Health Articles

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Men, Menopause?


Some people say that male do experience menopause period, while some other say that male does not experience menopausal period like women. Which one is true? According to study that was conducted in 2000, there are certain condition which makes male experience this sort of menopausal period, but to label it as menopause like what is experiencing by women is not accurate since the process is different (6).

 

The pathway in which male experience dropping in their testosterone hormone occurs when aging men, experience reduction in testosterone concentration due to the decline in Leydig cell mass in the testicles or a dysfunction in hypothalamic-luteinizing hormone which in return will cause low testosterone production (6).

 

Andropause is when a drop in testosterone production in men who are age 50 or older. Many doctors use the term andropause to describe aging-related hormone changes in men. Men do experience a decline in the production of the male hormone testosterone with aging, but this also occurs with conditions such as diabetes and others.

 

Hormone changes are a natural part of aging. Male menopause is different from female menopause in several ways and not all men experience it. It doesn’t involve a complete shutdown of your reproductive organs. However, sexual complications may arise as a result of your lowered hormone levels. Unlike menopause in women, when hormone production stops completely, testosterone decline in men is a slower process. The testes, unlike the ovaries, do not run out of the substance it needs to make testosterone. A healthy male may be able to make sperm well into his eighties or longer. Testosterone levels vary greatly among men. In general, older men tend to have lower testosterone levels than do younger men. Testosterone levels gradually decline throughout adulthood (1,2).

 


What are the Sign and Symptom of andropause?

 

Recognizable signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels may include:

 

Changes in sexual function.

 

Testosterone plays a key role in libido in men. However, someone with low Testosterone will likely experience a more drastic drop in their desire to have sex. This might include reduced sexual desire, erectile dysfunction, fewer spontaneous erections. Your testes might become smaller as well.

 

Changes in sleep patterns.

 

Sometimes low testosterone causes sleep disturbances, such as insomnia, or increased sleepiness.

 

Physical changes.

 

Various physical changes are possible, including increased body fat, reduced muscle bulk and strength, and decreased bone density. Swollen or tender breasts (gynecomastia) and loss of body hair are possible. Rarely, you might experience hot flashes and have less energy. Low testosterone levels in the body also can contribute to smaller-than-average sized testicles.

 

Emotional changes.

 

Low testosterone might contribute to a decrease in motivation or self-confidence. You might feel sad or depressed or have trouble concentrating or remembering things.

 



 

How do Men Stay Healthy?

 

The most common type of treatment for symptoms of male menopause is making healthier lifestyle choices. For example, your doctor might advise you to:

 

  • Eat a healthy diet

 

What you eat has a major impact on testosterone as well as other hormone levels. Therefore, you must pay attention to your long-term calorie intake and diet strategy. Constant dieting or overeating may disrupt your testosterone levels. Eating enough protein can help maintain healthy levels and aid in fat loss, which is also associated with your testosterone

 

  • Get regular exercise

 

Exercise is one of the most effective ways to prevent many lifestyle-related diseases. Interestingly, it can also boost your testosterone.

 

  • Get enough sleep
  • Reduce your stress

 

What are the treatment for andropause?

 

Apart from living a healthy lifestyle, to prevent or minimize risk of andropause to occurs. According to World Health Organization (WHO) male who experience dropping in the level of testosterone, should be offered treatment with testosterone replacement therapy.

 

Thus, if you ever experience any of these symptoms, it is best to consult medical professionals, if the underlying cause is either lifestyle of psychological, necessary steps will then take in addressing the actual problem behind, it could be due to stress or depression, low self-esteem, or it could be due to obese or overweight, smoking, or too much alcohol intake as well.

 

References

  1. WebMD (n.d). Male Menopause https://www.webmd.com/men/guide/male-menopause
  2. Healthline (n.d). What Is Male Menopause? https://www.healthline.com/health/menopause/male#diagnosis-and-treatment
  3. Adam Fellman. (2018). Is The Male Menopause Real? https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/266749
  4. Mayoclinic (n.d). Male Menopause: Myth or Reality? Https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/mens-health/in-depth/male-menopause/art-20048056
  5. NHS. (2019). The ‘male menopause’ https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/male-menopause/
  6. Duncan, C.G. & Richard, P. (2000). The Male Menopause: Does it exist? For some men need investigation and testosterone treatment. West J. Med. 173(2): 76–78. DOI: 10.1136/ewjm.173.2.76

Oyster and Men’s Health


In general, oyster is the type of shellfish. Not only that it is important for ecosystem since one of its function is to filter pollutants out of the water and provide habitats for other species, like barnacles and mussels, it also is an excellent source of zinc, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. Since oyster is rich with nutrients it is used in the supplement product as well for various reasons.

 


Oyster supplementation (1,2,3)

 

When it comes to oyster supplementation, people always thought that it come from its shell not the meat, but the truth is, it is coming from its creamy flesh meat!

 


Oyster creamy flesh meat is cleaned and depurated. It is then processed and made into capsules, powder, and tablets. This is actually good news as well to those who cannot consume slimy meaty food, thus can take it in tablet or capsule form.

 

 Many people have started to consume oyster for its known ability to increase the testosterone hormone level in male. It is also well known for its benefits in supporting men’s reproductive health as it contains high level of zinc.

 

Since oysters are high in zinc, oyster extraction supplementation is highly recommended to those who are deficient in this nutrient. This is a very important nutrient that can helps your immune system and improves your body’s metabolism function as well.

 

 

Zinc is a trace mineral that is essential for various body functions, such as protein synthesis, collagen formation, wound healing, and healthy immune function. Apart from that, it is also needed to support prostate and reproductive health, especially for males. Individuals who have digestive disorders such as Celiac Disease and Chron’s Disease and/or on vegan diet are at higher risk of zinc deficient, thus require zinc supplementation.

 

Zinc deficiency can lead to fatigue, impaired senses of taste and smell, poor appetite, slow wound healing, poor immunity, and hair loss as well.

 


What does study findings say? (4,5)

 

In 2003, study in Japan has used oysters, as it contains significant amount of zinc to investigate whether it can improve reproductive health of mice. This study was conducted three groups of mice, where the first group was supplemented with diet that is rich in zinc from oyster, the second group was supplemented with zinc from zinc carbonate and the third group was fed with diet that deficient in zinc.



This study found out that, mice that was supplemented with zinc either from oyster extraction or zinc carbonate has improved serum level of zinc, sperm motility and maturation, increase successful pregnancy rate, maternal weight gain, number of live fetuses, fetal body weight and better embryonic development as compared to mice  that is fed with diet deficient in zinc.  Thus, this study suggested that oyster extraction is a useful supplement that can prevent reproductive defects from zinc deficiency, and the bioavailability of zinc may be identical to zinc carbonate.

 

Another recent study that was conducted in 2018, with regards to men’s reproductive health and oyster, is the review article that concluded, zinc is vital in men’s reproductive health, since the adequacy of zinc content in seminal plasma is needed for men’s germination, normal sperm function and fertilization. The review also noted that, seminal fluid deficiency causes infertility, and many studies prove that the association of the seminal plasma zinc concentration with physiology and pathogenesis roles of sperm and its quality. Study also indicates that men who is smokers have higher possibility in becoming infertile as toxin in cigarettes can lead to oxidative stress that can hinder efficacy of seminal fluid and sperm parameters.

 


In conclusion

 

To date, there is no meta- analysis or /and systematic study with regards to oyster specifically and men’s reproductive health. However, randomized controlled trial and review articles from few studies such the two above, is able to portrays that zinc deficiency may hinder sperm quality and fertility of men. Since oyster has significant amount of zinc, thus it can be used to treat or prevent men’s reproductive health problem. Furthermore, study also noted that the content of taurine and glycogen also will help in alleviating this problem.

References

 

  1. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Take This Supplement to Improve you Sex Life. https://www.menshealth.com.au/oyster-and-zinc-supplement-improves-sex-health (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  2. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Oyster Nutrition Facts. https://www.menshealth.com/nutrition/a19527227/oysters-nutrition-facts/ (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  3. Are Oysters Good for you? Benefits and Danger. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/oysters#1 (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  4. Yoshikazu, M., Toshiaki, W. (2003). Effect of Oyster Extract on the Reproductive Function of Zinc-Deficient Mice: Bioavailability of Zinc in Oyster Extract. Congenital Anomalies; 43, 271-279. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1741-4520.2003.tb01013.x
  5. Fallah, A., Hasani, M., and Colagar, A.H., (2018). Zinc is Essential Element for Male Fertility: A Review of Zinc Roles in Men’s Health, Germination, Sperm Quality and Fertilization. J Reprod Infertil. 2018;19(2):69-81.

 

 

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia: What is it?


Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH) is a condition when the prostate is enlarged but it is not cancerous. It is also known by few other names such as benign prostatic obstruction, benign prostatic hypertrophy, and enlargement of prostate. According to National Health Morbidity Survey Malaysia (NHMS), 16% of Malaysian men above the age of 40 years old suffer from this problem.  The sign and symptoms of this problem is usually worsened as men get older, which is why NHMS reported that the percentage of men with symptomatic BPH increases from 10% among 40-year-old men to 33% among 75-year-old men.

 


Among the sign and symptoms for this problem are:

  1. Frequent or urgent urinating problem.
  2. Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia).
  3. Difficulty starting urination.
  4. A weak or any interrupted urine stream.
  5. Dribbling at the end of urination
  6. Urine incontinence
  7. Pain after ejaculation or during urination
  8. Unusual urine colour or smell
  9. Inability to completely empty the bladder.

 

Most of these symptoms usually come from a blocked urethra or/ and an overwork bladder from tyring to pass the urine through the blockage in the bladder. For BPH, the size of the prostate is not necessarily showing the severity of the problem, men can have greatly enlarged prostate but little blockage and a few symptoms or minimally enlarged prostate but greater blockage with more symptoms.


The cause of this condition is rather not well understood, but there are probably two reasons for this according to scientist, first, throughout their lives, men produce testosterone (male hormone) and a small amount of estrogen (female hormone), but as men aged, the amount of active testosterone is decreased leaving a higher proportion of estrogen, which promotes the prostate cell growth hence the enlargement of prostate. Second, it is due to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone, which plays roles in prostate development and growth, as men get older, they continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in prostate which encourage prostate cells to continue growing. This is also theorized because men who does not produced DHT do not develop BPH.

There is various treatment that can help with BPH depending on individual severity and condition. Discuss with your healthcare professionals regarding your condition so they may suggest better treatment plan for you. The treatment plan is usually involved lifestyle modification such as:

 

  • urinating as soon as you feel the urge.
  • going to the bathroom to urinate, even when you don’t feel the urge.
  • avoiding over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamine medications, which can make it harder for the bladder to empty.
  • avoiding alcohol and caffeine, especially in the hours after dinner.
  • reducing your stress level, as nervousness can increase the frequency of urination.
  • exercising regularly, as lack of exercise can aggravate your symptoms.
  • learning and practicing Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.
  • keeping warm, since being cold can make symptoms worse.

 

As for the treatment from healthcare professionals usually include prescription of medication (alpha blockers, alpha reductase inhibitors etc), minimally invasive procedures (transurethral needle ablation, high intensity focus ultrasound, prostatic stent insertion) and surgery (laser surgery, open prostatectomy, Transurethral incision of the prostate (TUIP)). Bottom line, talk to your doctor regarding your condition no matter how insignificant you may think things that occur to you, that might actually be a symptom to a disease.

 

References

 

  1. Mayo Clinic. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/benign-prostatic-hyperplasia/symptoms-causes/syc-20370087 (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).
  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/urologic-diseases/prostate-problems/prostate-enlargement-benign-prostatic-hyperplasia (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).
  3. What do you want to know about enlarged prostate? https://www.healthline.com/health/enlarged-prostate (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).
Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2018) Infographic Booklet

Is fruit juice really healthy for us?

To answer this, it really is a very tricky one. There is always two sides of belief  when it comes to this. One believe that juicing is unhealthy than eating whole fruits, due to the loss of fiber throughout the process which makes fructose (sugar in fruit) absorb even quicker as compared to when it is together with fiber, thus less healthy(1).

Another believe that juicing is better than eating the whole fruits and vegetables because body can absorb better and let digestive tract rest from digesting fiber. If ones consider blending fruit, that is even better since edible fiber in it makes we feel full, so it promotes satiety(1).

 

 

So should we consider juicing, blending or just eat raw fruits and vegetables ?

 

Three longitudinal prospective cohort studies found out that, greater consumption of fruits such as blueberries, grapes, apples, bananas and grapefruit reduced the risk of type 2 diabetes while greater consumption of fruit juice was associated with an increased risk of type 2 diabetes (2).

 

When fruit is squeeze for its juice, what left inside the fruit juice are basically sugar, vitamins and  antioxidants such as carotenoids etc thus it is healthier in this aspect as compared to frizzy drinks (3). However, the amount of sugar inside both of these drinks are about the same, which is about 20-26g of sugar per cup (3).

 

The reasons why fruit juice contain higher sugar content as compared to fresh fruit even when the fruit juice is the 100% fruit juice without the addition of anything else is because of, in order to make the 250ml of orange juice as an example two medium size of orange is needed, and that is only 250ml, since when it is in liquid form people tend to consume it even more thus more no of fruits needed. As the number of fruit increases so does the sugar in it but not the fiber inside, which in returns make it have loads of sugar(1,3,4,7,8)!

 

 

According to Singapore Health Promotion Board, many people may think that naturally occurring sugar is healthier than added sugar, but actually there is no chemical difference between the two, and they have the same impact on blood sugar level when ingested(8).


The similar case goes to smoothies  not only that it has lot of sugar from multiple number of fruits, but  various kind of protein based food like yogurt, milk, almond milk etc that is mixed together with it will increase it calorie as well (4).


High sugar level in both of these drinks make it a high calorie beverages thus poses the same effect like high calorie food, which can lead to weight gain. As we know that, Malaysia is the fattest country in Southeast Asia, one of the contributing factor behind is the lack of knowledge on what can increase weight and what cannot. 

 

 

Weight gain is link to many health problems such as heart diseases, metabolic syndrome, cancer, bone and joint problem, kidney problem etc(3).

 

Study on the composition of grapefruits with different method of household processing also found out that, composition of antioxidant on blended grapefruit has higher concentration of the beneficial compound as compared to juicing or hand squeezing (5).

 

However, as for the absorption of beta carotene, study found out that fruit and vegetables juice makes beta carotene absorb better as compared to blending or eating raw fruit. This is due to the fact that fiber hinder the absorption of beta carotene (6).

 

The takeaway message

 

Eating raw fruit, juicing and blending all has its pro and cons. What important is always take into account the amount of sugar content and fiber content. All in all make sure that you have balance, nutritious and moderate diet as per suggested by Ministry of Health, eat 3 servings of vegetables/day and 2 servings of fruits/day. Varied the way vegetables and fruit cooked or served and eat in moderation.

 

References

  1. Mayo Clinic. https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/expert-answers/juicing/faq-20058020
  2. MurakiIsao, ImamuraFumiaki, Manson JoAnn E, Hu Frank B, Willett Walter C, van Dam Rob M et al. Fruit consumption and risk of type 2 diabetes: results from three prospective longitudinal cohort studies BMJ 2013; 347 :f5001. https://www.bmj.com/content/347/bmj.f5001
  3. Healthline (n.d). Is Fruit Juice is as Unhealthy as Sugary Soda? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/fruit-juice-vs-soda#sugar-content
  4. Healthline (n.d). Juicing vs Blending: Which one is better for me? https://www.healthline.com/health/food-nutrition/juicing-vs-blending
  5. 5Ram M Uckoo1Guddadarangavvanahally K JayaprakashaV M BalasubramaniamBhimanagouda S Patil. Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi Macfad) Phytochemicals Composition Is Modulated by Household Processing Techniques.
  6. Julia K Kolodziejczyk1Shirley W FlattLoki NatarajanRuth PattersonJohn P PierceGregory J Norman. Associations of Soluble Fiber, Whole Fruits/Vegetables, and Juice With Plasma Beta-carotene Concentrations in a Free-Living Population of Breast Cancer Survivors. Women Health 52(8). DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2012.728189
  7. How many orange does it take to make a cup of orange juice? (n.d). https://www.eatdifferentrd.com/blog/2016/8/12/how-many-oranges-does-it-take-to-make-a-cup-of-oj
  8. Chanel News Asia (CNA) International (2019). That cup of fresh fruit juice could contain as much sugar as a soft drink. https://www.channelnewsasia.com/news/singapore/fruit-juice-sugar-diabetes-health-risks-soft-drink-11708652



How Much Sugar is Too Much Sugar?!

You may have heard the term “sucrose” at one point or another, but what is that, really? Sucrose (table sugar) is the chemical name for sugar which made up of glucose and fructose. It is naturally found in foods such as rice, noodles, breads, pasta and also present in fruits as fructose and in milk as lactose(11). Intake of additional sugar can be obtained from carbohydrate-rich foods however, the intake of additional sugar is unnecessary.

 

 

2015 World Health Statistics Report showed that in 2008, Malaysia had the highest obesity prevalence for adults aged ≥20 years among Southeast Asia countries. Increasing availability of sugar or sweeteners coupled with sedentary lifestyles are the contributing factor to Malaysia’s rising problem of obesity and other non-communicable disease problems (11). On the other hand, Malaysian Adult Nutrition Survey (MANS) 2002/2003, average adult in Malaysia consumes 7 teaspoons of sugar a day comprising 4 teaspoons of table sugar and 3 teaspoons of sweetened milk into beverages. This amount exceeds the recommendation of the World Health Organization and Malaysian Dietary Guidelines (11).

 

 

Type of Sugar

 

Sugar can be found naturally in foods or added to foods during cooking, processing or added at the table (11). Main sources of added sugar are regular soft drinks, sugars, candy, cakes, cookies or sweetened beverages (2).

 

 

Learn more about reading food labels can helps to limit your daily sugar intake. Sugar has many other names besides those ending in “ose” such as sucrose, fructose or maltose, other names include sorbitol, mannitol, corn syrup, fruit juice concentrate, honey, malt or malt extract, rice extract, molasses, golden syrup and inverted sugar (11).  

 

Recommended Intake of Additional Sugar

 

Added sugar refers to monosaccharides and disaccharides which are added into food and beverages during preparation of food and food manufacturing. Additional sugar should be limited to not more than 10% of our daily energy consumption is recommended by World Health Organization (WHO).

The average amount of additional sugar intake for adults recommended by World Health Organization (WHO) inclusive of hidden sugar should not exceed 10 teaspoons a day or equivalent to 50g (12).

 

 

Track your consumption of added sugar can be tricky, since packaged foods don’t list the number of teaspoons of sugar and some of us are getting our added sugar by spooning it onto our foods or into our beverages.


Here are the important numbers to remember: There are 4 calories per gram of sugar and 4 grams per teaspoon. So if the label says it has 20 grams of sugar, that’s 5 teaspoons, or about 80 calories from sugar. Scan the labels for all sources of sugar in processed foods and  check the number of grams of added sugars in the nutrition labels (5). 

 

Artificial Sweeteners vs Sugar: Which is better?

 

Sugar substitute are known as a food additive that provides sweet taste like sugar without excess energy which can promote weight loss and deemed safe for consumption by diabetics (7). They can be either naturally produced or synthesized. Those sugar that are not natural are referred to as artificial sweeteners (9).


American Heart Association labels low-calorie sweeteners, artificial sweeteners and non-caloric sweeteners as non-nutritive sweeteners (NNSs), since they offer no nutritional benefits such as vitamins and minerals. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has given the label “Generally Recognized as Safe” (GRAS) to five non-nutritive sweeteners such as aspartame, acesulfame-K, neotame, saccharin, sucralose and stevia. However, stevia doesn’t have a GRAS distinction but that doesn’t mean it’s dangerous, it just means there isn’t enough evidence yet either way (4).


Artificial sweeteners are thought to be beneficial for diabetics or obese as it provides sweetness without calories and a choice of sweets foods to those who cannot partake refined sugars. This artificial sweeteners may indeed restrict calories but their consumption has been shown to cause mild to serious side effects ranging from nuisance headaches to potentially life-threatening cancer.


However, artificial sweeteners are generally safe to consume but should be avoided by individual with phenylketonuria (a metabolic disorder which cannot metabolize amino acid phenylalanine found in aspartame or allergic to sulfonamides as saccharin belongs to this class of compound. In short, the consumption of artificial sweeteners may poses few health concerns  but it is especially beneficial if you use them to decrease the amount of added sugar in diet. The likelihood of negative effects can vary by individual and depend on the type of artificial sweetener consumed (1). If you have bad experience or negative effects after consuming artificial sweeteners try natural sweeteners instead.   


Get started cutting down on sugar with these tips

 

  1. Consume foods or beverages low in sugar (3)

 

                                                                Source: American Heart Association

 

  1. Focus on whole foods (8)
  • No sugar diet should focus on eating whole foods as processed foods are more likely to contain refined ingredients or added sugars
  • Aim to eat foods such as:
    • Fruits and vegetables
    • Lean meat or poultry
    • Whole, unprocessed grains and legumes
    • Nuts and seeds

 

 

  1. Check food labels

a) Reading the food labels and ingredients list on packaged food is a good way to know and limit how much added sugar you eat


 

b) Identify the sugar content claims on packaged foods such as:


  • Sugar Free: one serving contains less than 0.5g of sugars, both natural and added. Also: free of sugar, sugarless, no sugar, zero sugar or trivial source of sugar
  • Reduced Sugar: Has at least 25% less sugars than the older version of the product. Also less sugar, low in sugar or lower sugar
  • No Added Sugar: No sugar or ingredients containing sugar was added during processing or packaging. Also without added sugar or no sugar added.

 

References

 

  1. Alina, P. 2019. Artificial Sweeteners: Good or Bad? Healthline. Available from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/artificial-sweeteners-good-or-bad [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  2. American Heart Association. 2018. Added Sugars [online]. Available from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/added-sugars [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  3. American Heart Association. 2018. Life is Sweet with These Easy Sugar Swaps-Info graphic [online]. Available from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/life-is-sweet-with-these-easy-sugar-swaps-infographic [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  4. American Heart Association. 2018. Non-Nutritive Sweeteners (Artificial Sweeteners) [online]. Available from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/nonnutritive-sweeteners-artificial-sweeteners [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  5. American Heart Association. 2019. By Any Other Name It’s Still Sweetener [online]. Available from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/by-any-other-name-its-still-sweetener [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  6. American Heart Association. 2020. What’s the Difference Between Sugar Free and No Added Sugar [online]. Available from https://www.heart.org/en/healthy-living/healthy-eating/eat-smart/sugar/difference-between-sugar-free-and-no-added-sugar [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  7. Arun, S., Amarnath, S., Thulasimani, M. and Ramaswamy, S. 2016. Artificial sweeteners as sugar substitute: Are they really safe? Indian Journal of Pharmacology 48(3): 237-240.
  8. Johnson, J. 2019. What to know about no-sugar diets. Medical New Today. Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/319991#why-cut-out-sugar [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  9. Kirtida, R., T. 2011. Sugar substitutes: Health controversy over perceived benefits. Journal of Pharmacology & Pharmacotherapeutics 2(4): 236-243.
  10. Maria, S., V., A., Khor, G., L. and Pauline, C. 2016. Intake of added sugar in Malaysia: a review: Asia Pacific Journal of Clinical Nutrition 25(2): 227-240.
  11. MyHealth Ministry of Health. 2014. Facts About Sugar [online]. Available from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/facts-about-sugar/[Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  12. World Health Organization. 2015. WHO calls on countries to reduce sugars intake among adults and children [press release]. Available from https://www.who.int/mediacentre/news/releases/2015/sugar-guideline/en/ [Accessed on 15 April 2020].

 


Get your Facts on Fiber!

“Eat more vegetables and fruits to get your fiber!” You may have heard these words. But what is fiber, really? How it works to improve our health? Let us take a closer look on it!

 

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our body cannot digest undigested. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules but fiber cannot be broken down into sugar and thus it will pass through our body. These carbohydrates often considered beneficial in which mostly come from fruits, vegetables and legumes (1, 3, 6).

 

Fiber comes in two varieties, both beneficial to health (3):

 

Soluble fiber

 

Dissolves in water; absorb water to form a gel like substance that slow the digestion and cause you to feel full. They have been shown to decrease cholesterol and lower blood glucose. Common source of soluble fiber includes beans, oat bran, fruits and vegetables. It is also found in pysllium, a common fiber supplement.

 

Insoluble fiber

 

Does not dissolve in water; Increase fecal bulk and appear to help food pass more quickly through the digestive tract so it can be of benefit to those who struggle with constipation and irregular stools.

 

 

 Facts About Fiber (3,4)

 

 

 

#1 Fiber aids in achieving healthy weight.

 

#2 Fiber fight diseases. It appears to reduce risk of developing various health conditions including heart disease, diabetes, constipation and breast cancer.

 

#3 Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.

 

#4 Fiber helps to regulate blood glucose.

 

#5 Recommended dietary fiber intake per day for all age group is 20-30g/day. However, if a person is not currently eating enough of fiber, he or she should increase his or her fiber intake slowly  to avoid gas and bloating.

 

 

#6 More fiber needs more water. When eating a high fiber diet, be sure to drink at least eight or more glasses of water every day.

 

#7 Fiber aids in improving digestion by increasing stool bulk and regularity. A high-fiber diet may help reduce the risk of hemorrhoids and diverticulitis.

 

#8 Too much fiber is a bad thing. You may experience abdominal cramping, bloating, gas, constipation and even diarrhea.

 

#9 Fruit and vegetable peels are rich in several nutrients including fiber. Eating unpeeled fruits and vegetables keep you feel full longer due to its high fiber content. However, certain fruit and vegetable peels may be hard to consume or simply inedible. These peels are best removed and not eaten.

 

#10 Fruits and vegetable juice has less fiber than whole fruits and vegetable. This is because the skin is removed and thus it is more healthful to eat whole fruit and vegetable.

 

#11 Fiber cannot be cooked out.

 

Tips to Increase fiber intake (5,7)

 

Consume products that have whole grain listed as the first ingredients, high fiber content and low fat and sugar content.

 

Replace white rice, bread and pasta with brown rice and whole grain products.

 

 

Include legumes in your diet (beans, dried peas and lentils)

 

 

Eat unpeeled whole fruit and vegetables not juice.

 

Snack on fruits and vegetables

 

Take a fiber supplement (e.g psyllium)

 

In conclusion,

 

Fiber is an important dietary substance to your diet. This is because high fiber foods are also good sources of vitamins, mineral and antioxidants which offer many health benefits. Therefore, as one of the key ingredients to healthy eating, fiber is something you cannot skip.

 

References

  1. Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Improving Your Health With Fiber. Available from https://my.clevelandclinic.org/health/articles/14400-improving-your-health-with-fiber [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  2. Danielle, D. 2018. How much fiber is too much. Medical New Today. Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/321286#treatment [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  3. Harvard University School of Public Health. (n.d.). Fiber. Available from https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/ [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  4. Karin, L. 2016. 45 Interesting Facts about FIber. Fact Retriever. Available from https://www.factretriever.com/fiber-facts [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  5. Kerri, A., J. 2016. 16 Easy Ways to Eat More Fiber. Healthline. Available from https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/16-ways-to-eat-more-fiber [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  6. Mayo Clinic. 2018. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Available from https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  7. My Health Ministry of Health. 2012. SERAT DAN KAWALAN DIABETES. Available from http://www.myhealth.gov.my/serat-dan-kawalan-diabetes/ [Accessed on 23 April 2020].

 


Tips to eat healthily while fasting in Ramadhan

Ramadhan is the month where Muslims around the world fast from dawn to dusk. Healthy Muslims need to fast, begin with the pre-dawn meal called ‘suhoor’ and break the fast at dusk which call ‘iftar’. Apart from Ramadhan, there are many other occasions where other religions around the world are also practicing fasting. The difference is only the method and the do’s and don’ts during the ritual. Since according to World Health Organization (WHO) there is evidence suggests that fasting have positive effects on health (1), there are also people who fast in order to lose weight (E.g: Intermittent fasting) and for health purposes.

 

What happened to your body during fasting?

 

During fasting, when no food and drink is consumed, body uses its stored carbohydrate (in the liver and muscles)  provide energy. Once all the calories from foods consumed have been used up, body will use the excess food that we consume in the form triglycerides (fat) to provide us with energy. This is when people usually loss weight.

 

Our body cannot store water so during fasting the kidneys conserve as much water as possible by reducing the amount lost in urine. However, body cannot avoid losing some water during certain process in the body such as through your skin (perspiration) and when you breathe (2).

 

Due to all these changes during fasting, we must to make sure that we practice healthy eating during fasting in order to make sure body that our body is able to cope with all this changing process by not losing nutrient needed but instead loss the unwanted fats, sugars, and cholesterol in the body.

 

4 Tips to eat healthily while fasting in Ramadhan

 

1.Do not skip ‘suhoor’

 

 

This is especially for special groups such as older people, adolescents, pregnant women, nursing mothers and as well as children who choose to fast. The meal for ‘suhoor’ must include vegetables, high fiber food can slow down the empty rates on the stomach and make individuals feel satiety. A serving of carbohydrates such as rice or bread (whole grain product is better) and protein – rich food such as egg or/ and dairy product are also a must.

 

Since ‘suhoor’ is very early in the morning and mostly people do not bother to cook for long time, thus people opt to fry their food, it is healthier to fry using air fryer where less fat (oil) is used, but apart from frying it is actually recommended to use other cooking method such as steaming or just stir fry since it use less oil.

 

During ‘suhorr’ also people tend to cook processed food such as sausages, nuggets etc, all these processed food actually contain high salt, it is better to avoid food that is high in salt, cause it will also makes one very thirsty later, thus food such as pickle, processed foods, salted meat and fish products, salty cheese and various types of ready-to-eat foods are best to avoid (1,2).

 

2. Keep hydrated

Make sure to drink 8 glass of water per day, still. Here is tip on how to drink 8 glass of water in Ramadhan according to Ministry of Health Malaysia (3).

 

Other than this, you can also increase water intake by consuming hydrating food. Try to add hydrating food such as watermelon, cucumber, tomato and green salad. You must also avoid caffeinated beverages such as coffee, tea and cola, because caffeinated beverages are diuretic (which means it makes one urinate more often when consumed) this will lead to dehydration as well. Soupy food also rich in water thus it is suggested to consume this kind of food when break the fast. During the day of the fasting period, when the temperature is high (E.g: noon) it is important to remain in a cool and shaded place and to avoid the sun (1,2).

 

 

3. Break the fast gently

 

 

When it is time for break the fast, avoid filling up on greasy foods in the form of cakes and deep-fried savory snacks. It is best to go for dates, fruit or nuts to satisfy your hunger. If you often get caught in the rush hour traffic, consider keeping these preferred choices handy in small containers in your handbag or backpack so you do not have to delay your breaking of fast. This will prevent you from getting overly famished at dinner after the prayers, where you risk overeating and causing indigestion (4).

 

In Islam also, it is a sunnah habit to consume dates when break the fast;

 

 

You may also try to consume date and water to break fast and perform maghrib prayer first, then only begin to eat  heavy meals, just as the suggestion from Ministry of Health Malaysia.

 

 

4. Moderation and variation

 

The changes to eating habits and lack of fluids during the day may cause constipation for some people. When you can eat and drink, consume plenty of high fiber foods, such as wholegrains, high fiber cereals, bran, fruit and vegetables, beans, lentils, dried fruit and nuts alongside plenty of fluids will help to ease constipation. Do some light physical activity, such as going for a walk after iftar or right before iftar in the evening will also helps with the constipation and indigestion after iftar.

 

While Ramadhan is time for people to reunite however during the pandemic of COVID19 it is best for people to not make a celebratory feast together. Iftar meals are often a time for celebration (of the day that you have successfully refrain yourself from eating and drinking) but it is still important not to go overboard when eating during Ramadan. Consuming a lot of deep fried, creamy and sweet foods may cause you to gain weight during Ramadan. Ramadan can be a good time to make changes to improve the balance of your diet that you can sustain in the longer term.

 

Be moderate in preparing ‘iftar’ and ‘suhoor’ menu. Moderation is the key when you go for grocery shopping as well. You can also practice ‘suku – suku separuh’ during ‘suhoor’ and ‘iftar’.

 

 

 

References

  1. World Health Organization (WHO) (2020). Dietary Recommendation for the month of Ramadhan. http://www.emro.who.int/nutrition/nutrition-infocus/dietary-recommendations-for-the-month-of-ramadan.html (Accessed May 8, 2020)
  2. British Nutrition Foundation (n.d). A healthy Ramadhan. https://www.nutrition.org.uk/healthyliving/seasons/ramadan.html?__cf_chl_jschl_tk__=75c06dff67f5c87204c0dc2cdd8343844c35c78f-1588901425-0-ATZP71yUnOxiGwGcgpUyrLmtTJ-b_aVnqESs0dUhbMEwJx2CMSYck_sO8RxelwmxumL_jHJv2_mGOGvWSHlXaS_XwkdLczerYyCCTS6sjsdD9iRqqIt7I_CiM5BqvX8mnxfvPxXSNRGVErKJz0u9Z-jdTIY4PV0TvLNPbbPWNeZ0FpQCI0OKjcEl-s-fgzbwiWzuJ6jfRtpYYwc37XdkKv5wE3APFD-rODoj4wdkXGHByASPcLGaYNiPWa_9x1AS7n4g0TY5EsWp3OHEeCmtpv3c4VZ3rn5QKzrtx788z_k0_J4rluYZx1CbGz3DcFaQIdFXGyIZAPcr2CYlI1MMnmlD-genvQspQrMxHnrOn6Ix2p7QlmZSgD0RKHKOIeG80w (Accessed May 8, 2020)
  3. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pulau Pinang. https://web.facebook.com/jknpenang/posts/3729048157168283?_rdc=1&_rdr  (Accessed May 8, 2020).
  4. Indra Balaratnam (2018). New Straits Times (NST). Eat Well Healthy Eating for Ramadhan. https://www.nst.com.my/lifestyle/heal/2018/05/367119/eat-well-healthy-eating-tips-ramadan (Accessed May 8, 2020).


Chocolate craving, the science behind it !


Food craving are common, particularly among women. When a person experience craving, they will have intense desire for a specific food which is commonly high in both sugar and fat.  This desire can seem uncontrollable and the person’s hunger may not be satisfied until they get that particular food. As a food high in both sugar and fat, chocolate is one of the most commonly craved foods (3,5,10).

 

Chocolate craving is purely sensory as it has a set of extremely appealing sensory characteristics. The fat in chocolate (cocoa butter) melts at body temperature producing a distinctive and pleasant oral sensation.  Moreover, chocolate also has a very attractive aroma (7).

 

 

There are several reasons people crave for chocolate and women tend to desire chocolate much more than men. Chocolate tend to boost your mood as well as to lower your stress level. It also contains some magnesium which women tend to be deficient in and thus this could explain why women seem to crave chocolate more than men. In general, people crave chocolate because it tastes good, it smells good and it feels awesome when it melts in our mouth (7).

 

The Science Behind Chocolate

 

 

Chocolate is a complex mixture which contains over 800 compounds. Dark chocolate, milk chocolate and ruby chocolate being the most recent which are made with varying proportions of chocolate, liquor, cocoa solids, cocoa butter, milk and sugar. Cocoa is a source of flavinoids and alkalinoids (theobromine and phenethylamine) and caffeine which act as stimulants to the central nervous system. It also contains cannabinoids-anandamide which is known to induce a state of happiness (2).

 

#1 Chocolate, the mood booster (6)!

 

Chocolate makes you feel happy and relax as it will release feel good neurotransmitters and thus, people often crave chocolate in stressful situation or crave when they are in need of comfort.

 

Dopamine is released into your brain when you eat chocolate which give you joy and make you happy as well as to lower your stress level. Serotonin allows us to be content, relieve depression and calming anxiety.

 

 

#2 Chocolate craving and magnesium deficiency (4)

 

 

Unstoppable chocolate craving may indicates magnesium deficiency which is most common in women. Magnesium deficiency may cause symptoms including migraine, irritability, anxiety, extreme fatigue, insomnia and lack of concentration.

So, if you find yourself suffering from these symptoms and crave chocolate it may not just be a sweet tooth you have. Try eating good quality dark chocolate bar or try magnesium supplement to curb those craving that you have.

 

#3 Chocolate craving and menstrual cycle (8)

 

 

Food cravings are one of the symptoms of premenstrual syndrome, also known as  PMS. In general, PMS is caused by hormonal fluctuations and how they affect chemical messengers in the brain, neurotransmitters. Antioxidant, anandamide in chocolate has a calming effect when combined with serotonin and tryptophan. These chemicals can boost your mood and make you feel better during your period.

 

#4 Antioxidants in chocolate

 

 

Dark chocolate rich in minerals such as iron, magnesium, zinc as well as contains several compounds that possess antioxidant properties (flavanols and polyphenols). When comparing the amount of antioxidants of dark chocolate, hot chocolate mix and fruit juices, study found that both dark chocolate and cocoa had a greater antioxidant capacity and greater total flavanols and polyphenols. Decent amounts of antioxidants in dark chocolate may promote healthy blood flow and blood pressure as well as anti-aging (9).

 

However, we would need to consume large amount of dark chocolate to get enough antioxidants to see the benefits. Milk chocolate often the chocolate of choice and it has negligible antioxidant content, especially for the amount of sugar it contains. Most processed chocolate contains high fructose corn syrup and other additives.

 

If you are in it for the antioxidants, consume really high quality dark chocolate with minimal sugar. If antioxidants are your priority, consider other foods like organic berries.

 

Eat It or Leave It (1)?

 


Most chocolate falls into one of three categories: milk chocolate, dark chocolate or white chocolate. The darkness of chocolate is determined by the proportion of cocoa solids mixed with cocoa butter and sugar. Milk chocolate contains about 10% cocoa liquor that contains both non-fat cocoa solids and cocoa butter compared with a minimum 35% found in dark chocolate. Meanwhile, white chocolate contains only cocoa butter.

 

The amount of cocoa solid in an important indicator of the amount of dietary flavonoids which are found in fruits and vegetables. Most dark chocolate is high in flavonoids but milk chocolate is usually the chocolate of choice due to it sweet taste (about twice the sugar of dark chocolate). If you enjoy chocolate, choose the high quality dark chocolate with minimal sugar. Eat it in moderation because you like it, not because you think it is good for you.

 

References

  1. American Heart Association. 2019. Are there health benefits from chocolate? Available from https://www.heart.org/en/news/2019/02/12/are-there-health-benefits-from-chocolate [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  2. Chinmayi, T., S. 2019. The Science behind Chocolate Cravings. Research Matters. Available from https://researchmatters.in/sciqs/science-behind-chocolate-cravings [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  3. Corinne, O., O. 2018. Does My Chocolate Craving Mean Anything? Healthline. Available from https://www.healthline.com/health/craving-chocolate#hunger [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  4. Emily, W. 2019. Constantly craving chocolate? Magnesium deficiency could be the reason. BetterYou. Available from https://betteryou.com/health-hub/constantly-craving-chocolate-magnesium-deficiency-could-be-the-reason/ [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  5. Johnson, J. 2017. What causes food cravings? Medical News Today. Available from https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/318441#causes [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  6. Madi, J. 2017. There’s a psychological reason why you crave chocolate all the time. BUSINESS INSIDER. Available from https://www.businessinsider.com/heres-the-reason-why-you-crave-chocolate-2017-7?IR=T [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  7. Paul, R., Elenor, L. and Carn, S. 1991. Chocolate Craving and Liking. Appetite 17: 199-212.
  8. Sara, T. 2019. Ack! I need chocolate! The science of PMS food cravings. The Conversation. Available from https://theconversation.com/ack-i-need-chocolate-the-science-of-pms-food-cravings-116341 [Accessed on 30 April 2020].
  9. Stephen, J., C., Amy, G., P., Jeffrey, W., H., Mark, K., P., Julie, M., Larry, H., Debra, L., M. 2011. Cacao seeds are a “Super Fruit””: A comparative analysis of various fruit powders and products. Chemistry Central Journal 5(5): 1-6.
  10. Susan, Y. 2003. Sugar and Fat: Craving and Aversions. The Journal of Nutrition 133 (3): 835-837.


7 Tips Penyediaan Menu Sihat & Makan Secara Sihat di Hari Raya!

Setiap tahun Hari Raya Aidilfitri ialah pada 1 Syawal tahun Hijrah. Perayaan tersebut juga dikenali sebagai Hari Raya Puasa atau Hari Raya Fitrah atau Hari lebaran. Hari Raya Aidilfitri merupakan sambutan yang diraikan oleh umat Islam di seluruh dunia setelah berjaya menjalani ibadah puasa sepanjang bulan Ramadhan.

 

Antara amalam – amalan tradisi yang dilakukan semasa Hari Raya ialah amalan ziarah – menziarahi sanak – saudara dan jiran tetangga. Amalan mengeratkan silaturahim ini sangat digalakkan dalam Islam bagi memohon kemaafan di antara satu sama lain. Akan tetapi oleh kerana Hari Raya Aidilfitri tahun ini ialah pada musim Perintah Kawalan Pergerakan Bersyarat maka, ikutlah saranan untuk beraya dengan selamat dalam kita menjauhi wabak COVID19. Walaupun sesetengah daripada kita ada yang telah mendapat vaksin tetapi masih ramai yang belum, dan sudah divaksin bukan bermakna anda tidak boleh dijangkiti wabak COVID19.

 

 

 

Semasa bulan Ramadhan sebelum ini, ramai di antara kita mengambil kesempatan menurunkan berat badan dan makan secara sihat. Walau bagaimanapun, apabila tiba musim perayaan, kebanyakan kita mengalami penambahan berat badan. Berat badan yang berjaya diturunkan sepanjang 30 hari menjalani ibadah puasa mungkin meningkat semula hanya selepas 15 hari menyambut Hari Raya. Hal ini adalah kerana, hari raya adalah masa untuk menikmati juadah hari raya yang hanya setahun sekali dimasak dan dimakan bersama – sama oleh kerana itu ramai yang mengambil kesempatan ini untuk makan juadah raya tanpa mengira jumlah kalori dan panduan pemakanan sihat (1).

 

 

 

Sebenarnya pemakanan sihat sangat mudah diikut walaupun ketika hari raya. Makan dengan sihat bukan bermaksud kita tidak dapat menikmati juadah hari raya akan tetapi makan dengan kadar yang betul dan dengan cara penyediaan makanan yang lebih sihat. Kita dapat bahagikan amalam pemakanan sihat ketika hari raya kepada dua kategori iaitu semasa penyediaan makanan dan semasa menikmati hidangan hari raya.

 

7 Tips Sediakan Hidangan Sihat di Hari Raya (1,2,3)

 

1. Kurangkan gula, minyak dan lemak dalam penyediaan biskut dan kek.

 

Gunakan ½ atau ¾ daripada kuantiti gula yang biasa digunakan semasa menyediakan biskut dan kek. Jika perlu, gunakan gula gantian bagi mendapatkan biskut atau kek yang sempurna tekstur dan rasanya.

 

 

2. Gunakan daging yang telah dibuang lemak atau ayam yang telah dibuang kulit.

 

 

 

3. Kurangkan mensajikan makanan yang bersantan, bergoreng dan berminyak.

 

4. Gantikan penggunaan santan dengan susu rendah lemak dalam penyediaan rendang dan kuah lontong.

 

 

 

5. Potong ayam atau daging dalam size yang kecil.

 

6. Gunakan ramuan tinggi serat untuk membuat  biskut dan kuih raya seperti tepung bijirin penuh, oat dan buah prun.

7. Kurangkan penggunaan pewarna tiruan dalam penyediaan kuih-muih, kek dan puding. Sebaliknya gunakan pewarna semulajadi seperti dari sumber daun pandan dan sebagainya.

 

7 Tips Makan Secara Sihat Di Hari Raya (1,2,3)

 

1. Makan dalam saiz hidangan atau kuantiti yang kecil.

 

Pemilihan pinggan yang lebih kecil membantu dalam mengurangkan pengambilan makanan lebih – lebih lagi jika anda makan secara buffet.

 

2. Pilih makanan yang rendah kalori seperti buah-buahan serta makanan yang kurang minyak, lemak dan santan.

 

 

 

3. Pilih makanan tinggi serat untuk mengelakkan sembelit.

 

 

4. Hadkan pengambilan makanan yang manis dan berlemak seperti biskut raya dan dodol.

 

Anda juga boleh mengehadkan pengambilan kuih-muih atau kek semasa hari raya kepada hanya 5 biji kuih raya sehari dan kurangkan pengambilan makanan manis yang lain.

 

 

 

5. Pilih buah- buahan segar sebagai pencuci mulut.

 

6. Hadkan pengambilan makanan yang tinggi kandungan garam seperti kerepek

 

 

7. Minum air kosong berbanding minuman berperisa, minuman berkarbonat dan minumam yang manis.

 

 

Senang bukan? Ikutilah panduan pemakanan sihat semasa hari raya ini, agar usaha anda untuk menurunkan berat badan sepanjang bulan Ramadhan tidak sia – sia. Bagi individu yang mempunyai masalah kesihatan, hari raya bukanlah tiket untuk anda menikmati juadah tanpa mengambil kira faktor kesihatan ya!

 

Akhir sekali, selamat menyambut Hari Raya Aidilfitri, semoga hari raya ini memberi keceriaan kepada kita semua!

 

Rujukan

1. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Perancangan dan Pemilihan Menu Sihat Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri. http://nutrition.moh.gov.my/wpcontent/uploads/penerbitan/buku/Menu%20Rumah%20Terbuka%20Hari%2 0Raya%202013.pdf

2. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Makan Secara Sihat di Hari Raya. https://www.infosihat.gov.my/index.php/multimedia/bukukecil/item/makan-secara-sihat-di-hari-raya

3. Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Perak. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), bahagian Pemakanan. Makan secara sihat di hari raya. http://jknperak.moh.gov.my/v4/index.php/my/arkib-berita/69-informasikesihatan/509-makan-secara-sihat-di-hari-raya.html

TINJAUN KEBANGSAAN KESIHATAN MALAYSIA (NHMS), Kenapa perlu kita khuatir?

Tinjauan Kebangsaan Kesihatan Malaysia atau Nama Inggerisnya, National Health Morbidity Survey Malaysia (NHMS) adalah survei kesihatan yang dibuat setiap empat tahun oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) bertujuan untuk mengenal pasti status kesihatan rakyat Malaysia. Tinjauan ini adalah tinjauan yang melibatkan negeri di seluruh Malaysia.

 

Tinjauan ini mengkaji beberapa perihal aspek kesihatan yang terpenting seperti penyakit tidak berjangkit yang dialami oleh rakyat Malaysia iaitu obesiti, kencing manis, darah tinggi, dan masalah kolesterol. Ia juga merangkumi aspek pemakanan seperti  pengambilan makanan dan minuman sihat, aspek kesihatan mental, kesihatan seksual dan pengambilan dadah. Selain daripada itu, tinjauan ini juga mengkaji aspek yang melibatkan perkhidmatan kesihatan di Malaysia.

 

Terdapat beberapa perkara serius menurut hasil dapatan ini iaitu;

 

1 daripada 2 dewasa di Malaysia adalah obese!

 

Obese atau obesity adalah masalah lebihan berat badan yang di alami oleh individu, yang berpunca daripada pelbagai faktor. Namun, apa yang lebih membimbangkan adalah, menjadi obese ini sendiri adalah merupakan risiko utama kepada masalah kesihatan seperti kencing manis, darah tinggi, kolesterol, masalah jantung serta masalah kesihatan yang lain – lain lagi.

 

Jika perkara ini berterusan, bayangkan setiap orang yang anda jumpai separuh daripadanya adalah obese dan mempunyai kencing manis, darah tinggi dan sebagainya!! Menurut kajian ini, inidividu yang mengalami obesity tertinggi adalah wanita iaitu sebanyak 57.6%, kaum india iaitu sebnayak 63% dan dalam kalangan mereka yang berumur 55 – 59 tahun.

 

 

Antara lain perkara yang membimbangkan ialah masalah kencing manis dalam kalangan rakyat Malaysia.

 

1 daripada 5 dewasa mengalami masalah diabetes!

 

Diabetes atau kencing manis adalah keadaan di mana paras gula dalam darah menjadi tinggi. Hal ini berpunca daripada kekerapan pengambilan makanan yang tidak sihat. Makanan yang tinggi karbohidrat, gula dan lemak dan gaya hidup yang tidak aktif.

 

Selain daripada peratusan obesity yang semakin meningkat saban hari, yang mengeruhkan keadaan ini juga adalah pengambilan minuman yang manis, menurut tinjauan,sebanyak 53.2% individu di Malaysia minum minuaman manis yang disediakan sendiri setiap hari, 4.2% individu minum minuman berkarbonat setiap hari dan 6.7% individu minum minuam 3 dalam 1 setiap hari.

 

Menurut tinjauan ini, seramai 3.9 juta dewasa berusia lebih dari 18 tahun menghidapi penyakit kencing manis. Kebanyakkan dari mereka yang berumur 18 – 40 tahun tidak tahu bahawa mereka menghidapi kencing manis.

 

Antar negeri yang mempunyai prevalen kencing manis yang tinggi adalah Negeri Sembilan (33.2%), Perlis (32.6%), dan Pahang (25.7%).

 

Antara gejala yang melibatkan masalah kencing manis ialah, keletihan, kerap membuang air kecil, kehausan yang melampau, penurunan berat badan, dan kerap mengalami jangkitan kuman. Sekiranya anda tidak mempunya gejala seperti ini, anda juga boleh melakukan saringan kencing manis jika anda mempunyai berat badan yang berlebihan, BMI melebihi 23 kg/m2 atau ukur lilit pinggang melebihi 80 cm untuk wanita dan 90 cm untuk lelaki.

 

Kegagalan mengenal pasti masalah kencing manis dengan lebih awal akan menyebabkan komplikasi yang lebih serius di masa akan datang.

 

 

4 daripada 10 dewasa mengalami masalah kolesterol

 

Seramai 8 juta rakyat Malaysia mempunyai masalah tinggi kolesterol, iaitu 4 daripada 10 orang mengalaminya. Bacaan kadar bagi tinggi kolesterol ialah sebanyak 5.2 mmol dan ke atas. Mereka yang berumur 40 – 59 tahun adalah individu yang paling ramai tidak mengetahui bahawa mereka mempunyai tahap kolesterol yang tinggi. Hanya 63% daripada individu yang mempunyai masalah kolesterol yang tinggi Berjaya mengawal tahap kolesterol dengan pengambilan ubat – ubatan.

 

3 daripada 10 dewasa mengalami  Hipertensi

 

Hipertensi atau tekanan darah tinggi yang tidak dikawal boleh mengakibatkan serangan jantung, strok dan pelbagai penyakit kardiovaskular yang lain. Bacaan kadar tekanan darah tinggi yang tidak terkawal ialah bacaan yang melebihi 140/ 96 mmHg. Lelaki yang berumur 30 tahun ke bawah adalah mempunyai 3 kali ganda lebih ramai menghidapi hipertensi berbanding wanita. Dalam 6.4 juta rakyat Malaysia yang mengalami hipertensi atau tekanan darah tinggi, hanya separuh yang menyedari bahawa mereka menghidapi penyakit ini.

 

Kesimpulannya, masalah seperti obesity, kencing manis, darah tinggi dan tinggi kolesterol mempunyai perkaitan rapat antara satu sama lain. Penyakit – penyakit ini membawa komplikasi yang lebih serius dalam jangka masa panjang dan merupakan risiko kepada masalah kardiovaskular yang juga merupakan penyebab kematian nombor satu di Malaysia. Seramai 1.7 juta individu di Malaysia mempunyai tiga faktor risiko manakala seramai 3.4 juta individu di Malaysia mengalami faktor risiko utama.

 

 

 

 

Bagi mengatasi masalah ini, individu perlu mengawal bacaan tekanan darah iaitu bacaan perlu kurang dari 140/ 90 mmHg. Individu juga perlu mengamalkan diet yang seimbang dan sihat bagi mengekalkan berat badan yang ideal, selalu bersenam dan menghindari rokok dan alkohol.

 

Rujukan

  1. Tinjauan Kebangsaan Kesihatan dan Morbiditi (2009). Penyakit tidak berjangkit, permintaan jagaan kesihatan dan literasi kesihatan. Penemuan Utama, Infografik Booklet. Institut Kesihatan Umum.

 

  1. Tinjauan Kebangsaan Kesihatan dan Morbiditi (2009). Lembaran Fakta. Penyakit tidak berjangkit, permintaan jagaan kesihatan dan literasi kesihatan. Lembaran Fakta. Institut Kesihatan Umum.

 

 

  1. Portal Rasmi Pendidikan Kesihatan Malaysia (MyHealth) (2016). Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Bagaimana Diabetes dikesan? http://pendidikanpesakit.myhealth.gov.my/bagaimana-diabetes-dikesan/

 

  1. Portas Rasmi Pendidikan Kesihatan Malaysia (MyHealth) (2008). Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Obesity and Overweight. http://pendidikanpesakit.myhealth.gov.my/bagaimana-diabetes-dikesan/

 

Diabetes and nerve complication, is there a solution to this?


Diabetes and nerve complication, is there a solution to this?

Diabetes is the metabolic condition that occurs when the blood glucose or blood sugar in the body is high. The normal reading for blood sugar level in the body for fasting should be between 4 mmol/l to 6 mmol/l, whereas after food should be less than 8 mmol/l. As for using more precise indicator of blood sugar level is by measuring HbA1c, it should be not more than 6.5 mmol/l. HbA1c is a much more precise indicator since it measures the amount of glucose bound to the red blood cells in the last three months. The higher the blood sugar levels the higher the HbA1c values (1,2, 3).

 

 

Blood glucose is the main source of energy and it comes from the food that we consumed. In order to convert this energy from food, that we consumed to the cells, body need, a hormone called insulin, which is made in pancreas, with the help from this insulin hormone, energy from food is then converted into the cells. Complication occur when, body does not able to make enough or any insulin or does not use insulin well, thus glucose or sugar stays in the blood and does not reach the cells (2).

 

Over time, having too much glucose in blood can cause health problems. Although diabetes has no cure, individuals can take steps to manage your diabetes and stay healthy. Some of the complication with relation to diabetes are, cardiovascular disease, diabetes neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (eye damage) and many more.

 

 

In this article, we are going to focus on the complication with regards to the nerve damage or so called, neuropathy. Excess sugar can injure the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish nerves, especially in legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning or pain that usually begins at the tips of the toes or fingers and gradually spreads upward. If it is left untreated, individual could lose all sense of feeling in the affected limbs (4).

 

There are many researches that are conducted in effort to lower the risk of diabetic neuropathy complication, among that is the usage of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). ALA is the type of antioxidant that is found in many types of food, but very low in quantity. It is found in food such as spinach, broccoli, yams, tomatoes, potatoes, carrot, beets, and rice bran. Whereas in animal-based food, higher concentration of lipoic acid (LA) is found in the heart, liver, and kidney (5).

 

Human body can synthesize LA in the liver. LA or ALA is function as to helps in glucose and lipid metabolism, as an anti-inflammation, has an antioxidant property which can be used to regenerate the other antioxidant and reparation of oxidized protein and chelating of metal ions. Whereas in the body of the individuals with diabetes, ALA increase the sensitivity of the insulin (6).

 

 

As an antioxidant, ALA or LA, helps in fighting free radicals or oxidative stress that comes from three sources in the body of the individuals of diabetes mellitus, which is from mitochondrial pathway, enzymatic pathway or non – enzymatic pathway. As for the function of ALA that is focused on diabetes itself, several clinical trials have found now found that ALA may increase insulin sensitivity and help to reduce blood sugar and lipid. There are two detailed study involving this, which is when ALA is being administered for two weeks in 22 patients and improvement is seen on the fasting and average glucose level, insulin sensitivity, LDL and HDL, and total cholesterol, however the study is too short to measure the HBa1C level. So, another study with regards to this is the study that administered ALA orally to 74 patients for 4 weeks, this study also found the improvements on the insulin resistance and fasting glucose (7).

 

 

As for the function of ALA solely on the diabetic neuropathy, it is a possible alternative remedy for diabetic neuropathy. Neuropathy or nerve damage is a permanent and common complication with diabetes. However, the symptoms can be alleviated by using ALA (8).

 

There are two types of neuropathy which is peripheral neuropathy which most commonly occur in feet and legs but can also sometimes occur in hands and arms. It can also cause numbness or inability to feel changes in temperature, tingling or burning sensation, muscle weakness, a loss of balance, foot problems including ulcer or infection, sharp pain, or cramps. Whereas autonomic neuropathy can affect your autonomic nervous system such as heart, bladder, lungs, stomach, and intestines, this include difficulty of swallowing, constipation or uncontrollable diarrhea, bladder problems, erectile dysfunction, decrease or increase in sweating, sharp drops in blood pressure and many more (8).

 

In conclusion, studies show that ALA is able to helps in alleviating symptoms of diabetes and diabetes neuropathy. However, the right management of diabetes such as the intake of its medication such as metformin and diet control together with the physical activity must be done side to side.

 

References

  1. National Institute if Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). United States Department of Health and Human Services. What is Diabetes? https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/diabetes/overview/what-is-diabetes#:~:text=Diabetes%20is%20a%20disease%20that,to%20be%20used%20for%20energy. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. National Diabetes Institute of Malaysia (NADI). https://www.diabetesmalaysia.com.my/article.php?aid=8#:~:text=Your%20target%20blood%20glucose%20levels,in%20the%20last%203%20months. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for Management of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. 5th Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/Penerbitan/CPG/Endocrine/3b.pdf (Accessed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. Mayo Clinic. Diabetes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444 (Accessed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/supplement-guide-alpha-lipoic-acid (Accesed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. Saeid Golbidi, Mohammad Badran and Ismail Laher. Diabetes and Alpha Lipoic Acid (2011). Frontiers in Pharmacology. Journal of Pharmacology.NCBI. DOI 10.3389/fphar.2011.00069

 

  1. Diabetes Action. Alpha Lipoic Acid. https://diabetesaction.org/article-alpha-lipoic-acid#:~:text=While%20most%20of%20the%20research,of%20oxidative%20stress%20and%20inflammation. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).

 

  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Diabetic Neuropathy. https://www.healthline.com/health/alpha-lipoic-acid-and-diabetes (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


DURIAN!!! Eat whole durian is equivalent to 3 bowl of rice?

Durian or ‘King of fruit’ is a well-known fruit for its smell. Anthony Bourdain, the late renowned food critic describes durian as “It smelled like you buried someone holding a big wheel of Stilton (cheese) in his arms, then dug him few weeks later” (1). That is to describe how horrible the smell of durian is, but to certain people who like to eat durian the smell of durian to them is heaven!

 

Durian actually has more than 30 species but the one that people usually eat are about 8 species only, due to its exotic nature, people have started to commercialized durian even to the international level. The most common durian being exported and widely consumed is Durio Zibethinus (2).


Due to its popularity, people started to questioning about durian health benefits, whether it is good or bad for health? Unlike apple, orange, guava and many other common fruits where people always equate it to “an apple a day keeps the doctor away” which means, consuming all these fruits are going to make you healthier, since it is packed full with nutrients that is good for body. For durian, the opinion regarding its health effect is mixing, some people say that it is good for health and can even be used to alleviate infertility or PCOS, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome  and some people say that it is heaty thus cannot be consumed too much etc. (3).

 

In general, durian is considered a safe fruit to eat just like any other fruit, but since durian has high calorie value, thus it is not advisable to consume in large amount unlike other fruits. Look at the infographic below to understand, calorie in durian in comparison with other fruits (4).

 


Here is the calorie of durian per seeds, surprisingly eating  5 seeds of durian is equivalent to a bowl of rice! ANDDDD IF A DURIAN CONSISTS OF 15 SEEDS IT IS EQUIVALENT TO 3 BOWL OF RICE! Thus, the recommended intake of durian is only 2-3 seeds, which is equivalent to about per serving of fruits or 90 kcal.

 



Though, it is crystal clear here that it is safe to eat durian within recommended amount, but there are people who should be even more cautious in consuming durian, that is people who are obese, people who have diabetes and people who have kidney problem. As for people who are obese and diabetes, it is due to its high calorie, high carbohydrate and high fats value thus should be extra careful on the consumption of durian. Whereas for people with kidney problem or undergoing dialysis, due to high potassium content in durian and it is difficult for their body to excrete potassium, thus, they must avoid eating TOO MUCH durian at all cost (4)!

 



Apart from its high calorie content durian has many benefits as well. It has high antioxidant effect, which makes it a potent fruit to fight against cancer. Durian contains high vitamins, nutrients and organic chemicals that function as antioxidant. All these antioxidants are vital in scavenging the free radicals, that potentially mutated and becoming cancer cells. Which is why it is very important to consume food that is high in antioxidant. It also contains high vitamin C, vitamin B complex and vitamin E, as well as phytonutrients that battle cancerous cells (2).

 

Durian also, is found to helps in maintaining healthy bones due to its high potassium content. It can help in alleviating depression and sleeping problem, for it contain tryptophan – a natural sleep-inducing compound, that can increase level of serotonin and melatonin for better sleep and emotion management. Durian also contain high fibre which can aids in digestion and helps in infertility for it has high estrogen hormone for conceiving (2).


Albeit durian has many health benefits, when it comes to its consumption with other foods and beverages such as alcohol, it is said that it can interfere with liver function. In detail, durian contain sulphur-containing volatiles which can inhibit the enzyme aldehyde dehydrogenase (enzyme that helps in process alcohol), thus explaining why consuming durian together with alcohol is a deadly mixed (4).


As for the consumption of durian with paracetamol, there is no study on human has been conducted, so far. But there is study on lab rat regarding this. The study shows that, rat that receive paracetamol and durian gives sign of hypothermic effect (significant drop in temperature) thus explain that the two mixture is toxic. However, the mechanism of toxicity is still unknown. To be safe, it is not safe to consume durian together with paracetamol (5).

 

In conclusion, for people who does not have any health concerns, consume durian within the recommended intake and consume it in moderation, is very much advisable. While for those who have health concerns, eat durian very minimally, it is advisable to eat other types of fruit that have lower calorie count as compared to durian, but since it is in the season thus consume it very minimally with caution towards calorie intake from other food types as well is recommended.

 

 

References


  1. The Star. Benefits of eating durian? Its rich in antioxidant but its fattening (2019). https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/2019/09/10/eating-durian-healthy-or-not/ (Accessed on June 17, 2020).

 

  1. Tan M.C & Shyamala A. (2018). Exploring the Nutritional Content and Benefits of Durian (Durio Zibethinus). Institute of Bioproduct Development, Universiti Teknologi Mara. https://www.utm.my/ibd/project/exploring-the-nutritional-contents-and-benefits-of-durian-durio zibethinus/#:~:text=Durian%20is%20widely%20celebrated%20for,and%20protect%20against%20cardiovascular%20diseases. (Accessed on June 17, 2020).

 

  1. Reshma M. Ansari (2016). Potential Use of Durian Fruit (Durio Zibenthinus linn) as an Adjunct to treat Infertility in Polycystic Ovarian Synrdome (PCOS). PubMed. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26778225/ (Accessed on June 17, 2020).

 

  1. International Medical University (IMU). Can A Durian A Day Keep the Doctor Away? http://imunews.imu.edu.my/people/can-a-durian-a-day-keep-the-doctor-away/ (Accessed on June 17, 2020).

 

  1. A. Chua., H. Nurhaslina., S.H. Gan. (2008). Hyperthermic Effect of Durio Zibethinnus and Its Interaction with Paracetamol. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19271022/#:~:text=Because%20durian%20(Durio%20zibethinus)%2C,a%20risk%20of%20toxic%20effects 

L – Carnitine, Can it Improve Diabetes?


L- Carnitine is an amino acid that is produced in the body. L – Carnitine helps body to turn fat into energy. In another words, L – Carnitine helps the body to produce energy. L – Carnitine is important for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and many other body processes (1).

 

How does it work?

 

There are many studies found out that L – Carnitine is able to improves insulin sensitivity. By improving insulin sensitivity, it makes body able to convert food into energy. Here is the baseline on how food is converted into energy or fat in the body.


When there is food intake, there will be enzyme namely insulin, where it will convert all the food intake from glucose to the glycogen and store it in the body until it is then further used (2).

 


Meanwhile, this is what happened when you need the energy, the glucagon enzyme in the body will then breakdown the glycogen stored into glucose and use it as energy or better known as ATP (2).


 

The Overall pathway.

 

This is where L- Carnitine plays it role. When L- Carnitine supplementation is given to the rat, the mice that is fed with high fat diet is able to lower its blood glucose level as compared to mice that is given high fat diet without L- Carnitine supplementation (3).

 

Another study which was conducted in human also found the same result, where the studies found out that L – carnitine supplementation is able to reduce insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity. The study also suggests that, current management for diabetes patient which include diet modification, administration of medication and physical activities, in the future may be improved with the consumption of supplementation such as L -Carnitine (4). The study further suggests that the consumption of 3g of L – carnitine per day may improve diabetes condition, but its consumption must be accompanied by consultation from medical professional (4). However, there are also studies who suggest that the intake of L – Carnitine might posses some side effect thus, the safe consumption level is below 2g/day.

Since public might misinterpret it as a ‘magic pills’ where if you consume it as a diabetes patient you then are able to eat whatever you want. No! A diabetes patient must still adhere or comply to the diabetes diet, physical activity and diabetes medication but since diabetes is the progressive disease, where the condition is able to worsen progressively thus, all the action including intake of supplement may slower it progress (4).

 

Where can L – Carnitine be found?

 

Apart from supplemented product, L – Carnitines can be found naturally in  food such as beef and fish.

Beef: 81 mg/ 3 ounces

Pork: 24 mg/ 3 ounces

Fish: 5 mg/ 3 ounces

Chicken: 3 mg/ 3 ounces

Milk: 8 mg/ 3 ounces

 

References

 

1. WebMD. L – Carnitine. https://www.webmd.com/vitamins/ai/ingredientmono-1026/l-carnitine (Accessed on July 13, 2020).

 

2. Feedback Loop of Insulin and Glucagon.
https://www.biologycorner.com/2017/08/22/feedback-loops-insulin-andglucagon/ (Accessed on July 13, 2020).

 

3. Randall L. Mynat (2009). Carnitine and Type 2 Diabetes. NCBI. PMC Journal. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5707127/ (Accessed on July 13, 2020).

 

4. Mingroe, Graco et al., (1999). L- carnitine Improves Glucose Disposal in Type 2 Diabetes Patient. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/10067662/#:~:text=Conclusions%3A%20L%2Dcarnitine%20constant%20infusion,also%20observed%20in%20normal%20subjects. (Accessed on July 13, 2020).

 

5. Healthline. L – Carnitine: Benefits, Sides Effects, Sources and Dosage.
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/l-carnitine (Accessed on July 13,
2020).

 


Diabetic Retinopathy

Diabetes is a type of chronic disease; it occurs when the glucose in the blood is high than normal. It is one of the leading causes for heart problem as well. In Malaysia, according to National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, there are about 3.9 million people aged 18 years old and above has diabetes. Meaning, one in every five adult has diabetes, and the prevalence is higher in states such as Negeri Sembilan (33.2%), Perlis (32.6%), and Pahang (25.7%). The prevalence of people who have undiagnosed diabetes in Malaysia is high as well, undiagnosed diabetes occurs when people has never checked their blood glucose level in their entire life or rarely check it (1).

 

 

To understand diabetes better, it occurs when pancreas in the body does not produce enough insulin anymore, or condition where the insulin is not working well anymore. Insulin is needed in order to transport glucose in the blood vessels to cells and tissue. When insulin is insufficient, glucose cannot be transported to the intended organ thus  causing high glucose level in the blood vessels and damaged to the organ and tissue that does not get sufficient glucose to function and also damaged to the blood vessels who is exposed to high glucose level (2).

 

There is various complication due to diabetes condition such as kidney problem, heart problem, diabetic food disease, nerve problem, and eyes problem. Nerve problem is when diabetic person started to feel tingling and numbness in their peripherals (legs and hands), which is commonly referred to as diabetic neuropathy.  Diabetic food disease or gangrene is when diabetic person is exposed to wound, it must be handled with care since it can be dangerous to the extent of amputation. Eyes problem or diabetes retinopathy is the one that can lead to blindness, that we are going to discuss in detail in this article (2,3).

 

 

Diabetes retinopathy is the condition when retina is damaged, and it is because of diabetic complication. When glucose level is high in blood, it will then cause blockage in the blood vessels, this will make the blood vessels easily ruptured. Thus, causing impaired vision and blindness (2,3).

 

In the early stage, there is no significant symptoms to this problem, however as things get serious, person will experience seeing floaters or black dots in the vision. They will the started to experience obscure vision, night blindness and diplopia (double image seen) (2,3).

 

Risk factor to this problem includes those who have been diagnosed with diabetic in the long time (more than 5 years), those who have poor control of blood glucose level, cholesterol level, blood pressure level and low haemoglobin. Those who have gestational diabetes is as well have high risk of getting diabetes retinopathy (2,3).

 

There are two types of diabetic retinopathy (2,4);

 

   Non – Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

Non-proliferative diabetic retinopathy (NPDR) is the early stage of the disease in which symptoms will be mild or non-existent. In NPDR, the blood vessels in the retina are weakened. Tiny bulges in the blood vessels, called microaneurysms, may leak fluid into the retina. This leakage may lead to swelling of the macula.

 

Proliferative Diabetic Retinopathy

 

Proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR) is the more advanced form of the disease. At this stage, circulation problems deprive the retina of oxygen. As a result, new, fragile blood vessels can begin to grow in the retina and into the vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the back of the eye. The new blood vessels may leak blood into the vitreous, clouding vision.

 

 

In order to prevent diabetic retinopathy from occur, it is recommended for person with diabetes to control their blood sugar level, control blood pressure level, stop smoking, regularly exercise, and maintain their ideal weight. Apart from these, person with diabetes may as well, conduct yearly eyes screening. Eyes screening for diabetic person will be conducted using fundus non mydriatic camera, where image of the eyes will be captured and optometrist, eyes doctor or eyes specialist will then grade the image to see whether the eyes condition is normal or abnormal. Abnormal condition includes bleeding swelling in retina, abnormal optic disk, tore retina and many more.

 

References

  1. National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019. Institute Kesihatan Umum (IKU), Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia.
  2. Fatanah Ismail. Diabetes Mellitus (2008). MyHealth Portal. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/diabetes-mellitus-3/ (Accessed on August 21, 2020).
  3. Ainayanti Adnan. Diabetis: Mesti Jalani Pemeriksaan Mata (2016). MyHealth Portal. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/diabetes-mesti-jalani-pemeriksaan-mata/ (Accessed on August 21, 2020).
  4. Diabetic Retinopathy (n.d). American Optometric Association (AOA). https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/eye-and-vision-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy?sso=y (Accessed on August 21, 2020).


Is artificial sweetener good for health?

Artificial sweeteners are low-calorie or calorie-free chemical substances used instead of sugar to sweeten foods and drinks. Sacharin, was the first artificial sweetener discovered in John Hopkin. It was then use widely, to the point that it was used during world war II when there was a sugar shortage, and when the shift in the perspective viewing thin figure as beauty. Sacharine is 300 times sweeter than sucrose but it has bitter after taste, which makes scientist discover cyclamate, aspartame and many more. As of 2018, there are eight Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved artificial sweeteners which are, acesulfame K (Sunnet), aspartame (Nutrasweet), saccharin (Sweet and Low, Necta sweet), neotame (New tame), sucralose (Splenda), stevia (Truvia), advantame, and Luo Han Guo fruits extract (Nectresse).

 

With the advancement in the technology of discovering all these non-calorie artificial sweeteners, thousands of products ranging from drinks, desserts, ready to eat food, baby food, frozen food, and toothpaste start to use this non-calorie artificial sweeteners. But,

 

 

Is artificial sweetener healthy? (2, 4, 5)

 

Although it has been approved by FDA that it is safe to consume artificial sweeteners within the Acceptable Daily Intake (ADI), but the healthiness of artificial sweeteners is somewhat questionable though many individuals with diabetic are consuming it as a means to control their blood sugar level.

 

Several large-scale studies using artificial sweetener come up that the consumption of artificial sweeteners had no effect on energy intake unlike glucose or sucrose, when it does not possess any effect on the energy intake or consumption of food, it trigger a response to keep the overall energy consumption constant.

 

We can see this clearly in the rat model study, where rodent that is supplemented with saccharin had significantly elevated total energy intake and gain more weight with increase body adiposity (fat) compared to those that conditioned with glucose. It was seen that, rodent that was given saccharin consume more food than those that is not given saccharin.

 

While in the human studies, the San Antonio Heart Study that examined 3, 682 adult over seven to eight year period of time found out that BMI of those who consumed artificial sweetener is significantly increased as compared to those who do not. Nurses’ Health Study reported similar observation among children.

 

 

 

Why is that so? (2)

 

The explanation on this is owe to on how our brain function when we consume food. When we consume food, it is not only that our digestive system is activated but as well as our mind. Food reward system shares the same brain circuitry with other pleasurable activities such as sex and drug administration, thus share the same behavioural paradigm such as binging, withdrawal, and craving. Food rewards consist of two branches: sensory and postingestive (after eating). When we eat, our mind activates in order to tell our body that we are already full, or we feel full (satiety) or when we are satisfied with the food (mesolimbic dopamine system). Mesolimbic dopamine system is a system that is activated whenever a pleasant taste causes us to be satisfied with the food that we consumed.

 

However, when we consume food from artificial sweetener, it is somehow does not activate mind into signalling that we are satisfied with the food, thus those who consume artificial sweetener tend to consume more food, this trick has cause individuals to eat even more, some more thinking that they consume non-calorie artificial sweeteners, thus making them easily gain weight.

 

 

In conclusion (1)

 

Data on artificial sweeteners is still scarce as compared to other kind of things, where even health professionals have different take on whether it is okay for the body. To make thing safe, whatever things that we consume must always be in moderation, balance, and variety. It is very essential for individuals with diabetes to know on how to estimate their calorie intake and identify the food that can instantly spike their blood glucose level and food that will slowly increase the blood glucose level, so that they can manage their blood glucose better.

 

Different kind of artificial sweeteners have different level of sweetness as compared to sucrose; it also has different side effect in terms of its bitter after taste. Some of it even is not suitable to certain cooking temperature like baking. Some of it is even not suitable to certain medical condition such as phenylketonuria (PKU), a condition when an individual is unable to metabolize amino acid phenylalanine, thus cannot consume food that has phenylalanine such as aspartame.

 

Also, if you are considering taking artificial sweetener, do consult medical professional so they may calculate the amount needed based on your body weight per day.

 

References

  1. National Health Service (NHS). U.K. The Truth About Sweeteners. https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/eat-well/are-sweeteners-safe/ (Accessed on September 9, 2020).
  2. Qing Yang (2010). Gain weight by “going diet?” Artificial sweeteners and the neurobiology of sugar cravings. Department of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology, Yale University. YALE JOURNAL OF BIOLOGY AND MEDICINE 83 (2010), pp. 101-108.
  3. S Food and Drugs Administration (FDA) (2018). Additional Information about High-Intensity Sweeteners Permitted for Use in Food in the United States. https://www.fda.gov/food/food-additives-petitions/additional-information-about-high-intensity-sweeteners-permitted-use-food-united-states (Accessed on September 9, 2020).
  4. Mc Clave, S., Obert, J., Casey, L. (2017). The Association Between Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity. Nutrition and Obesity. Current Gastroenterology Reports volume 19, Article number: 64 (2017).
  5. Brown, R. J., De Banate, M. A., & Rother, K. I. (2010). Artificial sweeteners: a systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 5(4), 305-312.

 


The importance of Fiber

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that our body is unable to digest. Though most carbohydrates are broken down into sugar molecules, fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, and instead it passes through the body undigested. Fiber helps to regulate sugars in the body and helps to keep hunger and blood sugar in check. Children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grams of fiber per day for good health. It can be obtained through consuming diet rich with whole grains food, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fruits.

 

There are two types of fiber, which are soluble fiber and insoluble fibre.

 

  • Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that dissolves in water, it can help to lower glucose levels and blood cholesterol levels. Foods with soluble fiber include oatmeal, nuts, beans, lentils, apples and blueberries.
  • Insoluble fiber is a type of fiber that does not dissolve in water, it can help food to move through the digestive system, promoting regularity and help to prevent constipation. Foods with insoluble fibers are wheat, whole wheat bread, whole grain couscous, brown rice, legumes, carrots, cucumbers, and tomatoes.

 

There are various studies confirming that consumption of diet high in fiber helps to make overall body function healthier.

 

Heart Health.

 

In a Harvard study with over 40, 000 male health professionals, researcher found out that consumption of high fiber diet reduce 40% risk of getting coronary heart disease. Another study conducted by Harvard among females nurses also found the similar findings, high fiber diet lowers the risk of metabolic syndrome (a combination factor of getting heart disease and diabetes). These factors are high blood pressure, high insulin levels, excess weight, high triglycerides level, and low HDL level (good cholesterol level).

 

 

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

 

Diet low in fiber and high in carbohydrates and fat can cause sudden spike in blood sugar, this can lead to increasing risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Both Harvard studies with female nurse and male health professionals, found that this type of diet increase more than doubled risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

Other studies such as Black Women’s Health Study and the European Prospective Investigation into Cancer and Nutrition have shown similar results.

 

 

Constipation.

 

The fiber in wheat bran and oat bran is considered more effective than fiber from fruits and vegetables. Experts recommend increasing fiber intake gradually rather than suddenly, and because fiber absorbs water, beverage intake should be increased as well as fiber intake increases.

 

 

Cancer.

 

Fiber is shown to decreases risk of breast cancer through a large-scale study in 2016, where findings of the study indicates that higher fiber intake reduces breast cancer risk, suggesting that fiber intake during adolescents and early adulthood may be particularly important.

 

In another word, women who consume higher fiber foods during adolescents and young adulthood, including vegetables and fruits, may have significantly lower breast cancer risk than those who eat less dietary fiber when young.

 

In conclusion, consumption of sufficient fiber can gives various benefits to human body, according to Malaysia Food Pyramid 2020, it is recommended to consume 3 servings of vegetables and fruits daily.  However, according to National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) about 95% of Malaysian do not consume enough vegetables and fruits daily, which is why sometimes consumption of fiber supplement can help to  bridge the gap of poor dietary intake.

 

Reference

1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Fiber. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/carbohydrates/fiber/
2. National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2019). Chapter 09, Of fruits, veggies, and plain water.  http://iptk.moh.gov.my/images/technical_report/2020/4_Infographic_Booklet_NHMS_2019_-_English.pdf 
3. Malaysia Food Pyramid 2020. Ministry of Health Malaysia. Nutrition Division. 

 


Diet Suku – Suku Separuh

Suku – suku separuh diet adalah saranan diet oleh Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) untuk cara pemakanan sihat. Pelbagai langkah dan inisiatif telah dilakukan bagi mempromosikan amalan pemakanan sihat kepada rakyat Malaysia.

 

MegaLive menyambut baik saranan ini dengan turut sama mempromosikan amalan pemakanan sihat ini kepada semua.

 

Suku – suku separuh adalah diet yang merangkumi suku jumlah karbohidrat seperti nasi, mee, bihun, capati, roti dll, suku jumlah protein seperti ayam, ikan, sotong dll dan separuh jumlah sayur – sayuran dan buah – buahan. Pinggan yang dirujuk dalam saranan diet ini adalah pinggan berukuran 10 inci/ 25sm.

 

Contoh hidangan suku – suku separuh:

 

Capati dengan kuah dhal.
Nasi beras perang dengan ayam tanpa kulit dan sayur.
Nasi putih dengan ikan bakar dan sayur.
Nasi lemak
Roti dengan telur dan salad.

 

Terdapat 5 mesej utama dalam amalan diet suku – suku separuh.

 

Mesej Utama 1: Makan 3 Hidangan Utama yang sihat dalam sehari.

 

Makan sarapan, makan tengah hari, dan makan malam dengan sihat dengan mengikut konsep suku – suku separuh.

Makan pada waktu yang tetap juga membantu pengawalan porsi/ saiz hidangan makanan. Berikut adalah contoh waktu makan seharian.

 

Mesej Utama 2: Makan 1-2 Snek yang Sihat di antara Waktu Makan Jika Perlu

 

Bagi menggalakan pemakanan secara sihat secara holistik atau sebagai gaya hidup, anda juga digalakkan untuk mengambil snek sihat 1-2 kali dari sumber buah – buahan, kekacang, dan sayur – sayuran.

 

Contoh snek sihat yang boleh di ambil 1-2 sajian ialah:

 

 

Mesej Utama 3: Makan Sekurang-kurangnya Separuh Daripada Bijirin Anda Sebagai Bijirin Penuh

 

Malaysia adalah negara di mana, makanan rujinya adalah nasi, oleh itu tidak hairanlah jika kebanyakkan rakyat Malaysia masih berasa tidak kenyang selagi tidak makan nasi. Oleh yang demikian, Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM) menggariskan pengambilan karbohidrat hendaklah diambil kebanyakkannya dari sumber bijirin penuh, seperti dari sumber nasi beras perang, roti bijirin mil penuh, jagung, barli dll.

 

Contoh makanan berkarbohidrat yang tinggi serat:

 

 

Mesej Utama 4: Makan Hidangan Tidak Bergoreng dan Tanpa Santan Setiap Hari

 

Seterusnya, lauk -pauk di Malaysia begitu sinonim sekali dengan jenis lauk -pauk yang bergoreng menggunakan minyak yang sangat banyak iaitu menggunakan kaedah ‘deep -frying’. Makanan bergoreng dengan minyak banyak yang digunakan secara berulang – ulang dan makanan yang mengandungi jumlah santan yang tinggi  boleh meningkatkan masalah kesihatan seperti masalah jantung, darah tinggi, kolesterol dan kanser.

 

Justeru, pengambilan makanan dengan cara masakan dan kandungan santan yang tinggi seperti masak lemak, kari, gulai, dan masakkan bergoreng hendaklah dihadkan.

 

Cara mengantikan pengambilan minyak dan santan dalam masakan dan makanan:

 

 

Mesej Utama 5: Makan Makanan yang dimasak di Rumah Lebih Kerap

 

Makanan yang dibeli di luar secara amnya mempunyai kandungan gula, garam, sos, kicap, perasa, dan monosodium glutamate (MSG) yang tinggi, ia juga kebanyakannya menggunakan kaedah memasak yang kurang sihat iaitu dengan cara menggoreng dengan minyak yang banyak dan berulang- ulang.

 

Kandungan makanan yang tinggi garam, gula, sos, kicap, perasa dan MSG boleh menyebabkan tinggi risiko kepada masalah kesihatan seperti diabetes, dan juga darah tinggi.

 

Selain daripada itu, pengambilan makanan dari luar juga seringkali mempunyai jumlah porsi yang tidak mengikut spesifikasi suku – suku separuh, hal ini menyebabkan individu lebih cenderung untuk makaan secara berlebihan dan mendapat lebih risiko untuk menjadi obes.

 

Cadangan hidangan harian di rumah:

 

 

Rujukan:

  1. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Panduan Pinggan Sihat Malaysia. https://bit.ly/3HHHdU6

How to improve your blood circulation ?

Poor blood circulation is a condition where individuals will usually experience numb and cold in their extremities such as in the hands and feet area. Often times, it can be an underlying condition to a more serious condition such as uncontrolled diabetes or poor blood pressure, but it can also be due to poor posture and many more.

 

Here are some tips on how to improve your blood circulation:

 

1. Go on regular walks. 

 

Walking can improve blood circulation. Contraction of the calf muscle causes venous blood to be pushed back up to the heart. The arteries dilate when patients walk and improve blood flow throughout the body. Aim for a minimum of 30 minutes of walking three times per week.

 

2. Reduce your weight. 

 

Being obese or overweight posed more health risk towards your circulatory system as it often lead to risk of hypertension, high cholesterol and diabetes which will all boils down to blood circulatory problem.

 

Consumption of food in moderation, balance and exercise regularly can help to prevent being obese and overweight.

 

3. Take more work breaks. 

 

Taking more work break helps you to get into the habit of alternating between sitting, standing, and walking. In doing this it cause less demand on the circulatory system as while you are sitting down, it cause blood flow slows and to pool in your legs, resulting in muscle pain and fatigue. Thus taking more break while doing office job is beneficial in improving blood flows and also can help to keep your stress level from getting out of whack.

 

Do your best to take stretch breaks every 15 to 20 minutes, and get-up-and-go breaks from sitting every hour—even if it’s just a power walk around your home.

 

4. Stay hydrated. 

 

When body is lack of water (dehydrated), it will affect the amount of blood circulating through your body, it will also causing your blood to retain more sodium, causing it to thicken and making it much harder for your circulatory system to work properly.

 

The easiest way to make sure that you are getting enough fluid is to check your pee. Yellow light or clear urine indicate that your are drinking sufficient amount of water, anything darker that that means you need to up your water intake game!

 

5. Manage your blood pressure. 

 

High blood pressure makes your blood circulation haywire and give more works towards heart and blood vessels. The heart and circulatory system will have to work extra in supplying blood flow throughout the body if you do not manage your blood pressure efficiently.

 

High blood sugar level can cause damage to the lining of small blood vessels and this can lead to the problem with blood circulation. This condition will also promotes formation of plaque in the blood vessels and will further cause complication to your blood flows.

 

Exercise, cutting back on sodium, reduce stress, good sleep quality and modification in some lifestyle factors can help to lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation in the process. Aim for a blood pressure less than 120/80 mmHg.

 

6. Elevate your legs.

 

Elevate legs helps to take the pressure off your veins, since it does not have to work against the gravity to get the blood back to the heart.

 

The most convenient time to elevate your legs would be when you are watching TV or having a nap – lie down and prop your legs above your heart level for 15 minutes or more at a time will be really helpful in improving overall blood circulation.

Healthy Living, Healthy Vision

Tips for eye care, is very much related to living a healthy life in general. This is due to most of the eye problem if it is not genetic (based on family history), usually it is due to the high blood pressure, diabetes, and narrowing or hardening of the arteries. All of these problems if left untreated will lead to sight loss.

 

 

Eat Healthy Food

 

Eyes is often thought that, its healthiness is not depending on what you consume, but the truth is, it is depending on your food consumption. Eat food that is dense with nutrients will let you have a good health hence avoiding complication that will occur to your eyes due to your health complication (1).

 

 

As part of your healthy diet, opt for food that is packed with antioxidants, like vitamins A and C, which is proven good for the eye’s health.  Food such as green leafy vegetables, foods that has colour such as orange and red has high vitamins A and C. It also contains carotenoid that is good for eyes. Carotenoid is the antioxidant found usually in plants that is vibrant in colour such as red, orange, yellow and green. Apart from this, it can also act as cancer- fighting agent (2). Carotenoid works in the macular (most sensitive part in retina that is responsible for the vision production and our ability to perceive colours) (3).

 

Lutein and zeaxhantin are types of carotenoid.

 

 

An inadequate intake of antioxidants, consumption of alcohol or saturated fats may create free-radical reactions that can harm the macula. High-fat diets can also cause deposits that constrict blood flow in the arteries. The eyes are especially sensitive to this, given the small size of the blood vessels that feed them (2).

 

Exercise regularly

 

By exercise regularly, body will have lower risk of getting various kind of metabolic disease such as diabetes, kidney problem and heart problem, thus lower the risk of getting complication that can impair eyes function. Example of metabolic disease that can impair eyes directly is, diabetes, which in the later stage can cause diabetic retinopathy. The condition where blood vessels of the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye (retina) is damaged. At first, it may cause no symptoms or mild blurry vision, eventually it can cause blindness (4).

 

Wear sunglasses

 

 

The American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO) urges public to protect eyes from the sun’s damaging UV rays. Sunglasses are more than a bold statement; they are a smart healthy choice. Long term, exposure to the sun without proper protection can increase risk of eye disease such as cataract, macular degeneration, growth on the eye and rare form of eye cancer (5).

While short-term exposure can also damage the eyes. Sun reflecting off water can cause a painful sunburn on the front part of the eye, called photokeratitis. It causes redness, blurry vision, sensitivity to bright light, and in rare cases, even temporary vision loss (5).

 

The good news is that prevention is simple: Wear sunglasses that block 99 to 100 percent of both UVA and UVB radiation (5).

 

Quit smoking

 

Smoking is not only bad for your lungs. It can hurt your eyes, as well. Smoking increases your risk of eye diseases like macular degeneration and cataracts (1).

 

Eye care in conclusion

 

 People usually take eyesight for granted in fact health in general, only when we started to loss the ability then we started to really take care of it. Start now to take care of your eyes by doing the above, also if you always on the screen you may also, gives your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking at 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you have family history of problem with eye, make sure to do comprehensive dilate eye exam regularly. While if you wear contact, make sure to disinfect your contact lenses and replace them regularly. Also do not forget to wash your hands before you touch your eyes and face especially in this COVID19 situation (1).

 

References

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Eye Institute (NEI) (July 2020). Keep your eyes healthy. https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/healthy-vision/keep-your-eyes-healthy (Accessed on July 28, 2020).
  2. Bausch + Lomb. Healthy Eyes. https://www.bausch.com/vision-and-age/20s-and-30s-eyes/healthy-eyes (Accessed on July 28, 2020).
  3. All About Vision. How carotenoid can keep your eyes healthy. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/carotenoids.htm#:~:text=According%20to%20nutrition%20research%2C%20an,macular%20degeneration%20later%20in%20life. (Accessed on July 28, 2020).
  4. Mayo Clinic. Diabetic Retinopathy. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetic-retinopathy/symptoms-causes/syc-20371611#:~:text=Diabetic%20retinopathy%20(die%2Duh%2D,or%20only%20mild%20vision%20problems. (Accessed on July 28, 2020).
  5. American Academu of Opthalmology. Sunglasses your prescription for eye health. https://www.aao.org/newsroom/news-releases/detail/sunglasses-your-prescription-eye-health (Accessed on July 28, 2020).


Is Screening Bad For Us, Why?

In this fast-changing world that we are in today, people want things to be done quick and always ready! People use various kind of devices and gadgets to speed up process of doing work. Initially, computer was built not for the sake of email and doing work, but it is actually to calculate and tabulate census for United States of America population since the population has grown bigger, it was started with a machine sort of punch card machine in 1880, where due to this the government save about $5 million in order to tabulate the census. From that sort of punch card machine, Alan Turing then presents another universal machine which capable of computing anything that is computable, the central concept of modern computer today is based on his ideas. Few years later, in 1939 Hewlet – Packard is founded by David Packard and Bill Hewlett in California, until today the computer that we are using is evolve from time to time, to the small smartphone on our hands that is capable of doing so many thing just like the bulky desktop (1).

 

 

All these technologies make us even more connected to devices like smartphone to connect with other people or to get things done. From paying bills, to designing, networking, sales, work, presentation, you name it all must be done using laptop, computer, smart phone, and the devices. The fact is everyone everyday is looking at the screen for long time, when the recommended hour to look at the screen is only 2 hours per day (2).

 

Why screening is bad for eyes?

 

White light that we see from sun and electronic devices is a combination from red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, and violet light. Each of these lights has different energy and wavelength. Rays on red have longer wavelength and less energy, while the blue rays have shorter wavelength and more energy. Light that looks white can have a large blue component, which can expose the eye to a higher amount of wavelength from the blue end spectrum (3).

 

 

Sun also have this blue light, but blue light exposure from screen is small compared to exposure from sun, thus why makes it bad for eyes. Furthermore, screen exposure has closer proximity to eyes and the time spent looking at screen is longer than at the sun (3,4).

 

Almost all visible blue light penetrates the eyes through cornea, lens and reaches the retina, due to this, it makes eyes prematurely aging.

 

Blue light from computer screens and digital devices can decrease contrast leading to digital eyestrain. Fatigue, dry eyes, bad lighting, or how you sit in front of the computer can cause eyestrain. Symptoms of eyestrain include sore or irritated eyes and difficulty focusing. Apart from that, studies also suggested that continued exposure to blue light over time could lead to damaged retina cells. This condition can cause problems like age-related macular degeneration (4).

 

Macular degeneration is the result of photoreceptor cell death in the retina. The function of the photoreceptor cells is to capture visual images and signal them to the brain using a molecule called retinal. Retinal, which is produced by the eye, is triggered by blue light and causes various chemical reactions. These reactions within the eye can be poisonous to the photoreceptor cell molecules rendering them damaged. When these photoreceptor cells die, there’s no regeneration (4).

 

 

What can we do?

 

With the current work requirements where most of work and stuff need to be accomplished through the usage of electronic devices thus screening is very much essential, makes it even harder to take care eyes from the screen. No! There are actually ways to take care of your eyes still, apart from consume food that is high with antioxidants and vitamins that can improve eyesight condition you may also try and practice the tips below (5)!

 

 


Benefits of antioxidants to eyes

As human beings, we never really appreciate the senses truly until when we loss it. The sense of smell, touch, sound, taste, and sight is one of the many benefits that we must be grateful for. Imagine waking up one day and cannot see, touch, hear the sound or loss the sense of smell, isn’t it horrible?

 

 

When it comes to the sense of sight, many people take it for granted, as people thought that the problem with vision can be corrected with the helps of lenses or spectacles. With the current advance technology that we possess now, which is lasik surgery, people even take it lightly since people think that there is cure for it. When in fact, there are many more health complication or condition that can make you loss your ability to see such as if you are diagnosed with diabetes. Scary isn’t it?

 

 

Good news is nutrition can prevent this from happening! Balance and variety diet are able to prevent many types of diseases including loss of sight. Many studies reported that the consumption of antioxidants, or better known as cancer fighting agent, can help in preventing loss of sight. Antioxidants is a compound that help in scavenging free radicals that could lead to mutation of cells and lead to cancer (1).

 

 

 Since many of these antioxidants is found in the plant-based diet such as vegetables and fruits, thus one of the mechanism for this is also said due to the prevention of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes thus lowering the risk of vision loss. Among antioxidants that is always linked to vision health are lutein & zeaxanthin, vitamin A, omega 3, and vitamin C (2).

 

Lutein & Zeaxanthin (1,3)

 

 Lutein & zeaxanthin is derived from the carotenoid’s family, which is a very common antioxidant for vision health. Apart from can be found ubiquitously in green leafy vegetables such as spinach, it can also be found in the yellowish, orange-red plant-based food such as capsicum. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to prevent damage to plants from too much sunlight, especially from high-energy light rays called blue light. While in human body, lutein and zeaxanthin are rich in the macula of human eye, which the name of ‘macula lutea’ itself is derived from ‘lutein’ meaning yellow spot.

 

 

Research on lutein, zeaxanthin, and the effect of carotenoids supplement taking was conducted by National Eyes Institute (NEI), in May 2013, it is the second largest eye- disease research study namely, AREDS2. The goal of this study was to evaluate the effect of nutrients — including lutein and zeaxanthin — on the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases. The participants of this study were supplemented with 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day, for five years.  This study found out that, the use of daily antioxidant supplementation reduces risk of progressive Age-related-Macular Degeneration (AMD) by 25% among those who is diagnosed with early and intermediate macular degeneration. However, it is less clear whether it can help in preventing cataract and its progression.

 

Another commonly used antioxidants for eyes is vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is the common cause of night blindness. Vitamin A act as photoreceptors, where it will be used in maintaining light-sensing cells in the eyes. It is found in animal-based food such as dairy products and egg yolk.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (1,2)

 

EPA and DHA, which come from the omega-3 fatty acids, is not only important for the brain development during infancy but it is essential in vision health as well. Study in people with dry eyes revealed that taking EPA and DHA supplements daily for 3 months significantly reduced dry eyes symptoms by increasing the formation of tear fluid (lacrimal fluid). The dietary source of EPA and DHA is oily fish and microalgae can be found in the supplementation form as well.

 

 

Vitamin E (1,3)

 

Vitamin E is a group of fat-soluble vitamins that protect fatty acids from harmful oxidation. Since retina has a high concentration of fatty acids, adequate vitamin E intake is important for optimal eye health. A study that was conducted supplemented 7 mg of vitamins E shows that it can lower the risk of age-related cataracts by 6%, in contrast, a randomized controlled study found out that vitamin E supplementation do not slow or prevent the progression of person with already eye problem. Source of vitamin E includes almonds, sunflower seed and flaxseed oil.

 

 

Vitamin C (1,3)

 

Commonly vitamin C, is consumed for skin purposes but since many studies has found out that vitamin C is an important antioxidant for eye health as well, thus many supplement nowadays starting to incorporate vitamin c rich source in the eye supplementation. It is a good thing since it will give effect 2 in 1 effect!

 

Zinc (1,3)

 

Eyes contain high level of zinc. It acts as the transporter for vitamin A, which later will then be involved in the formation of visual pigments in retina, called melanin. For this reason, zinc deficiency is also linked to night blindness. Natural dietary resources that is high with zinc is oysters, which is also good for men’s health!

 

In conclusion,

 

Taking care of vision health, is not merely taking time off from screen, or use shades whenever you are outside, but it is more than that. It is what you put inside your body as well. Again, healthy eating plays vital role in bettering health including vision!

 

References

 

  1. All About Vision. Lutein and Zeaxanthin. Eye and vision benefits. https://www.allaboutvision.com/nutrition/lutein.htm (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020).
  2. American Optometric Association (AOA). Diet and Nutrition. Adding Powerful Antioxidants in your diet. https://www.aoa.org/healthy-eyes/caring-for-your-eyes/diet-and-nutrition?sso=y (Accessed on Aug, 26, 2020)
  3. 8 Nutrients that will optimize your eye health. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/8-nutrients-for-eyes. (Accessed on Aug 26, 2020)

 


How to make your skin glowww??

Skin is the largest organ in our body. Not only that it functions as to protect our body from microbes and the elements, it also helps to regulate body temperature and permits the sensation of touch, heat and cold.

There are many factors influencing skin condition, but in this post, we are going to share on tips on how to make your skin glow!

 


As much as smoking is bad to your lung so does it to your skin

 

Cigarette smoke contain many harmful substances to our body, as we know. However as for the skin, it releases carbon monoxide which displace oxygen in your skin and nicotine which reduce blood flow which will make skin dry and discolored. Smoking also triggers the destruction of collagen in the skin hence skin loss its elasticity and produce wrinkles and fine lines!

 

When you are younger and a smoker you cannot really see the difference but as you get older, the damage on your appearance will be obvious and you will be looking older as compared to your actual age (1).

 

 

Sunscreen is a must

 

Malaysia is a humid and warm country all year long, thus wearing sunscreen is a must! Sunscreen helps to protect skin from premature aging like wrinkles, fine line and hyper-pigmentation. Studies shows that people who is below 55 years old and wear sunscreen regularly can lower the risk of premature aging by 24% as compared to those who wear sunscreen occasionally or not wearing at all.

 

If you are a newbie looking for sunscreen, look for sunscreen with at least SPF 30 (Sun Protecting Factor) and choose sunscreen according to your skin type such as if you have dry skin choose aqua sunscreen which is meant for dry skin etc. You also must apply sunscreen after every 2 hours or after exercise. Sunscreen also is meant to be applied at least 30 minutes before you go out since it needs time to be absorbed by the skin and activated in order to protect your skin (2). 

 

Move, Move, Move

 

We know that exercise regularly can keep our body fit and healthy, but do you know that it can as well makes your skin healthy?

 

Exercise increase blood circulation and flow throughout the body, hence making your skin radiant and glow. Pssttt…this can kill two bird using one stone, you can maintain your body lean and get healthy skin at the same time! (3)

 

Keep your body hydrated

 

Our skin is exposed to various condition, cold due to the air-conditioner, warm due to the water etc thus drink plenty of water will make our skin condition better. Everybody is born with a particular skin type, whether it is dry or oily or combination however, all these surrounding factors and age factor can change skin condition as well(4).

 

In order to see whether your skin is dry, try to pinch your skin in an area and see whether it has like wrinkle on it after your pinch or whether its bounce back after your pinch is an indicator for well hydrated skin. Wrinkles and less bouncy skin is and indicator for dry skin, it also sometimes can be seen based on your urine colour, if its too concentrated meaning your body does not get sufficient amount of water (4).

 

Lifestyle changes can reverse this, drink at least 8 glass of water per day. Limit the intake of alcohol and drink less caffeinated drink like coffee and tea can improve the dry skin condition (4). 

 

Face it and manage it….your stress

 

We always thought that if we suppressed our feelings and emotion, that is better, it is better for everyone and even us. However, that is not always the case, we have to deal with it and manage it. Talk to someone if you have problem, share it with someone that you trust. Think positive.

 

Pick up some hobbies, distract yourself from overthink about it and slowly find solution to it. Doing outdoor activities can help in calming a person if your mind is too saturated with a lot of stuff, or spend time alone de- cluttered your mind and space like cleaning can sometimes help in making you a lot happier and will let you think better on the solution to your problem. 

 

Established a skincare routine

 

Skin care is essential in maintaining skin condition. Good skin care routine will make skin condition become better, but of course with good products. First, you have to find out your skin type. Skin types can either be normal, dry skin, oily skin or combination skin.

 

To determine your skin type, start by washing your face and then waiting an hour. After it’s been an hour, dab your forehead and nose with a tissue and check to see if any oil rubbed off. If it did, it’s a sign that you have oily skin. If there isn’t any oil but your face feels dry and tight, you may have dry skin (4,5).

 

Once you have figured you skin types, find the right product for it. The common one should have cleanser, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, exfoliator, make up removal. Start with cleansing your face at least twice per day. If needed exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, this is good to scrap all of the dead cells, dirt and blemishes on your face (5).

 

Once you have done these, now your skin is ready to absorb all the good nutrients from skincare, so this is the time for you to apply toner and moisturizer. Toner and moisturizer are good to hydrate skin. Leaving skin all moisturized after that. Then, now you can apply sunscreen. After sunscreen, it is time for you to wear you make up. If you are wearing make-up, make sure to thoroughly clean it at the end of the day using make up removal and star your night skin care routine as per daytime (5).

 

The different between daytime and night time skincare routine is just that usually during night, moisturizer that is used on skin is encouraged to be applied thick so that it will help skin not to be dry in the next morning!

 

 There are also people who want to give extra care and boost to their skin, they can try to use serum. Serum is a product that is very concentrated with good vitamin for skin, like vitamin A, C, E. It’s usually used to fade scar or add more vitamins to skin. However, the correct order of using skincare products is important, if not, skin cannot absorb the nutrient that the product has, and it will just go wasted (5).

 

 

Diet vs skin condition

 

 As much as sugary food is bad for your waistline so does it onto your skin! Sugary food can provoke acne and breakouts. Sugar and foods high on the glycemic index (meaning foods that, once ingested, convert quickly into glucose and cause your body’s insulin levels to elevate), lead to a burst of inflammation that goes throughout your entire body (6).

 

Vitamin C

 

Vitamin C is a very common vitamin use to make skin become radiant and glow. Vitamin C rich foods are often commonly used to boost skin condition. Fruits like guava is really rich with vitamin C, it even has twice the content of vitamin C  in orange!

 

However, if one is a picky eater it is also best to actually consume vitamin C supplement rather to apply it on your skin (topical application). On the market there are many types of vitamin C supplement. Most of it has really high vitamin C content such as 500 mg or 1000 mg. However according to RNI (Recommended Nutrient Intake) our body only need about 70mg of vitamin C only, so the higher dosage of vitamin will just be excreted through urine.

 

On the supplement ingredients content you may see, if the particular supplement is actually derived from natural ingredients or a synthetic one. Synthetic vitamin c is called ascorbic acid, it usually irritates tummy and has higher dosage of vitamin c as compared to vitamin C that is derived from natural fruits like berries, guava, orange etc. 

 

Synthetic vitamin c or ascorbic acid also usually use, food coloring to make the supplement looks as if it has high content of vitamin C with really orange concentrated color, if you notice your soluble vitamin c supplement stain you glass water after being dilute into it, there s high probability that the supplement that you are taking has food coloring in it.

 

So be wise in choosing your vitamin C supplements, in order to to make your skin glow, know how to find good vitamin C as, remember it has to derived from natural source, no coloring and the content of vitamin C need not too high!

 

References


  1. Health (May, 15 2012). 15 Ways Smoking Ruins you Skin. https://www.health.com/condition/smoking/15-ways-smoking-ruins-your-looks
  2. Skin Cancer Foundation (June, 2019). All about Sunscreen, Why you need it and how it works for you?. https://www.skincancer.org/skin-cancer-prevention/sun-protection/sunscreen/
  3. WebMD (n.d). Exercise for Healthy Skin. https://www.webmd.com/skin-problems-and-treatments/acne/features/exercise#
  4. Healthline March, 2, 2018). Is My Skin Dehydrated? https://www.healthline.com/health/dehydrated-skin
  5. Kari Molvar. The New York Times (n.d). How to Build a Skincare Routine. https://www.nytimes.com/guides/tmagazine/skincare-routine
  6. Forbes (n.d). Does Eating Sugar really Caue Acne? https://www.forbes.com/sites/quora/2017/01/20/does-eating-sugar-really-cause-acne/#14aa38515af4


Collagen, what you need to know?

The word collagen comes from Greek word “kola” which means glue, and that basically function of collagen which is to hold protein and/ or non -protein substance together. As an example, in skin, collagen function is to hold all the skin structure together.  Collagen is a protein that provides structure to many parts of the body, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It accounts for about one-third of body protein composition. It is one of the major building blocks of bones, skin, muscles, tendons, and ligaments. Collagen is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth 

Types of collagen

 

There is various type of collagen, but the main type of collagen is type I, type II, type III, and type IV.

 

Type I: Most of your body’s collagen is made of type I. It is densely packed fibres which provides structure to skin, bones, tendons, fibrous cartilage, connective tissue, and teeth.

Type II: This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and found in elastic cartilage, which cushions the joints.

Type III: This type supports the structure of muscles, organs, and arteries.

Type IV: This type helps with filtration and is found in the layers of your skin.

 

Collagen in skin, do we need it?

 

Our body can produce its own collagen, however the production of collagen gradually declined as we aged, which explains among the sign of aging is wrinkles, that is coming from skin that is less elastic, supple, and firm.

 

 

Researchers also revealed that women lose collagen faster than men causing women’s skin aging faster than men. Apart from gender, nutrition and recreational drugs,  environmental stress such as sun exposure and exposure to toxins such as pollutants, and cigarette smoke can also affect collagen in the body.

 

Where can we get collagen from?

 

Good news is, collagen can be gotten from food, there are foods which can stimulate production of collagen and break down collagen. Body makes collagen from combining proline and glycine (types of protein).Thus consuming food high with proline and glycine will help with restoring collagen level in the body.

 

According to Dr. Bradley from Cleveland Clinic, your body cannot make them if they don’t have them, which means all the nutrients such as glycine and proline are essential to produce collagen, but if we do not acquire it from diet then our body might not be able to produce collagen. Foods that are high with collagen are mostly diet from protein-rich foods such as bone broth, pork, chicken, beef, eggs, and fish. Plant based food also have added benefits to collagen rich food consumption since vegetables and fruits contain high level of antioxidants which can protect oxidative stress from reducing collagen. Whilst, food that can break down collagen are sugary foods and refined carbs.

 

 

As for supplement containing collagen, it is usually in the form of hydrolysed collagen. The source of hydrolysed collagen can be from fish, marine seaweed, pork skin and food source that has high collagen contents. It is also said that hydrolysed collagen is much easier to be absorbed by body as compared to food.

 

 To date studies that report whether consumption of collagen has benefits to skin, joint health, muscle mass, bone and many more is inconsistent. It is depending on various factors such as the source of collagen, the bioavailability of collagen, the frequency of consuming it, the severity of skin condition or joint condition previously and many more. Thus, it is advisable for individual to check on the supplement ingredients  prior consuming any kind of supplement.

 

Since consuming collagen supplement can also be harmful such as to individual with cyst problem and cancer problem. Again, which is why it is best to seek professionals helps before consuming any supplement. Certain supplement is contraindicated with medicine that you currently taking and many more.

 

References


  1. Top 6 Benefits of Taking Collagen Supplement. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen-benefits#_noHeaderPrefixedContent (Accessed on December 29, 2020)
  2. (n.d). Collagen, what is it and what it is good for? https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/collagen (Accessed on December 29, 2020).
  3. Atikah Khalim (2015). Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal. Collagen. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/collagen/
  4. Fadzilah kahar (2015). Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). My Health Portal Collagen and its source. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/kolagen-dan-sumbernya/
  5. Cleveland Clinic. The best way you can get more collagen. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/the-best-way-you-can-get-more-collagen/ (Accessed on December 29, 2020).
  6. What is collagen. https://www.livescience.com/collagen.html#:~:text=Collagen%20refers%20to%20a%20family,in%20the%20body%20by%20mass. (Accessed on December 29, 2020).

 

 


Foods that can MAKE or BREAK your skin!

Skin is the largest organs in our body. It is the main defense organ in our body against external insults such as radiation, ultraviolet radiations, infections by pathogenic microorganism (bad bacteria), and mechanical and chemical stress (1). The condition of skin or skin barrier are much supported by the foods that we eat, liking or not, there are food which can give benefits to your skin and also foods that can harm your skin. List below are foods that can make or break your skin!

Omega 3 rich foods

 

Omega 3 fatty acids are usually referring to as good fat. It serves to regulate skin’s oil production, improved balance hydration, subdue breakout and minimize signs of aging. Furthermore, it can also help to soften rough, dry skin, and have a soothing effect on irritation and dermatitis if apply topically. Omega 3 rich foods can improve the composition of skin by balancing its inflammatory response towards the effect of sun damage and also improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.

 

 

Foods that are rich with Omega 3 is fish! Fish oil specifically. Which is why if individual does not consuming fish at all or do not prefer to consume fish it is advisable to take Omega 3 and 6 supplements for their heart health. Fish such as mackerel, tuna, sardine and anchovies, salmon, and herring are good source of omega 3. In Malaysia, there are also freshwater fish which is rich with omega 3 such as catfish (ikan keli), patin fish, and terubok fish.

 

Apart from this, certain plant-based food also containing high level of omega 3 such as spinach (bayam), mustard leave (sawi), and ‘salad roket.’ There is also certain oil which can be used for cooking that is rich with omega 3 such as canola oil. Also, if you are keen to improve your skin health, instead of snacking chips or any unhealthy things, you may try to consume walnuts that is rich with omega 3 for your skin as well.

 

Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods

 

Antioxidants and vitamins rich foods are usually found in plant-based food such as vegetables and fruits. Fruits and vegetables which contain vitamins such as vitamins C, E, and A are known for ‘skin best friends.’ The way in which how all these vitamins works are usually when they engulf free radical or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radical can produce through normal process in the body, or towards exposure of UV radiation and many more. In another words, it is commonly occurring to every human being. Which is why it is important to consume foods that are rich with vitamins and antioxidants to combat all the problem resulted from the formation of free radical.


According to Ministry of Health Malaysia, it is advisable to consume 2 servings of fruits and 3 servings of vegetables daily. Serving size for vegetables is according to the cupped hand size. So 2 cupped hand size is equivalent to 2 servings. Whilst for fruit the serving size is depending on the type of fruit, medium size fruit such as apple, pear, and orange, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 fruit, as for bigger fruit, it is depending on the normal cut sized. So, to make it easy, if you consume 2 apples or 2 pear, or 2 banana, or 2 oranges per day is already met the requirement serving.


Specifically, foods that are rich with vitamin C are guava, orange, and lemon. Do you know that guava has twice amount of vitamin C than orange of the same size? Consuming 2 servings size of guava or 1 small guava already makes you met the requirement of vitamin C needed daily (75mg).

 

 

Some of the food that is rich with vitamin E are almond, pumpkin, corn, collard, red bell pepper and soy-based foods. Study shows that Vitamin E or tocopherol works synergistically with Vitamin C against UV radiation or exposure to sun damage.

 

Since most of the antioxidant rich foods and vitamin rich foods are mainly fruits and vegetables, thus it is essential to consume fruits and vegetables as per suggested to have young looking skin!

 

Sugar

 

As many knows already sugar is bad for your health, as it can raised your blood sugar level, which will lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease and all other metabolic diseases. Butttttt, it is also bad for skin.


Sugar in any form influences the two major causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. As you eat refined and processed carbohydrates like white sugar, your blood sugar levels increase at a faster rate, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By eliminating sugar, you may be able to decrease the amount of insulin that your body makes, and as a result, oil and acne production will be increased too.

 

Food that is rich with sugar are dessert such as cakes, tart, cookies, ‘traditional’ kuih and bakery products. Our daily staple foods are as well refined carbohydrates or refined sugar, white rice, white bread, noodles, flour rich food are all refined carbohydrates in which for certain individual with sensitive it might make harm the skin condition in the long run.


In conclusion, eating healthy and well balance meal is the go-to way for younger looking skin. Consume a lot of fresh products, limit processed food, limit oily food containing trans fat and sugary food will not only helps with having younger looking skin but also healthier body!

 

 

References


  1. Cleveland Clinic. 23 Foods that are good to your skin. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/23-foods-good-skin/ (Accessed on January 8, 2020).
  2. Food fix: Healthier skin. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/skin-diet#Food-Fix:-Foods-for-Healthier-Skin (Accessed on January 8, 2020).
  3. Dattola, A., Silvestri, M., Bennardo, L., Passante, M., Scali, E., Patruno, C., & Nisticò, S. P. (2020). Role of Vitamins in Skin Health: A Systematic Review. Current Nutrition Reports, 1-10.
  4. Schagen, S. K., Zampeli, V. A., Makrantonaki, E., & Zouboulis, C. C. (2012). Discovering the link between nutrition and skin aging. Dermato-endocrinology, 4(3), 298-307.
  5. Cao, C., Xiao, Z., Wu, Y., & Ge, C. (2020). Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients, 12(3), 870.
  6. Siong, T. E., ASEAN, K. L. M., Noor, M. I., Azudin, M. N., & Idris, K. (1988). Nutrient composition of Malaysian foods.

 

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