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Handbook for successful ageing - 1.5 - 1.6


1.5 Drinking

Our bodies need daily about 2 litres of liquids in order to keep up their functions, remove metabolic slags, and keep the tissue healthy and the skin firm and young. However, in case you suffer from kidney or cardiac insufficiency, ask your physician if you are allowed to drink that amount.

In particular you should drink a lot if you have an increased uric acid level, due to the increased risk of gout linked with this; if you have diarrhea, a cold, and also, if you are of older age, during the summer; if you do sports, if you want to lose weight or during pregnancy.

Ideally you should drink a few sips every hour in order to keep your blood constantly thin and therewith your brain constantly supplied with blood. Thus you keep your mental efficiency at an optimal level. In case of need remind yourself of drinking with a timer, or by placing a bottle of mineral water in every room or on your desk.

Do not rely on your sensation of thirst, since it lags behind the need of liquid, and degenerates more and more in the old age. During the summer elderly people can almost "dry out". In an extreme case this even leads to a delirium. In order to keep you flat as cool as possible in summer, you should fix thermometers in your rooms for the temperatures inside and outside. Thus you can close the windows when it becomes warmer outside than inside, and open them again when it becomes cooler outside. Install preferably strong fans in your ventilation chimney, which you switch on when it gets chillier outside than inside and only switch them off when it gets warmer the next morning.

If you are already older, you are especially endangered by heat. Experience shows that much more people die on hot days than on chilly ones. Therefore, you should purchase an air-conditioning. If you have a balcony, let it assembled there, and let the chill sink from a wall below the ceiling into the room. Thereby, you are neither bothered by a cold airstream nor by the noise of the air-conditioning. Before purchasing an air-conditioning, ask several companies for their estimations. Even during a long hot summer the running costs are low, compared to those of a car.

You should drink a lot, if you sweat intensely, since then your body loses lots of liquids and important dietary minerals. Thereby the blood pressure sinks. Your heart tries to compensate that by beating faster. Thus permanent heat can raise the risk of heart attack especially for elder people. Furthermore, the blood becomes more viscous because of the fluid loss, and therefore the risk of stroke (see below 9.3.2) is raised for people who are already endangered. Kidneys can also suffer from fluid deficiency. Urine that smells strong and is deeply yellow coloured is an indication for too little supply of fluid. A further indication for this is a skin fold, which emerges when you pinch the back of your hand and does not go away immediately. Pay attention that small children drink enough, although not lemonade or similar, because then they will gain weight (see below, 2.1.3 "especially dangerous")

Do not try to avoid the urge to urinate by doing without liquid. If you suffer from the urge to urinate, drink less before you leave your house, but drink afterwards all the more. In order to not forget this, put a glass or mug in the room you will enter first after your return. Apart from that read the comments below at point 9.3.16.

If you are, on the other hand, very thirsty, you possibly suffer from diabetes (see below 9.3.13).

Drink cocoa. It can lower the risk of diabetes, cancer, stroke and heart attack considerably, and it is the article of food with the highest content of magnesium. In addition it contains chrome. This influences the production of insulin and thus the sensations of hunger and satiety. Therefore it is a real "calorie killer". The flavonoids contained in cocoa enlarge the vessels, decline LDL (see above 1.4.3), diminish inflammatory reactions, lower the blood pressure and the risk of coronary heart disease (CHD), and prevent the development of a blood clot. Furthermore, cocoa has a growth-stimulating effect on the skin cells.

Prepare your cocoa in a shaker, which you can close properly, or in a screw top jar. Put initially a tea-spoon of sugarless cocoa powder and one sweetener tablet or one drop of stevia essence (see below into it. Fill it with ¼ litre of hot water or skimmed milk, close the shaker or the jar and shake it properly. If one sweetener tablet is not enough, according to your taste, take another one, and, in case of need, at the third time a further one. However, mind that too much sweetener can make you hungry, since it possibly leads to increased insulin release and therewith to fast blood sugar decomposition. If you have a glas for a half litre - for example from ready to cook, precooked potatoes - double the recipe. If you do not want to drink cold cocoa, microwave it.

Moreover, you should drink sugar-reduced whey due to its high content of vitamins and dietary minerals, and, in case of high blood pressure, daily hibiscus tea, which has at the same time an antioxidant effect (see below 1.6).

Drink, furthermore, grapefruit juice, green tea and red wine before you go to bed - those are all good radical quenchers (see below 1.6). However, according to an Australian study, more than 7 glasses of red wine per week increase the risk of colon cancer. A person who also smokes, raises, furthermore, the risk of oral and pharyngeal cancer. Moreover, more than one glass of wine daily can increase the risk of breast, hepatic and colon cancer for women. After a breast cancer operation women are not supposed to drink alcohol at all to avoid a relapse, the same is valid during a pregnancy.

Avoid wellness drinks, lemonade, Cola and fruit juices due to the sugar. Cola raises the risk of pancreatic cancer. Furthermore, it increases the blood pressure.

Coffee has a particularly antioxidative effect (see below 1.6) If you can handle coffee well, you can due to the polyphenoles contained, as a women, lengthen life with 3 cups per day, as a man with 5 to 6 cups. This is because coffee lowers the risk of some types of cancer, asthma, diabetes, with all its possible consequences (see below, 9.3.13), kidney damages, Parkinson´s, gallstones and liver complaints, and delays the occurrence of Alzheimer´s. These effects are higher, the less cream and sugar your coffee contains. In section 2.3 I explain how easily you can get used to coffee without milk, and you can easily replace sugar by one pill of sweetener or a drop of Stevia. Furthermore, coffee diminishes the risk of gout and constant headache. It contains potassium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus. It accelerates the stimulus processing, increases the attention, ability to concentrate and the short-term memory, and stimulates the fat burning. The acids, the tanning agents and bitter principles activate the digestion boost, which often occurs in the morning after the first cup of coffee. However, the caffeine contained can disturb the growth of an unborn child and thereby diminish the birthweight.

According to current studies, coffee does not increase the blood pressure, it rather lowers it. Something different applies merely to someone who drinks coffee only occasionally. However, coffee stimulates the cardiac rhythm.

Green and black tea, too, widen the arteries and, thereby, lower the blood pressure. However, the flavonoids, which cause this effect, partially get lost during the processing from green to black tea. The anti-hypertensive effect will be especially diminished, if milk as added. Furthermore, tea contains potassium, vitamin B1 and B2 as well as antioxidants. The latter have a positive effect on the cholesterol content in the blood. The polyphenols and fluorides contained in tea increase the bone density and diminish the risk of dental caries. Moreover, the polyphenols lower the risk of breast and prostate cancer. In addition, tea declines the risk of arteriosclerosis, coronary heart diseases and liver complaints, and has an anti-inflammatory effect. But on the other hand it increases the risk of rheumatoid arthritis, at least for women. However, if drunk during main meals, tea affects the absorption of iron.

In case of pregnancy you should avoid caffeine-containing drinks, since they increase the risk of miscarriage and stunt the growth of the foetus.


1.6 Free radicals and antioxidants

"Someone who neither smokes nor drinks, will die as a very healthy person."
- Worldly wisdom from Georgia-

When you eat, do sports and when you smoke, but also due to UV radiation and inflammations, your body produces free radicals. Your body needs them indeed, but only in a limited amount. Too many free radicals can lead to diabetes and all its possible consequences (see below, 9.3.13), arteriosclerosis, cardiac infarct, multi-infarct dementia, rheumatic diseases, disorder of the immune system, cancer, cataract and early ageing of the skin. Furthermore, they can affect the quality of HDL.

In this context special emphasis needs to be put on smoking. The smoke of cigarettes contains 4800 ingredients. Many of them are harmful, among others carbonmonoxide, tar, cadmium and hydrocyanic acid. Even 2 to 3 cigarettes daily increase the risk of heart attack and stroke by two thirds.

In addition, smoking increases the risk of epilepsy, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), and the danger that a sepsis results from a pneumonia. Furthermore, it increases the progress of multiple sclerosis, and increases the risk of vascular constriction and embolism of the leg arteries (smoker´s leg, see below 9.3.25).

One single cigarette alone increases the tendency of the blood to clot for four to six hours. If as a consequence blood clots start to form, they may close vessels and trigger a heart attack or a stroke. Furthermore, with each cigarette the risk of high blood pressure rises. Moreover, smoking increases the risk of chronic sinusitis, backpain, since the intervertebral discs are not optimally supplied with blood any more, rheumatoid arthritis, varicose veins, chronic kidney disease, osteoporosis, glaucoma (see below, hardness of hearing (see below 9.3.4), psoriasis, erectile dysfunction, oral cancer, periodontitis and thus premature loss of theeth, migraine and aneurysms (dilation of blood vessels), which can burst eventually. It paralyses the erythrocytes´ transportation of oxygen. Furthermore, smoking increases the complication rate during surgery; in particular it delays wound healing.

In addition it can lead to psychic problems. The risk of age-related macular degeneration (AMD - see below increases when getting older. However, smokers risk that AMD starts considerably earlier.


Free radicals from smoke oxidise LDL, which has a very toxic effect on the phagocytes in the vascular wall. The development of plaque and inflammations in the veins accelerate. HDL sinks, whereas triglycerides increase.

In addition, smoking speeds up the brain’s ageing process and increases the risk of Alzheimer´s. Indeed everybody’s efficiency of the memory and learning ability diminish when becoming older, if he does not keep mentally fit. However, the efficiency of the memory and the learning ability of a smoker diminish considerably faster.

Furthermore, smoking affects the sleep, harms the skin and thereby the appearance, and stimulates the loss of articular cartilage. The hair loss of men is conditioned by genes, but smokers lose their hair earlier than non-smokers. Smoking complicates the recognition of parodontitis, which is why it is treated often too late.

Female smokers have a much higher risk to suffer from cardiovascular disease than male smokers do, especially if they take the birth-control pill. Furthermore, smoking increases the risk of breast and bladder cancer for women. It causes osteoporosis, particularly after the menopause, affects the menstrual cycle and the fertility, stimulates the premenstrual syndrome (PMS), and increases the risk of severe complications during pregnacny. Female smokers suffer heart attacks about 14 years earlier than female non-smokers. Male smokers suffer heart attacks only about 8 years earlier than male non-smokers.

Regular passive smoking is also dangerous. The burden of passive smokers corresponds to about one third of that of smokers. Small children who are exposed to smoke are particularly endangered, because they breathe in more than adults and their organism is more sensitive, and pregnant and breast-feeding mothers also pass the harmful substances to embryos and babies, too. Those can die of the sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Furthermore, children of pregnant women who smoke are born 2 ½ times more often with malformations of lips, jaws or palates than children of non-smoking women. Moreover, smoking during pregnancy increases the risk of premature birth and the risk of having children who are too small for gestational age, develop slowlier on the cognitive and psychomotor basis, are hyperactive, have attention deficits or smoke later themselves. Children who are exposed to smoke are more irritable than others. They are more prone to diseases, such as hay fever, asthma, middle ear inflammation, meningitis, allergies and neurodermatitis, and endangered to suffer from arteriosclerosis during adulthood. Eventually they are more prone to smoke later. For that reason you should never smoke in the presence of children. Ask people around your children to refrain from smoking as well. Affected women can back out. However, we all speak on behalf of the children.

Children of smoking parents start smoking three times more than children of non-smokers. Furthermore, adolescent smokers more often think about suicide than non-smoking people of the same age.

If you smoked long and a lot, you will put on some weight after having quit it, since food will taste better, but your body manages on less food. In part 2 you will, however, find lots of information about what to do against this. Find further information and help among others on: www.quitsmoking.com/ and www.smokefree.gov/.

Quit smoking is always worth it. The dangers it brings along need differently long time to stop entirely. However, after 15 years none of them exist any more.

"Antioxidants", such as A, C and E vitamins, the trace elements selenium, iron, zinc, manganese and copper, the bioactive substances from the group of the carotenoids, bioflavonoids and coenzyme Q10, bind free radicals and thereby make them harmless. Additionally antioxidants "clear out" our cells, so that they can "breathe freely" again. They protect lipids from oxidation, and thereby can reduce arteriosclerosis.

Wholemeal products and food that contain Omega-3 fatty acids, unsulphurated dried apricots, cocoa, coffee, grapefruit juice, red wine and green tea, which furthermore prevents arteriosclerosis, are radical quenchers. If you do not like green tea or if you don’t have time for the boiling, you can also buy the substances contained in it in the form of capsules from online pharmacies.


Red wine is an especially good radical quencher. It lengthens life thanks to the contained resveratrol by lowering the risk of heart attacks and strokes. Therefore, physicians even characterise it as medicine. It makes food more digestible, increases the body´s defences and functions calmingly before you go to bed. However, red wine loses a part of its vital substances when stored too long. If you don’t like red wine or if you cannot handle it, you should take resveratrol in the form of capsules, supported by valerian pills.

White wine and rosé, too, contain resveratrol, but much less. The luscious red colour of red wine comes into being because, unlike with white wine, the grapes are mashed with peel and pips. Thereby, the flavonoids and secondary metabolites, which cause the antioxidant effect of red wine, stay in it.

However, the following also applies to red wine: women stand less alcohol than men, and the alcohol tolerance decreases generally in the old age. Men who drink averagely more than 0.3 litres of wine, 0.7 litres of beer or 0.1 litres of hard liquor as well as women who drink daily more than the mentioned amount of alcohol, have a higher risk to suffer from the metabolic syndrome (see below 9.3 "1) und 2)"). Excessive consumption of alcohol does not only increase the risk of fatty liver, but also the risk of Alzheimer´s. However, if consumed in low amounts, red wine can even protect the liver. If you want to drink more than 0.3 and 0.15 litres of red wine, respectively, dilute it with mineral water.

Be aware of the fact, however, that - according to a study of the university of Frankfurt - mineral water in plastic bottles contains a high concentration of substances similar to hormones, which by the way are especially harmful for pregnant women, babies and young children.





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