Tea and Coffee.
IT is proper, before closing this chapter upon diet, that something should be said respecting the beverages of tea and coffee.
Some years ago, a meeting was held by the leading physicians of a city in the old world, in which the merits of tea and coffee were discussed. In this discussion each man first stated his experience in the use of these articles, and then constructed his argument according to that experience. The amount of what the reader could learn from the discussion was that Dr. A. had used tea all his life, and been benefited by it, while coffee had uniformly injured him; and that he thought tea should be used, while coffee should be rejected; that Dr. B. had taken coffee at breakfast, and found it an excellent support to the stomach and nervous system, while tea had disturbed Ms digestion and his mind; and that the former was a beverage of excellent qualities, while the latter was detestable; that Dr. C. had always drank both tea and coffee, and recommended them to everybody; and that Dr. D. had himself never been able to indulge either tea or coffee, and would have them both expelled from every household.
The discussion was not creditable to the learned and really able men who participated in it. The arguments were all based upon the miserably narrow basis of single individual experiences. They were no more valid than that of the man who should hold up a shoe, de-claring it fitted his foot the best of any he ever had, and recommend-ing all men to have their shoes made upon the same last.
The truth is, there is but one thing which can be affirmed universally of the effect of tea and coffee. They both, when taken, tend to prevent waste in the body, and, consequently, less food is required when they are used. This may be affirmed of them in their applica-bility to all persons, but nothing further. The truth is, some can drink tea but not coffee, and some coffee but not tea; some can use both, and some neither. Every man's susceptibility to the effects of these beverages is his own, as much as his susceptibility to the effects of light, or heat, or atmospheric changes; and these effects, each per-son must learn from experience. Coffee often produces, and gener-ally aggravates, a bilious habit,-an effect which cannot, I believe, be traced to the use of tea. I have no doubt but that many cases of confirmed dyspepsia are traceable to the use of coffee alone.
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