Health Blog

Your cup of inspiration – Coffee

Having a cup of coffee in the morning before starting daily routine is a common habit that can be seen everywhere especially at the workplace. As coffee helps to recharge your body and refresh your mind. However, it has been a long debate on whether coffee is good or bad for health. During the past, coffee intake was linked with heart diseases and hypertension. While in recent years, studies have shown health benefits of coffee consumption.

Is Coffee Good or Bad for your health?

Good: Coffee consist of a high amount of antioxidants which fight against free radicals that are harmful to body cells and associated with health problems.

Good: Coffee is the greatest source of caffeine, which an average cup of coffee has 100mg of caffeine, but it can also range between 30-300mg of caffeine. Caffeine helps improve general cognitive function, energy levels, memory and mood.

Good: Consumption of coffee suggest associate lower risks of dementia, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s disease in some researches.

Bad: Too much of coffee lead to caffeine overdose which will cause anxiety and disruption of quality sleep.

Bad: Caffeine can cause addiction, people who quit or reduce their coffee intake will experience withdrawal symptoms such as tiredness, irritability and headaches.

Bad: For people who are facing stomach problems, coffee intake might lead to heartburn, acid indigestion and reflux. This is due to coffee causes a rise in stomach acid.

As a conclusion, moderation intake of coffee without the addition of sugar and milk can bring health benefits to your body. 4 cups of coffee a day is recommended for healthy adults, while 1 cup of coffee a day is recommended for adolescents. Children need to avoid or minimize coffee intake.

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Reference:

Healthline. 2020. Coffee — Good Or Bad?. [online] Available at:https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/coffee-good-or-bad#section1

Healthhub.sg.2020. Getting Your Caffeine Hit [online] Available at:  https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/979/i-love-coffee-i-love-tea

Plant Protein VS Animal Protein

Photo credit: TIMESOFINDIA.COM

Your body is made up of around 20% of protein and protein do not store inside your body. Thus, sufficient daily intake of protein is important to maintain good health. Protein can be obtained from both plant and animal sources. So, for people who are having a vegetarian diet can they get enough protein from only plant sources? What are the pros and cons of plant and animal protein?

Amount and type of amino acid

Protein will be digested into amino acids inside your body. Different type of proteins is build up by different types of amino acids. Animal proteins have a good balance of all types and amount of amino acid that is essential to your body while plant proteins have a low amount of certain essential amino acids.

Nutrients in plant and animal proteins

Protein from animal sources consists of higher amounts of some nutrients (eg. vitamin B12 & D, zinc, iron and omega-3) which are absent in plant-based foods. While on the other hand, plant-based foods consist of antioxidants and nutrients which cannot be found in animal sources.

Risk of diseases from plant and animal proteins

Red meat intake is linked to a higher risk of stroke and heart diseases, especially processed red meat where plant proteins do not link to any risk of disease to the human body.

Health benefits from plant and animal Proteins

Diet rich in plant proteins is linked to a reduced risk of obesity, heart diseases and diabetes. Some animal-based protein (eg. fish, egg and poultry) diet are linked to lower risk of heart diseases, gain in muscle mass, helps in weight loss and maintain healthy cholesterol levels.

Well-balanced of plant and animal proteins are important to maintain optimal health. While for vegans and vegetarians, a well-balanced diet with a mix of all variety of foods is a must to make sure that they get sufficient proteins.

Healthline. 2020. Animal Vs Plant Protein – What’s The Difference?. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/animal-vs-plant-protein#section5

Constipation: They just aren’t that easy to pass

Do you poop lesser than 3 times a week? If the answer is yes, then you might be having constipation. This is a common problem that happens to people of all ages especially in women who are pregnant or after giving birth.

Some of the constipation’s symptoms are:

  • Poops less than 3 times a week
  • Hard or dry stool
  • Larger stool than usual
  • Difficulty or stressed to push out
  • Lesser stool than your normal routine
  • Feeling painful when passing stool
  • Feeling of have not totally emptied your intestine
  • No appetite

What can cause constipation?

  • Low fibre diet intake
  • Lack of body movement or sitting for a long period
  • Not drinking sufficient water
  • Ignoring the needs to go toilet
  • Changes in lifestyle or diet
  • Side effects caused by some medicines
  • Depression or stress
  • Ageing

Some easy ways of changing your lifestyle and diet to treat constipation at home:

Diet

  • Drink lots of water
  • Avoid alcohol intake
  • Eat more fibre-rich food (eg. vegetables, fruits, oats and chia seeds)

Toilet routine

  • Go toilet at a regular time and make sure you have enough time to use the toilet
  • Use the toilet immediately when you feel the needs to go toilet
  • Put your feet on a low stool or leaning your body slightly forward when going to the toilet

Lifestyle

  • Exercise regularly helps to prevent constipation
  • Avoid sitting or lying on the bed for a long period

After applying all these changes, it takes a few days to a week to spot a difference. If your constipation problem does not improve or your symptoms become worse, seek medical advice immediately.

Reference: nhs.uk. 2020. Constipation. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/constipation/

Race for Vitamin B

Do you face any numbness in your feet and hands or poor memory problems? It might be your body signalling on Vitamin B deficiency, especially people who are on a vegan or vegetarian diet. As most of the vitamin B sources are from animal products (eg. meat, fish, dairy products and eggs).

There are different type of vitamin B and their functions in your body:

Vitamin B1: Essential to maintain heart function & Keep your body nervous system healthy.

Vitamin B2: Important for body growth and maintenance (eg. hair, skin, and nails) & Helps production of blood cell

Vitamin B3: Maintains good health in the digestive system & Transform calories from food intakes into energy

Vitamin B5: Strengthens immune system & Promotes healthy hair and skin

Vitamin B6: Supports the proper functions of body nervous system & Helps production of blood cell

Vitamin B7: Essential part to build up your DNA & Keeps blood sugar levels healthy

Vitamin B9: Helps in body muscle growth and maintenance & Essential to maintain proper brain function

Vitamin B12: Protect your body against breast cancer & Helps to build up DNA

Great sources of Vitamin B:

  • Fruits: Banana, orange, strawberry
  • Vegetables: Cabbage, asparagus, broccoli
  • Legumes: Pea, kidney bean, lentils
  • Nuts: Almond, peanut, walnut
  • Whole grains: Brown rice, millet, barley
  • Meats: Fish, beef, chicken
  • Dairy products and eggs: Cheese, milk

Signs of Vitamin B deficiency:

  1. Anaemia
  2. Poor memory
  3. Skin rashes
  4. Numbness in feet and hands
  5. Depression
  6. Fatigue
  7. Dizziness
  8. Mouth ulcers, chapped lips

Reference: Healthxchange.sg. 2020. ​​​Vitamin B: Why You Need It [online] Available at: <https://www.healthxchange.sg/food-nutrition/food-tips/vitamin-b-best-food-sources-signs-deficiency>

Sushi makes miso happy – International Sushi Day (June 18, 2020)

Sushi is a popular Japanese food around the world, no one will ever say no when it comes to sushi! It is International Sushi Day on 18th June, let’s discover more about sushi and how to celebrate this day by eating sushi in a healthier way.

Sushi can comes in a different form, such as:

  • Sashimi: There are cooked or fresh sashimi (sushi-grade fish) served in slices.
  • Nigiri: Sashimi served on top of Japanese rice.
  • Maki: Sushi rolls that wrap filling and Japanese rice with seaweed or sesame on the outer layer.
  • Temaki: Seaweed made into cone shop with Japanese rice and filling in the middle.

The YES or NO while eating sushi

YES: Fish rich in omega-3 such as tuna and salmon will be a good choice, as omega helps in heart health. 2 serving of oily fish every week is recommended by Health Promotion Board which can be easily achieved while eating sushi.

YES: Avocado, aubergine and cucumber are commonly used vegetables while making sushi. Avocado is rich in ‘good’ fat which helps lower bad cholesterol while aubergine contains high fibre, vitamins and minerals.  

YES: Seaweed which is widely used while making sushi is rich in protein and fibre. Also, seaweed is a good source of minerals (eg. iron, zinc and iodine).

YES: Wasabi and pickled ginger which serve along with all sushi dishes have strong antibacterial and mild antiseptic properties which help the body to prevent from catching the flu and colds.

NO: Sushi rice. Too much of sushi rice which made from sugar and vinegar will build up your total daily intake of sugar.

NO: Soy sauce. Which contain a high amount of salt, minimize your intake of soy sauce while eating sushi.

NO: Deep fried foods and sushi with mayonnaise. Both of these foods contribute high calories count and high amount of fats which should be avoided.

NO: Mackerel and swordfish. These foods might contain high mercury which leads to mercury poisoning.

Reference:
BBC Good Food. 2020. Is Sushi Healthy?. [online] Available at:
https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/howto/guide/sushi-healthy
National Today. 2020. INTERNATIONAL SUSHI DAY – June 18, 2020 | National Today. [online] Available at:
https://nationaltoday.com/international-sushi-day/
Healthhub.sg.2020. My Healthy Plate [online] Available at: https://www.healthhub.sg/programmes/55/my-healthy-plate



Stressed? Tips to keep stress at bay

Everyone has stress, no matter while you are at home, on the road or at work. Someday, you might feel especially stressed due to overload work, poor interaction with others or having financial issues. Learn how to manage stress in life is important for everyone, it will lead you to a positive and healthier life.

Positive VS Negative ways to cope with stress

Stress Eating

Do you often crave for bubble tea or fast food while you are stressed? At the end of the day after tough work, people tend to release stress by having a lot of comfort foods (eg. bucket of ice cream or whole chocolate bar) when they get home. If you tend to do this often while feeling stressed, you might be a stress eater.

If you are craving for fatty or sweet food while you feel stressed next time, think if you are really hungry before you go for it. Keep an eye on what you are having and think why you needed to can prevent you from stress eating.

Staying Away From Social Interaction

Some people will choose to keep themselves away from their social cycle while they are feeling stressed.

Actually, talking to your family and friends about it or hanging out with them will help you to de-stress which will be a better way of isolating yourself.

Stay Active

Exercise might be the first thing off your list when you are stressed as you have low or no motivation.

But, this is a bad move. As exercise actually help release stress and make you feel better. By taking a walk in the park help de-stress too.

Smoking or Drinking

For some people, drinking or smoking is like having a “break time” from stress. Obviously, this is unhelpful. Smoking or drinking will not help to solve your problems either in the short or long run.

A deep breath, a short nap or taking a shower is a better way of dealing with stress without negative impacts to your health.

Reference: Healthhub.sg.(2020). Stress-O-S! How to Cope With Stress? [online] Available at: <https://www.healthhub.sg/live-healthy/1782/stress-o-s-how-do-you-cope-with-stress>

We carrot about you!

Have your parents ever told you that eating carrots will help you to see while in the dark when you was a kid? Is this real? Apart from this, are there any other additional health benefits by eating carrots?

Health Benefits

Healthy Eyes

Carrots contain a high amount of vitamin A which help to increase your vision when the light is dim or prevent night blindness. So, carrots do help you to see while in the dark in some way. But, if you do not face any vitamin A deficiency, your vision may not be improved by eating carrots.

Prevent Cancer

The orange pigment of carrots is known as carotenoid which helps your body fight against various types of cancer such as stomach and colon cancers.

Reduce Blood Cholesterol Level

Potassium and fibre found in carrots may be able to maintain good blood cholesterol and blood pressure level. Thus, reducing the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Improve Digestive Health

High amount of fibre in carrots prevent constipation and keep your digestive system in good health.

How do you not love carrot while there are so many health benefits that you can get from it? It is International Carrot Day (4th April 2020) tomorrow, remember to pick some carrots in your meal as part of the celebration! Eat healthily and stay safe everyone ♥

Reference: Healthline. 2020. Carrots 101: Nutrition Facts And Health Benefits. [online] Available at: https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods/carrots#organic

COVID-19: How to prevent and improve your health to protect against it

During this challenging moment, everyone should stay focus on maintaining mental and physical health. Apart from beneficial to your health in terms of the long run, it will also support your body fight against COVID-19 if you have it.

Prevention is better than cure

  1. Make sure to eat a well-balanced and healthy diet, which helps to improve your body’s immune system.
  2. Say no to sugary drinks and limit your alcohol intake.
  3. Quit smoking. Smoker has a higher risk of suffering from the serious disease if they get COVID-19.
  4. Workout regularly, adults should exercise at least 30minutes a day while children should exercise an hour a day.
  5. Take care of your mental health. Feeling anxious and stressed is normal during this situation, by talking to and getting support from people you trust will help. Read news published by the ministry, do not spread news from unreliable sources.

Protect yourself from COVID-19

  1. Maintain good personal hygiene habits. Always remember to wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and water or with alcohol-based sanitizer for at least 20 seconds.
  2. Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when you cough or sneeze. Bin the tissue immediately and clean your hands.
  3. Do not touch your face with unwashed hands to prevent the transfer of the virus from hands into your body.
  4. Keep at least 1 metre distance from others to avoid breathing in droplets from someone who coughs or sneezes.
  5. Wear a mask if you are sick and seek medical attention immediately. Stay at home to avoid crowds.

Reference: Who.int. (2020). WHO Director-General’s Opening Remarks At The Media Briefing On COVID-19 – 20 March 2020. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/dg/speeches/detail/who-director-general-s-opening-remarks-at-the-media-briefing-on-covid-19—20-march-2020

Who.int. (2020). Pass The Message: Five Steps To Kicking Out Coronavirus. [online] Available at: https://www.who.int/news-room/detail/23-03-2020-pass-the-message-five-steps-to-kicking-out-coronavirus

Attention waffles lover! International Waffle Day (March 25, 2020)

Hey to all waffles lover out there, watch out! International waffle day is just around the corner. Feeling super excited about it? Waffle Day was originated from Sweden and this joy day was soon spread to the whole world. What is better than celebrating this day by having a waffle? While watching out for your calorie intake, you might have a concern that having a waffle is impossible? As most bought waffles from stores are high in sugar and unhealthy.

Worries no more! Here are the recipe and some secrets on how to make healthy and delicious homemade waffles easily. This recipe is gluten-free and suitable for vegan.

Ingredients

  • 150ml oat milk (or alternative dairy-free milk)
  • 30ml coconut oil
  • ½ tbsp unsweetened vanilla extract
  • 1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tbsp cinnamon powder
  • 2 tbsp baking powder
  • 190g gram flour
  • 1 tbsp turmeric
  • 30g chia seeds
  • 100g strawberries (or your favourite selection of fruits)
  • Maple syrup (serve on the side)

Preparation

  1. Warm up the waffle iron.
  2. Mix vinegar and milk in a bowl, stir and keep the mixture rest for 3 minutes. Add vanilla extract, coconut oil, and maple syrup into a bowl and mix well.
  3. Add cinnamon, baking powder, gram flour, turmeric and chia seeds into another bowl. After mix well, add slowly into the first bowl while stirring. Mix until the batter is smooth.
  4. Pour batter onto waffle iron with a dip sauce spoon. Close the lid after the iron has filled up. Cook the waffles until golden brown.
  5. Serve waffles on the plate and add any toppings of your favourite on top. Maple syrup serves on the side (go gentle on it).

Reference: National Today. (2020). INTERNATIONAL WAFFLE DAY – March 25, 2020 | National Today. [online] Available at: <https://nationaltoday.com/international-waffle-day/>

CARBOHYDRATE AND FIBRE

Carbohydrate that cannot be digested by your body is known as dietary fibre. Nearly all carbohydrates can be broken down into the simplest sugar form, but fibre cannot be broken down into the simplest sugar and rather fibre move through your body undigested. Fibre has many functions such as helps to keep your body digestive system healthy and regulate body cholesterol and sugar levels.

Diseases that can be caused by low-fibre diets consist of:

  • Heart-related disease
  • Colon cancer
  • Constipation
  • Diverticular-related disease
  • Sensitive bowel condition

Steps to increase fibre intake in your diet:

  • Replace biscuits, chocolate bars and chips with fresh vegetables(e.g. carrot stick) for snack.
  • Avoid drinking fruit juices, instead eat the whole fruits.
  • Choose lentils, beans, and peas over meat items.
  • Buy cereals for breakfast that consist of wheat, oats or barley.
  • Add on an extra portion of vegetables to your dinner.

Reference: The Nutrition Source. (2020). Fiber. [online] Available at: <https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/>