Propolis Health Benefits

Bees make more than honey. They also make gunk called propolis. And this “bee glue” is a powerful health balm. In fact, studies show it has anti-cancer properties.

I swear by propolis to treat throat infections and phlegm. It works all the time for my entire family. It takes away my sore throat so effectively any time I feel a tickle and why one of the primary health benefits of propolis stated by long term users is as a cold and flu tonic!

Whenever anyone in the family is down with a throat infection, all I have to do is to prepare a Manuka honey UMF 10+ drink (1 teaspoon) and drip in 3-4 drops of propolis from the dropperful into the drink and serve this powerful concoction to the one who’s down with a strep throat two to three times in a day. Within three days of gulping down this concoction, healing will be seen.

Propolis works effectively to bring down tooth ache and sore gums. My mum and relatives swear by this.

Below is my precious stash of bee propolis that I bought from New Zealand last year.   One is propolis throat spray and the other is propolis extract. The latter is the potent one.


Propolis throat spray will be handy when we are on the go.   For long haul flights, I put a bottle of propolis throat spray in my handbag. The soothing eucalyptus and mint flavor freshens up my breath besides keeping a throat infection at bay.


Propolis (Pro-before, Polis-city = defense of the city), is the resinous substance that bees gather from the leaf buds of trees and certain vegetables.

The bee gathers this and transforms it in order to disinfect the beehive, seal cracks, build panels, as well as using it as a microbiocidal agent, disinfectant and also for embalming intruders otherwise difficult to expel due to their size.

Propolis, thus, is directly responsible for guaranteeing the asepsis of the beehives, locations prone to developing viruses and bacteria, given their conditions of temperature and humidity.

Dr. Seema Patel of the Bioinformatics and Medical Informatics Research Center, San Diego State University conducted a comprehensive review of the literature on propolis and cancer. Dr. Patel found laboratory and animal studies supporting propolis efficacy against cancers of the:

Head and neck
Kidney and bladder
Propolis contains as many as 300 active compounds. These components were found to fight cancer in a variety of ways including:

Preventing the growth of new blood vessels to feed cancer cells (anti-angiogenesis)
Preventing the spread or metastasis of cancer from one organ to another
Halting cancer cell division
Inducing apoptosis or programmed cell death

Health Benefits Of Propolis

1. Propolis Kills Bacteria
One study investigated the anti-bacterial capabilities of bee propolis in the mouth and more specifically with regards to root canals.

The researchers compared propolis with calcium hydroxide, which apparently is a very effective anti-microbial, and found that it is significantly more powerful than the calcium at eliminating certain germs.

Propolis has traditionally been used to kill colds and flu so this study clearly shows that it has powerful bacteria killing properties throughout the body.

2. Propolis Lowers Blood Pressure

3. Propolis Helps Treat Bone Diseases

4. Propolis Boosts Prostate Cancer Cell Death
Scientists examined the cancer killing effects of propolis tincture on two common types of prostate cancer in the lab.

They concluded that propolis tincture markedly improved cell death in prostate cancer cells and suggested the significant role of propolis in chemoprevention of prostate cancer.

5. Propolis Kills Colon Cancer Cells
The scientists then tested propolis against colon cancer cells. They found that it caused the cancer cells to die by necrosis, which means that it interrupted the blood supply to the cell and caused just the local cancer cells to die and NOT healthy, living cells.

6. Propolis May Help Treat Food Poisoning

7. Propolis Protects Injured Teeth

8. Propolis an Effective Treatment for Warts


If you have an allergy to honey or bees, you will also have a reaction to products containing propolis. Propolis may also cause its own allergic reaction when used for a long period of time. Talk to your doctor before adding propolis to your treatment plan, especially if you have existing allergies or asthma.

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Meatless Fried Rice

These days, I am trying to reduce the consumption of meat, especially red meat and instead, to increase our intake of vegetables. I dish up an organic veggie dish everyday. On busy days, I serve everyone veggies that do not require much washing – organic cucumbers, organic tomatoes, sweet corns, raw carrots, raw celery and Edamame beans.


Today I whipped these up for dinner:

Meatless fried rice with kimchi and organic orange cherry tomatoes.  I used low GI Basmati rice.

Chicken bones and anchovies soup with lots of carrots, organic tomatoes, organic siew pak choy veggie and some fish balls (fish balls are an occasional sinful treat)


My meatless fried rice composed of sweet corn kernels, scallions, 4 eggs, julienned carrots, garlic, pepper, organic soy sauce and overnight Basmati rice (cooked with pandan leaves, lemon grass and ginger).

My meatless fried rice would have tasted even yummier had I added one whole chopped big onion but I was tied down with work today and didn’t have ample time to prep the onions.  Last week, I cooked another fashion of meatless fried rice which composed of 1 big red onion, chopped garlic, scallions and the kids loved it.  I discovered that the secret to aromatic and yummy fried rice is to add lots and lots of onions.  Onions are naturally sweet and full of flavors.

For those of you trying to cut down on the consumption of meat for better health, do give this meatless fried low GI rice a try. It’s seriously yummy  and easy to prepare.



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Savory Oatmeal Porridge & Health Benefits Of Oats

Today being a Saturday and a day where my kitchen is closed, I felt lazy to whip up a ‘proper’ lunch. Our 2 older girls have followed their grand-aunt to the shopping mall. Since it’s just Cass and me, I decided to cook a fuss-free savory meat-free oatmeal porridge.  This used to be my mum’s healthy instant meal for me too when I was growing up and I liked it so much.


My meat-free savoury oatmeal porridge ingredients:
5 tablespoons of oats. I used organic instant oats. If you like it thicker, add more oats. I like mine thin.
1 egg
A pinch of salt
A few shakes of ground pepper
A few shakes of organic soy sauce
A few shakes of Japanese flavored seaweed mix
A few shakes of sesame seed oil


Boil water in saucepan
Add in oats and stir. Be sure you are at the stove to watch the flame as the oats mixture will bubble up and spew up foam from the pot if the flame is too big.
Add in egg and stir well
Add seasoning.


I like mine with a piece of spicy fu yue or fermented tofu to give it an extra kick!

This is a 10-minute prep fuss-free and no-frills savory oatmeal porridge. If you like it to be more ‘fanciful’, you can throw in some minced meat, salted duck’s eggs, chopped carrots, scallions, fish slices or anything of your choice. It would be even tastier if you fry some garlic or onions to flavor this bowl of oats porridge.

10 Reasons Why I Love Oatmeal:

1. Low calorie food; stops cravings.
A cup is only 130 calories! It also stays in your stomach longer, making you feel full longer. You will have less hunger and cravings.

2. Provides high levels of fiber, low levels of fat, and high levels of protein.
It’s on the short list for the highest protein levels of any grain.

3. Stabilizes blood sugar and reduces risk of diabetes (type 2)

4. Removes your bad cholesterol (without affecting your good cholesterol).
Many studies have shown that the unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-glucan, has beneficial effects on cholesterol levels

5. Gluten-free safe.

6. Contains lignans which protect against heart disease and cancer.
Oatmeal, like many whole grains, contains plant lignans, which are converted by intestinal flora into mammalian lignans. One lignan, called enterolactone, is thought to protect against breast and other hormone-dependent cancers as well as heart disease.

7. Contains unique antioxidants beneficial for heart disease.
A study at Tufts University shows that the unique antioxidants in oatmeal called called avenanthramides, help prevent free radicals from damaging LDL cholesterol, thus reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease.

8. Protects against heart failure.
A Harvard study on 21,000 participants over 19 years found that men who enjoyed a daily morning bowl of whole grain (but not refined) cereal had a 29 percent lower risk of heart failure.

9. Enhances immune response to disease. The unique fiber in oatmeal called beta-gluten also has been shown to helps neutrophils travel to the site of an infection more quickly and it also enhances their ability to eliminate the bacteria they find there

10. It tastes good!
All oats whether in flakes or groats form have gone through a heat process which gives them their rich nutty flavor. This keeps them from spoiling. They have also been hulled. This process does not strip away all the bran and germ allowing them to retain a concentrated source of fiber and nutrients .


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Red Beans Health Benefits

Being a tad anemic from heavy menstruation caused by a fibroid in my uterus, I am now increasing my iron intake from red beans and spinach. I used to stuff myself with red meat like beef and pork  until I read that high intake of meat, especially red meat takes a toll on our kidneys and liver. Plus too much of red meat may increase our risk to cancer. Red meat from mammals and duck are not recommended for those with fibroids. These foods are likely to be high in added hormones, including estrogen.

Red beans are a healthy alternative to red meat.  Red beans are high in protein, fiber and iron.

I cook a big pot of red beans mixed with mung beans once or twice in a month to pump up my iron, protein and folic acid reserves.

My red bean and mung bean sweet dessert, mildly sweetened with granulated palm sugar and flavored with screwpine leaves.  It would taste even better if fresh coconut milk is added.

I soak my beans overnight to de-gas the beans as well as to remove toxins from the beans. I don’t fancy holy smoke choking everyone  at home after eating those beans 😀   The beans are cooked in the slow cooker on high overnight for at least 9 hours.

What’s The Skinny On Red Beans?

1) Beans are loaded with nutrients that our bodies crave:
B Vitamins: are necessary for healthy brain and nerve cells, for normal functioning of the skin, nerves and digestive system.

Calcium: for strong bones and teeth and to help keep the body more alkaline, rather than acidic.

Potassium: helps reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Folate: a B vitamin that our bodies don’t produce yet dry beans are our single best source of this important vitamin which helps protect against heart disease and cancer.

2) Red beans are really, really frugal. A big bag of red beans (non-organic)  only costs a few Ringgit.

3) Those on a low carb high protein diet can skip the meat and indulge in red beans.  Red beans are a good plant-based source of protein, low in fat, low in GI and high in fiber while meat has no fiber.   One cup of red beans provides more than two egg’s worth of protein.

4) Red beans are  good for your memory :  source of thiamine (vitamin B1), red bean consumption stimulates attention and memory, is particularly beneficial during periods of intellectual overloaded, eliminate insomnia, combat depression, fatigue and anxiety and lowers Alzheimer’s risks

5) For better heart health: The soluble fiber in red beans helps to reduce cholesterol levels, while the folate helps to lower levels of homocysteine, a compound associated with an increased risk of heart attack and stroke.

6) Ease muscle cramping: With more magnesium and calcium than a sports drink and more potassium than a large banana, red beans are loaded with electrolytes to help prevent or relieve muscle cramping.

7) Beans are versatile – it’s impossible to even guess how many bean recipes exist on this planet! One thing is for sure – the number is in the hundreds of thousands and most likely the millions. If I assigned you the task of listing 100 different bean recipes, you could certainly do it!


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Organic Candy Drops

I shudder when my kids bring home sweets, candies and junk food from school. These snacks always go to our part-time helper, the guards at our condo or straight to the bin.  Well, I do allow some allowances, only on ‘healthy’ sinful snacks by buying only non-GMO chips, organic chips and chips made with minimal ingredients and food additives.

I was sweetly delighted when I spotted a good range of organic sweets from a supermarket recently.

The price of each bag of candy drop is  5-6 times more than the price of non-organic ones.  But it’s ok. It’s the quality that counts (and not quantity) and I really do not mind spending a little more on organic products.

Our girls always pester me to buy them candies but I hardly ever give in. It’s their father who always gives in! Now, I can offer them these candies.

How I miss A&W root beer and now it’s available in YumEarth Organics candy drops. I wanted to get a bag for the kids but they didn’t like root beer.

They chose a bag of fruit candy drops.

I was happy to note that no high fructose corn syrup is used to process these candies.  Almost every ingredient is organic.


Sugar has been repeatedly demonized by some health experts as if it were the monolithic cause of insulin resistance, obesity and tooth decay. There’s always something wrong with generalizations such as this as it is an unfair act to lynch the good with the bad. Not all sugars are evil, the same way that not all saturated fats are bad.

In terms of availability, versatility, convenience, texture, price, eco-friendliness, and nutrition the best substitute for the ubiquitous white sugar is perhaps organic cane sugar.

Organic cane sugar is unrefined sugar minus the cancer-causing and environmentally damaging pesticides present in conventionally grown sugarcane.

Compared to white sugar, organic cane sugar has the full-bodied taste of sugarcane and is much less processed, retaining a lot of the nutrients present in cane juice. Unrefined cane sugar contains 17 amino acids, 11 minerals, and 6 vitamins, including antioxidants that may help reverse oxidative damage. It is made up of sucrose, fructose, and glucose.

Table sugar is just sucrose and calories, plus traces of chemicals utilized in the refining process such as lime, sulphur dioxide, and phosphoric acid. Organic cane sugar is not like brown sugar, which is white sugar with molasses thrown back in.

Even good sugars should be consumed within healthy limits. While organic cane sugar is much better than white and brown sugar it would be a very prudent move to consume it in conservative amounts.

Though there is a bag of candies in the kitchen counter now (which is rare), the kids are not binging on them. They know their limits and they know that sugar is bad and too much of it can cause diabetes, obesity and cancer. I’m glad that our kids are not addicted to junk food and sugar. But still, I know I should not totally ban them from access as they may rebel out of frustration and curiosity one day and binge to their hearts’ content on junk food. I certainly wouldn’t want this to happen.

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Anxiety Causes Wind / Gas

The past 1 week has been a week filled with stress and anxiety.

Cass was hospitalized for UTI (Urinary Tract Infection) but was on home leave. Hubby had to drive us to the hospital for her antibiotic jabs three times a day at 9am, 4pm and 11pm. It was a week filled with whirlwind events, anxiety, worries, lots of mad rush, lack of sleep and stress. Because of the urgency of her admission, the timing of her jabs and the tests ordered by the doctor, I had skipped meals and meals off my regular hours.

And the result?

BAD.   A big bloated gassy stomach. And I have been in pain caused by the trapped wind in the stomach.  Double whammy!

It’s true that when it rains, it pours real heavily!  It always appears that when the dark cloud is hovering above you, it would stay on and rain on you till you drown.  I am anxiously awaiting the rainbow and light at the end of the tunnel now.

When you know you have anxiety, there are many symptoms you expect. You expect to feel very tense. You expect to have a lot of nervous thoughts and actions. You expect a rapid heartbeat, nausea, and shaking. But you may not expect that anxiety can cause gas problems. Not only can anxiety lead to gas problems/bloating – the gas problems themselves can actually lead to symptoms that cause further anxiety.  While being gassy is generally nothing to worry about, recognizing the cause of your gas problems is important for ensuring you’re not overwhelmed by your anxiety symptoms.

It is hard to pinpoint the exact cause of your gas without tests, but it is very likely to be caused by any or all of the following:

  • Air Swallowing – During anxiety attacks, it’s not uncommon to start swallowing too much air. You’re not necessarily doing this intentionally – you may simply be swallowing saliva and swallow air as a result, or you may simply be breathing too quickly and some air is going down the wrong tube – but once the air is inside your body, it starts to cause pressure and needs to be released.
  • Oxygen Release – Similarly, those with anxiety and panic attacks are more likely to suffer from hyperventilation. Hyperventilation is when there is too much oxygen in your blood. Eventually that oxygen needs to be dispelled, and gas may be the result.
  • Digestion Issues- Anxiety causes stress on your gastrointestinal system. That stress may cause you to stop processing food efficiently, often processing it too quickly or too slowly. That can cause the bacteria in your body to produce excess gas, which leads to bloating. Irritable bowel syndrome may also be caused by or aggravated by anxiety, and this too can lead to similar gas issues.

No only is the wind trapped in my stomach, it is also trapped in my breasts!! It is agony and the pain is very sharp at times and feels as if a knife is stabbing my breast from the inside!



Natural Remedies to Expel Gas/Wind:

1) Drink some peppermint tea

2) Let them loose. If you have the urge to release the wind, do not resist it. Just find a place in private and do yourself a favor.

3) Ginger is tummy tamer.  Make yourself a cup of ginger tea.

4) Drink chamomile tea.

5)  Eat pumpkin. Eat approximately 1 cup of pumpkin with your meal to ward off gas. You can have it baked, steamed, or broiled, or whip up a recipe all your own.

6) Chew food thoroughly.

7) Drink warm lemon water.

8) Massage tummy.  Whenever my kids and I have gas in my stomach, I use my most trusted Melaleuca oil to massage our tummies. It works most of the time instantly.  The sound of the gas being released like a deflated balloon is music to my ears and big relief in my tummy.

9) Avoid gas-causing foods.

10) I find that exercising (light jogging and swimming) helps. You can try yoga too.

There are many other natural remedies for relieving gas. You can google search for one that best fits you.

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Staying Safe Brings Challenges

There are many challenges to staying safe on the road. When drivers think of their safety on the highway, they often focus on the maintenance of their vehicle. Vehicle maintenance is important, but there are also other challenges to staying safe while driving. These challenges are especially present for drivers who operate large vehicles.

Weather Conditions
Weather can play a major part in staying safe while driving. Snow and ice can be difficult to drive through, but many times these conditions are unavoidable. Heavy rain can also cause traffic accidents. It is important that drivers make sure their windshield wipers, headlights and blinkers are working well. It is important for drivers to check the weather forecast before traveling so they can prepare for the conditions that they will encounter.

Another challenge that drivers face is fatigue. Fatigue can cause drivers to make poor decisions. For example, a driver who is experiencing fatigue may make unsafe lane changes. These unsafe choices put other drivers on the road at risk of becoming involved in an accident.
There are a few ways that drivers can avoid fatigue and reduce the risk of causing an accident. Drivers can try to eat a balanced diet. Diets that provide vital nutrients will give drivers the energy that is needed to stay alert. Drinking water can also help with reducing fatigue.

Health Evaluation
Drivers should regularly meet with their doctor to have their health evaluated. CMV driver sleep apnea is a condition that can bring danger to anyone who is traveling. It is important for all drivers to make sure that they are rested and alert enough to operate a vehicle. Medical professionals can advise drivers on potential health risks that they should be aware of before driving.

These tips should help drivers avoid putting themselves and others in danger. It can be tempting to continue driving while tired, but gaining a few extra miles is not worth the risk. Distracted or tired drivers can be more likely to cause accidents. Staying alert and avoiding fatigue are essential steps for staying safe on the road.

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Is Spicy Food Good Or Bad For You?

I love spicy food and so do my kids and everyone else in the family. It must be the unique flavors imparted from the herbs and spices used in Indian and Malay cuisine that give spicy food that kick in our palate. We have spicy food every other day. Just now I bought some spicy Thai noodles and then walked a few shops away to takeaway some Indian curries (fish curry and chickpea curry) for lunch. The girls will be so happy to see spicy food on the dining table later!


Today I had this sudden desire to know whether spicy food is good or bad for us? Especially for young kids. They have been indulging in quite a bit of spicy fare lately and I am starting to get worried whether spicy food will harm their stomach lining and would this cause stomach ulcers in future?

As usual, I did a bit of research online and from what I gathered, spicy food does not really get the bad rap. In fact, there are so many health benefits of adding chilies to your diet.

For years, experts believed it caused stomach problems and worsened ulcers. The truth is that spicy food might actually protect the stomach lining if eaten in moderation. Hot foods such as red peppers can actually help your stomach produce less gastric acid. You might feel a burning after eating them, but this is only because you need to build tolerance. Either start with a milder mix or eat smaller amounts and then increase the intensity as your body gets used to the heat.

Apart from spicing up our lives, here’s what spicy food can contribute to your health:

Weight Loss
The question of whether spicy food can help with your weight-loss efforts is no longer debated. An early 1998 study by Laval University established that red pepper can increase your metabolism, causing your body to burn energy faster and more effectively. Research since then has confirmed this. Red pepper eases hunger pangs too, so it might be a good tool if you’re trying to control your weight.

Cancer-fighting Properties
A 2007 study led by scientists from England’s Nottingham University showed that curry might have cancer-fighting properties. Curry contains curcumin, a pigment that has antioxidant and anti-cancer properties. The study showed the compound is especially useful in both fighting and preventing prostate cancer. The study also noted that prostate cancer is rare in India, where people eat curry regularly.

Eating spicy, hot food can help ease sinus congestion and relieve clogged nasal passages. Because it increases body temperature, it can also be effective in fighting fever and relieving flu symptoms. Hot peppers can help with respiratory problems such as chronic bronchitis and asthma. It also acts as an expectorant.

Increases Life Span
A new study from the British Medical Journal says you could actually live longer than those who aren’t putting much “spice” in their life.

A half-million people in China took part in the study and in the end, researchers found those who ate spicy foods as little as twice a week reduced their risk of death by 10 percent.

Up the spicy intake to six times a week and that number increases to 14 percent. Sounds good, right?

Heart Helper
Spicy food acts as an antioxidant and blood thinner, which aids in heart disease by improving cardiac blood vessel strength. Talk about heart healthy!

Spicy food can help with pain and healing by increasing blood flow to an affected area. Capsaicin is the active ingredient in scotch bonnet peppers and it’s known to fight inflammation.

This can be also be good for people with auto immune diseases, Parkinson’s and even asthma sufferers. Finding spicy foods with the highest concentration of capsaicin is key. For example, raw chopped peppers would be very high in capsaicin and potentially the most beneficial.

Who knew spicy food can actually kill stomach bacteria? Peppers help prevent further infections throughout the body.

Temperature Regulation
One of the most interesting things about spicy food is that it can heat up your body when it’s cold out and, surprisingly, can cool your body off when you are hot. Eating spicy food makes you sweat and sweating actually helps your body temperature regulate itself. So while it may seem strange, definitely put more heat on your food when the heat is on!


Now the bad side of the pepper and chili…

A Bad Burn
You may like the burning sensation spicy food has on your tongue, but the flipside to that is spicy food can also cause heartburn and/or reflux disease. The reason being: its acidic and irritant properties can cause a rather unwanted effect once it hits your insides.

If you experience any of these conditions after eating spicy food,  you should consider adding a side of cream or yogurt to your dish. This may help protect the digestive system by neutralizing the burning potential and temper the irritant properties that can cause harm.

Drinking milk can help to relieve the sting from your mouth. Casein, the protein in milk, according to the American Chemical Society, helps break the bonds capsaicin forms on nerve receptors. This may help explain why cultures that use a lot of spices in their food usually include dairy in their recipes to offset the effects of capsaicin, such as in Indian and Mexican cuisine.

You can also pair cooked or raw vegetable with your curry dishes, to lessen the burn.

Worsen Hemorrhoids
Spicy food can worsen hemorrhoids by causing further damage and irritation. It can also make IBS (irritable bowel syndrome) worse, and even potentially cause diarrhea. Not fun!

Stings Your Eyes
You should be careful not to touch your eyes if handling anything spicy and you may not realize it, but even after hand washing it may still be on your skin. To be safe you may want to wear gloves and take them off and discard them immediately after preparing the pepper.

I always try to ‘negate’ the spiciness and heatiness from hot and spicy food by downing cool coconut water, chilled fruit smoothies, Izumio hydrogen water and there is always some cool cucumbers or cherry tomatoes  to go with our curry meal :)


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Health Benefits of Dill Herb

One of my favorite herbs is dill. I love the pleasant and unique aromatic smell of dill. I use it in my roast meats and in bolognese sauces.   This herb is pretty costly at our local supermarkets. A small punnet of a few sprigs of dill costs over RM6. My next project is to plant my very own dill in used plastic bottles or empty milk cartons at our tiny condo balcony!

My grilled herb and lemon chicken with dill.

Dill weed is a unique perennial herb with pleasant anise-like flavor. Its sprigs (leaves) as well as seeds are employed as seasoning in various cuisines worldwide. Dill is the member in the Umbelliferae family, a large group of flowering herbs and spices that also includes caraway, parsley, cumin, fennel, etc.


The Vision-Boosting, Infection-Killing Herb

Health benefits of dill

The health benefits of dill include its ability to boost digestive health, as well as provide relief from insomnia, hiccups, diarrhea, dysentery, menstrual disorders, respiratory disorders, and cancer. It is also good for oral care, and can be a powerful boost for your immune system and can protect you from bone degradation. It is also an anti-inflammatory substance, which means that it can protect you against arthritis. Furthermore, it can reduce excess gas, and is considered a carminative (i.e. can relieve flatulence).

Dill  contains numerous plant derived chemical compounds that are known to have been anti-oxidant, disease preventing, and health promoting properties.

This popular herb contains no cholesterol and is very low in calories. Nonetheless, it holds many anti-oxidants, vitamins like niacin, pyridoxine, etc., and dietary fibers, which help in controlling blood cholesterol levels.

Dill is used for digestion problems including loss of appetite, liver problems, and gallbladder complaints. It is also used for urinary tract disorders including kidney disease and painful or difficult urination.

Other uses for dill include treatment of fever and colds, cough, bronchitis, hemorrhoids, infections, spasms, nerve pain, genital ulcers, menstrual cramps, and sleep disorders.

Dill seed is sometimes applied to the mouth and throat for pain and swelling (inflammation).

Dill leaves (sprigs) and seeds carry many essential volatile oils such as d-carvone, dillapiol, DHC, eugenol, limonene, terpinene and myristicin.

The essential oil, Eugenol in the dill has been in therapeutic usage as local-anesthetic and anti-septic. Eugenol has also been found to reduce blood sugar levels in diabetics. (Further detailed studies, however, require to establish its role.)

Dill oil, extracted from dill seeds has anti-spasmodic, carminative, digestive, disinfectant, galactagogue (helps breast milk secretion), and sedative properties.

It is also rich in many vital vitamins, including folic acid, riboflavin, niacin, vitamin A, ß-carotene, vitamin-C that is essential for optimum metabolism inside the human body.

Vitamin-A, and beta carotene are natural flavonoid antioxidants. 100 g of dill weed sprigs provide 7718 IU or 257% of recommended-daily levels of vitamin A.

Fresh dill herb is an excellent source of antioxidant vitamin, vitamin-C.  100 g contain about 85 mg or 140% of vitamin C. Vitamin-C helps human body develop resistance against infectious agents and scavenge harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals.

Dill weed is a good source of minerals like copper, potassium, calcium, manganese, iron, and magnesium.   Copper is a cofactor for many vital enzymes, including cytochrome c-oxidase and superoxide dismutase (other minerals function as cofactors for this enzyme are manganese and zinc). Zinc is a co-factor in many enzymes that regulate growth and development, digestion and nucleic acid synthesis. Potassium is an important component of cell and body fluids that helps control heart rate and blood pressure. Manganese is used by the body as a co-factor for the antioxidant enzyme, superoxide dismutase.

Dill herb has all the characters to consider it has one of the most valuable functional foods. 100 g of dill weed provides only 43 calories, but its phyto-nutrients profile is no less than any other high-calorie food source; be it nuts, pulses, cereals, or meat group.

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Health Benefits Of Swimming

I started to switch to swimming about 2 months ago when my knees, especially the right knee hurt each time I jogged or worked out on the air-walker in the gym. I have been jogging intensively for the past 15 years and I think that my knees have worn down, lost their sponginess, thus are unable to absorb as much shock and pressure.  At times, I can even hear the ‘pounding’ and ‘clicking’ sounds of my knee bones from the friction when I run or walk.

I have never really liked swimming as I  think it’s troublesome (towels and bath robes add on to my laundry and it does not help it that we stay in a condo and do not own a clothes dryer). I do not like the idea of having my skin and hair soaked in chlorine water and the nasty chemical aftertaste in my mouth after swimming.  The first few minutes my body hits the cold water in the morning, I go into a fits of shiver.   But you know what, I am now hooked on swimming every morning, at predawn!  After sending off my girls to the transporter, I head straight to the pool.  Residents who have seen me swimming at 6:30 a.m. marveled at me and asked me if  I feel cold.  Truth is, on wet and chilly mornings, yes the water is icy cold and sometimes I get a brain freeze the moment I dive into the pool!  I shiver just by looking at the icy cold water on some mornings!  Sometimes I would feel that I can’t hack the icy cold water and would have thoughts of crawling back to my bed with a blanket over my head, especially on a wet and cold morning, which is just perfect for sleep ins. But NO. I have a steely determination and I would jump right into the cold water.

Let me give you a little tip.  To get rid of the shivers in the cold pool water, quickly swim several laps without stopping.  It takes me 4-5 laps to warm my body up, after which, the pool water would feel slightly warm on my body.  That’s when I am fully warmed up and feel comfortable enough to swim over 20 laps.

Swimming Health Benefits

Not only is swimming easy on the body, it’s a great way to get fit.   There’s no ground impact or gravity when you swim, and so you protect the joints from stress and strain. Because there’s no impact with swimming, it can be continued for a lifetime.  My 70-year old MIL swims everyday.

Swimming improves endurance. In one study of sedentary middle-aged men and women who did swim training for 12 weeks, maximal oxygen consumption improved 10% and stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each beat which indicates heart strength) improved as much as 18%.


It’s sweat-free!  While swimming, your constant movement generates up to 85% of your body heat but because water that’s cooler than your core body temperature is continually moving all around you and cooling you down, you never feel over-heated or get sweaty.

It’s kinder to your heart.  As you swim, the water that surrounds your body exerts pressure which helps your circulatory system return your blood to your heart. ‘The demand on your heart is reduced by up to 17 beats per minute or 13% compared to someone exercising on land.

Helps prevent type 2 diabetes.  Swimming for at least half an hour three to four times a week, combined with eating a balanced low-glycaemic index (GI) diet, has been shown to control blood sugar levels, according to the Amateur Swimming Association (ASA), the English national governing body for swimming.

Reduced blood pressure and cholesterol levels.  Studies have shown that swimming for 30 minutes at least three times a week can significantly lower your blood pressure. One study found that resting heart rate was considerably lowered after just 10 weeks of regular swimming.  Plus, swimming for half an hour or longer helps reduce the levels of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your blood while raising the levels of HDL – good cholesterol, says the ASA.

Helps you manage your weight.   Swimming breaststroke for 30 minutes will burn approximately 367Kcal, depending on your weight and speed. That beats walking, which burns only 99Kcal in the same time, cycling, which uses up 240Kcal in half an hour, and even running at 6mph, which burns 300Kcal.

I personally feel that the deep breathing I go through during swimming has helped to boost my mood.  Additionally, I have fewer aches and sprains on my body now.  Like other forms of exercises, swimming stimulates the release of feel-good hormone serotonin.  And the best part about swimming is that I no longer have aches on my knees!


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