Author Archives: Vivienne Quek

Extra Folic Acid may Reduce Risk of Autism

Doctors prescribed folic acid to pregnant women. Folic acid helps protect the unborn child, this is nothing new. However, the latest news is EXTRA folic acid may reduce risk of autism.

A Norway research team led by Dr Pal Suren from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health from Osio claimed that women who took extra folic acid in the weeks before or just after pregnancy were less likely to have a child with autism.

Why? Because the lack of folic acid (also known bas Vitamin B9) has been tied to brain and spinal cord birth defects, groups, including the United States Preventive Service Task Force are calling women who are planning to or could become pregnant to take Continue reading

Home Made Hair Mask, Aloe Vera, Really Works for Dry Hair!

Referring to my previous post Hair Care – Treating Dry Hair Naturally with Aloe Vera, I shared about using the gel from the Aloe Vera plant to create a hair mask.

It is really a hassle free recipe that works wonderfully for my dry and frizzy long hair.

I bought a leaf of about 35cm long from the supermarket and cut it in half. One half was wrapped up and kept in the vegetable drawer in the refrigerator for other uses. The other half was sliced horizontally from one end to another. I used a spoon to scrape off all the gel from the leaf. I took only the gel and not any of the green or yellow portions from the leaf. Next I put the gel in a mini food processor and blended it until it was very fine.

All the blended Alor Vera gel was then gently rubbed into the scalp and spread all over my long hair. There might be little bits and pieces of Aloe Vera but that’s fine because the result was totally worth it. I kept the gel on my head for  an hour. Once the time was up, I simply rinsed off the gel with water and dried my hair with a towel.

When my hair was completely dry, I saw a gleaming sheen that seemed to dance off my hair. I could also run my fingers through my hair without difficulty. My hair was  darker, shinier and definitely much, much smoother than before.

I have decided to apply this Home made Aloe Vera Hair Mask at least twice a week until my hair condition improves permanently.

Aloe Vera is a wonder plant that you can easily plant in your garden or even in a pot. You can use it as food, make it into a drink, use it as medical aid to heal wounds or like me, hair mask. Small wonder that people call it a miracle doctor

Additional Readings on Aloe Vera:  Aloe Vera – Fight 80 Disorders from Your Own Kitchen!

Smoking Ban linked to Drop in Pre-Term Births

A team of researchers led by Dr Tim Nawrot at the Centre for Environmental Science at Hasselt University in Belgium confirmed that smoking during pregnancy can stunt the growth of unborn babies and shorten gestation; and that a smoking ban in public places can lead to a drop in pre-term births (births of babies before 37 weeks of gestation).

He and his team conducted the research on 606,877 single born babies delivered between 24 and 44 weeks of gestation in Flanders for 9 years from 2002 to 2011. This covered a period before, during and after the introduction of the smoking ban in Belgium. Smoking was banned in public places and most workplaces in Jan 2006 in Belgium. This was followed by a smoking ban in restaurants in Jan 2007, and in bars serving food in Jan 2010.

The results show a 3.13% reduction in the risk of pre-term births after Jan 2007 , and further reduction of 2.65% after Jan 2010.

The Belgium team said that there is a consistent pattern of reduction in the risk of preterm delivery with the successful prevention of smoking in public places.

Another study from Britain also found that smoking bans could lead to a swift and dramatic fall in the number of children admitted to hospital because of asthma attacks.

First Experience of Having Hives (aka Urticaria)

When I first had hives, I didn’t know it was hives. And definitely I didn’t know the doctors refer to hives as urticaria.

Initially, there were just a few seemingly innocent red weals on my abdominal area. They were red and slightly itchy, barely 3mm – 5mm in diameter. I dismissed them as mosquito bites. However, as the itch intensified, I scratched more and more frequently. To my horror, the few weals suddenly multiplied and spread in a matter of 20 – 30 minutes – as if a school of invisible mosquitoes have launched a massive attack. 20-30 big, medium and small weals started spreading across my tummy, sides and the small of my back. It was quite shocking for a first-timer.  There was a mix of horror and amazement as I watched these angry weals merge and mutate into a large plaque and then several large plaques. Especially bad was the pressure line area where elastic band of my pants come in contacts with my skin.

By then, I have learned that the weals and plaques were caused by some form of skin allergy. I thought my clothing were not laundered properly and the detergent residue had caused an allergy. However, I have serious doubts about that possibility when it happened again the next evening. Though I had weals and plaques throughout the day, the condition mostly worsen towards the evening.

On those first 2 days, I experimented using tea-tree oil, anti itch cream, ice pad, wearing loose fitting clothing, drinking plenty of water and sadly, nothing seems to make things better. The weals appear and disappear at their own will and timing, and they definitely did not find the ointments and creams a threat.

Eventually, I went to the pharmacy to seek professional help. The pharmacist recommended oral anti-histamine. Yes, that worked beautifully. Unfortunately, I was told that’s a temporary relief. The hives may come back, and there’s no knowing when it will. This reminded me of my experience with eczema and how alternative home remedies- instead of drugs – could sometimes work wonders. An online search showed that Paulette Joynt has found a solution to her Chronic Urticaria in 3 weeks. I think I might just give this a try.

Additional Reading on Expert’s Opinion: Paulette Joynt’s  “Get Rid of Hives – I Beat Hives My Urticaria in 3 Weeks”

Decoding Nutrition Information: Fat Claims

I do my best to check food labels while buying food at the supermarket. However, decoding nutrition information from the food labels can be challenging at times. Especially perplexing is the information on fat content.

While reading “Mind Your Body”, a health supplement published by the Stratis Times in Singapore, I read this article that breaks down the meaning of fat as labelled on food packaging. Ms Lynette Goh, a senior dietitian at the National Healthcare Group Polyclinics said

Fat-free: The product contains less than 0.15g fat per 100g or 100ml

Low-fat: The product has 3g or less of total fat per 100g or 1.5g or less of fat per 100ml

Lower or Reduced Fat: The product has at least 25% less fat than regular product. Take note that less fat is not the same as low in fat.

Light or Lite: This means the product is lightly salted or light in taste or colour. Again, it is not the same as low in fat or low in calories.

For those who are reducing or watching out for their fat intakes, it is best to opt for Fat-Free or Low-Fat products. For an adult, fat should be no more than 30% of his/her total intake. This is estimated to 12 teaspoon a day for an average women who needs 1800-2000 kcal a day. Of the 30%, there should be no more than 10% saturated fat. Saturated fat raises low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called “bad cholesterol” that causes heart issues.

Limit trans fat (aka hydrogenated vegetable oil) to less than 1% of total calories, or 2 teaspoon based on an intake of 200 kcal diet.

Our remaining fat should come from monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fat such as unsalted nuts and seeds, fish (especially oily fish such as salmon, trout and herring at least 2 times a week) and vegetable oil such as olive, sunflower, soya bean, corn and peanut oil.

 

Diet Soft Drinks have Higher Diabetes Risk

The Institut Nationaal de la Sante dt de la Recherche Medicale (Inserm or National Institute of health and Medical Research in French) said “Contrary to conventional thinking, the risk of diabetes is higher with ‘light’ beverages than with ‘regular’ sweetened drinks”

Inserm researchers, led by Dr Francoise Clavel-Chapelon and Gr Guy Fagherazzi, looked at the prevalence of diabetes among women who drank drinks sweetened with ordinary sugar or artificial sweeteners, and those who drank only unsweetened fruit juice.Compared with juice-drinkers , women who drank either type of sweeted drinks had a higher incidence of diabetes.Drinkers of ‘light’ soft drinks had an even higher risk of diabetes compared with those who drank regular soft drinks: 15% higher for consumption of 500ml per week, and 59% higher for consumption of 1.5 litre per week.

The study found no increase in diabetes risk among women who drank only 100% per cent fruit juice, compared with non-consumers.

The authors noted that women who drank ‘light” soft drinks tended to drink more of it – 2.8 glasses a week on average – than 1.6 glasses among women on regular soft drinks.

Its authors admitted the study had limitations. The study took account of the women’s ages and weights, but did not keep close tracks of their eating habits during the study period. The study took account of the women’s ages and weights but did not keep close track of their eating habits during the study period.

Researchers conceded the evidence was not sufficient “to advise people to stop consumption of one or the other type of drinks”.

 

Coca Cola is a Major Cause in a Woman’s Death

Drinking too much soft drinks is bad, but what I didn’t know is that it can lead to death. According to the news report by Agence France-Presse, one of a major cause leading to the death of a New Zealand woman is her love for Coca Cola. Mrs Natasha Harris, a 30-year old mother of eight, from Invercargill in southern New Zealand, had a habit of  consuming  of 10-litre Coca Cola on a daily basis for many years, before her death in Feb 2010.

Coroner David Crerar said Mrs Harris suffered from a number of health conditions linked to the “extreme” amounts of Coke she drank, playing a role to the cardiac arrhythmia that finally ended her life.

15 Tips to Healthy Eating

Most people tend to over-eat when there is a celebration because it is tough to resist the mouth-watering food when it is laid out in all its glory all over the dining table!

Here are some tips offered by the medical practitioners of Parkway Shenton, a large medical group based in Singapore: .

1. Have meals at regular intervals and eat regular portions.

2. Do not substitute meals with snacks. Start off the day with a wholesome breakfast so that there’s less craving for sugar or fat laden food.

3. Train yourself to stop eating when you are no longer hungry. You don’t have to eat until you are full.
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Are Nuts Fattening?

Nuts are good source of nutrients, but they could be fattening and add inches to your waist.

Keep away from deep fried nuts as they are high in saturated fat content, not good news for the heart; as saturated fat raises the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL), the so-called “bad” cholesterol that is a risk factor for heart disease.

Deep fried foods are usually also high in trans fat, which is worse than saturated fat. It not only raises ‘bad’ cholesterol but also lower the “good” cholesterol, which helps to balance the “bad” cholesterol. Plus, nuts loaded with salt could raise blood pressure. The higher the blood pressure, the greater Continue reading

Aloe Vera can be Poisonous!

The Aloe Vera is famous for its many cooling effects and its positive effect on skin. The Guide of Poisonous Plants also states that gel from an aloe vera plant is good for cuts, rashes and burns. But the inside of the leaves also contains latex which can be confused with the gel.

When ingested, this can cause gastrointestinal discomfort Continue reading

Calcium Pills can Harm Men’s Hearts?

Calcium Pills

Calcium pills can harm men’s hearts?

Almost unthinkable but this is a new finding based on a study of close to 400,000 middle aged Americans initiated in 1995-1996. It shows that men who take calcium tablets are more likely to die of heart disease within the next 12 years than those who do not take extra calcium in supplement form. This conclusion was reached by researchers at the National Cancer Institute in the USA.

Volunteers answered queries on their lifestyles, general health and diet, including use of supplements. Researchers then tracked the number who died and the causes of death over 12 years. About half of the men and more than two-thirds of the women said they took calcium supplements or multivitamins containing calcium at the outset. Continue reading

New Study Supports Vegetarian Diet

Fresh Vegetables
A British study has found that vegetarians are one-third less likely to be hospitalized or die from heart related diseases. Keeping to a vegetarian diet keeps you healthy and fit, something scientists, researchers and medical practitioners have been discussing and debating for decades.

Researchers at the University of Oxford tracked almost 45,000 people living in England and Scotland who initially gave a regular report on their diet, lifestyle and genera health in 1990s. One-third said they kept to a strict vegetarian diet. Over the next 11-12 years, 1086 of the participants were hospitalized for heart diseases, and 169 died. Continue reading

Big Breasts are Better?

Big BreastReally?

Who is to say whether “A” cup or “C” cup is better? The guys? Or the women themselves?

I always thought the assets within me is more important. No matter how much I do, I will eventually grow old and look old. I may prevent the lines from creeping up my skin for some times, however, those wrinkles will eventually appear. That’s universal law. Knowing that doesn’t mean I don’t have an issue with that, it just means I have to manage my expectation and emotion when age catches up.

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Anixety & Panic Attack On The High

Long time ago, I witnessed an elderly woman experienced panic attack. She paced around the room with anxiety written all over her face, muttering to herself repeatedly in worried tone. She went to her daughter’s room every few minutes just to make sure the former was all right and she herself wasn’t alone in the house. She was suffering a panic attack. Only then, we weren’t wise to pick that up.
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