What to Drink on Hot Days and Everyday


In my book The Butterfly and Life Span Nutrition (1992), I introduced the term life span beverages for fluids that promote health for the full life span of an individual and aging-oxidant beverages for those fluids that disrupt redox equilibrium and so negatively affect health for the full life span. My purpose was to encourage my patients to think about beverages at a deeper scientific level.  I might point out that any life span beverage turns into an aging-oxidant beverages for a person who happens to be allergic to that item.

Dehydration Majid Ali MD from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

An optimal state of hydration is essential for optimal health. Most of us, when not making a conscious effort, stay in a state of mild dehydration. Dehydration stresses our metabolic pathways, and in particular exaggerates the acidotic stress
caused by our food and our environments. In general, aging-oxidant foods increase the dehydration stress and life span foods diminish it. A simple remedy for the metabolic problems of dehydration and acidosis is a habit of drinking life span fluids. A drink of eight ounces of one of the life span fluids is desirable every three to four hours except during the late
evening and night hours. First, we need to learn about life span and aging-oxidant fluids. In the life span terminology used in this book, all fluids which increase the rates of oxidative molecular injury are regarded as aging-oxidant fluids. Examples are fluids that contain stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, environmental pollutants and other agents that disrupt normal steady-state metabolism such as alcohol. Following are some suggestions about taking in life span fluids and avoiding or minimizing aging-oxidant fluids.

Life Span Choices

Spring and mineral waters
Vegetable juices, fresh, unsalted (carrot, daikon, spinach, beets, celery)
Bancha, barley and Mu teas
Grain coffee such as Yannoh (a coffee substitute made from ground barley, rye and chicory)

Ginger Root water (cheapest and best water. Boil one and half-inch of fresh ginger root with one gallon of water, let it cool, transfer it into a glass bottle discarding the last one inch of water behind, and refrigerate. Ginger alkaloids bind to water pollutants and precipitate them down).

Herbal teas, in rotation and as prescribed by a professional. Herbal teas should be rotated as beverages as well as for their healthful effects. These teas are not recommended as treatment of specific active diseases except under the direct supervision of a physician.

Fruit teas: almond, cherries, and others

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The First-, Second-, and Third-Choice Beverages.
First Choice   Second Choice Third Choice
*Spring waters
Mineral waters

**Vegetable juices
Ginger water
Bancha tea
Mu tea
Barley tea
Grain coffee
Herbal teas

Fruit teas

Grapefruit juice
Apple juice
Soy milk, diluted
Rice milk, diluted
Light sodas, diet
Goat milk
Buffalo milk
Other fruit juices
***Skim milk, cow
Low-fat milk, cow
Dark sodas
Orange juice
Sweetened fruit juices
Cranberry juice
Salted vegetable juices
Nut milks, diluted
Coconut juice


* The ideal drinking water is a fresh, natural, nonchlorinated spring or deep well water obtained from natural, noncommercial sources. (Problem: where are we to find such water?) Bottled spring waters generally go through a packaging process: Some are good; others are not.

** The best vegetable juices are fresh unsalted juices. Cans of most commercially available vegetable juices contain as much as 500-600 mg of sodium (a “life span mineral” turned into an “aging-oxidant mineral” by the American food industry). Unsalted canned vegetable juices are next best choices.

*** Cow’s milk appears in the third category for reason of its allergenicity.

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Second Line Choices

Fruit juices (A large glass of orange juice may contain as many as 6-8 teaspoons of fructose which is metabolized somewhat slower than glucose, still it causes a sugar overload.)

Lime, lemon and light colas are caffeine-free and have citrate (alkaline effect) and should be preferred to dark sodas (which contain caffeine and phosphate).
Aspartame: acceptable on occasions except for people with aspartame sensitivity.

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Aging-Oxidant Beverages

First, we need to learn about life span and aging-oxidant fluids. In the life span terminology used in this book, all fluids which increase the rates of oxidative molecular injury are regarded as aging-oxidant fluids. Examples are fluids that contain stimulants such as caffeine and nicotine, environmental pollutants and other agents that disrupt normal steady-state metabolism such as alcohol. Following are some suggestions of aging-oxidant fluids.


Tea (common black)


Chocolate Malt drinks

Ice cream sodas

Milk shakes

Dark colas are caffeine-rich, contain phosphates and are better avoided (or restricted).

Alcoholic beverages (Alcohol is an aging-oxidant molecule. However, when taken in modest amounts on special family and other occasions, it has some redeeming desirable effects on mood.)

Dark Chocolate – Do I Recommend It – If So, How Much Majid Ali MD from Majid Ali on Vimeo.

Life Span and Aging-Oxidant Teas

Life Span (LS) teas are beverages that support life span molecules. Aging-oxidant (AO) teas are beverages that favor aging-oxidant molecules (AOM).

Tea appears to have been first used in Assam. Buddhists carried it to the Far East, the British to the West. The tea plant is a nourishing plant. How we make use of this plant determines whether we obtain a LS beverage or an AO beverage.

Black tea (common tea) is acidic, caffeine rich and favors the aging-oxidant molecules. It is an AO tea. Green tea is milder than black tea but it is acidic, favors AOMs, and hence is an AO tea.

Bancha tea (late-growing tea) is alkaline and caffeine free. It protects the stomach lining from acidotic stress, preserves normal gastric ecology, promotes digestion, and hence is an LS tea.

Grain teas (barley, brown rice, millet, corn silk) are neutral to alkaline, caffeine free life span teas. These teas restore gastric and bowel ecology, and have several known mild medicinal effects. Mu tea is a popular blend that contains ginseng and several other herbs. It is an alkaline, caffeine free LS tea.

Common coffee (from coffee beans) is acidic and caffeine rich (up to 80 mg of caffeine per cup). Decaffeinated coffee has much lower levels of caffeine (3-10 mg per cup) but is acidic and often contains residual methylene chloride and ethyl acetate, chemicals that many companies use to decaffeinate their coffee.  It is a AO beverage.


Specific individual herbal teas listed below have several established biochemical medicinal effects and their regular use for specific health disorders should be physician supervised.

* Aloe vera, as water, gel, or as tea
* Chamomile flower: Egyptians used it to slow the aging process.
* Golden seal root: general life span tea. Biblical Rx, American Indian Rx
* Echinacea root: general life span tea.
* Astragalus: general life span
* Linden flower: general life span tea
* Ginseng root: general life span tea
* Peau D’Arco inner bark: for altered bowel ecology states*
* Flax seeds tea: for lung and bowel ecology
* Comfrey roots and leaves: for stomach and bowel ecology
* Caraway seeds: for stomach and bowel ecology
* Thyme leaves: for stomach and bowel ecology
* Cascara sagrada: for bowel ecology
* Peppermint: for stomach ecology
* Alfalfa leaves and seeds: for stomach ecology
* Clover blossoms: for liver disorders
* Juniper berry: for bladder ecology
* Horsetail: for hair, skin and nail ecology
* Valerian root: for nervous system disorders (Latin valere=well-being)
* Huckleberry: for hypoglycemia and hyperglycemia
* Hawthorn flower and berries: for hypertension and heart disease
* Rose petal tea for eyestrain.
* Black oats (with whiskers) tea for anxiety.
* Marigold petal tea for anxiety.
* Sage tea for flu-like symptoms.
* Ginger Root: gastric and bowel ecology; for motion sickness
* Feverfew leaves: for chronic headache (also freeze-dried in tablets)

Herbal teas are excellent choices but must be taken in rotation and under the supervision of a knowledgeable professional. One or two teaspoons of food grade glycerine may be added to herbal teas as a sweetener.

I suggest my monograph entitled “The Altered States of Bowel Ecology and Health Preservation” for further discussion of how normal bowel ecology is damaged by antibiotics, drugs, toxic foods and stress and how it can be restored with nutrient and herbal therapies.


Coffee is acidifying. Coffee is dehydrating. Coffee is de-energizing. For those reasons, coffee is oxidative and threatens cellular oxygen hemostases.

It is a common error to think that coffee is an antidote for sluggishness, mental fog, or fatigue. Yes, coffee does give a temporary sense of energy and well-being, but such a ‘high’ is followed by a precipitate drop in energy. Indeed, that is the primary reason the first cup of coffee is followed by a second and then a third or more. That is the beginning of pathogenic caffeinism with anxiety, tachycardia, gastric irritability, and cardiac rhythm disturbances.

One need not be a skunk in someone’s garden party. I often say that to make an essential point: Denial and martyrdom is neither desirable nor necessary in good nutrition. There is a right time and right place for all foods. Coffee is not a part of my day. On uncommon occasions, when I am with special guests and coffee is served I do not make fuss about it. During my years of the presidency of the medical staff of Holy Name Hospital, Teaneck, New Jersey, I had to attend frequent staff meetings. As a courtesy, I was often offered coffee. I found out that it was awkward for me to refuse coffee; however, it seemed okay to accept it but not drink it.

I might list here what I designate as aging-oxidant beverages: coffee, common black tea, coca, chocolate, malt drinks, milk shakes, and sodas. As I write this, I recall the case of young girl I had seen for disabling chronic fatigue and daily headaches some years ago. Earlier today, her mother brought to our Institute her second daughter. Remembering her first daughter, I asked how the youngster was doing. She smiled and said, “Her health is excellent now. Her days of breakfasting on two cans of soda are gone and so are headaches and chronic fatigue. She is now in college and you would be proud if you saw how she eats and drinks.”

I discuss the subject of alcohol at length in The Butterfly and Life Span Nutrition (1992). I might mention here that alcohol in small amounts has some good physiological effects and other positive effects on mood and spirits. Those effects may indeed counterbalance the essential aging-oxidant effects of alcohol. Thus, complete abstinence, except in the case of persons with past or present dependence on it, is not necessary. That, of course, is not any justification of consuming alcohol in any form during the morning hours.

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