Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 29.djvu/80

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THE POPULAR SCIENCE MONTHLY.

mon experience that beverages which in quantity retard digestion have to be avoided altogether by such persons or partaken of very sparingly.

In the dietetic use of wines the writer of this article has constantly had occasion to make the observation that those wines agree best and are most useful which are absorbed and eliminated from the system with the greatest rapidity, as tested by the increase of the renal secre- tions, and he has been led to the practical conclusion that this is the best criterion of the suitability of any particular wine to any particu- lar constitution. If the effect of different wines on notoriously gouty persons be carefully observed, it will be found that some can drink champagne (in moderation, of course) with impunity, especially if a small quantity of an effervescing alkaline water be added to it, while claret will at once provoke some manifestations of gout ; others, who are unable to drink champagne without provoking a gonty paroxysm, will often be able to drink a mature, fine, soft claret even with advan- tage ; others will support hock well, and a few can drink fine sherries and ports in small quantities ; but in all it will be found that the test of the suitability of the particular wine to the particular constitution is its susceptibility to rapid elimination and vice versa.

It has occurred also to the writer to make many observations as to the circumstances under which tea and coffee are found to agree or disagree with different persons ; in the first place, as Sir W. Roberts has pointed out, tea, if taken at the same time as farinaceous food, is much more likely to retard its digestion and cause dyspepsia than if taken a little time after eating ; and the custom adopted by many persons at breakfast, for instance, of eating first and drinking their tea or coffee afterward is a sensible one ; so also it is better to take one's five-o'clock tea without the customary bread-and-butter or cake than with it.

Indeed, while there is little that can be said against a cup of hot tea as a stimulant and restorative, when taken about midway between lunch and dinner, and without solid food, it may, on the other hand, be a fruitful cause of dyspepsia when accompanied at that time with solid food. It is also a curious fact that many persons with whom tea, under ordinary circumstances, will agree exceedingly well, will become the subjects of a tea dyspepsia if they drink this beverage at a time when they may be suffering from mental worry or emotional disturbance.

Moreover, it is a well-recognized fact that persons who are prone to nervous excitement of the circulation and palpitations of the heart have these symptoms greatly aggravated if they persist in the use of tea or coffee as a beverage. The excessive consumption of tea among the women of the poorer classes is the cause of much of the so-called " heart-complaints " among them : the food of those poor women consists largely of starchy substances (bread-and-butter chiefly), to-