Health Blog

Macronutrients

Micronutrients

Foods

Others

Food Canopy’s Health Blog features nutrition articles written by our very own in-house nutritionist.

Common topics include nutrition-related diseases, healthy recipes, lifestyle tips as well as niche subjects like micronutrients.

Be inspired and stay tuned for more update now!

Carbohydrates

Carbohydrate and Added Sugars

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Carbohydrates are widely known to provide energy for the body. Our body breaks down carbohydrate into glucose, which powers everything we do. Carbohydrates are subdivided into several categories – sugars, starches and fibre.

Sugars

Sugars are found naturally in food like fruits and milk products. Sugars are added during food processing to improve shelf life and taste of food and they are referred as added sugars. It is not a secret that high consumption of sugars, especially added sugars, are bad for health and can lead to obesity and diabetes. In addition, added sugars are empty calories – it provide zero nutritional value but increases calorie intake. Excess calories will be stored as fat.

Added Sugars

Based on Health Promotion Board, it is recommended to take no more than 8 to 11 teaspoons (40 to 55g) of added sugar a day. However, Singaporeans are consuming 60g of added sugar daily – according to the National Nutrition Survey conducted in 2018. One could start reducing their sugar intake by asking for less sugar (siu dai) in kopi or teh, or choose drinks with Health Promotion Board “Lower in Sugar” Healthier Choice Symbol (HCS).

Do you know?

All drink stalls in Food Canopy offer “Lower in Sugar” HCS drinks.

Reference: Erickson, J. and Slavin, J. (2015). Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable?. [online] NCBI. Available at: http://Total, Added, and Free Sugars: Are Restrictive Guidelines Science-Based or Achievable? [Accessed 11 Apr. 2019].

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Fats / Lipids

Introduction to Fat

Most people think of fat as ‘bad’, but do you know that our bodies cannot function properly without some fat? Fat function as an energy store, a cushion for vital organs and act as a transport carrier for fat-soluble vitamins – Vitamin A, D, E and K. Fats are also needed for healthy hair and skin! However, fat is a concentrated source of energy – 1g of fat equates to 9 kcal compared to 4 kcal for carbohydrates and proteins, and high intake of fat provide excess calories, leading to weight gain and obesity, thereby increasing the risk of developing chronic diseases like diabetes.

How much fat should I eat?

Based on the Dietary Recommended Allowance in Singapore, the total fat intake should be limited to 25 to 30% of total calorie intake. This equates to 55 to 65g of fat for a person with a 2000kcal diet.

How many types of fat are there?

There are 3 major types of fat – saturated fat, unsaturated fat and trans fat. Each type of fat will be described in detail in the future health articles.

Do you know?

Look out for the Healthier Oil Label issued by Health Promotion Board across our outlets!

Reference: Healthhub.sg. (2018). Getting the Fats Right!. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/458/Getting%20the%20Fats%20Right!

Debunking Myth of Fat

Are all fats bad for health?

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

There are 4 types of dietary fat, and each type of fat have different effects on health.

Based on a journal article by Skerrett and Willett, 2012, ‘dietary fat per se is not associated with risk of chronic diseases’; diet consisting 40% calories from fat can be healthy if they are low in trans fat and saturated fat, and high in polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fat. To date, the specific proportion of optimal dietary fat intake is still unknown.

Consume walnuts and fatty fishes like salmon for omega-3 polyunsaturated fatty acids that may aid in the management of inflammatory and autoimmune diseases.

Vitamins

What are Vitamins?

Vitamins are micronutrients that are needed for your body to function correctly, thus your body can manage normal growth and maintenance of its metabolism. Your body requires 13 type of vitamins which your body cannot produce it, so your body can only gain these vitamins through fruits, vegetables and various foodstuffs. There are two different groups of Vitamins: water-soluble and fat-soluble.

Fat-soluble Vitamins

Fat-soluble vitamins will break down by lipid or fat and take in by blood to your intestinal tract. Excessive amount of fat-soluble vitamins will be keep in your liver and fatty tissues for further usage when your body requires. Fat-soluble vitamins are able to remain in your body from several days up to several months. Therefore, your body do not require daily intake of these vitamins or else it will lead to toxicity. Example of fat-soluble vitamins are Vitamins A, D, E and K.

Water-soluble Vitamins

Unlike fat-soluble vitamins, water-soluble vitamins will not be able to keep in your body as these vitamins are all dissolve in water and dispose out of your body through urine. Hence, your body require daily intake of these vitamins. Example of water-soluble vitamins are B-complex Vitamins (vitamin B2, B3, B6, B12, folate, biotin and pantothenic acid) and vitamin C.

Stay tuned for more update for your vitamins blog-tablet!

Reference:

Extension. (2019). Fat-Soluble Vitamins: A, D, E, and K – 9.315 – Extension. [online] Available at: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/fat-soluble-vitamins-a-d-e-and-k-9-315/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2019].

Extension. (2019). Water-Soluble Vitamins: B-Complex and Vitamin C – 9.312 – Extension. [online] Available at: https://extension.colostate.edu/topic-areas/nutrition-food-safety-health/water-soluble-vitamins-b-complex-and-vitamin-c-9-312/ [Accessed 8 Aug. 2019].

Apple

 
Does an apple a day really keep the doctor away?

Evidence have shown that apple does not keep the doctor away; however, adults from the United States appear to use fewer prescription medications based on a research conducted by Davis and colleagues in 2015.

Health Benefits
  • Good source of fibre

  • High in Vitamin C

  • Contain antioxidants

  • Lowers cholesterol levels

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Minerals

Introduction to Minerals

Aside from vitamins, minerals are also micronutrients that are important for your body growth and to maintain your healthiness. Your body takes in minerals better through direct food intakes rather than in the form of supplements. Nearly all people do not demonstrate any symptoms of minerals inadequacy. However, this do not indicate your body are adequate of nutrients or minerals intakes. Your body needs different quantities intake of each minerals as different mineral carry out different role. Physiological status, gender and age will affect the requirement of an individual for minerals intake. Excessive intake of minerals will lead to toxicity in your body. There are two common categories of minerals: macrominerals and trace minerals.

Macrominerals

Macrominerals are minerals that require in high amount of intakes (from 100 mg to one gram) than other minerals. Magnesium, potassium, calcium, chloride, sodium and phosphorus are classified as macrominerals. Macrominerals like calcium are important for maintaining strength of bone and development of bone.

Trace Minerals

Trace minerals are other minerals that your body needed in lesser amounts. Even though your body needs smaller quantities of trace minerals, trace minerals still play crucial role in maintaining your body’s health. Copper, fluoride, iodine, selenium and zinc are categorize under trace minerals.

Reference: Nutrition in the News Facts behind the headlines Previous Facts behind the headlines BNF Consultation responses New reports Previous reports Diet, n., Diet, n., Ba, N., Nutrition Science Webinars Nutrients, s., Nutrients, F., Healthy, s. and events, C. (2019). Minerals and trace elements – British Nutrition Foundation – Page #1. [online] Nutrition.org.uk. Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/minerals-and-trace-elements.html?limit=1&start=1 [Accessed 16 Aug. 2019].

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Healthy Recipes

Baked Lemon Herb Salmon

Here’s a simple and tasty salmon recipe which takes only 30 minutes to cook!

Ingredients

  • 4 salmon fillets

  • Diced broccoli and carrots

  • 2 lemons

  • 2 tablespoon of unsalted butter

  • 2 tablespoon of rosemary leaves

  • 2 tablespoon of parsley

  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic

  • Ground black pepper and salt to taste

Recipe

  1. Preheat oven to 180°C. Line a aluminium foil and brush it thinly with melted unsalted butter.

  2. Arrange salmon and diced broccoli, carrots on top of the aluminium foil and brush melted butter on top of each salmon, broccoli and carrot.

  3. In a small bowl, mix minced garlic, rosemary, parsley, juice of 1 lemon, a pinch of salt and pepper together with a spoon.

  4. Spread mixture onto each fillet and place sliced lemons on top of each salmon fillet.

  5. Optional: Sprinkle salt and pepper over salmon, broccoli and carrot for taste.

  6. Bake salmon for 15 minutes or the salmon is cooked. Serve.

Sliced Fish Noodle Soup

Treat yourself with this nourishing dish that combines succulent fish in sweet rice vermicelli soup!

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

•200 g brown rice bee hoon, soaked and drained

• 200 g toman fillet, sliced and blanched

• 2 tomatoes, cut into wedges

• 5 g ginger, sliced

• 2 spring onions, sliced

• 5 tsp concentrated chicken stock

• 6 tbsp low-fat evaporated milk

• 1 tsp sesame oil

• 1 tbsp corn oil

• 1 litre hot water

• Salt and pepper to taste

PREPARATION

1. Heat corn oil in wok.

2. Stir-fry sliced ginger till fragrant.

3. Pour in hot water.

4. Add in concentrated chicken stock and boil for 2 minutes.

5. Add bee hoon, toman fillet slices, tomato wedges, spring onion, sesame oil and low-fat evaporated milk. Cook for 2 minutes.

6. Add salt and pepper to taste before serving.

Chicken Spinach Salad with Pomegranate

Nutritious lunch ideas with only 20 minutes preparation times!

Serves 2

INGREDIENTS

For chicken:

· 2 Chicken breasts

· A pinch of salt

· A pinch of pepper

· 2 tsp olive oil

For salad:

· A pinch of salt

· A pinch of pepper

· 1 Tbsp olive oil

· 1 Tbsp lemon juice

· 4 cups spinach

· ½ cup pomegranate

Preparation

For chicken:

1. Pre-heat pan with medium heat.

2. Add olive oil.

3. Coat chicken breast with salt and pepper

4. Cook chicken breast for 10-15minutes, until the chicken no longer pink.

5. Cut into strips after cool for 5 minutes.

For salad:

1. Mix spinach, chicken and pomegranate into a salad bowl.

2. Add olive oil and lemon juice.

3. Sprinkle salt and pepper. Ready to serve!

Superfood Snack – Acai Bowl Recipe

Enjoy this nutritious and antioxidant bowl simply at home with this recipe!

Acai Bowl

Serve 2

Ingredients

Acai smoothie base:

  • 100g frozen acai berry
  • 1/2 cup  Apple juice
  • 1 small frozen banana
  • 1/2 cup  frozen strawberries
  • 1/2 cup  frozen blueberries

 

Toppings: (Below are suggested toppings for one Acai bowl. Feel free to add any of  your favorite toppings and add to your desired quantity.)

  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 1/2 Cup Homemade granola
  • Fresh fruit sliced thinly: such as fresh strawberries, raspberries and banana
  • 1 tablespoon coconut flakes
  • 1 tablespoon yukiko

Instructions

  1. Add the frozen acai berry, apple juice, banana, strawberries, and blueberries to a high powered blender. Blend until smooth. Pour into a bowl.
  2. Decorate the bowl with all your favorite toppings and enjoy immediately!

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Food Calendar

Happy Fruits Day! 28 June

International Fruit Day started with an aim to share fruits in sympathy and joy with family, friends or needy people all around the world irregardless of culture, nation, mentality, region and way of life.

Fruits are universally promoted as healthy because of their health-promoting properties. Fruits are good sources of dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals, especially antioxidants.

Intake of sufficient fruits could reduce the risk of many chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, cancers and stroke. For example, in fruits, especially berries, was associated with decreased risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Reference: Wang, P., Fang, J., Gao, Z., Zhang, C. and Xie, S. (2015). Higher intake of fruits, vegetables or their fiber reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes: A meta-analysis. Journal of Diabetes Investigation, 7(1), pp.56-69.

Happy Cherry Day – 16 July

Do you know?

National Cherry Day was established as a day to raise awareness of Britain’s cherries. During the 20th century, Britain lost majority of its cherry orchards in war.

Nutritional Value of Cherry

Cherries have low caloric content and are a nutrient dense food – vitamin C, potassium, fibre and polyphenols. Cherries have anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, which reduces the risk of the development and progression of common chronic inflammatory diseases.

Reference: Kelley, D., Adkins, Y. and Laugero, K. (2018). A Review of the Health Benefits of Cherries. Nutrients, 10(3), p.368.

Happy Watermelon Day! 3 August

Happy Watermelon Day! Who doesn’t love watermelon? Especially with the hot weather in Singapore, there are many different ways to enjoy this lovely fruit and watermelon definitely helps in refreshing and cooling down our body with juicy sensations. August 3 is the National Watermelon Day in the States, unquestionably this beauty deserves a celebration for its own, yay?

Watermelons: Interesting facts about this beauty

  • 92% of Watermelon is make up by water.

  • Watermelons was used as drinking bottles by the early adventurer.

  • In 1615, “watermelon” word was added in English dictionary for its first entrance.

  • From planting to harvesting, watermelon needs around 80-90 days to mature.

  • Do you know that the heaviest watermelon in the world weighed 159 kg? It was grew at Sevierville in 2013 by Chris Kent.

  • In the South and North of United States, there are over 300 types of watermelon being grown. Yellow, seeded, mini and seedless types of watermelon are grown most frequently.

Why do Americas celebrate Watermelon Day?

The Cancer fighter: Watermelon provides Lycopene & Carotenoid which are knows as antioxidants that helps in lower the risk of certain types of cancer.

Very flexible fruit: From flesh to seeds, every parts of watermelon are safe to eat. You can enjoy the fruit in any ways with your own preference, for examples: juices, smoothie or ice-cream. Thus, this makes watermelon as a wonderful celebration item. Pickled and fried watermelon flesh are very common in numerous parts around the globe. In a few parts of China, they dry and roast watermelon seeds which make it edible just like nuts.

Excellent summer food: As has been mentioned above, 92% of watermelon are water. Which in a way, eating watermelon will helps your body to keep hydrated during dry season weather.

Enjoy it guiltless! : Watermelon is a mixture of fiber and water which contribute low calories. So, let’s celebrate Watermelon Day on 3 August by having it unlimited volumes without any guilt! Remember to invite your friends including those that are on diet to have fun together by enjoying watermelon in lots of different ways.

Reference: Day Finders. (2019). Is today National Watermelon Day?. [online] Available at: https://dayfinders.com/watermelon-day/ [Accessed 2 Aug. 2019].

International Eat An Apple Day – 21st September 2019

 

Eat An Apple Day

International Eat an Apple Day falls onto every third Saturday of September on the calendar where everyone are encourage to enjoy a fresh and nutritious apple. An apple will never be enough, eat as many apple as you like on this day! Apple were first grown in Asia, until today there are a lot of varieties of apples around the world such as Gala, Pink Lady, Fuji and Granny Smith. Which varieties of apple is in your favourite list?

 

Nevertheless which are your favourite kind of apples, apple still bring a lot of advantages to your health. Below are some health benefits of an apple:

·         Prevention of obesity: As apple consists of great amount of water and fibre, which assists in reducing weight and prevent obesity.

·         Lowering risk of diabetes & stroke: Antioxidants in Apples are associated with lowering risk of diabetes and stroke.

·         Prevention of dementia: High amount of Vitamin C in apple helps decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

·         Reducing bad cholesterol level: High amount of fibre in apple are linked to reducing bad cholesterol level and improving good cholesterol level.

 

With all the benefits to your health by eating apple, you should not only have apple on this International Eat an Apple Day, but to have an apple every day – which might keep you away from doctor!

 

Reference: National Day Calendar. (2019). INTERNATIONAL EAT AN APPLE DAY – Third Saturday in September – National Day Calendar. [online] Available at: https://nationaldaycalendar.com/international-eat-an-apple-day-third-saturday-in-september/

Medical News Today. (2019). Apples: Health benefits, facts, research. [online] Available at: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/267290.php

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Others

Introduction to Calories

Like all living organisms, the human body needs fuel to function and the fuel is coined as calories. Many may wonder: What exactly are calories? A calorie is a unit of energy. From a nutrition perspective, sources of calories comes from all types of food – carbohydrates, proteins, fats and sugar – and they are important fuels for the body to perform tasks like breathing.

How much calories does my body need?

On average, the recommended daily calorie intake for an adult man is 2,200 calories while an adult woman needs about 1,800 calories. Active people would require more calories than a person that lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Calories and weight loss

Counting calories is one way to monitor weight loss. Excessive calorie intake is stored as fat in the body while cutting down calories can help people to lose weight. However, if our calorie consumption is too low or too high, there may be health complications in the long run. Although counting and cutting calories can be a practical approach to weight loss, it is important to have a well-balanced diet to stay healthy.

Do you know?

Food sold in Food Canopy are labelled with their respective calorie count.

Reference: Healthhub.sg. (2019). An Introduction To Calories. [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/69/intro-to-calories.

CAN Station @ NYP

Healthy messaging is one of the key strategies to encourage healthy eating.

Food Canopy’s CAN Station at North Canteen is to help create awareness, to encourage students and employees of Nanyang Polytechnic (NYP) to make healthier food choices.

Head over to NYP North Canteen now to find out your Body Mass Index (BMI) and have a good reading on the health information displayed, as well as nutritional facts of healthier foods that are offered in the canteen!

Proteins

Introduction to Protein

All cells and tissues contain protein. Therefore, proteins are important in the growth and repair of the body. Proteins are large molecules made up of chains of amino acids, which are our body’s building blocks used to make muscle, skin and various molecules that serve many important functions. However, not all amino acid can be made by the body and we need to obtain essential amino acid from our diet.

Consequences of low protein intake

Inadequate intake of protein is associated with increased risk of sarcopenia, a age-related decline in skeletal muscle mass and strength that result in decreased mobility and increased risk of injury. In addition, low intake of protein is associated with low immunity and greater risk of bone fractures.

How much protein do I need?

Based on the recommended dietary allowance (RDA) by Health Promotion Board (HPB), the daily protein requirement of normal healthy individuals in men and women aged 18 and above is 68g and 58g respectively. There is an extra requirement for pregnant and lactating women (first 6 months) – an additional 9g and 25g of protein respectively.

Do you know?

The most abundant compound in the body is water, followed by protein.

Reference: Lonnie, M., Hooker, E., Brunstrom, J., Corfe, B., Green, M., Watson, A., Williams, E., Stevenson, E., Penson, S. and Johnstone, A., 2018. Protein for life: Review of optimal protein intake, sustainable dietary sources and the effect on appetite in ageing adults. Nutrients, 10(3), p.360.

How does protein intake affect weight management?

Foods with high protein can actually cause your body to feel fuller than carbohydrate-rich or fat-rich foods. By adding protein intake from lean foods in your diet will minimize sensation of hunger and therefore lower your overall calorie intake.

In order to lose your weight by lower down your calorie intake, it is a must to lower intake of certain foods. However, to keep protein-rich foods with low-fat intake will be a great idea. As a result, large contribution of calorie will be from protein in this low energy intake diet. Based on the results demonstrated by several studies, diet with high protein and low carbohydrate were linked with slightly better initial loss of weight than popular low-fat diet plans.

Choosing protein-rich foods with lower fat like low-fat dairy products or lean meats are very important, because certain protein-rich foods contains high amount of saturated fat. With this simple step, it will help decrease the possibility of developing heart-related disease.

Reference: British Nutrition Foundation. (2019). Protein. [online] Available at: https://www.nutrition.org.uk/nutritionscience/nutrients-food-and-ingredients/protein.html?start=5 [Accessed 30 Aug. 2019].

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