• 26Jul

    My brothers and I grew up eating Marmite and Bovril. We ate it with our porridge.  On days when my late maternal granny didn’t cook any soup, we would have instant soup of Marmite or Bovril.

    When our daughters were toddlers, I used to substitute dark soy sauce with Marmite.  It’s been a while since I last bought our last jar of Marmite.  The other day, I came across a recipe for Marmite pork and I was itching to try this recipe.  So off I went to get a jar of Marmite and dished up Marmite pork, which was outrageously yummy! Instead of deep frying the Marmite marinated pork strips, I pan-fried them.

    My Marmite Pork with Lemon Zest, SO delish!

    I like having a bowl of light Marmite soup for my mid-morning breakfast, with 1 teaspoon to about 300 ml of hot water. Whenever I crave for something savory and don’t have quick access to it, I’ll make myself a cup of Marmite soup.

    Did you know that science has proven that Marmite is actually rather good for you.

    Originally containing only four ingredients (yeast extract, salt, spices and celery), vitamins and minerals were later added to the recipe to boost Marmite’s health potential, and scientists have been championing its benefits ever since.

    In fact, the black stuff was considered so essential for a healthy diet that it was included in soldiers’ ration packs during World War One and has subsequently been used to treat conditions ranging from malaria to malnutrition.

    Why Marmite Is Good For You 

    1. It can help you sleep better

    According to a recent study, magnesium – a mineral that’s abundant in Marmite – can help us all get better shut eye. Scientists believe it calms the body’s nerves, hence relaxing muscles and improving our slumber.

    2. It can help prevent dementia

    In April this year, a scientific study suggested that the cult British foodstuff could help boost brain power and stave off dementia.

    Researchers from York University said the high concentration of Vitamin B12 in the yeast extract increases levels of chemicals in the brain which are thought to protect against neurological disorders. Participants in the study ate a teaspoon of Marmite per day and were found to have increased levels of a neurotransmitter known as GABA, said to calm the brain and soothe the effects of anxiety.

    The effects were noted for eight weeks after the study was completed, suggesting that the health benefits of the inimitable brown spread could have a long term impact on the body.

    3. It’s as nutritious as vitamin supplements

    Marmite is packed with B vitamins that are essential for good health – containing so much per serving that you can probably do away with taking expensive B supplements. A single serving contains 17pc of your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin B1 (thiamin), 18pc of B2, and 36pc of B3. These vitamins are essential for eye and skin health, as well as protecting your nervous system and helping you to break down the energy from food. B vitamins are all water soluble so are not stored by the body, thus requiring a daily dose.

    4. It can keep your heart healthy

    Marmite’s high content of Vitamin B1 could be highly beneficial for preventing cardiovascular disease, particularly among diabetics. A study at the University of Bristol found that supplementing diabetic and non diabetic mice with a chemical similar to Vitamin B1 called benfotiamine  improved their recovery after a heart attack and lowered their risk of cardiovascular conditions. Further studies are required to see if the same theory can be applied to humans, but it seems a good enough reason to up your Marmite intake, all the same.

    5. It keeps vegans alive

    Vitamin B12 is essential for maintaining a healthy nervous system and blood, but cannot be found in plants. This is a problem for vegans, who do not eat any animal products, which naturally contain the vitamin.

    Vitamin B12 deficiency can cause numerous health problems, but Marmite may provide a solution.

    Fun Facts :

    In Sri Lanka, Marmite is apparently used as a potent hangover cure. Simply dissolve it in boiling water and lime juice, add a fried, sliced onion and watch your hangover quickly disappear.

    After trying it on the UK on tour in 2011, Britney Spears admitted she’s a fan of the yeast based spread. According to insiders, she tried to make a stew with Marmite and also asked for Marmite Twiglets on her rider.

    Spears isn’t the only superstar fan of the spread. The Rolling Stones, Dido, and Eddie Redmayne are all reportedly fans.

    Britney Spears

     

    Share
  • 25Jul

    I was down with a cold and a bad throat yesterday. I must have been bitten by the bugs from my hubs and my second daughter, who were down with a cold and strep throat just a week ago. I struggled to get by my day yesterday. Though I felt like I was going to collapse any time, with drooping heavy eyes and a beat up body, I dragged myself into the kitchen and cooked lunch and dinner. In between house chores, I felt extremely sleep and napped whenever I had a chance to do so, which was extremely difficult with 2 daughters having an exam and the Mandarin tutor in the house.

    This morning when I got up, I was still feeling extremely lethargic with tired eyes.  I skipped jogging after sending my daughters off to the school van. Instead of going to the tracks, I snuggled back onto my cozy bed and slept for 2 hours. When I got up, I felt so energized. The heavy droopy eyes are now bright and well rested. My brain does not feel foggy anymore. I have been sitting at my PC typing away for 2 hours continuously, after breakfast of a slice of light chiffon cake and a bowl of light Marmite soup (1 teaspoon to about 300 ml of water).

     

    Sick woman on the bed at home

     

    A strep throat, achy muscles and a runny nose can make you miserable, but if you still have the energy to exercise, should you?  I will continue to exercise if I have the energy to do so, but will tone down the intensity and duration. For eg. I will do brisk walking instead of running and instead of walking 40 minutes, a 30-minute walk will suffice.  But if I do not have the energy to exercise, like this morning, I will definitely give exercising a miss for a day or two to rest and catch up on my sleep. I always get well from a cold naturally, from getting lots of rest and sleep and taking natural supplements like carotenoids, hydrogen water, raw honey, Manuka honey, propolis and Esberitox.

     

    Portrait of beautiful young woman exercising in the park. Caucasian female fitness model working out in the morning.

    Some physical activities when you’re sick can be alright, but there are times when exercise can make things worse.

    The best way to determine whether you should go to the gym, or go to bed is the extent and location of your symptoms. You will need to give yourself a “neck check”.

    You can exercise safely when…

    If your symptoms are from the neck up, such as a sore throat, then it’s okay to exercise. Physical activity won’t slow down your recovery, as long as you don’t elevate your heart rate and body temperature too much.

    US researchers studied people who exhibited an upper respiratory tract infection or “head cold” over 10 days. They compared people who exercised for 40 minutes every second day with people who didn’t exercise at all. They found no difference in symptoms at the end of the study, and that exercising with a minor cold did not alter the severity or duration of the illness.

    Green light symptoms (yes, you can exercise)

    • runny nose
    • sneezing
    • watery eyes
    • sore throat

    It’s best to rest when….

    If your symptoms are below the neck, such as a tight chest, then your body needs rest. Exercising with major cold symptoms, particularly a fever, will prolong your illness and can be dangerous. Physical activity will compromise your immune system as the body focuses on energy production and muscle function instead of fighting the illness.

    If your oral temperature is at or over 37.5 °C (99.5 °F), your body is fighting an infection, and needs rest to recover. Listen to your body, and take comfort that you won’t lose any conditioning by taking a few days break.

    Red light symptoms (best to avoid exercise)

    • coughing
    • fatigue and tiredness
    • congested or tight chest
    • chills
    • nausea or upset stomach
    • muscle aches
    • diarrhea
    • high temperature / fever

    Fit people recover from illnesses quicker and experience milder symptoms than couch potatoes, according to a 2011 study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.  The following are the guidelines for exercising before, during and after a cold or flu.

    If you feel like you’re coming down with a garden-variety cold, you can still exercise without significant limitations. If you begin to feel worse after your workout, however, cut back. Take a few days off or reduce your effort to 50% of your normal capacity. Walk for 15 minutes instead of running for 30 minutes, or do one set of lifting instead of five. Also keep in mind the above-the-neck rule: If your symptoms include a runny nose, dry cough, or sneezing, you should be fine to exercise. But if your symptoms are below the neck, such a chest congestion, muscle aches, upset stomach, etc., make sure to rest.

     Stay home if you have a fever, stomach symptoms or the flu. If you’re wiped out with fatigue there’s no reason to work out. Plus, you’re contagious the first five to seven days. Rest allows your immune system to recover. Get to bed early and get extra sleep, drink plenty of fluids (no alcohol), take over-the-counter cold and flu medicines or ibuprofen as you recover.

     

    Share
  • 20Jul

    Lately, my 14-year old daughter has been obsessed with gaining a few inches in height.  At 13.5 years old, she stands at about 155 cm in height while I stand at 158 cm.  My height is sufficient to get me into Malaysia Airlines for a flight stewardess job when I was 22 years old but I gave up the ambition of my dreams.

    In my daughter’s class, most of her classmates are at least 158 – 165 cm in height.  That’s tall for 14-year old Asian girls.  To be fair to my daughter, she is one of the youngest in her class and she is only 13 years old. She’s a December child.  We still have hope that she will still grow taller!

    In her quest to gain that few inches extra in height, she skips the rope everyday, about 1,000 – 3,000 skips each time. She plays tennis, takes part in all the jogathon and half marathon organized by her high school, runs and goes to the gym occasionally.  Her grandma would cook peanut root soup occasionally, known among the Chinese old folks to boost growth in height.

    After about a year now skipping regularly and drinking peanut root soup and seeing not much significant spurt in her height, my daughter is now a tad discouraged. She does not jump as much as she used to and tells me dejectedly that jumping does not help her to grow taller.

    Young woman skipping rope during sunny morning on stadium track

    Girls grow at a quick pace throughout infancy and childhood. When they reach puberty, growth increases dramatically again. Girls stop growing and reach adult height usually between the ages of 14 or 15 years, or a couple of years after menstruation begins.  As my daughter is still 13 years old, she still has a glimmer of hope to grow taller! Keeping our fingers crossed!

    Genetic Factors

    A big factor that determines your height is genetics. If your parents are both short, that does not mean that you will also have the same fate! Height is influenced by ranges of genes and if there are members in your family tree who are actually tall, you also have a chance to acquire that gene! Hormones such as testosterone in men also affect height.

    My husband and I are not very tall. We are of normal height for Asians.  From my husband’s side, his late father was very tall while his mother is of normal height. Of his 4 sisters, 3 of them are very tall and only one sister is of normal height. My husband is the shortest of the 5 of them.

    How does puberty affect growth?

    Girls typically have a growth spurt in the 1 to 2 years before menstruation starts. For most girls, the growth spurt starts between the ages of 10 and 13. They then grow just 1 to 2 inches more in the year or 2 after getting their first period. It’s during this time that they reach their adult height.

    Most girls reach their adult height by age 14 or 15. This age could be younger depending on when a girl first gets her period.

    What’s the average height for girls?

    According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the median height for adult women over 20 years old is 63.8 inches, or just under 5 foot 4 inches. The average height at the earliest start of puberty is around 50 inches, so that’s a lot of growth during a short period of time.

    The following information comes from the CDC:

    Age 50th percentile height for girls
    8 127.5 cm (50 in.)
    9 133 cm (52 in.)
    10 138 cm (54 in.)
    11 144 cm (56.5 in.)
    12 151 cm (59.5 in.)
    13 157 cm (62 in.)
    14 160.5 cm (63 in.)
    15 162 cm (64 in.)
    16 162.5 cm (64 in.)
    17 163 cm (64 in.)
    18 163 cm (64 in.)

    The above chart is for American girls. Asian girls are genetically shorter and smaller built than their Western counterpart.

    Can I grow taller after puberty?
    There is very little evidence to suggest that people can grow taller after puberty. Humans usually grow faster as infants and toddlers. They also grow significantly as growth spurts hit during puberty.

    What are growth spurts?

    Growth spurts is a term used for a rapid increase in height and weight which typically occurs during puberty. In their teens, kids put on an amazing growth to reach their final adult height. This phenomenal growth starts at the outside of the body and works in. Hands and feet are the first to expand. Needing new shoes is the first sign of experiencing growth spurts. Next, arms and legs grow longer. Finally the spine grows. The very last expansion is a broadening of the chest and shoulders in boys, and a widening of the hips and pelvis in girls.

    What kind of a diet can help increase my height?
    A nutritious diet that includes fruits and vegetables, dairy, cereals, meat and plenty of water will aid the natural process for enhancing height.

    Does sleep help human growth?
    Getting proper sleep is vital for the growth hormones to perform its function effectively. Not getting enough sleep can lower the amount of growth hormones your body produces.

    My daughter is a night owl. She only gets 5-6 hours of sleep on school-going days (despite my constant nagging at her to sleep early), which is way insufficient for the recommended 9-10 hours for them to function optimally.  Studies show that most teenagers need exactly 9 ¼ hours of sleep.

    Can stretching exercises help me gain height?
    Some stretching exercises can help increase the height enhancing process during puberty. After puberty the stretching exercises can still help correct a person’s posture. You’ll be surprised by how much of Height is hidden behind your slouched back. You can, at any age, add an inch or two of height by simply improving your posture.

    Girls may gain a foot or more in height from childhood through puberty. Getting enough sleep, eating nutritious foods and exercising regularly are all things that can help them grow in a healthy way.

    Thankfully, my daughter has not faced heightism in school. What she and I dislike are relatives comparing her height with her taller cousins of the same age as her *roll eyes*

    Share
  • 20Jul

    There are many reasons people go to a psychic for a reading, some want to know about their future job and career opportunities, some want to know about a loved one who has passed away, some are looking for a path to happiness because they have lost their way. Still others have questions about their love life. This latter area of an individual’s life is often riddled with uncertainty, but it is love psychics who have the ability to help you with this problem.

    Psychics can help with your relationship problems
    If you are in a relationship that is heading in the wrong direction, it is only natural to wonder if you should continue the relationship in the hope that things will get better or to end it now. It can be a difficult decision, especially if you have strong feelings for the other person, but if the relationship is headed for a breakup, then it is best not to invest any more of your time and emotion into it. Then again, if there is a good chance that things will get better, you don’t want to walk away from the one you love. A psychic can listen to your story and help you make the right decisions.

    Psychics can help you with a future relationship
    Are you feeling lonely? Perhaps you are looking for that special person to share your life with, but no matter what happens in your life, you never seem to meet this person. A reading with a psychic can give you important insights into your love life that will help you look forward to the future. A psychic may also be able to help you with knowing how best to find this new relationship that you are looking for, and the likeliest places you will find this person. There are many possibilities, but knowing that you have a future romantic partner out there, and you will meet this person, is often an uplifting feeling.

    Psychics can help you resolve issues with loved no longer living
    Psychics can help you with questions about loved ones who have passed away. Perhaps someone you loved died when there was a problem between the two of you. A psychic can reach across to the other side and help you communicate is such a way that you can experience closure with your loved one, or simply have the satisfaction of knowing they are all right.

    There are many ways a psychic can help you with your love life, so if you have never used the services of one before, you should keep an open mind and give one a chance.

    Share
  • 04Jul

    Mulberries are filled with nutrients that are important for our body, including iron, riboflavin, vitamin C, vitamin K, potassium, phosphorous, and calcium, as well as a significant amount of dietary fiber and a wide range of organic compounds, including phytonutrients, zea-xanthin, resveratrol, anthocyanins, lutein, and various other polyphenolic compounds.

     

    All parts of the plant from root to tip can be used medicinally, though these days we tend to concentrate only on the fruit and leaves, which are high in antioxidant anthocyanins as well as cancer-fighting resveratrol and vitamin C.

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practice has used mulberry trees for thousands of years to treat diseases like heart disease, diabetes, anemia and arthritis

    Although there are many different types of mulberries, there are three main species that you will see in health stores and supermarkets:

    • White mulberry (Morus alba) is native to China and the preferred food of silkworms. The leaves are antibacterial and antidiabetic; the fruits have a neuroprotective effect in humans.
    • Red mulberry (Morus rubra) is native to American soil that has antibacterial properties and can help fight urinary infections.
    • Black mulberry (Morus nigra) is a Western Asian variety transplanted to Europe. These dark berries have antiviral properties that show effectiveness against the HIV virus.

    The leaves of the mulberry tree are also traditionally used to strengthen the liver and lungs, treat fevers and cold and eye infections. They also have important antidiabetic properties which modern science is beginning to acknowledge.

    Mulberry leaf tea’s health benefits are attributed to its naturally occurring compound, 1-deoxynojirimycin, or DNJ, which is responsible for its antidiabetic effects. Like the fruit, the leaves also have powerful antioxidant properties and has been found to lower cholesterol and triglycerides and reduce inflammation.

    Health Benefits of Mulberries

     

    1. Source of Antioxidants

    Antioxidants help lessen the damage caused by free radicals and the entire mulberry plant- leaves, stems, and fruit, contains antioxidants.  One antioxidant in particular, resveratrol, has gotten much attention. Research published by the University of Texas Health Science Center credits resveratrol for positive effects on age and longevity.

    2. Lower Cholesterol

    Cholesterol is an important fatty molecule that is present in every cell in the body. However, elevated cholesterol in the blood is also linked to increased risk of heart disease.

    Animal studies show that mulberries and mulberry extracts can reduce excess fat and lower cholesterol levels. They may also improve the ratio between LDL („bad“) and HDL („good“) cholesterol.

    Some test-tube experiments also show that they reduce the formation of fat in the liver, potentially helping to prevent fatty liver disease.

    3. Improve Blood Sugar Control

    Diabetics are sensitive to rapid changes in blood sugar, and need to be careful when they eat carbs.

    Mulberries contain a compound called DNJ (1-deoxynojirimycin), which inhibits an enzyme in the gut that breaks down carbohydrates.

    DNJ is therefore considered to be beneficial against diabetes, by slowing down the increase in blood sugar after meals

    4. Reduce Cancer Risk

    Increased stress in the body has been shown to induce oxidative damage in cells and tissues, and is associated with increased risk of cancer.

    For hundreds of years, mulberries have been part of traditional Chinese medicine as a remedy against cancer.

    Some researchers now believe that these reputed cancer-preventive effects may actually have a scientific basis.  Animal studies indicate that antioxidants in mulberry juice can decrease oxidative stress, potentially reducing the risk of cancer.

    5. Immune System Support

    Mulberries contain alkaloids that activate macrophages. Macrophages are white blood cells that stimulate the immune system, putting it on high active alert against health threat.

     

    This is the mulberry + orange + apple + lemon + raw honey smoothie that I made for our girls.  I get my mulberries from a farmer who plants pesticide-free vegetables and fruits.

    In addition to mulberry fruits, I also drink organic mulberry leaves powder regularly.

     

    Adverse Effects and Individual Concerns

    Allergy to mulberries is rare, but pollen from mulberry trees has been reported to cause allergic reactions in sensitive individuals.

    Individuals who are sensitive to birch pollen may also react to mulberries, as a result of cross-reactivity.

     

    Share
  • 31May

    Codonopsis pilosula / Dang Shen / Tong Sum / poor man’s Ginseng is no stranger to most Chinese since this herb is a common ingredient in everyday recipes of soups and steamed dishes. In China it is better known as Dang Shen, a major tonic for nourishing the vitality.

    Dang Shen’s health benefits are similar to that of Ginseng. It is sold at a more affordable price, thus it is also known as the ‘poor man’s Ginseng’.  Dang Shen is commonly used in Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) to correct ‘Qi’ deficiency and improve blood circulation to revitalise the body.

    Dang Shen also possesses other health benefits such as:

    • Stimulates appetite
    • Improves blood circulation
    • Stimulates the central nervous system and increases endurance
    • Boosts immunity by increasing white blood cells, activating macrophages and other key components of the immune system
    • Treatment of chronic upper respiratory tract infection
    • Reduces fatigue and increases white blood count in patients who are undergoing chemotherapy

    Codonopsis pilosula

    However, if Dang Shen is used excessively, it may interfere with blood clotting and is best to be avoided prior to surgery.

    This is the Dang Shen + red dates + blue dates tonic that the mil prepared in a crockpot for me today to nourish me back to health after a laproscopic myomectomy surgery that I underwent just 2 days ago:

     

    Share
  • 20May

    With just eight days before my laproscopic myomectomy surgery, I am keeping myself healthy with clean eating. When the body is clear of junk, it heals faster.  I  have already stopped popping certain vitamins and foods.   My surgeon / gynae has advised me to stop all my supplements a week before the surgery except for Sangobion (iron) as I am anemic.

    Certain foods and  supplements should be avoided before surgery. Some foods leave a residue in your digestive tract that may complicate intestinal surgeries or cause diarrhea. In addition to this, having food in your system may cause nausea and vomiting. Various types of vitamins may also cause complications during surgery.

    No matter what part of the body is undergoing surgery, the process for healing is the same. Surgically “traumatized tissue” (skin, muscle, bones, cartilage, tendons, etc.) does not just magically heal; rather, the body has to rebuild and repair tissue on the cellular level. This involves energy and nutritional building blocks to support the healing process.

    The best pre-operative nutrition will help the immune system fight against infection and prevent and treat excess blood loss. Research has demonstrated that optimal recovery, including the best possible results seen in the shortest time period, is achieved when particular dietary and supplement regimens are followed. Specific nutrients are needed to repair skin, blood vessels, nerves, and even muscles and bones.

    What Dietary Supplements Should You Avoid BEFORE Surgery?

    Vitamin E and surgery do not mix because Vitamin E is associated with increased bleeding, and this can lead to collection of blood (called a hematoma) that could result in serious complications. Most surgeons will instruct you to avoid preparations with Vitamin E before surgery, however, so it is important to check your dietary supplements/multivitamin carefully. However, after the surgery, your health care professional may indicate that Vitamin E may be appropriate.

    vitamins-a-z_700x700.jpg

    Herbal supplements, in general, are to be avoided prior to surgery because they can cause bleeding or other operative complications. A few commonly taken herbal supplements to avoid are: Ginko Biloba, Garlic, Ginseng, Ginger, Dong Quai, Ephedra, Feverfew, St. John’s Wort and/or Omega 3 fatty acids.

    A general rule is to stop taking these potentially unsafe preparations at least two weeks prior. Nonetheless, it is important to discuss all preoperative dietary supplements with a health care professional prior to any surgery or procedure.

    A week or two before surgery, there may be foods and drinks to avoid. For example, it is recommended to stop taking any type of vitamins that contain vitamin C, vitamin E, vitamin B, vitamin K, all herbal supplements and fish oils; including multivitamins. You should also avoid all food with high sugar contents, because they can suppress normal immune function.

    Even if you are not known to be allergic to these, you should avoid any potentially allergenic foods, such as:

    • Peanuts
    • Eggs
    • Nuts
    • Milk
    • Fish and shellfish
    • Soy or wheat products

    You can, however restart your normal diet after surgery. This is purely a precautionary recommendation.

    Don’t eat anything that is high in fiber for at least 24 hours prior to surgery. This includes fruits and vegetables. That is because foods high in fiber take longer for your body to digest, especially apples, raspberries, oranges and pears. Vegetables like broccoli, peas and artichokes also have a lot of fiber content.

    It is important that patients tell their doctors about all the medications they are taking, including herbal supplements, before surgery. And doctors should provide patients with a list of supplements to avoid.

    Here are some foods and nutrients you should focus on in your post-surgery diet:

    Fiber. A common complaint after surgery is constipation. To avoid this uncomfortable post-surgery complication, eat plenty of fiber. Some high-fiber foods include fresh fruit and vegetables. Whole grain breads and oatmeal are other great sources of fiber. To prevent constipation, avoid foods like dried or dehydrated foods, processed foods, cheese and dairy products, red meats and sweets.

    The amino acids in protein help with wound healing and tissue regeneration. Protein can also help with strength and energy following surgery. Lean meats such as chicken, turkey, pork and seafood are excellent sources of protein. You can also get protein from eggs, nuts, beans and tofu. Dairy also contains protein, but if you’re struggling with constipation, go for the other sources of protein instead of dairy options. If you have trouble getting enough protein in your diet after surgery, try adding protein powder to drinks or smoothies.

    Five Steps to Speed Recovery From Surgery

    Carbohydrates. Fatigue is common following any surgical procedure, but eating the right kinds of carbs can help restore your energy levels. Get carbs from high-fiber foods like whole grains, fruits and veggies, and beans and legumes. These foods will boost energy levels without causing constipation.

    Fat. Healthy fats from olive oil, avocados, coconut oil, nuts and seeds will improve immune response and aid the body’s absorption of vitamins. Fat will also help increase energy levels after surgery.

    Vitamins and Minerals. Perhaps the most important nutrients in your post-surgery diet are vitamins and minerals. Vitamin A (found in orange and dark green veggies like carrots, sweet potatoes, kale and spinach) and vitamin C (found in citrus fruits, berries, potatoes, tomatoes, melons, and sweet bell peppers) help with wound healing. Vitamin D (found in milk, fish, eggs, and fortified cereals) promotes bone health. Vitamin E (found in vegetable oils, nuts, beef liver, milk and eggs) protects the body from free radicals. Vitamin K (found in green leafy veggies, fish, liver and vegetable oils) is necessary for blood clotting.

    Zinc (found in meat, seafood, dairy and beans) and iron (found in meat and poultry, beans, apricots, eggs, whole grains and iron-fortified cereals) are also helpful for wound healing and energy following surgery.

    In addition to eating foods that are rich in fiber, protein, healthy fats, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals, you must stay hydrated after surgery. Proper hydration isn’t only necessary for healing, but may also be necessary to help your body absorb medications following surgery. Be sure to drink at least eight glasses of water every day after surgery to stay hydrated.

    The foods you should and shouldn’t eat can vary depending on the type of surgery and any medications you may be on. Be sure to talk with your doctor about your specific post-surgery dietary requirements.

     

    Share
  • 20May

    I am not a rice person since young. When I was young,  my family’s only option was regular white rice, which I disliked. I ate very little white rice and most of the time, was coerced to eat. I wasn’t a food lover except for junk food when I was a kid.  This explains why I was as thin as stick before puberty.  However, I have a certain preference for black rice and black glutinous rice. I like the nutty taste, texture and color of black rice and black glutinous rice (black sweet rice). It is chewy and very aromatic compared to white rice.

    According to an article in Daily Mail Online UK, Black rice – revered in ancient China but overlooked in the West – could be one of the greatest ‘superfoods’, scientists revealed today.

    The cereal is low in sugar but packed with healthy fibre and plant compounds that combat heart disease and cancer, say experts.

    Scientists from Louisiana State University analysed samples of bran from black rice grown in the southern U.S.   They found boosted levels of water-soluble anthocyanin antioxidants.

    Anthocyanins provide the dark colours of many fruits and vegetables, such as blueberries and red peppers. They are what makes black rice ‘black’.

    Research suggests that the dark plant antioxidants, which mop up harmful molecules, can help protect arteries and prevent the DNA damage that leads to cancer.

    Just a spoonful of black rice bran contains more health promoting anthocyanin antioxidants than are found in a spoonful of blueberries, but with less sugar and more fiber and vitamin E antioxidants.

    According to a study in the “Annual Review of Food Science and Technology” in 2010, anthocyanins have anti-inflammatory and anti-carcinogenic effects. In the animal and human studies conducted, anthocyanins were also shown to help prevent heart disease, control obesity and alleviate the symptoms of diabetes.

    While whole grain brown rice and red rice also contain beneficial antioxidants, only black rice contains anthocyanin. Additionally, black rice also contains important antioxidant Vitamin E, which is useful in maintaining eye, skin, and immune health in addition to other important functions.

    Health Benefits of Black Glutinous Rice

     

    A one-half cup serving of cooked black rice, or about ¼ cup uncooked, contains approximately (in daily recommended values):

      • 160 calories
      • 1.5 grams of fat
      • 34 grams of carbohydrates
      • 2 grams of fiber
      • 5 grams of protein
      • 4% DV for iron

     

    Health Benefits Of Black Rice

    Iron Content
    According to MyFitnessPal, a 1-cup serving of cooked glutinous black rice has 6 percent of your daily value of iron.  Iron is considered an essential mineral since your body needs it to make blood cells. Used to make a number of proteins — including hemoglobin and myoglobin, which carry oxygen through your bloodstream — iron is stored in your bone marrow, liver, muscles and spleen. Women over the age of 50 and adult men require 8 milligrams of iron per day, while adult women 50 and under need 18 milligrams daily. Pregnant women and breast-feeding women need 27 and 9 milligrams of iron, respectively.

    Can Help Detoxify the Body
    Studies have demonstrated that consuming black rice can help to detox the body and cleanse the liver of harmful toxic build-up thanks to the rice’s high antioxidant content.

    Good Source of Fiber Which  Improves Digestive Health 
    Black rice and other whole grain rice varieties- like wild, red, or brown rices- have a similar amount of fiber, with about 2-3 grams per half cup serving. The fiber in black rice helps to prevent constipation, bloating, and other unwanted digestive symptoms. Fiber binds to waste and toxins within the digestive tract, helping to pull them out and to contribute to regular bowel function.

    Helps Slow Down Absorption of Sugar in the Blood, Helping to Prevent Diabetes  
    Compared to eating processed carbohydrates which are stripped of their fiber, antioxidants, and other nutrients that help to slow down the absorption of sugar in the blood stream, black rice is a much healthier option.

    Black rice contains the entire bran of the grain where the fiber is stored, and fiber is able to help glucose (sugar) from the grain to be absorbed by the body over a longer period of time.

    Black Rice And Cancer
    Today black rice is considered to be an important food in fighting cancer. Studies indicate that the dark plant compounds contained in black rice help to protect the arteries and restrict DNA damage. This helps in preventing various types of cancer. However in order to be most effective, black rice should be part of an overall healthy and balanced diet along with a healthy lifestyle.

     

    Interesting History of Forbidden Rice
    Black rice is commonly referred to as “forbidden rice” because of its long and interesting history.   In China, black rice has been known for being good for the kidneys, stomach and liver since ancient times.

    Thousands of years ago in ancient China, noble Chinese men took possession of every grain of the black forbidden rice, banning its consumption among anyone who was not royalty or very wealthy.

    The Chinese emperors so treasured this rice that it was decreed a grain meant to be consumed only by royalty. And this led to the rice being known as the “forbidden rice”.

    The crop was only grown in very limited quantities, closely monitored, and reserved for only the highest elite class. The common Chinese people were not allowed to grow or consume this black forbidden rice, which led to its unique name that it still carries with it today.

    Black rice was actually only first introduced to the United States in the 1990’s, although it’s been enjoyed in other parts of the world for many more years. Today it is no longer forbidden, but still is grown in relatively small amounts especially compared to other types of widely available rice varieties.

    Concerns With Black Rice
    Even though black rice does contain more fiber and antioxidants than refined grains or carbohydrate foods, all grains still have the ability to effect blood sugar levels, so keeping an eye on portion sizes of all grains is always a good idea.

    It also helps to consume grains like black rice with a source of healthy fat and some protein. This further delays the time it takes the carbohydrate’s sugars to impact blood glucose levels.

    Ancient, whole grains like black rice can play a healthy part in someone’s diet, as long as they are mindful of how much they consume and also make sure to get plenty of filling protein and healthy fats from other food sources that are better suppliers of these important macro-nutrients.

     

    Share
  • 01May

    My acupunturist and herbalist recommended a healing herb to me known as ‘ngai’.  ‘Ngai’ is very beneficial for women’s health.  When my late grandma was still around, she would prepare a simple and delish ‘ngai’ omelette soup for my mum and me regularly.  I have not eaten ‘ngai’ for over 30 years. This is a long, long forgotten dish in my memory until my acupunturist urged me to get some. I casually mentioned this herb to my mil and she went hunting it for me. Finally, she got the herb from our regular organic vegetable seller. who plants them in her farm for own consumption and sold some to us.  My mil also managed to plant some in a pot at our little apartment balcony.


    ‘Ngai’ plant from our balcony.

    This week, my mil whipped up the most delicious ‘ngai’ omelette cooked with old ginger strips and sesame seed oil. She cooked a big bowl and I scoffed down the entire bowl all by myself!

    ‘Ngai’ also has the ability to shrink uterine fibroids and I have heard of and read of several success stories, thus I’m trying to see if it works on my uterine fibroid.


    Soupy ginger Ngai omelette that my mil cooked

    ‘Ngai’ is known as mugwort.  Mugwort is a herb that is known for its medicinal benefits and is also known as artemisia iwayomogi. The herb is typically found in Asia, Northern Europe and North America. It is mostly taken as a tonic, to increase energy levels in the body, to dispel wind from the stomach and to aid fat loss.

    Mugwort is also taken by women who experience irregular periods and other issues related to the menstrual cycle.

    The oil made from the extract of this herb can also be used to prevent early or untimely menopause. When it is ingested, it can cure a number of digestive disorders and help fight infections by preventing infections in the stomach.

    In traditional Chinese medicine, burning mugwort in moxibustion heat therapy is one of the oldest forms of Chinese traditional medicine and is used to stimulate the flow of qi and maintain general health. It especially dispels cold and dampness.

     

    Share
  • 07Apr

    Since a blood test early this year showed that I have very low blood count, I have been consuming red dates and black dates every day.  To recap, I have a uterine fibroid (submucosal) that causes me heavy menstruation every month. As a result, I am anemic.

    My mil would boil a pot of red dates and black dates tonic every other day.  This dates tonic nourishes the blood and is popularly consumed by mothers in confinement and those recuperating from a surgery. On days when there is no dates tonic, I would eat about 4-5 organic red dates (pits removed) and a handful of organic goji berries.

    Black jujubes are fresh Chinese dates that have been smoked. This is a “warm” (yang) food that helps nourish yin and reinforce blood; it is more effective in blood reinforcement than fresh jujubes. Eating a few every day is very beneficial for the kidneys (which control the reproductive system) and liver.

    In China, where jujube originated, practitioners of traditional medicine have long prized the jujube for its medicinal properties. Once confined largely to China, the fruit now grows in many areas of the world, including southern Europe and the southern United States. Consult your doctor before using dried jujube or any herbal remedy.

    Chinese Date

    So why are jujubes (Chinese red dates) good for women?  The main biologically active components of jujubes are vitamin C, phenolics, flavonoids, triterpenic acids, and polysaccharides.  It also contains 18 out of the 24 important amino acids which helps in the formation of more than 50,000 proteins of the body.  Jujubes are also rich in carotene, B vitamins, flavonoids, calcium, phosphorus, iron, magnesium, cyclic adenosine monophosphate, and other nutrients.

    • Jujubes contain 70 to 80 times more vitamin C than in apples and grapes and 20 times more vitamin C than any citrus fruit.  Vitamin C is the nutrient responsible for creating and maintaining collagen.  This antioxidant strengthens blood vessels and gives skin its elasticity and strength.
    • The powerful antioxidants and organic compounds found in jujube is why this fruit has been labeled as the herbal elixir of life as people claimed it guarantees youthful looking skin.
    • The calcium, phosphorus and iron play an important role in preventing osteoporosis and anemia, both common in women.
    • Jujube is rich in cyclic adenosine monophosphate, one  of essential substances in the body’s energy metabolism. It enhances muscle strength, eliminates fatigue, dilates blood vessels, and prevents and treats of cardiovascular diseases.
    • Polysaccharides in jujubes can reduce cholesterol, blood pressure, stabilize blood sugar and increase calcium absorption.  Polysaccharides also supports positive mood, stops the effects of fatigue and acts as an anti-inflammatory by supporting the body’s anti-inflammatory processes.

    Anti-Cancer Properties

    A team of Iranian researchers at the Vaccine and Serum Research Institute in Mashhad conducted in vitro tests to evaluate the ability of dried jujube extract to inhibit growth or induce cell death in a variety of human tumor cell lines. Scientists used the MTT colorimetric assay to measure the degree to which water extract of dried jujube reduced the proliferation of tumor cells. Although the jujube extract inhibited tumor cell proliferation in all lines, it displayed the greatest effect against Jurkat leukemia cells. In a report in the February 2008 issue of “Cytotechnology,” researchers said their findings confirm dried jujube’s cytotoxic properties against a variety of cancer cell lines and urged further study to identify the mechanisms through which jujube works.

    Anti-Inflammatory

    Diabetics can benefit from jujube fruit when it is used as a medicinal rub for cuts and sores. Many diabetics suffer from poor circulation and neuropathy, which causes nerve damage, especially in the legs and feet.  A study published by the “Journal of Natural Medicines” and conducted at the I.S.F. College of Pharmacy found that jujube fruit can be a therapeutic anti-inflammatory agent. Using jujube fruit as a medicinal rub for cuts may help heal the wound because of its anti-inflammatory capabilities.

    Popular jujubes related Chinese herbal formulas

    Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) believes that it is sweet and warm in properties. It covers two meridians, including spleen and stomach. Its basic functions are to tonify middle-Jiao and Qi and nourish blood for tranquillization. Main jujube fruit uses and indications are diarrhea due to insufficiency of the spleen, palpitations, insomnia, night sweats, anemia and so on.  Dried jujube also reinforces energy, nourishes the blood, soothes the nerves and neutralizes toxic side effects of some medicine.

    Try buying organic jujubes or those without sulfur. Buy them from a trusted seller and ask if sulfur is used.

    Before consuming jujubes, consult a medical professional if you are suffering or are at risk of diabetes as the fruit contains fructose which can have a negative effect on blood sugar levels.

    Share

Google Search Engine

Custom Search

Google Adsense

About Me

I am a WFHM with 3 beautiful girls - Alycia, Sherilyn and Cassandra. I quit the job that I love to stay home with my 3 angels as that's what I've always wanted to do. I am a health freak, fitness freak and a clean freak too. I love to eat and live healthily and I want my kids and hubby to do the same too. Apart from being obsessed with good health, I am obsessed with fashion! I own an online store that sells ladies and kids clothing. Check out my online store at Old & New Stuff For Sale

I always believe that your health is your wealth and if you have good health, that's the best gift you can ever ask for from God.

Do check out my other blogs Health Freak Mommy and Health Freak Mommy’s Journal too!

I have been writing product reviews, food reviews / restaurant reviews and product advertorials since 2007. Please email Shireen at shireenyong@gmail.com to inquire if you are interested to place an advertorial or review in this blog.

Thank you!

Categories