vitamins f r o m its diet. In such cases, but these are rare, it may be necessary to take additional vitamins in the form of pills or injections as advised by the doctor. Certain ailments, such as liver damaged by excessive drinking, might require massive doses of certain types of vitamins. When antibiotics are taken, there is often a need for extra doses of vitamin B.

Diet And Exercise
Exercise gives one a feeling of health and well-being, but no matter how hard one exercises it does very little in the way of weight reduction unless it is accompanied by a complete change in diet. For example, just one slice of bread would require 40 minutes of hard exercise before all the calories in it are absorbed. So it is clear that if one wishes to reduce one's weight, one should not eat that additional slice of bread. Eating less is therefore not only the only really effective way in which one can reduce weight but it greatly helps to give one a feeling of well-being.

There is a fairly widespread belief that fasting or going without •65

food for the whole day rests the digestive system and, therefore, it should be practised at periodical intervals. But there is no very sound medical reason for this. Just as the heart works without stopping throughout a lifetime, so the digestive system is engineered to work continuously. In fact, some medical experts would go so far as to state that fasting periodically might even h a r m the system in that it tends to upset the routine of the digestive system and the excretion of various digestive juices.


Chapter 12


Being overweight is perhaps the biggest single health problem among middle-income groups all over the world. On an average, •67

over 50 per cent of the adults in the developed countries of the world are overweight.

Excess Food, Not Glands, Adds Weight
There is a close relationship between the amount of food eaten, specially starchy, sugary and fatty food, and obesity. Being overweight is not normally a question of glands or heredity. It is almost entirely a question of eating too much of the wrong type of f o o d . An interesting experiment was carried out by McLay of Cornell University, in which one group of mice were allowed to eat as much as they wanted and another group had a very restricted diet. McLay f o u n d that the group of mice that were underfed lived twice as long and were far more active than the ones that were overfed. This important experiment has a great lesson for h u m a n beings. • Obesity begins f r o m the time one is a baby. Most parents love a fat chubby baby, with the result that they grossly overfeed their children. So the risk of a coronary attack begins f r o m childhood. The chubby child whom many parents are so proud o f , o f t e n becomes a heart-case later on in life. The eating habits formed in childhood continue for the rest of one's life, with the result that by the time the infant has reached the age of 15, he is well on the way to having a weight problem when he becomes an adult. Surprisingly, even a small amount of excess food can make one put on weight. It is a matter of simple arithmetic. Calories make one put on weight. Movement and exercise take off weight. If the calories coming in by way of food are in excess of the calories going out by way of movement and exercise, the calories become stored in our body as fat; and obesity begins. Even a little excess mounts up and in the course of time the result is substantial overweight. Obesity is also a matter of one's luck and metabolism. Some •68

people eat and drink enormous quantities of calories and yet never put on weight. Their bodies seem to burn up these calories. Yet, there are other people, unfortunately the majority, who, even if they eat a little excess food, have an increase in weight.

An Expense Account And Obesity

An expense account can be a most dangerous perquisite. An iron will is necessary not to overdrink or overeat.

Keep To The Height-Weight Ratio
The height-weight ratio tables brought out by all life insurance companies are a good guide and can tell you by how much you are overweight, if at all. These guides, however, should be used carefully because you must also take into account the size of your body frame: whether it is small, medium or large. This is an important factor when studying such ratios. •69

H E I G H T - W E I G H T RATIO TABLE Desirable Weights — Medium Frame

Height (cm.) 163 165 168 170 173 175 178 180

Weight (kg.) 56-62 58-63 59-65 61-67 63-69 65-71 66-73 68-75

Height (cm.) 150 152 155 157 160 163 165 166

Weight (kg.) 45-50 46-51 47-53 49-54 50-55 51-57 53-59 55-61

Disadvantages Of Obesity
Overweight people are more liable to develop coronary heart •70

disease and strokes compared to people who are not overweight. This is the reason why life insurance companies normally charge a higher insurance premium for obese people. • Obese people tend to develop high blood pressure and this in its turn puts an additional strain on the heart. The excess weight which one has to carry means additional wear and tear on the weight-bearing joints in the legs which can lead to osteoarthritis. Hernia is more common with fat people and so is diabetes.

Greater Risk Of Dy ng Earlier
It is said that every 10 per cent extra over the desired weight, according to the height-weight ratio table, clips 13 per cent off one's life. W H A T DO OBESE P E O P L E D I E FROM ?

Measurement of Food
Food has a useful unit of measurement: a calorie. All f o o d can be measured in terms of calories. • A calorie is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree centigrade. A thick slice of bread, for example, contains nearly 100 calories. 100 calories is also the energy requirement of a h u m a n being for walking four miles at a brisk pace of 4 m . p . h . The daily calorie expenditure of an average-sized sedentary worker and a worker on heavy manual jobs may be calculated as follows:

Below is the calorie content of an average diet of a middle-class sedentary worker:

Calories 2 cups of tea with 4 teaspoons of sugar and toast with butter 2 cups of coffee with 4 teaspoons of sugar and 4 biscuits Lunch: 2 club sandwiches Tea: 2 cups of tea with 4 teaspoons of sugar and snacks One large peg of alcohol with nuts Dinner: bread, meat, two vegetables and a sweet dish Daily intake of calories Total 350 200 700 350 250


Regulate Calorie Intake
If the above diet is taken by the sedentary worker it is b o u n d to make him put on weight: 2110 calories are expended but 2850 calories are consumed by way of food. The difference is 740 calories (2850-2110). This means that 740 calories will be stored in the body as fat every day unless, of course, the person happens to be one of those rare and lucky individuals who are capable of burning all their excess calories owing to their natural metabolism. • The above simple arithmetic makes one point clear. Dieting is a matter of mathematics. If more calories come in by way of f o o d than go out by way of movement and exercise, then the excess will be stored in the body as fat. If it is the other way, that is, if the intake of calories is less than the energy expended, then the body will lose fat.

How One Puts On Weight
Overeating is a compensatory mechanism in some individuals: it is to obtain self-satisfaction when they are frustrated, bored or under emotional strain. A f t e r the age of 40, one's appetite is as good as it has always been, but the body's food requirements become smaller and smaller as one does not exercise as much; yet the intake of food is the same as before because the appetite is the same. And so the spread begins.

How To Reduce Weight

No matter how hard you exercise you will never bring down your weight substantially by exercising alone. You must jog for a mile or walk hard for four miles to be able to eliminate the effect of only one slice of bread. This gives you an idea of what little effect exercise can have f o r bringing down weight. • A professor at the University of Michigan had to treat a patient who weighed 570 pounds. The patient was put in a hospital r o o m and fed mainly on lettuce — nothing else. The patient took no exercise. In a relatively short time his weight came down to 170 pounds. This just goes to show the very close relationship between being overweight and the food one eats. The only way in which one can reduce effectively is to control one's diet. The calories which one takes in by way of f o o d must be less than the calories which one expends by way of movement and exercise.

High Fibre Diet Helps
The more fibre in the diet the better, because its bulk would tend to make one eat less carbohydrates compared to the normal highly refined and processed diet which is full of calories and which one has in most of the developed countries of the world. One eats less carbohydrates with a fibre diet, as a fibre diet gives one a feeling of fullness which one seldom gets from a refined and processed diet. With a refined and processed diet one would have to eat large quantities to get a feeling of fullness. • Africans in rural areas w h o eat enormous quantities of food do not get fat because a large proportion of their food intake consists of a fibre diet, which is big in bulk and therefore does not contain very large quantities of fattening carbohydrates. The most effective manner in which weight can be reduced is to plan one's diet on a long-term basis and not on a crash basis and to reduce, say, only one p o u n d a week; no more, no less. •75

Reducing Must Never Be Rushed
Crash dieting is worse than useless. By drastically curtailing diet, you may lose weight substantially by reducing the fluid in your body. But this weight reduction is usually put back as soon as the diet becomes normal again. • The most effective manner in which weight can be reduced is to plan ahead over a long period and to reduce, gradually. This does not mean a great change in one's diet. But it does mean that everything one eats should be in very much smaller quantities, especially in the case of certain obvious types of weight-loading foods such as sugar, starches and fats. This type of food just should not be on the table: what is not there is seldom missed. One can have a wide variety in one's diet. This ensures that weight reduction will not be the torture which it is for most people. Eat what you want to eat, but in strictly controlled quantities, so that the proportion of calories taken in is always less than the calories expended by way of movement and exercise. Do not wait for t o m o r r o w . Start now. It is a matter of i n p u t / output accounting. Reduce your input. It will be difficult at first; but when you start losing weight the motivation to lose more becomes very much greater, especially when you begin to feel better and look better. It then becomes much easier to continue.

Weight Watchers International
Losing weight becomes much easier if one can do it with others. In the U . S . A . fat people get together in an organisation called Weight Watchers International: it has branches throughout the U.S.A. and elsewhere. They do not go in for any special drugs or •76

exercises: just planned eating and, above all, comradeship and encouragement. The great popularity of the organisation must be due to the spectacular results it has achieved among its members by way of weight reduction.

Meeting of


Watchers. InternationaI


Chapter 13


A large number of experts have recently written books describing the advantages of a high fibre diet. Some doctors have even gone so far as to say that the high fibre diet is the medical breakthrough of this generation and that it will considerably improve the general health and well-being of the people who follow it. •78

Stools And Fibre Diet
A detailed comparison has been made of the stools of Africans w h o live in rural areas and who eat large quantities of high fibre f o o d with the stools of the average European with his highly processed and refined f o o d . It was f o u n d that the weight and size of the stool of the African was far greater and the smell was much less than that of the average European. The transit time of the stools in the body in the case of the African was also far less than in the case of the E u r o p e a n whose faecal matter might be in the colon for as long as two or three days as against the A f r i c a n ' s 24 hours. • The reason why stools are larger with a high fibre diet is because fibre expands to over twenty times in size by absorhing moisture once it is in the stomach. T h e bigger and softer t.:e stool the easier is it for the faecal matter to be propelled along the colon as against the small hard stools of a refined and processed diet. Big soft stools with their rapid transit time results in quick movement in the bowels and might prevent h a r m f u l bacteria f r o m causing damage to the colon — there just is not enough time for noxious bacteria to h a r m the colon.

Cancer Of The Colon Avoidable
Cancer of the colon is the second biggest type of cancer after cancer of the lung. In the U . S . A . alone 70,000 new cases of colon cancer are reported every year. It is thought that the faecal matter lying in the colon for long periods and also the pressure in the colon might be the cause of cancer of the colon, especially as cancer of the colon is very rare in rural Africa where the transit time of bowel movement is relatively more rapid. So it would appear that cancer of the colon might be avoided by keeping to a high fibre diet. •79

The present day refined and processed foods consumed in the developed countries of the world have caused damage to health as these refined and processed f o o d s have led to irregular and unsatisfactory bowel movements. Satisfactory and regular evacuation is basic for good health.

Food, Roughage And Calories
Many people are not only irregular in their bowel movements, but the evacuation process itself is also unsatisfactory. The reason for this is because of the very small amount of fibre which is taken in their diet. Roughage or fibre is essential for good bowel movement. For example, one small bar of chocolate has the same number of calories as at least five large apples. Apples give a feeling of fullness in the stomach. They also provide the fibre that is necessary for good evacuation. The small bar of chocolate only provides calories and gives little or no bulk or fibre. A n d one has to eat far more of this highly processed high-calorie f o o d to get a feeling of fullness. This is how calories pile up and people become fat. But the five large apples will certainly give a much greater feeling of fullness although they provide the same number of calories as the small bar of chocolate. So people on a high fibre diet are seldom obese. • Roughage is essential for satisfactory evacuation and good bowel movement: this roughage can be had f r o m foods such as wholewheat flour, unpolished rice, fruits, vegetables and pulses. As a source of roughage, b r a n is also outstanding — it is five times as effective for restoring roughage to the body as wholewheat flour. A small a m o u n t of bran added to the daily diet plays handsome dividends. If bran is added to refined and processed foods, it can have the effect of bringing the roughage consumption up to normal. Isobgol is also excellent for this purpose. •80

Prevents Haemorrhoids And Varicose Veins
Big soft stools do not result in any pressure in the colon and the rectum and this in its turn prevents haemorrhoids or piles, varicose veins and diverticulitis. • Big stools always result in regular bowel movement with very little faecal matter remaining in the colon. Regular bowel movement and a relatively clean colon is a big factor in preventing diverticula disease of the colon which is now a very c o m m o n ailment in the West where so much refined and processed f o o d is eaten; and again this disease is almost u n k n o w n in rural Africa.

Diverticula disease means that the sides of the colon become pitted with little pouches and this is caused by pressure in the bowels through faecal matter not passing quickly through the colon. It is estimated that almost 60 per cent of persons in the developed countries of the world who are sixty years old have diverticulitis and this percentage moves up to 70 per cent with people who are seventy years old and more.


Chapter 14


Purgatives Are Big Business


Purgatives are big business and every year enormous sums of money are spent on them. Patent medicine manufacturers put on a great deal of incorrect information about the great need for purgatives. And the gullible public buys and uses them in very large quantities. In most cases, they are not needed at all. The thing to remember is that our present day diet of processed food

does not have the same a m o u n t of roughage and bulk as the diet of the old days. This sometimes results in irregular and unsatisfactory bowel movements. Some people get worried if they have not moved for a day or two. And they start taking strong doses of purgatives. But there is seldom any need to take purgatives. They are usually harmful and habit-forming.

Faecal Products In Colon
O u r grandparents prescribed high enemas or colonic irrigations to dispose of faecal accumulations. Without having the proper knowledge, our forebears were on the right track. One of the risks a h u m a n being can take is to allow the faecal products to remain in contact with the lining of his colon for days together. That is exactly what 90 per cent of people in the developed countries of the world and a large number of people in the undeveloped countries, who eat the modern, refined and processed diet, are doing. Clearly the aim must be to keep as regular a movement of waste matter in the bowels as is possible but there is no need to get alarmed and take strong laxatives, if, for some reason or other one has not moved for a day or two — this will not do any h a r m .

Dangers Of Using Purgatives

Though scientific medicine does not take constipation as seriously as it should, there are many drug companies who certainly do so. They turn out a dazzling variety of powders, pills, liquids, and even candy and chewing gum, to do for people what they can't do for themselves. • In the United States alone, the laxative industry makes millions and millions of dollars every year and its products range f r o m the harmless to the hazardous. For example, mineral oil, a popular home laxative, can interfere with the absorption of Vitamin A. Excessive use of certain laxatives have shown that they totally destroy the nerve network of portions of the colon. Continuous use of any laxative drug can interfere with the normal functioning of the digestive system and can produce a dependence on laxatives.

Isobgol Or Bran Is Good As A Laxative
Taking a natural diet with plenty of vegetable fibre residue such as fresh fruit, gram, wholewheat bread, vegetables, fruit and other such roughage is far better than taking a laxative. But if you must use a laxative, perhaps the best solution is either to take bran or isobgol as a bulk laxative or to take milk of magnesia which helps to hold water in the bowels and to soften the stool. Isobgol or bran is helpful in cases of constipation. It draws water into the stool, forms a gel-like solution and thus provides bulk. It is not absorbed by the digestive track and is a natural product with no side-effects. The same effect could probably be had by eating enough celery, which is also recommended for weight reduction, for, when taken before meals, it induces a feeling of fullness.

Diet With Adequate Roughage Best
Both constipation and diarrhoea become very rare on a diet that contains adequate roughage, such as fruit, peas, lentils, •85

vegetables, bran and wholewheat bread and chapatis. • Roughage prevents constipation: it increases the bulk of the bowel movement so that the faecal contents stimulate the muscular action of the bowel and push their way through rapidly. Part of this is explained by the ability of each gram of fibre to increase the volume of the stool up to as much as 20 times and this greatly assists the movement of the faecal matter in the colon.

Drink Plenty Of Liquid
A few glasses of water, first thing in the morning, also has a good laxative effect: many people find that warm water or hot tea taken in the morning is also helpful for good bowel movement.


Chapter 15

Food poisoning causes an illness which comes on after eating contaminated food. This illness is usually expressed in the form of diarrhoea and stomach pain. On rare occasions food poisoning

can be more serious a n d can result in paralysis and even temporary blindness. • Stomach pains and diarrhoea develop within 12 hours after eating contaminated f o o d . If the patients go to bed for a day or two, they usually recover quickly. Antibiotics or admission to hospitals are rarely necessary. The official food poisoning figures are usually understated as most f o o d poisoning cases are never reported. Almost 90 per cent of the incidence of food poisoning is due to contaminated meat, poultry or fish; and m a n y of these cases are caused by a bacteria called salmonella. This bacteria is transmitted by the contamination of f o o d and water with faeces and it lives in the intestines of men, animals and birds.


Some Useful Suggestions
P r o p e r cooking usually kills the bacteria f o u n d in meat and poultry. That is why it is i m p o r t a n t that all such foods should be thoroughly cooked. • Where meat and poultry are stored at room temperature for a day or two, bacteria multiply sufficiently to produce food poisoning. But if meat and poultry are stored in a refrigerator, this prevents the bacteria f r o m spreading and multiplying, making the f o o d entirely safe to eat. Meat should be prepared in joints not heavier than 6 pounds to ensure that it is properly cooked and all the bacteria destroyed. Sometimes contamination in food is hidden or disguised by strong flavours put in the food. This, of course, can be very dangerous and lead to food poisoning.

When there is any doubt about the purity of water it is always safer to boil it. •89

Cooking Vessels
Old-fashioned cooking pots lined with cadmium sometimes lead to poisoning. The acid in the food releases the cadmium, which then gets mixed into the food and contaminates it. Aluminium and stainless steel pots and pans are much safer.

D D T is not destroyed by cooking or after going into the body. Insecticides such as D D T , which are used extensively for antimosquito purposes and in agriculture, find their way into foodstuffs and are accumulated in anrmal fats and also in h u m a n fat. As D D T is used a great deal in India, the amount of D D T in the body fat of many people in India is quite high compared to other countries. The use of D D T is now forbidden in many countries.

Epidemic Infections
Food becomes contaminated either by unhygienic handling, or by the raw food itself becoming infected before it is handled. • Typhoid and enteric infection is spread when contaminated faeces comes into contact with drinking water. H u m a n beings who have infected faeces often transmit these diseases to other h u m a n beings through bad hygienic habits: when hands are not properly washed or when a toilet is not properly cleaned. Amoebic dysentery is also spread when food and water are contaminated by faeces.

Worm Diseases
Many worm diseases are transmitted through food which has been 90

grown in manure infected with h u m a n faeces. A well-known type of worm is the tapeworm, which lives partly in the h u m a n intestine and partly in the muscles of cattle and pigs. Infection begins when the cattle eat grass contaminated with h u m a n faeces containing worm eggs; in tropical countries this is fairly c o m m o n . With h u m a n beings, infection occurs through eating inadequately cooked contaminated meat. A tapeworm can grow as long as 20 feet in the body. In well-fed people these worms generally do little harm. They usually give rise to vague indigestion pains. • Tapeworm f o u n d in pork cause far more serious illnesses and this happens when people eat contaminated pork. Adequate cooking would normally eliminate all such worms.

Hepatitis Or Jaundice
Food may also become contaminated by various viruses causing a disease called hepatitis. The popular name for this is jaundice which is virtually an acute inflammation of the liver, and this is caused either by contaminated food, or more frequently, by infected water. This disease poses serious health hazards, especially for a visitor to an undeveloped country who might not have built

up any immunity. There are two main types of hepatitis — Hepatitis A and Hepatitis B. Hepatitis A, caused by contaminated f o o d or water is generally mild. Hepatitis B is serious and is usually transmitted by blood-to-blood contact as in the case of a blood transfusion f r o m a person who is infected, or among drug addicts who share a common syringe or needle. It has now been proved that the spread of Hepatitis B is also due to the transmission of this disease by blood-sucking insects such as mosquitoes.


Tuberculosis is o f t e n developed by drinking unboiled milk f r o m an infected cow. However, if the milk is boiled, the danger of TB is almost completely removed. Steps are now being taken in many of the countries of the world to ensure that cattle infected with TB are destroyed.

Milk is a food in which germs can grow very quickly, particularly if it is kept at r o o m temperature. Germs in milk can also come through unhygienic handling. Pasteurisation, which means heating milk to a high temperature and then rapidly cooling it, kills all such germs. Care must be taken to ensure that only pasteurised or boiled milk is drunk.

Fruits And Vegetables
Fruits and vegetables do not usually contain any bacteria inside them. H a r m f u l bacteria can and often does collect on the surface. This bacteria can be killed by cooking or can be easily washed off by using a mild disinfectant.


Chapter 16


Dental decay is caused mainly by sugar and things made f r o m sugar: the sugar gets converted into an acid and it is this acid which harms the teeth, in a short while, even in a few hours. • Dental decay was almost unknown in olden days when the consumption of sugar was far less. Even today, in pountries where sugar is eaten in small quantities, trouble with teeth is much less. The best way to prevent decay is to wash one's teeth thoroughly after every meal and specially when one has eaten sugar or sugar products. Vigorous gargling with water and rubbing the teeth and gums with one's finger is enough. Very small quantities of flouride in water also protect against dental decay. Tooth-paste as such has little to do with preventing dental decay except when the tooth-paste itself contains flouride. Tooth-paste, however, like soap, acts as a solvent and helps to release the food particles stuck between the teeth as these particles later tend to lead to dental decay.


Chapter 17


This is something which affects every one of us at some time or another. In fact, one could even go so far as to say that at any one time almost one out of ten-adults has bad breath.

Causes Of Bad Breath
The main cause of bad breath is undoubtedly a stomach-upset; another cause is the m o u t h not being properly washed; thirdly, bad breath is often caused if the tongue is thickly coated and this •96

can be put right by cleaning the tongue, either with a tooth brush or by making use of specially made tongue cleaners. Fourthly, certain lung diseases such as bronchiectasis also cause bad breath.

What to Do
One should go to the root cause as described above and try to cure it. A very good thing to remember, however, is normally, never to breathe fully into the face of the person to whom you are speaking; it is usually safer to turn the face sideways when one is speaking, because very often one does not even know when one has bad breath.


Chapter 18

We find any number of excuses not to exercise: the restricted facilities we have, such as our small flats, make it difficult for us to exercise. Exercise will tire us; it will give us a headache, a backache. People accept age as an excuse for inactivity. They say, ' I ' m too old to exercise.' They should say, 'I am too old not to exercise.' One can start exercising at any age and with great advantage to oneself. • Exercise is vitally important for health. In fact, m a n y doctors consider it the single most important factor for survival. The life of an aircraft can be calculated in flying-hours, that of a car in terms of the number of miles it has done. But as far as the age of h u m a n beings is concerned, the rate of ageing depends considerably on the expenditure, accumulation and occurrence of factors other than mere years. Ageing is a continuous process; we age f r o m the moment we are born. But every person has two ages for his body. One is his age according to the calendar — his chronological age; the other is his age according to the physical condition of his body — a n d exercise can determine this to a considerable extent. The physical age of a person can vary f r o m his . chronological age by as much as 30 years. A person chronologically may be 60 years old, but his body may be very many years younger or older. •98

Outstanding Men Exercise

The great Napoleon laid great store by exercise and he used to ride hard whenever he could. It is a statistical fact that outstanding men, as figures f r o m the American Who's Who show, do not generally die young. T h e mortality rate of these outstanding men is usually much lower than that of other men of the same age in the United States. This indicates that men who have made their mark in the world do a considerable a m o u n t of preventive maintenance of their most important asset: themselves. Even Billy G r a h a m can be seen jogging round Hyde Park when he visits L o n d o n . He certainly does not leave his health only to good luck and to the Almighty.

Exercise Must Be Gradual
There is the story of the legendary Milo of Croton who lifted a baby ox every day f r o m the day the beast was born. Every day the •99

ox grew bigger. Every day the m a n grew stronger. Finally the ox was full grown and the m a n was still able to lift it. The moral of this is that the more you use a muscle or an organ of your body, the stronger it becomes. • A n d this applies no matter how poor one's physical condition or one's age: m a n ' s physical condition can always be improved by applying exercise in gradually increasing amounts but the increase must be very gradual and without introducing strain in any way, especially when one is getting on in age. The important thing about exercise is that it must be done on a regular basis. One should start by doing a little and slowly build up. If vigorous exercise is done in fits and starts and not on a regular basis, it may do more harm than good.

Pulse-Rate And Exercise

A large number of people all over the world and especially in the U.S.A. are now doing exercises which they relate to their pulserate. This system of monitoring the pulse-rate is a bonus of the exercise research for the space programme because that is how the aeronauts kept fit in the limited confines of their space-ship. A Pulse-Rate Table for exercising for various ages and in various conditions of fitness is given on the previous page. • This pulse-rate table is not only a guide for exercising but it is also very good f r o m the stand-point of medical safety: the pulse-rate during exercise should never be higher than what is shown in the table. The pulse-rate given here should be maintained by exercising for about 15 to 20 minutes. No more. Some people might think hat checking a pulse-rate is complicated and confusing. But it is not so. One can easily learn how to check a pulse in five minutes. Many doctors, of course, are very much against this method of exercising as they do not think that laymen are in a position to check their pulse-rate.

Pulse-Rate Checking Distasteful
A large number of people find checking the pulse-rate while exercising very distasteful. In such cases, they should ignore the pulserate table, but they should take into account the degree of their tiredness when exercising. Exercise should tire but never over-tire. But unless one does reach a certain degree of tiredness, unless one h u f f s and p u f f s to a certain extent, one has not really fully extended oneself by means of exercise.

Cardio-Vascular System And Exercise
Physical exercise should be a pleasant, sensuous activity. When •101

you move, you should have a feeling of grace, rhythm and wellbeing. Your stride should be comfortable. Exercise should be like dancing. It should express the way you feel. • The most important part of your body that must be exercised is the cardio-vascular system, and one should exercise that for, say, 15 minutes at least three times a week. Do any sort of exercise you enjoy doing: you can just move about energetically: dance, jog, anything as long as you manage to huff and puff to a certain extent and gel pleasantly tired. But, remember, you must never get over-tired.

The Motivation For Exercise

As you exercise a wonderful feeling of well-being sweeps through you — you feel on top of the world: there is nothing you can't do. This is a very strong motivating force for exercising; and to attain this feeling people in increasing numbers are more than willing to get up early on a cold icy morning and exercise.

Exercise Must Be Ail-Round
Although exercise in any form is beneficial, no one exercise •102

develops general fitness. Several different types of exercise are necessary for all-round development. There is no need to exercise so that only your belly is as hard as a rock, or to exercise so that you can do 100 press-ups at one time. • If you train yourself to a very high level of fitness in just one or two directions, for, say, the stomach or for press-ups, it would in point of fact give you little general health and fitness for everyday living. This you can achieve far more effectively with a much less vigorous but a much more all-round exercise programme. In addition to exercise for the cardio-vascular system, one should also do exercises which will help to strengthen the back, the spine and the stomach muscles. This would then adequately exercise all the important parts of the body.

Exercise And The Quality Of Life
The process of living has two dimensions — one is the sheer number of days of life and the other is the quality of life. There is no doubt that you live your days better if you exercise.

There is no point making exercises rigid and tiring. Some people think — entirely wrongly, of course — that they have not exercised properly unless they are uncomfortable. There is no question of competing with anyone or trying to break records when one is exercising. Keeping fit is not as hard as you may think. You do not have to turn your life upside down. You may not even have to give up entirely all your bad habits, for example, drinking and smoking. In fact, you will get more fun out of them and the harmful effect may even be somewhat offset if you keep completely tit. •103

Simple Exercises For Any Time
When waiting for a bus or driving or sitting at a conference-table or a cinema or even lying in bed, let your stomach muscles go lax, then slowly tighten them, pulling your stomach in and up. Do this whenever you get a chance and your muscles will soon be able to flatten your stomach. • • Always try to walk tall and springily. When reaching for a telephone, reach; stretch as much as you can, especially when you wake up. Look at a cat stretching: that's why it is so fit. Stretching in any manner is very relaxing. While sitting, get into the habit of dropping your arms outside the chair's arms and hold the bottom of the seat with your hand. Then start lifting upwards in such a way that it will square your rounded shoulders. Whenever you can, remember to walk with your heels hardly touching the ground and at every opportunity try a few heel raises. Towel- yourself very hard after a shower. Always sit tall with your back straight. Good posture makes for good health. Lean back on your chair and raise your legs until they are parallel to the floor with ankles together; then make 12" circles slowly, five times in each direction. Remember, never to hold your breath while you are exercising. And when you require more air while you are exercising, take all of it you can both through the nose and mouth. There is no need whatsoever to breath only through the nose if you require more air. •104

• •

Exercise To M usic
The following ex ercises can be done while you listen to the radio or to your f a v o u r i t e music on the tape-recorder: • Lie on your back a n d sit up, keeping your legs straight; as you get used to it you w i l l not need your hands. This exercise and the previous one are g o o d for the spine, the stomach and the lungs. Lie on your back a n d raise and lower your legs as slowly as possible, keeping t h e m straight. This exercise is very good for the tummy. Running on the s p o t : lift your feet well up off the floor, knees forward. This is an excellent exercise: it takes very little time and can be done a n y w h e r e . It is not only very good f o r the whole cardiovascular system b u t it also exercises the legs and the stomach. Toe Touching: S t a n d with the feet a little apart, stretch up, then touch the floor b e t w e e n your feet, breathing rhythmically and deeply the whole t i m e .

Sarvangasana — An excellent exercise for the thyroid glands and will help to prolong youth. • There appears to be strong supporting evidence that the Sarvangasana might well be one of the world's best exercises in that it can avoid or postpone a host of illnesses that normally afflict human beings. The teeth, the gums, the nasal passages, the throat, the vocal cords, the spine, the whole nervous system and the abdominal organs are all greatly benefited by this wonderful exercise. The Sarvangasana must, however, be done properly under the supervision of a Yoga teacher. It is an easy exercise to learn and to do.

15 to 20 press-ups daily are good for health • Press-ups: lie face down, legs straight. Push up with your hands and then come down. Twenty minutes of exercise scientifically done can do more for your health than two hours of strenuous baseball, tennis or football.

Exercise By Climbing Stairs
A past President of the American Heart Association made it a rule that a person requiring to go up to three to four floors should not be allowed to use a lift. This President himself at one time had had a coronary, but he always climbed stairs where not more than four floors •107

were involved. He' maintained that his continuing good health was mainly due to climbing stairs. This is something which all of us can do. It requires no equipment, no change of clothes and very little additional fime — and it relieves the strain on the lifts. It is b o u n d to give you a feeling of well-being if you do it regularly. •108

Approximately seven to ten million people in the U.S.A. alone go jogging every day; jogging means a slow run; and among these joggers, doctors constitute quite a large number. • Jogging as an exercise, is something relatively new. It is the answer to the large number of deaths that are taking place among people, in the age group 45 to 65, owing to various types of cardiovascular diseases. Jogging is almost like a counter-attack to heart disease. Jogging, however, is something which everyone anywhere. All that it requires is the will to do it. can do,

• •

Jogging takes up far less time than most other exercises; it is the least expensive and one of the best forms of exercise. Jogging not only exercises one's whole cardio-vascular system but also exercises the lungs and all the leg and thigh muscles. It is also good for the digestion.

One of the most effective ways of preventing heart disease is to exercise. Not leisurely exercises such as playing golf or going for a slow walk, but exercises that make one huff and puff to a certain extent. Tennis, b a d m i n t o n , football, fast walks, squash are excellent, but these exercises are not always possible. A f t e r a certain age, it becomes difficult for people to do them on a regular basis. People right up to 75 years old go jogging now. One does not compete when one jogs. O n e can set one's own pace; it can be slow, it can be vigorous; it can be for a short time, it can be for a long time — it depends entirely on you. The best way to jog is to do it along with walking: a certain amount of walking and a certain amount of jogging. O n e should never get over-tired; just start walking when you are tired. Jogging leads to enormously beneficial results: it exercises the heart and also the numerous veins and tissues a r o u n d it. The rapid flow of blood caused by jogging tends to prevent the clogging of blood and halts arteriosclerosis. Jogging is the single biggest deterrent to heart disease as it tones up the whole of the cardio-vascular system. Some people find jogging uninteresting, boring and uncomfortable: they think it appears a bit childish and a little ridiculous for a grown-up person to get up early in the morning and jog. To overcome this undoubted disadvantage, people can get together and jog in groups. This is being done a great deal in the U.S.A. as it takes a lot of additional will-power to jog alone. Running on the spot is also an excellent exercise. This might be more convenient for some people than jogging, but it certainly takes a lot of will power to run on the spot on a regular daily basis. •110

Deep Breathing

Deep breathing is also a means of attaining a feeling of wellbeing. If you take, say, fifteen deep breaths slowly through the nose, while sitting or standing, it will give you an immediate feeling of well-being. When breathing out, you should sometimes try blowing air through the mouth: this makes the breathing exercise much more effective. • The trouble is that most of us do not have the patience or the determination to breathe deeply. It is certainly very boring; but if we do it, it can benefit us considerably. In Japan, people are taught, right f r o m their school-days, to breathe deeply whenever they can.


Breathing introduces oxygen into the system and the human system can never have an excess of oxygen. Deep breathing also improves your posture and good posture is a very important factor for acquiring good health.

The Mind And Exercise
We have spoken a great deal about physical exercise for developing the body. Mental exercises, however, are very seldom given the importance that is their due. But the mental state also has a considerable bearing on physical health. The exercises and attitudes which help to make the mind relaxed and calm are as important as physical exercises. In our chapter on the heart we have described the Shavasana posture which is excellent for mental calm and peace.

Chapter 19

Over the last fifty years or so there has been a complete change in the causes of deaths in the developed countries of the world. In the old days, the biggest killers were infectious diseases; today, heart diseases and strokes have become the biggest killers. In the underdeveloped countries, however, infectious diseases are still responsible for the majority of deaths.

Over 50 per cent of the annual total deaths in the United States are caused by strokes and heart diseases of various kinds — these are now far and away the biggest killers. Diseases of the heart generally affect people over the age of 40. Since the average longevity in the developed countries right up to 1900 was around 40, it followed that heart disease was rare as people in those days did not live to be old enough to develop heart disease.

The Epidemic Years
Nowadays, f r o m the ages of 45-to 65, heart disease has assumed almost epidemic f o r m . So much so, that the longevity of persons within this age group has increased very little over the last hundred years. For example, the average mortality rate of a person of, say, 65 today is only a little lower than that of a person of 65 a hundred years ago. In 1850, the average longevity in the U.K. was 35 years. Today the longevity for a male is 69 and for a female 73. This increase in the longevity is mainly due to the decrease of diseases such as plague, cholera, typhoid and other such infectious diseases and also, of course, the great reduction in infant mortality which is mainly responsible for today's very high average longevity rate. But within the age group 45 to 65, the longevity has increased only slightly over the years and the main reason for this is because of deaths caused by coronary disease and strokes. Anyone over the age of 40 has more than a 50:50 chance of getting heart disease. • Women up to the age of menopause have approximately a 25 per cent chance of contracting heart disease compared to men. It is not entirely established as to why females are more favoured than males in this respect, but it is possible that the female hormones during the child-bearing years protect women against coronary attacks. But after menopause a woman is as likely as a male to get heart trouble. •114

Basically the cause of coronary disease and strokes is the same: it is due to an impediment or clotting of the flow of blood in an artery of the heart or the brain.

Take Preventive Action
What is so tragic is to think that a very large proportion of the terrible wastage, caused by heart attacks on people who are at the peak of their powers and ability, can be prevented. We have all the know-how to prevent it, but so many people take no action at all until it is too late. After a heart-attack people follow a rigid regime of exercise, diet, and a more relaxed style of life. If they had only practised one-tenth of this before they got their heart attack, they would never have got their heart attack in the first place.

What Are Heart Attacks?
The heart is virtually a p u m p with valves. It keeps the blood in circulation through approximately 125,000 kilometres of veins and

arteries in the h u m a n system. The blood which circulates in the h u m a n body brings oxygen and other nutrients required by the cells of the body. • Coronary heart disease is caused through a clotting or blockage of blood in one of the arteries of the heart. Every part of the heart must have blood and if there is any stoppage in the flow of blood, that part of the heart which is deprived of blood dies. If clotting takes place in a m a j o r artery, it affects a large area of the heart and a massive heart attack takes place which may lead to death. If clotting takes place in one of the smaller arteries, a minor coronary attack develops, leaving a relatively small scar in the heart. The part of the heart that dies through loss of blood dies irrevocably and a scar is left: it cannot recover its use as in the case of a diseased liver or a kidney.

What Are Strokes?
The blood supply to the brain must be constant. If there is any stoppage of blood to the brain for even a few minutes, a stroke may occur and a part of the body might become paralysed. It is the health of the cardio-vascular system of the body that determines the nature of the flow of blood in the h u m a n system. If there is any blockage of this flow of blood, it may develop either into a coronary heart attack or a stroke.

Causes Of Heart Failure
Far and away the biggest number of deaths through heart disease are caused through the clogging of arteries in the heart, leading to coronary heart attacks. But another big cause of heart disease is brought about by the failure of the heart p u m p itself. When the heart pump is strained excessively owing to overwork er high blood pressure, it occasionally happens that the heart p u m p itself begins to fail and it is then not in a position to p u m p enough •116

blood through the system. This may result in blood lying congested in the lungs or in blood not reaching the vital parts of the body such as the brain. This may eventually lead to death. • It has been f o u n d that inhabitants of areas where the water is soft have almost twice the mortality rates f r o m heart disease than people who live in hard water areas.

How Exercise Can Help
Regular and vigorous exercise is probably the best preventive against a coronary heart attack and stroke. Just as exercise strengthens all the muscles of the body, exercise strengthens the heart muscles as well. Exercise provides the heart with a good support system as each muscle becomes an auxiliary of the heart and helps to p u m p blood.

When a muscle in the body contracts with exercise it squeezes the blood towards the heart. When it relaxes, it allows the muscle to fill with blood; it is like a minor heart. A man who is 20 p o u n d s overweight with muscle is not straining his heart with these extra pounds: they are actually working in support of the heart. But the man who is 20 p o u n d s overweight because of fat is taxing his heart because his fat is doing nothing to help his flow of blood. Almost all heart specialists exercise because they realise the important part played by exercise in preventing heart disease. One of the reasons they do so is because of the increase of blood in the tissues and capillaries that exercise tends to produce. A wellexercised heart will have more blood vessels to take over if and when there is a stoppage in any one artery. With exercise, the arteries become more elastic and less brittle; the health of the arteries is a very important factor. People do say, d o n ' t they: You are as young as your arteries. It would appear that people doing exercise tend to have wider arteries: this, together with the increase of blood in the capillaries, would tend to allow the blood to flow more smoothly and reduce the danger of clogging in the arteries. The people of the Masai tribe in Africa walk about twenty kilometres a day herding cattle. These people, therefore, have wide arteries and so very few cases of high blood pressure or heart attacks. In order to get fully beneficial results, the exercise must be vigorous. A quiet stroll or a gentle game of golf is not entirely sufficient: something more strenuous such as swimming, fast walking, tennis, squash, vigorous dancing or physical jerks, is necessary. Fifteen to twenty minutes of vigorous exercise, at least three times a week is the minimum amount which is necessary to keep the heart and the arteries in good condition. Although an exercised heart beats more slowly when it is resting •118

compared to a heart which is not exercised, yet its pumping capacity is the same if not greater. In fact, the exercised heartpump works less during a day compared to a heart that is not so well conditioned: this slow beating of the heart is, of course, excellent for its long-term well-being.

It has been proved again and again by various studies that lack of exercise is the single most important factor associated with heart attack for a m a n in his fifties: it is far more damaging than smoking, obesity or nervous tension. Exercise lowers the level of triglycerides and it also probably reduces the blood-cholesterol level. It, therefore, reduces the danger of atherosclerosis — which, simply put, means a deposit in the arteries leading to a clogging of the arteries. In the area of rehabilitation of heart-attack victims, excercise plays an important part. A significant survey in a rehabilitation centre in T o r o n t o has proved that heart patients who exercise regularly are much less prone to get recurrent heart attacks than the ones who do not exercise. In fact, people with heart attacks who jog regularly have even gone in for running marathons: this just proves how far heart patients can go with regular exercise, under a d o c t o r ' s guidance, of course. It is estimated that the incidence of heart disease has been reduced by 30 per cent in the U.S.A. over the past two years. Medical experts are of the opinion that over 50 per cent of this reduction is due to systematic vigorous exercise by a large section of the U.S.A. population.

Exercise Reduces Coronaries
A Danish team which did some work on the mortality of people between the ages of 25 and 50 found that the mortality of athletes was, on an average, at least 30 per cent less than that of people who did not exercise. •119


A study was made some years ago of a group of bus drivers and bus conductors. It was found that the incidence of coronary disease was higher among bus drivers compared to bus conductors, as the work of the conductors entailed a considerable amount of strenuous physical movement during the day. A survey of postmen revealed that they had less coronary disease compared to postal clerks, telephonists and telephone clerks, who had sedentary jobs. An experiment in the U.S.A. among American railwaymen indicated that the incidence of coronary disease among labourers was far less than among railway staff such as signalmen, and clerks who had sedentary jobs. •120

In a survey carried out by Professor Morris of the Medical Research Council, U.K., of male civil service staff, it was found that of the 17,000 people studied, 232 had coronary thrombosis. It is f o u n d f r o m this survey that persons taking regular exercise had significantly less coronary disease than the others.

Correct Diet Can Reduce Coronaries
It is now established that one of the m a j o r causes of heart attack is the narrowing of the arteries caused by the deposits or a t h e r o m a that settle in the inner walls of the arteries. These deposits hinder the flow of blood in the arteries and when the deposit or a t h e r o m a is excessive, it can clog the artery altogether, stop the flow of blood and lead to a coronary attack. While a considerable a m o u n t of research is still being done on these deposits in the arteries, many doctors now believe that it is due mainly to the high cholesterol and triglyceride levels in the blood stream. A certain amount of cholesterol is necessary in the blood but where it exceeds this a m o u n t , then damage is caused. • The aim of diet should be to reduce the amount of high cholesterol and triglycerides in the blood stream. Excess milk products, animal fats and carbohydrates all tend to lead to high

cholesterol. These must be reduced drastically if one wishes to reduce the cholesterol level in the blood. Excess of sugar is one of the biggest single items of food causing high triglyceride: that is why so many people are, as far as possible, avoiding sugar and items containing sugar, including honey, which are very high in carbohydrates. • Many doctors think that one can considerably reduce one's chances of having a coronary if one keeps one's blood cholesterol and triglycerides low right from the start, before one develops any symptoms of heart trouble. Cholesterol and triglyceride fat derivatives which are synthesized in the body have a sinister association with atherosclerosis; so one should be very careful about eating foods which have high quantities of carbohydrates and fats.

Fat people tend to have high blood cholesterol but others who are thin may also have high cholesterol levels. So it may be advisable to have a cholesterol and triglyceride check. It is easy to bring down one's cholesterol and triglyceride level by sensible dieting. Remember a stitch in time saves nine. A study completed by the New York Coronary Club showed that people on a diet low in saturated fats, have just about one-third of the incidence of coronary attacks compared to people who eat normal saturated fats. One's doctor may suggest that one should take medicine rather than conform to a rigid diet to reduce one's blood cholesterol or perhaps both. Someone with a tendency towards high cholesterol or triglyceride may have to take medication for most of his life.

Obesity Puts A Strain On The Heart
Fat people are prone to much greater risks of heart diseases and strokes compared to those who are not overweight. • Obesity puts a bigger strain on the heart p u m p as a bigger area of the body has to be serviced by it. If a bigger area of the body has to be serviced because of obesity, it would naturally follow that the blood pressure in the system, would have to be increased to service this bigger area. Obesity is, therefore, often accompanied by high blood pressure and this in its turn tends to lead to coronary disease and strokes. Because of additional weight, fat people do not do as much exercise as people who are not fat. Obesity is a definite deterrent to vigorous exercise. This means that the heart p u m p and the capillaries and tissues in the heart lose the advantages of excercise which helps to keep them well conditioned and healthy.

High Blood Pressure Bad For Heart
When the arteries narrow because of deposits left in the inner •123

walls, the pressure of the blood going through these arteries must go up, because the same quantity of blood as before is now going through narrower arteries, and the body just must have this blood. This is what is meant by high blood pressure. So when the arteries get narrow, the blood pressure becomes high. High blood pressure puts a bigger strain on the heart pump: it has to work much harder to push the same amount of blood through much narrower arteries. • The technical term for high blood pressure is hypertension. The famous Mayo Clinic in the U.S.A. has found that where both parents have hypertension or high blood pressure, the risk of their children having it is almost 90 per cent. • People who have a low salt diet do not normally have high blood pressure. It was found that the inhabitants of an island in Japan, who took salt sparingly with their food, had very low blood pressure compared to the rest of Japan, where a great deal of salt is taken in the diet. Generally speaking, low blood pressure is benign and harmless. People who have low blood pressure are fortunate in that they will never suffer from tf ? ill-effects of high blood pressure. Low blood pressure sometimes goes in whole families. Statistics have shown that almost 20 per cent of males in the developed countries of the world between the ages of 40 and 50 have high blood pressure. A car driver's pulse-rate is often 150 per minute in traffic against a normal pulse-rate of about 70, and in Apollo 14 the astronauts' heart rates quadrupled at the first set-back. A constant systolic reading of 150 in a man under 50 is above normal; a systolic reading of 180 at any age doubles the risk of a coronary or a stroke. Any man or woman under 60 who has a constant diastolic blood pressure of 105 or more must receive pressure-lowering treatment. •124

Irritability, nervousness, loss of energy and of the power of concentration, insomnia, headaches and dizziness could all be indications of high blood pressure. If you have any of these symptoms get your blood pressure checked as soon as possible. If your blood pressure is higher than it should be, you should take steps immediately to bring it down as high blood pressure is not only a permanent strain on the heart but also increases the risk of atherosclerosis. To bring down high blood pressure will entail a change in the tempo and style of your life to a certain extent. In certain cases a doctor may prescribe drugs.

Smoking: A Hazard For The Heart
There is a close association between coronary disease and cigarette smoking. In fact, for every one death caused by lung cancer brought about by cigarette smoking, there are at least two deaths f r o m coronary disease brought about by cigarette smoking. • Cigarette smoking tends to increase the a m o u n t of atheroma or deposits in the arteries leading to clotting of the blood. Cigarette smoke also contains carbon monoxide. This has the effect of raising the carboxyhaemoglobin in the blood, which reduces its oxygen content. This in its turn means that the heart p u m p has to work more strenuously to feed the same amount of oxygen as before to the system. It is significant that the biggest group to register a drop in cigarette smokers is doctors. They have clearly realised the great danger to health caused by smoking. In fact, an annual medical report of the Chief Medical Officer in Britain, cigarette smoking is the single biggest avoidable menace to health. • If you are a cigarette addict it is no use going over to cigars or •125

pipes. You will inhale enough with whatever you smoke to get your dose of nicotine — and you will be little better o f f . The only sensible solution is to give up smoking altogether.

Stress Can Cause A Heart Attack
There was an interesting experiment on stress patterns by a U.S. naval psychologist, who gave a questionnaire to a large number of people relating to their lives over a number of years. Some of the people involved in this experiment had developed coronary liirombosis. • From an examination of the results of this questionnaire, it was f o u n d that most of the people who took part in the experiment began with approximately the same stress pattern, but it was found that the stress curve in the case of those people who subsequently developed coronary thrombosis, rose very steeply during the last six months before they got their coronary attack compared to the other people involved in this experiment. This experiment clearly revealed that there is a close relationship between stress and coronary thrombosis. In West Germany and the Soviet Union, there are special centres where persons are sent for an entirely stress-free holiday. A stay in these centres has resulted in a considerable reduction of stress and anxiety, which in its turn reduces the coronary death rate. Stress leads to coronary diseases because stress releases large quantities of adrenal hormones into the blood stream, and this has the effect of increasing the levels of fatty acids in the arteries which lead to a narrowing and maybe clogging of the arteries. During the Second World War it was f o u n d that the stress and anxiety caused by the bombing in London increased the incidence of heart disease. Similarly, the stress caused by the death of, say, a near relation can also help to cause coronary heart disease. •126

To reduce stress you may have to change your philosophy of living. There is something to be said for the hippie philosophy. Live more in the present and be less concerned with the mistakes of the past and the fears of the future. Peace of mind is for today.

The Shavasana or 'Death Posture'

It has been found that if the Shavasana exercise is done properly it can have the immediate result of bringing down blood-pressure and the pulse-rate. This, just by itself, would tend to make it one of the world's finest 'exercises'. • To do the Shavasana, lie flat on your back, hands by your sides, legs a little apart, in a posture of complete relaxation: The breathing must be slow and through the nose and the mind should be either completely blank or concentrated only on the breathing. •127

This is certainly a very difficult exercise to start with and requires a considerable amount of will-power to do properly: but once anyone has learnt to relax completely in this position, it is not only an excellent protection against a coronary attack, but it also gives the person a feeling of relaxed well-being. Shavasana should be practised by everyone and whenever possible; it can never be done too often. The more it is done, the more beneficial it is to the whole human system. Through relaxing the whole system, by means of Shavasana, the flow of blood in the system is made much easier and the strain of the heart muscles considerably reduced. Shavasana also helps to slow down the build-up of fatty matter in the arteries.


Chapter 20


Backaches and slipped discs are now becoming more and more common. • A slipped disc is caused when the padding of thick fibre between the various vertebrae — the separate bones of the spine — gets oul of place and the bones themselves rub against each other; this padding is popularly known as a disc. When this happens, that is. •129

when the disc has slipped from its position and the bones rub against each other, the pain is excruciating. The Common Causes • • • • Stress. Faulty posture. Injuries or sprains. Degenerative changes.

Stress A very high percentage of pain at the back of the neck and shoulders and also low backaches are due to tension. Some people get a backache whenever they have to face a difficult problem. Faulty Posture Faulty postures often lead to a backache and so do extra soft mattresses, sitting in a car for hours on end and the over-comfortable, soft, padded executive chairs and sofas.

Exercise For The Back
The best way to prevent a backache and a slipped disc is to do exercises which strengthen the back. • Walking is a useful exercise to keep the back in trim as it exercises the back muscles. Those who do not walk regularly should do exercises for the back, for a few minutes every day. Lie on the chest and abdomen with arms by your side. First raise the upper part — head, neck and chest — a few times. Next raise the legs with knees straight, a few times. Finally, raise the head, neck, chest and both legs together without using the support of the arms and hands. •130

Another good exercise is to sit on one's heels with one's back as straight as possible and then to stand upright and come down again on one's heels. This exercise should be done about 15 times a day; it is excellent for strengthening the back. If these exercises are done regularly, the chances of getting a slipped disc or a backache are remote.


Chapter 21


What Is Cancer
The body consists of millions of cells which are constantly growing and dying and multiplying at regular intervals. Normally this process is entijely disciplined and orderly and under control. However, for certain reasons which are still u n k n o w n , it sometimes happens that this process in the body is disrupted and there is an uncontrolled growth of cells in an organ. These cells f o r m tumours. • Such tumours may be benign or cancerous: they may stay in the

same place in the body f o r years on end. If a tumour is malignant the cancer cells are sometimes carried to other parts of the body. If a cancerous t u m o u r is removed before the cancer cells travel to other parts of the body, then the danger of cancer is removed. That is why early detection and early treatment is so very necessary. Cancer is either carried in the blood stream or the cancer cells grow directly f r o m one tissue to the other.

Cancier kills over a quarter of a million people every year in the U.S!A. alone. But m a n y people treat caricejj as if it is a combination of syphilis a n d small pox; they are scared to find out if they have it, and if they do have it, they are a f r a i d to admit to anyone that they have it. One cf the reasons for this fear is because, when many of the older doctors went to medical schools, almost every case of cancer at that t ime was considered incurable.

Causes Of Cancer
Almost 80 per cent of the causes of cancer are due to exposure to the environment created by m a n . • Various chemicals derived f r o m coal-tar can cause cancer: vinyl-

chloride as a cause of cancer of the liver has received a great deal of publicity lately. Some of the food additives that have recently been banned in certain countries are suspected to have caused cancer in human beings, but nothing is definitely established. It is estimated that everyone in the U.K. annually eats approximately three pounds of food additives which are used for colouring and flavour. • The cancer causing chemicals are mainly organic chemicals with exotic names like methyl cholanthrene and the like. Irritants in tobacco smoke increase the danger of cancer in the lungs and this is described in some detail in the chapter on smoking.

It was found that if rats are fed on very high and concentrated doses of saccharin, it led to cancer of the blood. This created such a scare that this sweetening agent has been banned in several countries including the U.S.A., Sweden and Britain. Cancer of

the blood can, however, only result if saccharin is taken in very large quantities and not in the quantities people normally take by way of sweetening. Further research will show whether this particular ban is justified or not.

X-rays, Radiation Fall-Out And Cancer
Extensive exposure to X-rays may produce cancer in certain susceptible individuals. • Irritants such as excessive exposure to sunlight in the case of very fair-skinned persons or constant chewing of betel may produce cancer. A decayed tooth can cause cancer of the tongue if the tooth has sharp or rough edges and if it constantly rubs against the inside of the m o u t h . The amount of radiation in the atmosphere has an important bearing on diseases such as leukaemia or cancer of the blood; and that is the main reason why people are so disturbed about atomic tests or by the building of more atomic power stations. While the effects of radiation on the body are disturbing, its action on unborn children is even more so. Radioactive fall-out comes f r o m tests of nuclear weapons and other atomic explosions: most of the radioactive dust particles lose their power over a number of years, but others, such as strontium-90 last permanently. The amount of radioactivity in the atmosphere is now coming down because of the controls imposed on atomic explosions, but the position can be entirely reversed if there is an accident in even one of the numerous atomic power plants which are now operating in various parts of the world.

How Cancer Develops
Cancer usually occurs in people after the age of 40. So it is important that there should be a periodic examination for cancer after •135

this age since most cancers are insidious and attack silently; rarely does pain occur in the early stages. • Seventy per cent of cancer cases are curable if they are detected early. Early detection results in the cancer cells being removed before they have a chance to spread to other parts of the body. Cancer takes a long time to develop and spread: it may even be twenty years before a cancerous tumour begins to spread to other parts of the body. So if the tumour is removed any time during its incubation period, the danger of cancer can be avoided.

Cancer Can Be Cured


One should never be fatalistic about cancer and say, 'If it comes, it comes, and nothing can be done about it.' Not at all. One should be on the alert to discover any abnormal signs in the body. Early detection can result in a complete cure. Over a million people in the U.S.A. are today leading perfectly normal lives after having been treated and cured of cancer.

Cancer And Sex
There have been a number of reports linking genital cancer in both men and women to sexual activity. There is some evidence that cancer of the cervix in women and of the prostate in men are found more often in those who started sexual activity at a young age and among those who changed partners frequently. There is evidence to show that promiscuity tends to increase cancer of the cervix in women. A survey made in England of the wives of fishermen and boatmen, who tend to be promiscuous to some extent, brought out the fact that they are twenty times more susceptible to cancer of the cervix than, say, the wives of clergymen.

Some Myths About Cancer
There is no proof that cancer is hereditary and there is little evidence to support the view that the temperature of food is an important element in the development of cancer in the throat.

Warnings Signs For Cancer
• • • • • • • • Hoarseness of voice or persistent cough which does not respond to treatment. Indigestion or difficulty in swallowing. A change diarrhoea. in bowel habits or alternating constipation and

A change in bladder habits. A sore or ulcer that does not readily heal. A sudden change in the size or colour of a wart or mole. A lump or thickening in the breast. Unusual bleeding or discharge.

Some Facts About Cancer
• Cancer of the skin is one of the least dangerous forms of cancer, because it is accessible to the surgeon's knife as well as to radium treatment. Cancer of the lung is one of the commonest forms of cancer, especially among people who smoke. Certain types of cancer, for example, cancer of the stomach or of the prostate or of the colon, can be detected only by fluoroscopy or X-rays. Early diagnosis can lead to early treatment.

• •

How Cancer Is Treated And Removed
• At present, the four effective methods f o r treating cancer are: surgery, radium therapy, cobalt therapy a n d chemicals. There are thousands of cases that have been completely cured by these methods. •138

Where Cancer Appears
• The actual site of cancer in the body varies with the habits and customs of a particular country, but cancer in males generally appears in the lungs, digestive system, m o u t h , larynx, colon and the prostate gland. In females, the cervix ranks first, followed by the breast, foodpipe, ovaries and stomach.

Cancer Research
• Most of the research done in cancer is in the direction of finding a substance which will starve the cancer cells without affecting the normal cells, a substance that can kill cancer without harming the normal tissues.


Chapter 22


Insulin And Sugar Content
There must normally be a balance between the insulin and the sugar content in the body. Insulin is secreted by the pancreas, which is a gland tucked away near the intestines. When the pancreas is working normally it has a feed back system which enables it to provide the exact amount of insulin that is needed to deal with the a m o u n t of carbohydrates eaten.

Dangers Of Excess Sugar In The Blood
The pancreas makes insulin and this, in its turn, deals with the sugar in the body which is derived f r o m the carbohydrates consumed. If, for one reason or another, the secretion of insulin by the body is insufficient or if it is not properly utilised, the result is an increase of blood sugar in the body. This, in simple terms, is what is commonly known as diabetes. This increase of blood sugar tends to produce atherosclerosis and this leads to heart trouble. Moreover, excess sugar in the blood can also harm many of the other organs in the body such as the eyes and the nerves and the patient can also develop non-healing ulcers. In fact, diabetes is a very dangerous disease if left unchecked.

Causes Of Diabetes
The causes of diabetes are not at all established, but what is certain is •140

that diabetes is a hereditary disease. If one of the parents have diabetes, there is a likelihood of their children getting diabetes, but if both parents have diabetes, the likelihood of their children having diabetes is almost certain. Obesity The secretion of insulin in an obese person is the same as that in an individual with normal weight, with the result that the insulin secretion in an obese person is not enough to meet the increased demands of an obese body. So the amount of insulin in an obese body will not be sufficient to deal adequately with the intake of all the carbohydrates; this leads to an increase in the blood sugar of an obese person. This is why the incidence of diabetes among fat people is often high. Although there are many fat people who are not diabetic, most middle-aged diabetics are overweight: they are often the very people who like sweet things i. eat and this, in its turn, leads to a further excess of carbohydrates which the insulin in the system just cannot deal with adequately. Stress Prolonged emotional tension or even sudden stress, say a car accident, can result in diabetes. With a person who is constantly under stress either at home or in the office, there is a continuous building up of hormones in the blood stream and this in its turn may result in a rise of blood sugar and lead to diabetes.

Detection Of Diabetes

Diabetes is usually easily detected by checking the urine. This detection can also be done at home provided one has the right type of testing paper. • It is essential that checks be made periodically for diabetes, diabetes is symptomless in the early stages and one is not aware it. Undetected and untreated, it results in damage to the walls the arteries and other damage which ultimately affects many the vital organs of the body. as of of of

Signs Of Possible Diabetes
• • • • • • A sudden loss of energy and weakness in the body. Excessive thirst and frequency of urination. Excessive hunger. Sudden and unexplained loss of weight. Boils and other such infections in the body that do not disappear. Unexplained pains (neuritis).

Treatment Of Diabetes
Diabetes can now be effectively treated by injecting additional insulin into the body. These additional doses of insulin which are injected will tend to offset the deficiency of insulin in the body which causes diabetes. In some cases certain types of tablets can be taken orally for the treatment of diabetes. • The total calorie intake in a diabetic should be restricted but it should be ensured that the minimum a m o u n t of fat, carbohydrates and proteins are taken. The insulin in the body will 142

then be able to deal satisfactorily with the carbohydrates in the body and ensure that there is no excess sugar in the system. • It is more important to reduce the total calorie intake of a diabetic than to watch the individual proportions of proteins, carbohydrates a n d fats, but there still must be a balance between these individual proportions.

Cut Down On Sugar And Carbohydrates
The most important factor leading to the prevalence of diabetes is the opportunity to eat too much, especially sugar and starches. When food was scarce in Europe during World War II, there were fewer cases of diabetes. The Indians in South Africa who eat more sugar then the Indians in India have far more cases of diabetes. •143

Chapter 23


Ulcers vary in size f r o m that of a pin-head to about 2Vi cm in diameter, but they are seldom large; in rare cases, however, ulcers become so,big that they prevent food f r o m leaving the stomach. •144

Peptic ulcers develop in the areas where digestion takes place. If the ulcer is located in the stomach, it is called a gastric ulcer; if it is in the duodenal region, which comes after the stomach it is called a duodenal ulcer. It is estimated that at least half a million people in the U.S.A. alone have ulcers. When an ulcer penetrates through the stomach or the duodenum, it is called a perforated ulcer. This is a very serious condition. Ulcers sometimes — but very rarely — develop into cancer. In this case, the cure depends on early detection and surgical treatment. Ulcers are most common among people in the age group of 38 to 55 years.

Signs Of Ulcer
Heartburn, belching, discomfort or pain in the stomach might indicate ulcers related to food.

Treatment Of Ulcers
Treatment for ulcers is mainly a matter of rest, diet and medicine. Some medicines are given to relax the muscles and other medicines are given to coat the ulcer and neutralise the acid in the stomach. D D Food should be non-irritating, bland and with few spices. The best cure is a change in the pattern of life. There should be no physical strain or emotional problems. Surgery nowadays is very seldom resorted to in ulcer cases. 145

One way of neutralising the effect of the excess acid which causes ulcers is to ensure that something is eaten, say, every two hours. Even a biscuit or two is sufficient. If the ulcer cure regime is properly followed, you can get completely cured and lead a vigorous and useful life.

Stress And Ulcers
It has been established that stress and worry are two m a j o r factors in the development of an ulcer. Ulcers are often caused by emotional problems such as jealousy, frustration, guilt or loneliness. • In the University of Illinois an interesting experiment was conducted on dogs: they were made wild and frustrated by being refused the f o o d which they expected. These dogs ultimately developed ulcers. Stress gives rise to excess acid in the stomach and it is this excess acid that causes an ulcer. An interesting fact was revealed through the case of a boy who, as a result of an injury to his throat, had to be fed directly through his stomach, which had an opening made in it. The result was that the inside of the stomach and its working could clearly be observed. It was f o u n d that when the boy was angry or under stress his stomach swelled with blood and additional acid: this vividly showed the close relationship between stress and its effect on the stomach; if the stress went on long enough, the excess acid would develop into an ulcer in the stomach. In a recent study in north-west L o n d o n , it was found that close relatives of people who suffered f r o m ulcers themselves, had ulcers twice as frequently as members of the general population in that area. This might indicate that to a certain extent, ulcers are hereditary. There is, however, no definite proof of this. •146

Chapter 24


The liver is the largest organ in our b o d y a n d weighs about 1.36 kg. It is virtually a gigantic multi-purpose chemical plant. The liver reduces all our f o o d into proteins, carbohydrates and fats. It

also deals with toxic substances such as drugs and caffeine which come to it f r o m the stomach and intestines. In a very short time, the poisons a n d unwanted substances which pass through the liver are neutralised and the purified blood reaches the heart. In fact, the liver operates a 24-hours-a-day rescue service, clearing the blood of poisons or rendering them harmless. • The liver's best known function is the secretion of bile. Bile is indispensable for the emulsification and digestion of fats. It also manufactures enzymes which control a large number of chemical processes that go on in our body. The alcohol which we drink is broken down by the liver into harmless carbon-dioxide and water. But even the best liver in the world cannot neutralise very many large pegs of spirits taken at one sitting. Excessive drinking over a long period does the liver harm and may lead to cirrhosis of the liver. T o o much food, like too much alcohol, also harms the liver and tends to the destruction of the liver cells. Excessive eating and drinking have probably caused far m o r e casualties among h u m a n beings than all the bullets and bayonets of our civilization. Eating less never causes harm; it can only do good. The liver, unlike the heart, has marvellous powers of regeneration and even if a large part of its cells are destroyed, it can return to normalcy in a few months, if the strain on the liver is reduced by eating and drinking much less and having a bland diet.


Chapter 25


What The Kidneys Do
Each kidney weighs only a few grams but in spite of this they contain more than a million filter units called nephrons which filter the blood. The filter apparatus of the kidneys is served by selector tubes which take back into circulation only the substances the body wants. The process is like getting your desk tidy by sweeping everything off it and then putting back only the things you actually need: this is what the kidneys do to the blood. • Twice the total quantity of blood present in our whole body passes through both kidneys every h o u r . This gives you some idea

of the important part played by the kidneys in the functioning of the body. Blood is being continuously filtered by the kidneys, and the waste matter f r o m the blood is taken to the bladder in the form of urine. • The kidneys are a very precise and delicately engineered part of the body and they have the ability constantly to evaluate and treat the volume and chemical nature of the blood. The kidneys also control thirst. They make one drink enough to carry off the urea or unwanted matter in the blood. If the kidneys fail, urea accumulates and one of the most distressing symptoms is a raging thirst. One of the most important minerals in the blood is sodium chloride or c o m m o n salt. The output of salt f r o m the body is also managed by the kidneys. The sensitive, delicate and complicated kidneys are built to operate at a certain blood pressure. If the pressure falls drastically through blood loss or shock, the kidneys find it difficult to work and the body could be in danger. High blood pressure gradually destroys the kidneys: the vital working units shrink and form scars and the kidneys become smaller and lose much of their functioning. The kidneys have an amazing reserve and even if 90 per cent of the nephrons are damaged, the remaining 10 per cent can still carry on reasonable filtration so that life will not be in danger.

Signs Of Kidney Trouble
• • • Pain or discomfort in the back. If the urine has a colour or has some blood in it. Unpleasant smelling urine. •150

Diseases Of The Kidneys
The most c o m m o n disease of the kidneys is a stone in the kidney which sometimes occurs if the body does not take enough fluid. In the old days, a badly damaged kidney used to lead to death, but now most countries in the world have artificial kidneys that help to clean the blood by means of artificial methods. The cleansing of the blood through an artificial kidney is called dialysis.

Prevention Of Kidney Diseases
Fluid plays an important part in preventing infection of the kidneys and the development of stones in the kidneys. One should take plenty of fluid every day to ensure that the kidneys work regularly and to maintain a normal chemical balance in the body. Drinking enough fluid will also prevent the formation of any sediment in the kidneys which may ultimately become a stone in the kidney. If one is taking medicine for an ailment, it is possible that this medicine may harm the kidneys; it is best to take additional fluid to neutralise the possible harmful effect of this medicine.


Chapter 26


Hernia, which laymen call a rupture, is crippling more men today than any other physical infirmity, with the exception of heart disease and arthritis. About 400,000 hernia operations are performed annually in the U.S.A. alone, making it second, by way of operations, to the removal of tonsils and adenoids.

A hernia develops in the groin and is caused mainly by lifting heavy things. A sac of tissues comes out of one of the cavities in the body in the region of the groin. This sac can easily be pushed back by an operation or by wearing a truss.

On rare occasions when the sac cannot be pushed back this leads to a serious condition and necessitates an immediate operation; this is called a strangulated hernia. It is estimated that over four million Americans are walking around with their hernia untreated. Many of them wear trusses, but trusses seldom fit and an operation is normally far better than wearing a truss. Three out of four hernia cases occur in men. Women do not normally get hernia. Most hernias can be cured by an operation. One should not delay an operation: the younger one is, the easier and more successful is the operation.

How To Prevent Hernia
The best way of preventing hernia is to do plenty of exercise for strengthening the a b d o m e n — such as lying flat on one's back and raising one's legs, without bending the knee, about a foot. Doing the exercise abouf 20 times a day will strengthen the abdominal muscles and may eliminate the need of an operation or any possible trouble with hernia altogether. The other thing to remember is to try not to lift heavy weights, especially after a certain age.

Chapter 27


We are specially mentioning prostate trouble because it is something that almost inevitably happens to men over a certain age. Fifty per cent of all men over the age of 50, sixty per cent of men over 60 and seventy per cent over 70 have prostate trouble. • The prostate gives trouble when there is an overgrowth of tissues and this interferes with urination. The prostate is a gland on top of the bladder and when it becomes enlarged, it makes the passing of urine difficult. Doctors have called the prostate a part of the

human plumbing department. When the prostate gets enlarged, a person is able to get rid of only a few teaspoonfuls of urine at a time. Therefore, an operation is about the only real cure for prostate trouble. On rare occasions, in older men, the prostate gets cancerous. A f t e r a certain age it is good to check the prostate, because if it is cancerous, the sooner it is dealt with the better. Up to now there is no certain method of preventing the overgrowth of tissues which interferes with urination. But many teachers of yoga have claimed that certain types of yogic exercise, if done regularly, will prevent an enlargement of the prostate gland, so that a prostate operation could be avoided altogether.


Chapter 28



A headache is perhaps the most frequent single complaint of modern times. One of the main causes are tension and muscle spasms in the neck, scalp and jaw. For this reason, massaging or otherwise relaxing the neck muscles can sometimes help to relieve headaches. • Most so-called migraine headaches are really severe tension headaches: the cause is entirely psychological. Many diseases have also been linked with mental attitudes. Psychiatrists say that migraine is definitely associated with hostility. They believe that for many of the illnesses arising out of tension situation, the victim has a deep-seated desire to hurt someone or something a r o u n d him or her a n d the headache is a subsequent reaction to this deep-seated desire. Headache patients frequently worry a b o u t brain tumours, but the possibility that an intermittent headache is caused by a brain tumour is exceedingly remote. The best cure for a headache is to take an aspirin or some other such analgesic but if the headache persists for some days a doctor should be consulted.


Chapter 29


A c o m m o n cold or cough with fever has to take its course. There is really no shortcut cure. The best way of treating it is to take rest and to have, maybe, some antipyretic and analgesic drug every few hours. Drinking plenty of liquid is also recommended. An analgesic will help to bring down the fever and generally m a k e a patient feel more comfortable. A cough mixture has the same result. But such medications can only marginally shorten the period of a cough or a cold.

A running nose is advantageous to a certain extent, as the p r o f u s e outpour of fluid carries the virus outside the body. In the case of a cough, the violent rush of air helps clear material f r o m the breathing tubes. The c o m m o n cold and cough get cured in their own time: one cannot really hurry up the process. If there are no side-effects, like extraordinary aches and pains or prolonged and continuous coughing, one should continue taking antipyretic and analgesic drugs regularly for seven days or until the temperature comes down. There is no need to panic because by that time the fever is bound to subside. Many patients, however, do not accept a suggestion of an aspirin or any other such analgesic f r o m a doctor for treatment of a cough or a feverish cold because the prescription of a mere aspirin is often equated with disinterest or neglect on the part of a physician. This attitude, of course, is absurd. G o o d treatment does not necessarily mean an enormous amount of medication. In fact, the less medicine one takes the better it is.

Chapter 30

Ninetyfive per cent of the people suffering f r o m gout are men. Gout o f t e n occurs as a large, painful swelling in the big toe, the

ankle and the knee. It is quite a common disease and there are approximately 400,000 cases of gout in the U.S.A. alone. Gout usually strikes people between the ages of 30 and 60. • Gout results because of an imbalance in the body, which causes an excess of uric acid. It is often a hereditary disease. No one knows the exact cause of gout, but eating rich food such as liver, kidney or sardines, which are all high in purine content, tends to intensify the incidence of gout. Gout hits the poor as much as the rich. It also effects teetotallers as well as men who drink, and vegetarians as well as meat-eaters. Drugs of various types are used in large quantities by patients of gout to relieve the unbearable pain. These drugs, are also helpful in getting rid of excess uric acid, which causes gout. There is no certain cure for gout but the latest drugs help to a considerable extent. Even taking a diet low in purine content does not always help in relieving the pain. Nor is it established that giving up alcohol will lead to a cure.

Arthritis And Rheumatism
The word 'arth' means 'joint' and 'itis' means 'inflamed'. Arthritis affects the joints and they become red, warm, swollen and are painful to move. Q There are many different types of arthritis. Arthritis is a very common affliction all over the world. It attacks people in different ways. Large numbers of people suffer from mild arthritis. The pain and discomfort in arthritis occur in various degrees of intensity. The most common types of arthritis are: osteoarthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, gout and spondylitis. Osteoarthritis is usually not serious; it occurs late in life and •161


sometimes causes a knobby swelling at the most distant joints of the fingers. Rheumatoid arthritis usually starts in middle age and can cause you to feel sick and stiff all over, in addition to having joint pains. • Ankylosing spondylitis affects the back and the joints of the lower back. You may be suffering f r o m it if your back is sore for a long time, particularly if it is stiff in the morning and you are unable to touch your toes.

Treatment For Arthritis
Aspirin or any other such analgesic in high doses is usually the treatment prescribed. To offset the possibilities of an upset stomach, aspirin should be taken immediately after meals. • Resting an inflamed joint can speed healing. Heat may also help. The joint should be moved periodically to prevent stiffness which may cause trouble later on. Uric acids formed by eating food such as liver, kidney, sardines and anchovies which are all high in purine content, tend to bring on arthritis. So one should resist such f o o d as far as possible. But no certain cure has yet been discovered for this very widespread ailment.

Chapter 31

ALCOHOL — SOME USEFUL TIPS What Makes A Man An Alcoholic

Alcoholism is generally caused by a feeling of insecurity, unhappy family or work conditions, worries, anxieties, frustrations and by conditions that make it difficult for a person to face reality.

Harm Done By Alcohol
Unlike smoking, alcohol does not lead to coronary disease. But hard drinking can cause damage to the liver. The liver, however, is a tough organ and it would require large quantities of hard liquor to cause real damage and bring about the most dreaded result of heavy drinking: cirrhosis of the liver. As many as 10 per cent of the people in the U . S . A . have serious alcohol drinking problems. They make up 20 per cent of the hospital beds.

Alcohol And The Average Man
For certain individuals, who suffer f r o m various types of metabolic diseases or f r o m some hormone deficiency, alcohol might give some temporary relief. Alcohol can help in giving mental and emotional relief. So f r o m the point of view of mental relief, a bad habit — alcohol — might even be good if it is not taken in excess. The average normal h u m a n being seldom drinks to excess. He is not guided so much by self-control, as by the fact that he does not want to drink' heavily. For most people one or two pegs of hard liquor is enough. They stop after that. In underdeveloped countries, however, alcohol can be a real menace. In the first place the alcohol itself is made under very unhygienic conditions so drinking it is dangerous to health. This inexpensive alcohol is drunk excessively by poorly paid people and others like illiterate farm and factory workers. It is the only manner in which they have some t e m p o r a r y pleasure in their otherwise dull and drab existence. •164

What To Do About Alcohol

One should not normally take more than two pegs of alcohol a day. Q Alcohol should preferably not be taken on an empty stomach. Before going to a party where there may be considerable drinking, it is advisable to have a small glass of milk: this tends to protect the stomach f r o m the h a r m f u l effects of heavy drinking. An alcoholic drink should preferably be well diluted. •165


An excess of alcohol reduces the a m o u n t of Vitamin B in the liver. So, heavy drinkers of alcohol should take extra doses of Vitamin B to protect their liver. One should never drink if one has an ulcer in the stomach or if one is suffering f r o m diabetes, hepatitis, epilepsy, or high blood cholesterol. Alcohol is not conducive to reducing weight as it contains a very high number of calories. One should never take sleeping tablets, barbiturates, antihistamines or mood-changing drugs with alcohol. If one does, one becomes confused, unsteady and in some cases it can even be fatal. Excess of alcohol also tends to produce gastritis and loss of appetite and this lessens physical fitness.

Drinking And Road Accidents

Alcohol is perhaps the single biggest cause of automobile accidents. A f t e r drinking inhibitions are not felt and drivers tend to take m o r e risks and that is how one has accidents. In some countries, after an accident, the a m o u n t of. alcohol in one's system is checked by a breath analyser test. If the a m o u n t of alcohol in the breath exceeds the norms laid down, the penalties can be very severe. Two small whiskies taken on an empty stomach impairs the performance of the driver. The beneficial effects of the introduction of the breath analyser test in the U.K. are undeniable. The number of accidents, both of motorists and pedestrians, have come down considerably. Even today in the U.K. after the introduction of the breath analyser test, a high proportion of all those killed in road accidents, particularly pedestrians, are still f o u n d to have a high level of alcohol in their blood at the postmortem examinations.


Chapter 32

Tobacco smoking is prevalent in most of the countries of the world. According to a survey made in 1945, on an average 20 cigarettes a day were being smoked by every adult in the U.K. Since that time there has been so much information about the link between coronary disease, lung cancer and tobacco that it resulted in a definite drop in smoking in the U . S . A . In other countries, however, there is hardly any decrease in the number of people who smoke. Smoking is still widespread: almost half the adults in Britain at present smoke and every year there are at least 50,000 deaths in the U.K. which can be attributed to smoking.


Smoking Leads To Coronary Disease
Tobacco smoke contains nicotine, tar and carbon-monoxide. It has been proved that nicotine raises the level of fatty acids in the blood system and this may lead to blood clotting and eventually to coronary diseases. • Carbon-monoxide interferes with the normal function of the haemoglobin which takes oxygen f r o m the lungs to the rest of the body. 168

Statistics have proved that by far the greatest number of deaths through smoking are caused by coronary disease. Broadly, for every 100 deaths caused by coronary heart disease and attributed to heavy smoking, only 20 deaths are due to lung cancer. Smoking is the single biggest avoidable menace to good health.

Smoking And Lung Cancer
Besides carbon particles, there are other irritants in tobacco smoke, such as phenols, aldehydes and cyanide, and these increase the danger of cancer in the lungs. Statistically, smoking has •169

been proved to have definite links with lung cancer, which is our commonest cancer in an age when cancer deaths are on the increase. From the latest reports it appears that any kind of smoking involves some risk of lung cancer. The death rate f r o m cancer of the lung in heavy cigarette smokers is thirty times more than that of non-smokers.

Smoking And Weight
While it is true that smoking tends to make people eat less and therefore brings down their weight, it is entirely wrong to suggest 170

that being 5 kg. overweight isa greater health hazard than smoking about 20 cigarettes a day. In fact, the detailed conclusion of a study group of doctors, who are smokers and non-smokers, has proved that non-smokers even if they are overweight are generally more energetic and less tense than smokers.

Other Risks Of Smoking
Gastric and duodenal ulcers are much commoner among smokers as compared with non-smokers. Moreover, in the case of pregnancy, the children of mothers who are non-smokers are healthier and bigger than those of mothers who smoke. This is due to a higher level of carbon-monoxide in the blood stream of mothers who smoke as this is responsible for depriving the foetus of some of its oxygen supply. This tends to result in a greater danger of miscarriage and still births. Heavy smokers generally suffer f r o m chronic bronchitis and smokers' cough. This condition sometimes gives rise to a disease called emphysema which means a loss of elasticity of the lung tissues. This is a very disabling condition and might later on result in death. • Where the atmospheric pollution is high and cigarette smoking is also indulged in, the effect of this combination on chest diseases can be serious.

Risks Of Smoking To Non-Smokers
It has been proved by a series of experiments that if non-smokers spend time in a room full of smoke caused by cigarettes, or if they sit in a closed car where cigarettes have been smoked, then by merely inhaling cigarette smoke regularly, they absorb appreciable quantities of nicotine and tar and thereby increase the amount of carbon-monoxide in their system. As we have explained earlier, an increase in the carbon-monoxide and tar in the h u m a n system may eventually lead to coronary disease and lung cancer. •171

The chief hazard f r o m car exhaust fumes is carbon-monoxide, but even in the heaviest rush-hour traffic, the amount of carbonmonoxide in the atmosphere is never more than 4 per cent. But with an average cigarette smoker the percentage of pollution for him caused by his own cigarette smoke is far more than 4 per cent. Pollution wise, cigarette smoking is far more harmful than living in the most polluted area.

The English Tobacco Council Report:
Cigar smoking is just as h a r m f u l as cigarette smoking. It makes no difference if cigar smoke is not inhaled because the nicotine is absorbed through the mouth and nicotine increases the amount of cholesterol in the blood. • Filter-tip cigarettes do not lessen the dangers of cancer. So there is little gained by changing one's brand of cigarettes. Children and teenagers should be discouraged f r o m experimenting with cigarettes, because in most cases, children might get addicted to the habit even by smoking only five to ten cigarettes.

A cigarette smoker who switches over to a pipe or to a cigar will inhale enough until he gets his former quota of nicotine. Persons who have always smoked only cigars or pipes tend to take in less nicotine than cigarette smokers. To give up smoking successfully, a clean break is the best thing: an alternative, though this is difficult to maintain, is to cut down the daily number of cigarettes smoked to, say, about eight. Some smokers have given up smoking altogether with the aid of group therapy. Currently our society is obsessed by anxieties about drug addiction, but clearly nicotine addiction is far more widespread and much more lethal.

Smoking And Thcj Economy

It has been estimated f r o m official studies both in the U.S.A. and C a n a d a that if cigarette smoking is abolished, the loss of revenue can almost certainly be offset by the country's saving in health care costs, reduced pensions because people will live longer, and increased production.


Chapter 33


It has been proved that noise, whether continuous or intermittent, heightens the stress level of the average human being. Noise f r o m traffic, aircraft, maciinery or electronically amplified music is h a r m f u l to health and there is fairly convincing evidence to b e a r this out. Psychiatrists f r o m London have published figures showing that admissions to mental hospitals were more frequent in areas close to Heathrow Airport where noise from the aircraft w a s

loudest*. While the validity of this study has since been questioned, there is no doubt that individuals whose sleep is disturbed by aircraft noise or other such factors perform less well at tests of intelligence and have a lesser coordination of movements than might be expected. 13 The latest f o r m of noise pollution is infrasound — sounds of such low frequency that they cannot be appreciated as sounds at all by h u m a n ears. Infrasonic noise may be generated by machinery such as compressors: it is a dull continuous background sound and is fairly common in large buildings including factories, office blocks and hospitals. This noise may cause a feeling of sickness and some difficulty in breathing. Some doctors consider that the discomfort arui bad temper in some people may also be due to infrasound. Noise can be measured — very loud noise is 110 decibels; this is what one often gets when the sound in a discotheque is really loud. This noise can definitely cause harm to one's hearing: if one has it continuously for say two hours, it can cause a substantial loss of hearing among 10 per cent of the people present. It is not for nothing that a large proportion of city dwellers in the developed countries of the world now have week-end cottages in the country side. People are beginning to realise more and more the great advantages of the relaxing effect which a calm and noisefree atmosphere creates. The great sages of the world throughout history have always spoken about the powerful effect of silence on one's personality. The great Aurobindo always had long periods of silence; General de Gaulle insisted on complete silence after nine every evening — he claimed that silence greatly helped in his development. Everyone should be completely silent for some period of time every day. It will have a soothing and relaxing effect on the whole personality. •176

Chapter 34

Travelling by air over long distances leads to a considerable disturbance of the rhythm of natural digestion, sleep and rest.

Fast travelling through three or four or more time-zones is certain to put the whole body's internal clock into disarray. One tends to become confused and disoriented for quite some time.

Extensive investigations have shown that there is a definite change in our biological rhythm, while crossing rapidly through several time-zones. The important symptoms are inability to concentrate and difficulty in sleeping. It has been f o u n d that an average individual needs at least twenty four hours for evpry time-change of two hours or over, to reset the biological clock. Many business houses and Iron-curtain countries insist that a conference should take place at least 24 hours after a person has arrived at his destination, if a number of time-zones have been crossed. Therefore, it is always best to have a long rest before one begins to do any serious work after a long journey covering a number of time-zones. A very large number of people are affected by working on night shifts. Nurses, factory workers, policemen, airplane crew and many others have to work at night for long periods. It has been found that too frequent changes f r o m day-shifts to night-shifts upset the body clock and have an adverse effect on the h u m a n system, especially the digestion. Time must be given to get the body adjust satisfactorily between day and night work. It would be preferable that the time for a changeover f r o m day to night work should be at least a month, otherwise the body will find it difficult to adjust itself satisfactorily.


Chapter 35


People often generalise about the influence of climate on one's energy, health and creativity. A point is often made that certain nations cannot really advance industrially or otherwise because their climatic conditions are very unfavourable. But this is not really correct. Climatic conditions are not of any real disadvantage to any country as far as energy, fitness and vitality are concerned. The Scandinavian countries, for example, generally have a cold, harsh climate, yet the sickness and mortality rates are low there and their productivity is better than many countries with more favourable climatic conditions.

Over the centuries men have been able to adjust themselves very well, no matter what the climatic conditions. After all, the great civilisations of the past have flourished in every type of climatic conditions.

The Japanese have a hot and humid climate for the m a j o r part of the year yet they are as energetic if not more energetic, than people living in relatively more favourable climates, for example, than the people in the Mediterranean countries. Similarly, in some of the Southern States of the U.S.A., the climate is hot and humid, yet the mortality and health rate there are the same as areas in the U.S.A. with a more favourable climate. And the people there are just as energetic and hard-working. The great Islamic civilization began many hundreds of years ago mainly in arid desert countries and it has flourished therq with great vigour and energy. A factor which has almost entirely neutralized the disadvantages of an unkind climate is, of course, air-conditioning: both for cooling and heating. A man is now able to live satisfactorily under any geographical and climatic conditions and still have proper health, fitness and energy.


Chapter 36


The h u m a n body always benefits f r o m a change of surroundings even if it is only for a day. And even if the new place is uncomfortable and unpleasant, the mere fact that the body has a change of environment is bound to do it some good.

The need for frequent changes of environment does not have to be exaggerated. The reason is that a change of environment probably reduces the stress in the human body which often comes about by doing the same thing again and again, at the same place. So do not hesitate when a week-end holiday is suggested to you.


Chapter 37


Saunas, massages and hot springs are all expensive methods of acquiring a feeling of well-being. They certainly make you feel good, but it is d o u b t f u l whether they can bring any lasting benefit as far as one's health is concerned. It is also debatable whether 183

they are really worth the enormous sums of money one pays to have them. Sauna baths and massages sometimes result in a temporary loss of fluid and thereby of weight, but it is soon replaced and they d o n ' t get rid of h a r m f u l fat in the body. • The good effect of hot springs is probably due to the fact that one has to change one's environment to get to them and great benefits occur to the human system through a change in scene. Hot natural springs sometimes have a soothing and healing effect on persons suffering from arthritis, rheumatism and gout. But the cure in most cases is temporary and momentary and it is mainly because of the heat that the pain is relieved. If one sets about the matter properly by eating sensibly, doing suitable exercises, and occasionally having a change of environment, it is as good as going to a far-away place for the hot waters or having a sauna or a massage. And this is certainly far less expensive. So d o n ' t cry your heart out if you cannot a f f o r d an expensive sauna, massage or hot spring.


Chapter 38

Perhaps the greatest advantage of sun-bathing is that it takes you away from your usual environment; this in itself tends to reduce stress. Another advantage is that it relaxes us and relaxation of

any kind is good for the health. To benefit f r o m the valuable ultra-violet rays of the sun, which generate vitamin D in the system, it is not necessary to lie directly in the sun — the rays can be of benefit even if you are in the shade, provided that you are not wearing thick clothing. • {? Over-exposure to the sun can be d a n g e r o u s a n d can lead to sunstroke. For s o m e o n e used to the British sun, exposure to the sun, say in the M e d i t e r r a n e a n or the tropics, should be by g r a d u a l stages. W h e n there is an e n o r m o u s a m o u n t of perspiration f r o m the b o d y , it is essential to replace b o t h water a n d salt. Unless this is done, a person is liable to collapse. A drink of water with a d a s h of salt, sugar a n d lime is excellent. T h e eyes are the one part of the b o d y that must be protected during sun-bathing. If the eyes are properly protected f r o m the sun, the b o d y will not s u f f e r any h a r m . There is no f o u n d a t i o n f o r the p o p u l a r belief that the head a n d the back of the neck must be protected f r o m the sun. A f t e r acclimatisation, the b o d y can t a k e any a m o u n t of sun provided t h a t the eyes are properly protected.

Pollution And Sea-Swimming
An investigation by the Public H e a l t h L a b o r a t o r y service of the U . K . , m a r k e d out f o r t y British beaches which were heavily cont a m i n a t e d with sewage a n d tried to find out the extent of infection in the swimmers there. T h e conclusion reached was that transmission of diseases such as poliomyelitis, typhoid or p a r a t y p h o i d is very rare even when the beaches are heavily c o n t a m i n a t e d with sewage. • T h e fact is that sewage in sea-water has never been scientifically p r o v e d to be a serious health h a z a r d . T h e salt in the sea-water p r o b a b l y has a lot to do with this as salt is an excellent disinfec•186

tant. Moreover, the enormous volume of water in the sea together with the action of the tides contributes towards keeping sea-water safe for swimming. • Another reason why no infection occured could be due to the fact that very little water is swallowed by swimmers.

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