Home' Trinidad and Tobago Guardian : September 17th 2013 Contents A26
body & soul
Guardian www.guardian.co.tt Tuesday, September 17, 2013
Despite its purported cleansing properties, holy
water could actually be more harmful than heal-
ing, according to a new Austrian study on "holy"
Researchers at the Institute of Hygiene and
Applied Immunology at the Medical University of
Vienna tested water from 21 springs in Austria
and 18 fonts in Vienna and found samples contained
up to 62 million bacteria per millilitre of water,
none of it safe to drink.
Tests indicated 86 per cent of the holy water,
commonly used in baptism ceremonies and to wet
congregants lips, was infected with common bac-
teria found in faecal matter such as E coli, ente-
rococci and Campylobacter, which can lead to
diarrhoea, cramping, abdominal pain, and fever.
Nitrates, commonly found in fertiliser from
farms, were also identified in the water. If ingested,
water containing nitrates over the maximum con-
taminant level could cause serious illness, especially
in infants younger than six months, which could
lead to death if untreated, according to the US
Environmental Protection Agency.
"We need to warn people against drinking from
these sources," said Dr Alexander Kirschner, study
researcher and microbiologist at the Medical Uni-
Are you tired of hearing about how breakfast
is the most important meal of the day? Well, this
advice is probably not going to stop until more
of us start eating our morning meals.
About 18 per cent of males and 13 per cent of
females between the ages of 35 and 54 are breakfast
skippers, according to a 2011 study by the market
research company NPD group.
But the evidence that suggests that breakfast
is a meal not-to-be-skipped is overwhelming.
Here s a look at some of the research showing
the possible benefits of breakfast:
Diabetes: Skipping breakfast may increase a
woman s diabetes risk, according to a study pub-
lished this month in the American Journal of Clin-
ical Nutrition. Women who ate breakfast an average
of zero to six times per week were at a higher risk
of developing type two diabetes than women who
ate breakfast every day.
Heart Disease: Eating breakfast was associated
with a lower incidence of heart disease in men
between ages 45 and 82, according to a July study
in the journal Circulation. The study also found
that skipping breakfast was associated with hyper-
tension, insulin resistance and elevated blood sugar
Memory: A 2005 Journal of the American
Dietetic Association review of 47 breakfast-related
studies found that eating breakfast is likely to
improve cognitive function related to memory and
test grades. Translation: Eating breakfast is a smart
Weight Loss: In one recent study, people who
ate breakfast as their largest meal lost an average
of 17.8 pounds over three months. The other par-
ticipants consumed the same number of total calo-
ries per day, but ate most of their calories at
dinner, according to the study published in July
in the journal Obesity. The large-dinner group
only lost an average of 7.3 pounds each over the
same time period. (Yahoo!News/LiveScience)
versity of Vienna.
The study, published in the Journal of
Water and Health, also found that all
church and hospital chapel fonts con-
tained bacteria---the busier the church,
the higher the bacterial count.
"This may represent a problem that
has hitherto been underestimated, espe-
cially in hospitals, since there a lot of
people with weakened immune systems
there," Kirschner said.
There have been advances made for
the more hygienic use of holy water,
including the invention of a holy water
dispenser a few years ago by an Italian
priest, while studies have also indicated
that adding salt (at recommended levels
of 20 per cent) can help disinfect the
But Kirschner cautions that salt is not
a reliable way to prevent infection and
instead recommends priests regularly
change the holy water in churches and
erect signs to inform congregants about
the dangers as well as of the history of
the holy springs. (ABC News)
Holy water loaded with bacteria
The holy water dispenser can help the
cause for more hygienic use of holy water.
YOUR DAILY HEALTH
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