A health freak mom's thoughts on health and all things healthy

Month: March 2013

Hair Treatment – Do You Do It?

Hair Treatment – Do You Do It?

Today, I went for a hair cut… yeah, finally, when I could no longer tolerate my long hair almost touching my waist. It is darn irritating to have a bunch of hair brushing on my shoulders and my back when I run in the morning. […]

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Lovey Dovey Sisters

Lovey Dovey Sisters

Rascal #2 had tummy ache and lay on the bed.  Rascal #3 ran to her sister and hugged her tummy. I told #3 to massage some T36 C5 Melaleuca tea tree oil on her che che’s tummy. She did and gave her che che a good […]

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Coconut Oil Health Benefits

Coconut Oil Health Benefits

Of late, there has been so much hype on the health benefits of coconut oil. The other day, a friend gave us a bottle of expensive pure coconut oil and my mil used it for the first time to stir-fry some green leafy veggie (the leaves of sweet potato to be exact). For someone who is nuts over coconuts, I was really surprised that my first bite onto the veggie stir-fried with coconut oil made my tummy churn! The taste of the nutty oil was overpowering and it just did not go well with the sweet potato leaves veggie. Since it was only my first try, I guess I would require  lots of exposure to coconut oil in order for me to acquire the taste. Coming from someone who can never get enough of coconut water and coconut meat, I was puzzled that I found the smell of the coconut oil too strong and pungent for my liking. If I could gulp down a cup of fresh coconut milk and then have freshly grated coconut meat sandwich for breakfast, why do I find the taste of coconut oil so revolting?

Never mind about how chockfull of nutrients and beneficial coconut oil is,  everyone else in the family just cannot tolerate food cooked with coconut oil.

Food For Thought:

Conventional thought used to consider fats like coconut oil to be unhealthy and contribute to heart disease. We now know that this isn’t true. In fact, coconut oil is actually a heart healthy food that can keep your body running smoother in a few different ways.

What are the health benefits of coconut oil?
Studies have show that intake of coconut oil can help our bodies mount resistance to both viruses and bacteria that can cause illness. Even more, it also can help to fight off yeast, fungus and candida.

Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

Can coconut oil reduce cholesterol?
Coconut oil has a saturated fat called lauric acid, a type of MCT. It has been shown that lauric acid increases the good HDL cholesterol in the blood to help improve cholesterol ratio levels. Coconut oil lowers cholesterol by promoting its conversion to pregnenolone, a molecule that is a precursor to many of the hormones our bodies need. Coconut can help restore normal thyroid function. When the thyroid does not function optimally, it can contribute to higher levels of bad cholesterol.

How does coconut help keep weight balanced?
Coconut fats have special fats called medium chain triglycerides (MCTs). It has been shown that breaking down these types of healthy fats in the liver leads to efficient burning of energy. One 2009 study found that women who consumed 30 milliliters (about 2 tablespoons) of coconut oil daily for 12 weeks not only did not gain more weight, but actually had lowered amounts of abdominal fat, a type of fat that is difficult to lose, and contributes to more heart problems.

Is it true coconut can help with aging?
The oils found in the coconut have a positive antioxidant action in the body. This means they help our body stop the damage to other healthy fats and tissues in our body. Oxidation is considered a major contributor to cardiovascular problems and skin aging. Coconut oil can actually help our bodies reduce the need for antioxidant intake.

Is coconut oil good for my skin and hair?
We tell our patients that from the time of infancy through the senior years, coconut oil is a wonderful moisturizer for skin and hair. It has good amounts of the antioxidant vitamin E, which is very protective. If you are using on the skin regularly, it is best to try to find an organic coconut oil, to reduce the absorption of toxins and pesticides through your skin.

We even recommend new parents massage infants with coconut oil after a bath. One 2005 study of 120 babies showed that a coconut oil massage is safe and has health benefits.

How can I use coconut oil?
Coconut oil works in both baked goods like zucchini and banana bread and with vegetables. It is especially tasteful when paired with bitter greens like kale. You can use it as part of the onion and garlic sauté, where it offers a surprisingly different and pleasant full-bodied taste. It is also a wonderful addition to oatmeal to make it even creamier, while staying healthy.

Coconut oil can withstand the heat – making it a better cooking option.

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Insatiable Appetite

Insatiable Appetite

Cass has such a huge appetite. During our current stay in Ipoh, she has been eating non-stop, yet she does not seem to get full or satiated. She eats more than her 2 older sisters and even more than me! From a pintsized, sickly baby […]

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Broccoli Health Benefits

Broccoli Health Benefits

Broccoli is such a versatile veggie. I can eat it in so many ways. My favorite way of eating it has to be by blanching it till it is slightly soft, yet crunchy.  Once blanched, I can either make it into a 1-pot dish like […]

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What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt

What’s the difference between sea salt and table salt

Sea salt and table salt have the same basic nutritional value, despite the fact that sea salt is often marketed as a more natural and healthy alternative. The most notable differences between sea salt and table salt are in their taste, texture and processing.Sea salt is produced through evaporation of ocean water or water from saltwater lakes, usually with little processing. Depending on the water source, this leaves behind certain trace minerals and elements. The minerals add flavor and color to sea salt, which also comes in a variety of coarseness levels.

Table salt is typically mined from underground salt deposits. Table salt is more heavily processed to eliminate minerals and usually contains an additive to prevent clumping. Most table salt also has added iodine, an essential nutrient that helps maintain a healthy thyroid.

By weight, sea salt and table salt contain the same amount of sodium.

Regardless of which type of salt you prefer, limit total sodium to less than 2,300 milligrams a day — or 1,500 milligrams if you:

Answer from Mayoclinic.com

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How long can you safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator?

How long can you safely keep leftovers in the refrigerator?

Leftovers can be kept for three to four days in the refrigerator. Be sure to eat them within that time. After that the the risk of food poisoning increases. If you don’t think you’ll be able to eat leftovers within four days, freeze them immediately. […]

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Should Moldy Cheese Be Eaten?

Should Moldy Cheese Be Eaten?

Soft cheeses, such as cottage cheese, cream cheese and ricotta cheese, that have mold should be discarded. The same goes for any kind of cheese that’s shredded, crumbled or sliced. With these cheeses, the mold can send threads throughout the cheese. In addition, harmful bacteria, […]

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coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?

coffee and health? Is coffee good or bad for me?

I am a coffee lover. I need my cuppa in the morning to kick start my long day.  Sherilyn and Cass love coffee too.   On days where they need some coffee boost to jump start their mood, I will add a pinch of instant coffee (less than 1/4 teaspoon) into their fresh milk.  That will normally do the trick! And no, they did not get a caffeine rush. Instead, the caffeine will set them in a cheery mood and the milk will be gulped down in just a jiffy.

Food For Thought:

Coffee has a long history of being blamed for many ills — from the humorous “It will stunt your growth” to the not-so-humorous claim that it causes heart disease and cancer. But recent research indicates that coffee may not be so bad after all. So which is it — good or bad? The best answer may be that for most people the health benefits outweigh the risks.

Recent studies have generally found no connection between coffee and an increased risk of cancer or heart disease. Why the apparent reversal in the thinking about coffee? Earlier studies didn’t always take into account that known high-risk behaviors, such as smoking and physical inactivity, tended to be more common among heavy coffee drinkers at that time.

However, the research appears to bear out some risks. High consumption of unfiltered coffee is associated with mild elevations in cholesterol levels. And another study found that two or more cups of coffee a day can increase the risk of heart disease in people with a specific — and fairly common — genetic mutation that slows the breakdown of caffeine in the body. So, how quickly you metabolize coffee may affect your health risk.

Newer studies have also shown that coffee may have benefits, such as protecting against Parkinson’s disease, type 2 diabetes and liver cancer. And it has a high content of antioxidants. But this doesn’t mean you should disregard the old maxim “Everything in moderation.” Although coffee may not be very harmful, other beverages such as milk and juice contain nutrients that coffee does not. Also, keep in mind that coffee accompaniments such as cream and sugar add fat and calories to your diet. Finally, heavy caffeine use — on the order of four to seven cups of coffee a day — can cause problems such as restlessness, anxiety, irritability and sleeplessness, particularly in susceptible individuals.

Article extracted from mayoclinic.com

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Chia Seeds Health Benefits

Chia Seeds Health Benefits

When I saw a friend drinking tumblers after tumblers of plain water with tiny seeds floating in the water, I asked her what it was. It reminded me of the ‘tadpoles’ drink that my school tuckshop used to sell over 30 years ago.  We used […]

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