- Discover why the number of times you blink is important
- Could coffee be our saviour?
- Find out how much coffee should you be drinking per day
As you’ve probably guessed, I’m a voracious reader.
I read pretty much anything.
If someone leaves a leaflet on a park bench. I’ll pick it up and take a look.
If a gibbering man on the street is giving away books about Scientology, the End of the World or reincarnation, I take THREE copies.
And… you might find this weird… but I deliberately subscribe to as many mail-order catalogues as possible.
Not only is it a good way of finding out what’s new in the health world, but I just love reading this stuff!
My wife, on the other hand, despairs of seeing the junk mail (as she calls it), books and brochures pile up.
‘You’re an information addict’, she yelled at me the other day. ‘I’d rather be a bloody golf widow’.
‘Shhh… I’m reading, love!’ I said.
I also like to read a different newspaper every single day. One day it’s The Independent, the next day it’s The Sun, the next it’s The Telegraph…
This way, I get a wide ranging overview of things.
For instance, the health section of The Daily Express on Sunday 16th August was a revelation….
Why the number of times you blink is important
I must admit I have no idea how many times I blink my eyes in a minute, but it seems I should be taking more notice.
A report from the American Parkinson Disease Association (APDA) highlights that a reduction in the number of times you blink could be an early sign of Parkinson’s Disease.
This progressive condition is caused by a loss of nerve cells in a specific part of the brain.
These nerve cells are used to help send messages between the brain and the nervous system.
Parkinson’s disease symptoms tend to develop gradually, and only appear as mild at first.
But the blink reflex is one of the pathways to become affected first.
Most people blink between 16 and 18 times every minute.
But, if you have Parkinson’s, you may find that it “substantially” reduces over time.
There’s no set limit to how often Parkinson’s patients blink in a minute, but if you’re blinking less than normal, the APDA report says that you should consider speaking to a doctor.
Now I don’t want to think that I have made you all sit in front of the mirror with a stopwatch and a click counter.
Even more importantly if you do think you are blinking at a lower rate than the 16-18 mentioned please don’t worry.
Check with members of your family and see if it something they have noticed changing about you – it is one of the things they will notice I promise.
Only if a change has been marked should you place a call to your GP.
Could coffee be a saviour?
As you know, I’m a fan of coffee, and dislike the general bad press it gets.
Years ago it was an evil as bad as nicotine, causing headaches, mood swings, bad breath, heart palpitations and stress.
Yet as a regular Good Life reader, you’ll know that there’s mounting evidence in support of our old friend.
Now, I’m not saying mainstream journalists have the finger on the pulse these days… but… in an issue of The Times last week, I spotted a great little piece on coffee.
As you know, my philosophy is that ‘a little bit of what you fancy does you good.’
Even if, technically, it’s bad for you.
A couple of pints at the end of a hard day… a few glasses of wine at night… a slab of mature cheddar… a cheeky tub of ice cream… a luxurious bar of chocolate… a big red juicy steak… a rich morning coffee…
They’re treats that we deserve. They can help us relax. They can make the treadmill of life worth it.
But the more I’ve looked into stuff like wine, cheese and red meat, the more I’ve realised that they can also be good for you.
This is something I wrote about in a newsletter a few weeks ago – if you missed it click here.
According to the Times article a new report published by the New England Journal of Medicine(1) states there are many health benefits to a daily coffee habit.
Not least of these is the fact that caffeine protects the neural system and can be protective against the changes that occur to cause Parkinson’s Disease.
In addition it can help prevent diabetes, teeth decay and even headaches.
It stimulates your brain and – yes – can RELIEVE mood problems. Studies have shown that caffeine can improve your attention span and boost brainpower.
So your morning cup of coffee not only helps wake you up, and tastes bloomin’ marvellous, but it has health benefits too.
I’m not suggesting for a minute that it’s a new health drink, to be guzzled wantonly throughout the day. I’m merely saying that a little bit of what you fancy can be good for you.
Experts say that 200 milligrams (two cups of coffee) is the optimal dose.
Don’t drink too much. I suggest you limit it to one or two decent cups of good quality coffee in the morning. Otherwise you’re heading for dependence and other problems.
Coffee (in moderation) = A.O.K, right?
(1)van Dam, R. M., Hu, F. B., & Willett, W. C. (2020). Coffee, Caffeine, and Health. New England Journal of Medicine, 383(4), 369-378.