Dr harold Gunatillake

Drink plenty of water during the day & night

By Dr harold Gunatillake-health writer

Drink a glass of water every few hours a day. When you get up in the morning drinking a glass or two of cool water with lemon slice in it helps you to wake up and refresh you for the rest of the day. Hydrating your self has many advantages. Water is life, after all life begins in water. You not only tone your body with hydration, it helps digestion of food and corrects many other metabolic issues. Remember, always when you go for your routine blood tests drink plenty of water to hydrate the blood stream.

Drinking a glass of water before meals dilutes your gastric juice, and minimises cravings and hunger crashes. You tend to eat less and can help weight loss. It aids fat mobilisation and less fat is absorbed.

Water helps to regulate your body temperature. On hot days you sweat and you need to replenish the losses by drinking plenty of water. If your tongue is dry that would be a good sign that you need to drink lot of water. If you do not pass enough urine on a hot day- drink plenty of water to flush your kidneys.
To avoid a heat stroke on a hot day start drinking water from the early hours right through the day. Heat strokes can kill you unless you keep yourself cool and well hydrated.

Keep a bottle of water beside your bed and drink it every time you wake up in the night. Most people sleep with their mouths open, and the mouth including the tongue becomes dry. Drinking plenty of water is the solution to avoid this most uncomfortable situation. Eating low fat unsweetened yogurt (Greek) also comforts you when you have a dry mouth.

Some are more comfortable by drinking warm water. Some say that the Japanese drink warm water with food. I checked up from a Japanese couple on a recent cruise whether that is true. They were quite surprised and I saw them drinking cool water.

Cool water warms up in your stomach and helps you to lose a few calories and warm water will not do that. Chinese do drink warm green tea whilst they eat their food. It is more traditional rather than for any health reason.

Drinking excessively large quantities of water has its side effects Brain oedema is a dangerous side effect. So long as the kidneys function well the excess water you drink may be sent out.
There is a myth going round that you should drink eight glasses of water a day. A sedentary person loses only about 1,500mls of water per day through skin evaporation and excretion. To replenish, that amount of water needs to be consumed. Remember, the food you eat adds about 300 mls of water into your body. Drinking eight glasses of water may send you to the toilet more often.

Alkaline water
Alkaline water is less acidic than tap water and has a pH over seven. It benefits those who suffer from acid reflux syndrome. Other than that the benefits are fictitious, because the body has a mechanism to keep the pH at 7.4

Most popular bottled waters are highly acidic. The body needs to work hard to maintain the normal pH level and the body may have to borrow calcium from the bones to help balance your pH.

Remember the sodas you buy and drink are very acidic. You may have to drink 32 glasses of neutral tap water to neutralize the acidity. It is advisable to stop drinking soda
Sports energy drinks are no better than sodas

Those suffering from heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver and chronic terminal kidney failure need to restrict drinking water. There is water logging in the body and your doctor may have to prescribe a diuretic like Lasix.
Those who are on kidney dialysis may need to restrict drinking water up to a maximum of one litre only to prevent burdening with extra loading the dialyser.

Conclusion: Do not stick to mythical ideas. Just drink the neutral Adam’s Ale as much as you like and do not go to the extreme of consuming 8 or more glasses a day. In most countries tap water is drinkable and that would be the best.

Read More →

Know Your Gall Bladder

by Dr. Harold Gunatillake

Gall bladder is a pear shaped sac hidden under the liver and connected through its duct to the common bile duct. Its main function is to store bile a greenish secretion formed in your liver. Bile is really an excretory product of the liver to get rid of excess cholesterol and bile acid required for the digestion of fatty foods in the proximal small gut. It is coloured because it contains breakdown products of the blood pigment haemoglobin. It excretes a bile pigment called bilirubin which is orange or yellow and its oxidized form biliverdin, which is green. When you eat your food, especially fatty food the gall bladder squeezes the bile into the gut.

Read More →

What are the benefits of warm water?

By Dr Harold Gunatillake


“If you kick-start your day by drinking a glass of pure warm water, fat deposits and toxins circulating in the blood are eliminated from the body. It can help you assist with nasal/throat congestion, ease constipation, and boost digestion. It is an easy tactic to crank up your metabolism, aid weight loss goals, and reduce cholesterol quickly. Water is truly the elixir of life! Up to sixty percent of your body is water, which plays a role in everything from digestion and absorption of nutrients to excretion.But research shows that warm water can take these benefits up several notches”.CureJoy

I have heard many a times from people who believe that a glass of warm water has more health benefits than tap or cool water. Is there any truth in this belief? Any water cold or warm is warmed up in the stomach to the body temperature of 37deg.C. Cold water drinkers have the added advantage of burning a few calories to convert the cold into warm body temperature, and drinking warm water hasn’t that minor benefit. If you want to lose weight drink plenty of cold water and not warm water.

Read More →

Are you confused about cooking oils?

Written by Dr harold Gunatillake
FRCS, FICS, FIACS, AM(Sing) MBBS-Health writer

When you visit the super-market you could see the varieties and brands of cooking oils, and you wonder what’s best for your type of cooking for taste, ease and health-wise. A few decades back there was not much of a choice and less confusing too. In Sri Lanka, it was coconut oil and butter were popular for cooking, baking, stir and deep frying, whilst in the Mediterranean countries olive oil was the choice for cooking, stir frying, in salad spreads and even bread-toast. Deep frying is unusual in those countries. In Canada, the choice was Canola standing for Canadian oil’ as it was most manufactured in Canada. In the old days it was called rapeseed oil, used for industrial purposes. One of the poisonous acids in canola was Erucic acid a fatty acid that caused heart damage in some rat studies. A bunch of Canadian scientists removed this acid from the original rape seed through a process of selective breeding techniques to create seeds that contained less of these harmful acids. Today the rape seed crops are genetically modified and have become most popular oil for cooking even in Asian countries. In Sri Lankan super-markets it is freely available and cheap, too in large plastic containers and as popular as coconut oil for cooking. It is processed oil

Canola oil has about 7 percent of saturated fats and higher in poly-unsaturated fats, contains the beneficial omega-3 fatty acids
Today the manufacturers call it the ‘world’s healthiest cooking oil” although some experts disagree.

For cooking Asian foods it is very popular and safe health-wise. It is considered a polyunsaturated oil of omega -3 types healthy anti-inflammatory oil.

You could cook food without using oil under dry heat. This is a technique where heat is transferred to the food without using water or oil, at a temperature of 300degF or hotter. Bread is browned by toasting through dry heat leading to the development of complex flavours and aromas that can’t be attained with moist- heat cooking techniques and water and oil. Pizzas are also cooked in a dry heat oven.

Read More →

Resistant starch diet is best for diabetes

Written by Dr harold Gunatillake FRCS (UK), FIACS (US), dosage AM (Sing), FICS (US), MBBS (Cey)

There are carbs and carbs that people enjoyed right through from the time of the caveman diet referred to as the Paleo diet. Carbs in a way are of two varieties –the starchy and the non-starchy. In fact the typical Paleo diet is high in proteins, low in refined starchy carbs and packed full of vegies. Starchy carbs include rice, bread and other foods made from rice and wheat flour. Non-starchy carbs include non-starchy vegies like zucchini noodles, or spaghetti or cauliflower rice, potatoes, grains and all dark green vegetables including beans.

Read More →