• 23Oct

    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.

    Congestion
    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!

    Anti-inflammatory
    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.

    Anti-bacterial
    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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  • 19Oct

    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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  • 16Oct

    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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  • 08Oct

    Broccoli has recently topped the list of favorite veggies for my girls. We have it for dinner 2-3 times in a week. I normally blanch the broccoli in boiling water with a little salt and oil.  They love it cooked this way, which is not too hard, not soft and mushy, slightly salty and slightly oily. I buy only organic broccoli as I have read that regular grown broccolis are  adulterated with high content of pesticides.

    Here are some of the ways that I’ve paired broccoli with our dinner…

     

     

    Did you know that broccoli has high content of protein? Broccoli probably isn’t the first food you think of when you’re searching for sources of protein, but it does provide protein without any fat. It’s also a rich source of vitamins A and C and you can’t say that about most animal-based proteins. Paired with other foods that fill-in any missing amino acids, broccoli makes a healthy contribution to your daily protein requirements.

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    What’s the skinny on broccoli?

    Love It or Hate It… Broccoli is Good for You!

    1. Cancer Prevention

    Broccoli contains glucoraphanin, which the body processes into the anti-cancer compound sulforaphane. This compound rids the body of H. pylori, a bacterium found to highly increase the risk of gastric cancer. Furthermore, broccoli contains indole-3-carbinol, a powerful antioxidant compound and anti-carcinogen found to not only hinder the growth of breast, cervical and prostate cancer, but also boosts liver function.

    Broccoli shares these cancer fighting, immune boosting properties with other cruciferous vegetables such as cauliflower, Brussels sprouts and cabbage.

    2. Cholesterol Reduction

    Like many whole foods, broccoli is packed with soluble fiber that draws cholesterol out of your body.

    3. Reducing Allergy Reaction and Inflammation

    Broccoli is a particularly rich source of kaempferol and isothiocyanates, both anti-inflammatory phyto nutrients. Research has shown the ability of kaempferol to lessen the impact of allergy-related substances on our body. Broccoli even has significant amounts of omega 3 fatty acids, which are well know as an anti-inflammatory.

    4. Powerful Antioxidant

    Of all the cruciferous vegetables, broccoli stands out as the most concentrated source of vitamin C, plus the flavonoids necessary for vitamin C to recycle effectively. Also concentrated in broccoli are the carotenoids lutein, zeaxanthin and beta-carotene, other powerful antioxidants.

    5. Bone Health

    Broccoli contains high levels of both calcium and vitamin K, both of which are important for bone health and prevention of osteoporosis.

    6. Heart Health

    The anti-inflammatory properties of sulforaphane, one of the isothiocyanates (ITCs) in broccoli, may be able to prevent (or even reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by inflammation due to chronic blood sugar problems.

    7. Detoxification

    Glucoraphanin, gluconasturtiin and glucobrassicin are special phytonutrients that support all steps in the body’s detox process, including activation, neutralization and elimination of unwanted contaminants. These three are in the perfect combination in broccoli. Broccoli also contains isothiocyanates (which you read about in inflammation) which help control the detox process at a genetic level.

    8. Diet Aid

    Broccoli is a smart carb and is high in fiber, which aids in digestion, prevents constipation, maintains low blood sugar, and curbs overeating. Furthermore, a cup of broccoli has as much protein as a cup of rice or corn with half the calories.

    9. Alkalizes Your Body

    Like many vegetables, broccoli helps keep your whole body less acidic, which has a host of health benefits.

    I can have a dinner of just broccoli and a vegetables soup. It can fill me up till the next morning, after my 26-lap swim in the pool 🙂

     

     

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  • 05Oct

    The news, television talk shows, and the Internet are full of experts who talk about the benefits of using vitamin supplements, herbal supplements, or dietary supplements. Some believe that dietary supplements can improve the quality of a person’s life, while others believe that the supplements have the power to cure chronic ailments. Because there’s so much information available about supplements, it can be confusing for a person to tell what information is true and what information is not true. If a person does not take the time to learn about vitamins and supplements, they may find themselves missing out on something that can improve the quality of their life, or they could find themselves taking too much of a certain supplement and damaging their health.

    Defining Dietary Supplements

    The DSHEA has defined a dietary supplement as a product that meets the following criteria. It supplements the food that humans naturally eat, has at least one dietary ingredient that would include things like vitamins, amino acids, and other dietary substances, is sold in either pill, capsule, tablet, or liquid form, and is clearly marked as a dietary supplement.

    Dietary supplements like cetyl myristoleate supplement can be broken into different categories. For example, vitamins are designed to provide the body with a burst of the nutrients needed in order to help the body function smoothly. Taking vitamins in pill or liquid form does not replace eating a balanced diet, but instead it is designed to supplement the diet by making sure a person gets the daily recommended dose of the vitamin.

    Herbs are a form of dietary supplement that have been used for thousands of years. Herbs are primarily used to treat an ailment that a person has. They are designed to provide support to a specific part of the body that needs help.

    Who Benefits from Using Dietary Supplements?

    For the most part, both adults and children benefit by using the supplements. A daily multivitamin is a great way to make sure that people are getting all the nutrients they need to stay healthy. That being said, the best way to keep yourself healthy is by eating a balanced diet.

    Dietary supplements can provide a needed boost to a person’s metabolism and body when they are going through a particular change. For example, a pregnant or lactating women, a teenager going through a growth spurt, or a person who was on a diet may benefit from enhancing their diet using supplements.

     

     

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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!

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