Monthly Archives: May 2017

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Foods and Vitamins to Avoid Before Surgery And To Take Post-Surgery

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.

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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.

 

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Black Rice Health Benefits

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.

 

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“Ngai” / Mugwort Healing Herb

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.

 

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