Ask Mr Brain...all will be explained

PUBLISHED : Monday, 02 August, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 02 August, 1999, 12:00am

Does distilled water leach minerals from the body? The answer is no. It is a mistaken belief that drinking pure distilled water reduces or draws out minerals from our tissues. There are two kinds of minerals - organic and inorganic. Of course we need minerals for good health, but our bodies have difficulty absorbing the inorganic minerals in tap water.

The presence of inorganic minerals in the body can lead to degenerative diseases such as hardening of the arteries, arthritis, kidney stones, gall stones, glaucoma, cataracts, diabetes and obesity.

Distilled water is water that has been turned into steam so its impurities are left behind. The steam is condensed to make pure water. In the process, the inorganic minerals are removed from tap water, and the result is remarkable biological mineral absorption for both health and maximum metabolic activity.

We get minerals from the food we eat. Plants have the ability to convert inorganic minerals absorbed from the soil and water into organic forms our bodies can use. Distilled water is easily absorbed by the body and washes away poisons generated by or accumulated in the body.

It is beneficial for people who are on low-sodium diets to drink distilled water as it has no sodium.

Why is a hot water bottle sometimes used to relieve pain? Heating an area on the surface of the body produces certain effects that can increase comfort and the rate of healing. These effects are caused by the body's attempt to maintain a constant temperature.

When we heat the surface of our body, the surface temperature will go up, and so will the temperature in the tissues underneath the surface.

The blood vessels enlarge and blood flow quickens, allowing cooler blood to reach the heated area so it will not over-heat. Oxygen and nourishment is brought along and waste products are removed from the cells, creating a soothing and healing effect.

Humans have been using heat for comfort and treatment for a long time. It can be traced back to 400 BC. Early hot water bottles were made of animal skin, which were crude but very effective. Later came rubber ones. The newest type of hot water bottle is made of a thermoplastic material which can hold heat longer.

Where did the expression 'square meal' come from? The term comes from British sailors. On old sailing ships meals were served on square wooden plates with a shallow lip to keep the food in place. On a ship it was easier to stack square plates and they were cheaper to make. Also, given the movement of the ship, there was less chance of the plates rolling about than if they were round. So the sailors used to talk about getting a square meal.

Although the old sailors generally lived off a tedious diet of salted meat and weevil-ridden biscuits, their expression 'square meal' eventually passed into common use as meaning a substantial meal.