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Fruit juice: Is it really good for us?

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

 

Another belief is that juicing is better than eating whole fruits and vegetables because the body can absorb them better and let the digestive tract rest from digesting fibre. If one considers blending fruit, that is even better since the edible fibre in it makes us feel full, so it promotes satiety (1).

 

 

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

 

Three longitudinal prospective cohort studies found 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 squeezed for its juice, what is left inside is 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 is about the same, which is about 20–26 g of sugar per cup (3).

 

The reason why fruit juice contains a higher sugar content as compared to fresh fruit even when it is 100% fruit juice without the addition of anything else is because, for example, in order to make 250 ml of orange juice, two medium-sized oranges are needed, and that is only 250 ml. Since when it is in liquid form, people tend to consume it even more, thus more fruits are needed. As the number of fruits increases, so does the sugar in them, but not the fibre inside, which in turn makes them have loads of sugar (1, 3, 4, 7, 8).

 

 

According to the 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 levels when ingested (8).

 

The same case goes to smoothies, not only because they have a lot of sugar from a large number of fruits, but also because various protein-based foods like yoghurt, milk, almond milk, etc. that are mixed together with them will increase their calories as well (4).

 

The high sugar levels in both of these drinks make them high-calorie beverages and thus pose the same effect as high-calorie food, which can lead to weight gain. As we know, Malaysia is the fattest country in Southeast Asia, and one of the contributing factors is a lack of knowledge on what can increase weight and what cannot.

 

 

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

 

A study on the composition of grapefruits with different methods of household processing also found out that the composition of antioxidants in blended grapefruit has a higher concentration of the beneficial compound as compared to juicing or hand squeezing (5).

 

 

However, as for the absorption of beta carotene, a study found that fruit and vegetable juice makes beta carotene absorb better as compared to blending or eating raw fruit. This is due to the fact that fibre hinders the absorption of beta-carotene (6).

 

The takeaway message

 

Eating raw fruit, juicing, and blending all have their pros and cons. What is important is to always take into account the amount of sugar and fibre content. All in all, make sure that you have a balanced, nutritious, and moderate diet as suggested by the Ministry of Health: eat 3 servings of vegetables per day and 2 servings of fruits per day. Vary the way vegetables and fruit are cooked or served and eat them 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. Ram 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've probably heard the term "sucrose" at some point, but what exactly is it?
Sucrose (table sugar) is the chemical name for glucose and fructose sugar. It is naturally present in foods such as rice, noodles, breads, and pasta, as well as in fruits as fructose and milk as lactose (11). Additional sugar can be obtained from carbohydrate-rich foods; however, additional sugar consumption 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).

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)

                                            

 2. 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

 

3. 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 (6).

  • 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].

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].

 

 

Diabetic Neuropathy

Diabetes is a metabolic disorder that occurs when the body's blood glucose or blood sugar levels are too high. Fasting blood sugar levels should be between 4 and 6 mmol/l, while post-meal blood sugar levels should be less than 8 mmol/l. When using HbA1c as a more precise indicator of blood sugar level, it should be less than 6.5 mmol/l. HbA1c is a much more accurate indicator because it measures the amount of glucose bound to red blood cells over the previous three months. The higher the HbA1c values, the higher the blood sugar levels (1,2, 3).

 

 

Blood glucose is the primary source of energy, and it is derived from the food that we eat. To convert this energy from food that we consume to cells, our bodies require a hormone called insulin, which is produced in the pancreas. With the help of this insulin hormone, energy from food is then converted into cells. When the body is unable to produce enough or any insulin, or when insulin is not used effectively, glucose or sugar remains in the blood and does not reach the cells (2).

 

 

Too much glucose in the blood can cause health problems over time. Although there is no cure for diabetes, individuals can take steps to manage their diabetes and stay healthy. Diabetes complications include cardiovascular disease, diabetes neuropathy (nerve damage), nephropathy (kidney damage), retinopathy (eye damage), and many others.

 

 

 

In this article, we will concentrate on the complication of nerve damage, also known as neuropathy. Excess sugar can cause damage to the walls of the tiny blood vessels (capillaries) that nourish nerves, particularly in the legs. This can cause tingling, numbness, burning, or pain, which usually starts at the tips of the toes or fingers and spreads upward. If left untreated, the individual may lose all feeling in the affected limbs (4).

 

Many studies are being conducted in an effort to reduce the risk of diabetic neuropathy complications, one of which is the use of Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA). ALA is a type of antioxidant found in a variety of foods, but in very small amounts. Foods containing it include spinach, broccoli, yams, tomatoes, potatoes, carrots, beets, and rice bran. Whereas in animal-based food, the heart, liver, and kidney have higher concentrations of lipoic acid (LA) (5).

 

Lipoic acid (LA) can be synthesized by the human body in the liver. LA or ALA performs functions such as glucose and lipid metabolism, anti-inflammation, antioxidant property that can be used to regenerate other antioxidants, protein repair, and metal ion chelation. ALA, on the other hand, increases insulin sensitivity in people with diabetes (6).

 

 

As an antioxidant, ALA or LA aids in the fight against free radicals or oxidative stress caused by three pathways in the body of people with diabetes mellitus: mitochondrial, enzymatic, and non-enzymatic. Concerning the function of ALA in diabetes, several clinical trials have discovered that ALA may increase insulin sensitivity and help to reduce blood sugar and lipid levels.

 

 

There are two detailed studies involving this, in which ALA is administered for two weeks to 22 patients and improvements in fasting and average glucose levels, insulin sensitivity, LDL and HDL, and total cholesterol are seen, but the study is too short to measure the HBa1C level. So, another study related to this is the one that administered ALA orally to 74 patients for 4 weeks and discovered improvements in insulin resistance and fasting glucose (7).

 

Regarding the sole function of ALA on diabetic neuropathy, it is a possible alternative treatment for diabetic neuropathy. Diabetes causes neuropathy, or nerve damage, which is a permanent and common complication. However, ALA can help to alleviate the symptoms (8).

 

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

 

In conclusion, studies show that ALA is able to help alleviate the symptoms of diabetes and diabetic neuropathy. However, the right management of diabetes, such as the intake of its medication, such as metformin, and diet control, together with physical activity, must be done side by 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).
  2. 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).
  3. 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).
  4. Mayo Clinic. Diabetes. https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/symptoms-causes/syc-20371444 (Accessed on June 16, 2020).
  5. Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement. https://www.webmd.com/diabetes/supplement-guide-alpha-lipoic-acid (Accesed on June 16, 2020).
  6. 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
  7. 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).
  8. 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). 
  2. 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). 
  3. 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). 
  4. 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).
  5. 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 the body produces. L-carnitine assists the body in converting fat into energy. In other words, L-carnitine aids the body's energy production. L-carnitine is essential for heart and brain function, muscle movement, and a variety of other processes in the body (1).

 

How does it work? 

 

Many studies have found that L-carnitine can improve insulin sensitivity. It improves insulin sensitivity, allowing the body to convert food into energy. Here's a general overview of how food is converted into energy or fat in the body.

                                                                                                   

Glycogen is created when food is consumed and stored in the body until it is needed again (2). Insulin is an enzyme that converts the glucose in the food into glycogen.

 

                                                                                        

 

The glucagon enzyme in your body converts the glycogen you have stored into glucose when you need energy, which is known as ATP (2).  
 
                                                           

   

The Overall pathway

 

This is where L-carnitine plays its role. Mice fed a high-fat diet are able to lower their blood glucose levels when L-carnitine supplementation is given to them, as opposed to mice fed a high-fat diet without the supplement (3).

 

Another human study found the same result, which is that L-carnitine supplementation reduces insulin resistance and improves insulin sensitivity. The study also suggests that current diabetes patient management, which includes diet modification, medication administration, and physical activities, may be improved in the future with the consumption of supplements such as L-Carnitine (4). The study also suggests that consuming 3g of L-carnitine per day may improve diabetes symptoms, but this must be accompanied by medical professional consultation (4). However, some studies suggest that L-carnitine consumption may have some side effects, so the safe consumption level is less than 2g/day.

 

Due to the possibility that the general public might mistake it for a "magic pill" that would allow diabetes patients to eat whatever they wanted after taking it. The answer is no! A diabetes patient must still adhere to the diabetes diet, physical activity, and diabetes medication, but because diabetes is a progressive disease where the condition can worsen progressively, all actions, including supplement intake, may slow its progression (4).


Where can L-carnitine be found?

Apart from supplemented products, L-carnitines can be found naturally in foods 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 level in the blood is higher than normal. It is one of the leading causes of heart problems as well. In Malaysia, according to the National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) 2019, there are about 3.9 million people aged 18 years and older who have diabetes. Diabetes affects one out of every five adults, 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 have never checked their blood glucose level in their entire life or check it rarely (1).

 

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

 

There are various complications due to diabetes, such as kidney problems, heart problems, diabetic food disease, nerve problems, and eye problems. A nerve problem is when a diabetic person starts to feel tingling and numbness in their peripherals (legs and hands), which is commonly referred to as diabetic neuropathy. Diabetic foot disease, or gangrene, occurs when a diabetic person is exposed to a 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 in which the retina is damaged, and it is a diabetic complication. When the glucose level in the blood is high, it causes a blockage in the blood vessels, causing the blood vessels to rupture easily. thus causing impaired vision and blindness (2, 3).

In the early stages, there are no significant symptoms associated with this problem; however, as things get more serious, people will experience seeing floaters or black dots in their vision. They will then start to experience obscure vision, night blindness, and diplopia (seeing a double image) (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 are also at 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


The more advanced form of the disease is proliferative diabetic retinopathy (PDR). Circulation issues deprive the retina of oxygen at this stage. As a result, new, vulnerable blood vessels can form in the retina and the vitreous, the gel-like fluid that fills the back of the eye. Blood from the new blood vessels may leak into the vitreous, clouding vision.


In order to prevent diabetic retinopathy from occurring, it is recommended for individuals with diabetes to control their blood sugar level, control their blood pressure level, stop smoking, regularly exercise, and maintain their ideal weight. Apart from these, people with diabetes may as well conduct yearly eye screenings. Eye screening for diabetics will be conducted using a fundus non-mydriatic camera, where an image of the eyes will be captured. Optometrist, eyes doctor, or eye specialist will then grade the image to see whether the eye's codition is normal or abnormal. Bleeding and swelling in the retina, an abnormal optic disk, a torn retina, and other abnormal conditions are examples of abnormal conditions. 


 

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.

 


Do you know why fiber is important?

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 regulate sugars in the body and helps keep hunger and blood sugar in check.

Children and adults need at least 20 to 30 grammes of fiber per day for good health. It can be obtained by consuming a diet rich in whole grains, vegetables, legumes, nuts, and fruits.

There are two types of fiber: soluble fiber and insoluble fibre.

  • Soluble fiber is a type of fiber that dissolves in water and can help 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 move through the digestive system, promoting regularity and helping 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 a diet high in fiber helps to make the overall body function healthier.

 

Heart Health

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

 

Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.

 

A diet low in fiber and high in carbohydrates and fat can cause a sudden spike in blood sugar, which can increase the risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Both Harvard studies with female nurses and male health professionals found that this type of diet increased more than double the risk of type 2 diabetes.

 

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

  

Constipation.

 

It is believed that the fibre in wheat bran and oat bran is more potent than the fibre found in fruits and vegetables. In addition, because fibre absorbs water, experts advise increasing beverage intake along with fibre intake rather than doing so abruptly.

 

Cancer.

 

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

 

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

 

In conclusion, consumption of sufficient fiber can give various benefits to the human body. According to the Malaysia Food Pyramid 2020, it is recommended to consume 3 servings of vegetables and fruits daily. However, according to the National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS), about 95% of Malaysians do not consume enough vegetables and fruits daily, which is why sometimes consumption of fiber supplements 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. http://nutrition.moh.gov.my/piramid-makanan-malaysia-2020-mendidik-rakyat-mengambil-makanan-dengan-betul/ 

 

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 ?

Individuals with poor blood circulation typically experience numbness and coldness in their extremities, particularly their hands and feet. It is often the result of an underlying condition to a more serious condition, such as uncontrolled diabetes or low blood pressure, but it can also be the result of poor posture, among other things.

 

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 poses a greater health risk to your circulatory system because it increases your risk of hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, all of which lead to blood circulatory problems.

  

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

 

3. Take more breaks at work

 

Taking more work breaks allows you to develop the habit of alternately sitting, standing, and walking. This reduces the demand on the circulatory system because sitting causes blood flow to slow and pool in your legs, resulting in muscle pain and fatigue. Thus, taking more breaks while working in an office is beneficial for improving blood flow and keeping your stress level in check.

Try to stretch every 15 to 20 minutes and get up and move every hour—even if it's just a power walk around your house.

 

4. Stay hydrated 

When your body is dehydrated, it affects the amount of blood that circulates through it. It also causes your blood to retain more sodium, causing it to thicken and making it much more difficult for your circulatory system to function properly.

Checking your pee is the simplest way to ensure that you are getting enough fluid. A yellow light or clear urine indicates that you are drinking enough water; anything darker indicates that you need to up your water intake game!

 

5. Manage your blood pressure

High blood pressure causes your blood circulation to go haywire, putting more strain on your heart and blood vessels. If you do not manage your blood pressure properly, the heart and circulatory system will have to work harder to supply blood flow throughout the body.

High blood sugar levels can harm the lining of small blood vessels, causing blood circulation issues. This condition will also encourage the formation of plaque in your blood vessels, further complicating matters.

Exercise, limiting sodium intake, reducing stress, getting enough sleep, and making changes to your lifestyle can all help to lower your blood pressure and improve your circulation. Ideally, your blood pressure should be less than 120/80 mmHg.

 

6. Elevate your legs.

Elevating your legs relieves pressure on your veins because the blood does not have to work against gravity to return to the heart.

When you are watching TV or taking a nap, the most convenient time to elevate your legs is when you are lying down and prop your legs above your heart level for 15 minutes or more at a time. This will greatly improve overall blood circulation.

 

Common Vision Problems in Children

Children’s vision helps them to experience and explore the world around them. It is a crucial part of their development. If children have an uncorrected vision problem, it can affect their ability to learn and reach their highest potential.

Vision does not fully develop when a baby is born. Only when children are 18 months to 4 years old do vision problems in kids tend to emerge, and they are hard to detect because children are not aware that their vision is compromised because they have been seeing it that way and that is all they have ever known.

Here are some common vision problems in children:
 

  1. Amblyopia (lazy eye)

This condition occurs when vision in one eye is reduced due to a communication error between the brain and the affected eyes.

 

The visual impairment from amblyopia can persist during adulthood if treatment has not been previously offered. This is because the brain has learned to ‘ignore’ or ‘suppress’ the images coming from the poorer eye. These deficits derive from the visual areas of the brain.

 

Treatment involves normalising the poorer eye (often with glasses and/or eye patching) and re-training the eyes and the brain to work in a normal way (often with orthoptic eye exercises, called vision therapy). The treatments are most successful for young children, but adults can also benefit from the vision therapy.

 

  1. Myopia (Shortsightedness)


Occurs when the eyes are unable to focus clearly on objects that are far away. The image falls ‘in front’ of the retina when one looks at a distant object. This does not usually affect close-up vision except in high myopia.

 

  1. Hyperopia (Longsightedness)

Occurs when the eyes are unable to focus clearly on objects that are close-up. It can also affect far-distance vision in some cases. The image falls ‘at the back’ of the retina when one looks at a near object, and it often makes it difficult for the eyes to focus.

 

  1. Astigmatism

This condition occurs when the cornea has an irregular shape. It often occurs together with myopia or hyperopia, and it can result in blurred vision. Even without myopia or hyperopia, the astigmatic eye will not be able to focus sharply, and one might complain about glare or visual discomfort, particularly in poor lighting. It is often associated with headaches, dizziness, and eyestrain.

 

  1. Strabismus (Crossed eyes)

Occurs when the two eyes turn in different directions. It can occur in a child or an adult. When one eye is aligned well, the other may turn in or out, up or down. This may be noticeable all the time, or it may be intermittent. It may be present soon after birth or appear at a later age. It may be due to a weak eye muscle or a nerve palsy. Some people get their eyes surgically realigned, while others may get ‘orthoptic’ eye exercises. The latter is also called vision therapy, and it often involves the use of prisms and a range of equipment to retrain the visual system.


Most of the time, vision problems are not obvious, making them hard to catch. The best way to catch the issues early is through vision screenings. Warning signs may include:

  1. Eye rubbing
  2. Tearing
  3. Swelling
  4. Redness
  5. Pus
  6. Crust
  7. Sensitivity to light
  8. Bulging or jiggly eyes
  9. Droopy eyelids
  10. White, yellow, or grey-white material in the pupil

If you notice any of these, or your child’s eyes are changing in any way, or you simply worry about their vision, do not wait longer; get that first vision test. It is always safe and better to catch when things are still in the early phase rather than the later phase.

 

References

  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Vision. https://www.cdc.gov/visionhealth/resources/features/vision-health-children.html
  2. IGARD. Common Eye and Vision Problems in Children. https://www.igard.com.sg/services/children/common-eye-and-vision-problems-in-children/
  3. WebMD. Signs of Vision Problems in Young Kids. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/features/child-eye-and-vision-problems

Tips to Manage and Reduce Screen Time for Children

Living in today's digital world, the ubiquity of screens and gadgets is unavoidable. Individuals of all ages rely on screens for communication and daily tasks. However, excessive screen time, particularly for children, can have detrimental effects. Studies suggest that prolonged screen exposure can lead to behavioral issues, such as a lack of focus, and contribute to health problems, including obesity.
 


The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends specific screen time limits:

  • No screen time for children under 2
  • One hour per day for children aged 2 to 12
  • Two hours per day for teenagers and adults

For teenagers, research indicates a correlation between excessive screen time and negative outcomes such as anxiety, depression, and reduced attention span.

To mitigate the risks associated with too much screen time, consider implementing the following tips for both children and families in general:

  1. Open Communication with Your Family: Explain to your children the downsides of excessive screen time from an early age. Demonstrate alternative activities, such as playing board games, solving puzzles, coloring, painting, or developing new skills like riding a bike. For toddlers, model "pretend play" with toys, engaging in activities like running a restaurant or playing teacher and student. Older kids can explore outdoor activities or construct items, such as building with Lego.
  2. Lead by Example: Parents should serve as positive role models by limiting their own screen time. Children often emulate their parents' behavior more than their words.
  3. Establish Screen Time Limits: Enforce a household rule limiting screen time to a maximum of two hours per day. Consistency is key in maintaining these limits.
  4. Transform Mealtime into Family Time: Turn off the TV during family meals to foster connection. Prohibit the use of phones during this time. Research indicates that families who share meals tend to consume more nutritious food, making prioritizing family mealtime crucial.
  5. Avoid Using Screen Time as a Reward or Punishment: To foster a healthy relationship with screens, refrain from using screen time as a reward for good behavior. This practice can lead children to perceive screens as a "reward" for compliance, potentially reinforcing undesirable habits.

By implementing these strategies, parents can actively contribute to reducing screen time and promoting a healthier, more balanced lifestyle for their children and the entire family.

References

  1. National Health Institute (NIH). National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Tips to reduce screen time. https://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/educational/wecan/reduce-screen-time/tips-to-reduce-screen-time.htm
  2. Mayo Clinic Health System. 6 Tips to reduce children’s screen time. https://www.mayoclinichealthsystem.org/hometown-health/speaking-of-health/6-tips-to-reduce-childrens-screen-time

What is age-related macular degeneration (AMD)?

Age-related macular degeneration (AMD) is a common condition that affects people over the age of 50. It is the leading cause of vision loss in older people. Individuals with AMD are not completely blind, but they are losing their central vision, making it difficult for them to see faces, read, drive, or do close-up work around the house such as cooking or fixing things. Individuals suffering from AMD are unable to see fine details, whether they are looking at something close or far away.

AMD progresses slowly in some people and quickly in others. AMD is a type of eye disease that causes blurring of the central vision of the eyes due to damage to the macula. The macula is a part of the retina that controls sharp, straight, and ahead vision.

Types of AMD

There are two types of AMD:

Dry AMD

The most common type of AMD, accounting for approximately 80% of all AMD. Dry AMD occurs when parts of the macula thin with age and tiny clumps of protein known as drusen form.

Wet AMD

A less common type of late AMD known as advance neovascular AMD causes faster vision loss. Wet AMD can develop at any stage of dry AMD, but it is always the late stage of AMD. It occurs when abnormal blood vessels develop in the back of the eye, causing damage to the macula. The good news is that there are treatment options for wet AMD.

 


Stages of AMD

Early dry AMD causes no symptoms.

Some people with intermediate dry AMD still have no symptoms. Others may experience mild symptoms such as mild blurriness in their central vision or difficulty seeing in low light.

Many people who have late AMD (both wet and dry type) have noticed that straight lines become wavy or crooked. People may also notice a blurry area near the center of their vision. This blurry vision may worsen over time, and people may notice blank spots.

Treatment for AMD

There is currently no treatment that can help AMD in its early stages. Individuals with a lot of drusen or severe vision loss, on the other hand, may benefit from a specific combination of nutritional supplements based on the National Eye Institute's (NEI) AREDS and AREDS 2 eye surveys (Age-Related Eye Disease Studies). Vitamins like C and E, as well as lutein and zeaxanthin, zinc, and copper.

Aside from that, the eye doctor will usually schedule follow-up appointments to monitor/track how the eyes are doing with regular eye exams. Consuming healthy foods, getting regular exercise, and quit smoking can all help prevent and improve eye problems.

In the advanced stages of AMD, an eye doctor will consult with individuals about the necessary treatment to slow the progression of the eye problem.

References

1.   National Eye Institute (NEI). Age related macular degeneration (AMD). https://www.nei.nih.gov/learn-about-eye-health/eye-conditions-and-diseases/age-related-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

2.   American Academy of Ophtalmology (AAO). What is macular degeneration?   https://www.aao.org/eye-health/diseases/amd-macular-degeneration (Retrieved on January 5, 2023).

 

3.   National Health Services (NHS, UK). What is AMD? https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/age-related-macular-degeneration-amd/ (Retrieved on January 5, 2023). 

 

 

Be aware of blue light and its effects.

Sunlight constitutes of red, orange, yellow, blue, indigo, and violet. When these colours combine, they form the white light that we see. Each of these colours has a different wavelength and energy level, with blue having a shorter wavelength and more energy and red having a longer wavelength and less energy. Light that appears white may contain more blue wavelengths. Sunlight is the most abundant source of blue light. Fluorescent lighting, LED lighting, flat-screen LED televisions, computer monitors, smart phones, and tablet screens are among the others.

 


 

Almost all visible blue light is absorbed by the cornea and lens before reaching the retina. This light could impair vision and prematurely age the eyes. According to preliminary research, excessive blue light exposure may cause (1) digital eyestrain (2) retinal damage.


At night, blue light, which appears to be beneficial during the day, appears to be the most disruptive. Blue light is beneficial during the day because it can improve attention, reaction times, and mood; however, with the proliferation of electronics with screens and energy efficient lighting, humans are constantly exposed to blue wavelength, particularly after sundown.

 

 

According to research, exposure to blue wavelengths after sundown affects the body's circadian rhythm, increase risk of diabetes, heart disease, and obesity.

A Harvard study found a possible link between light after sundown, the body's circadian rhythm, diabetes, and obesity. The researchers put ten people on a schedule that gradually shifted their circadian rhythm timing. Their blood sugar levels increase, putting them at risk of diabetes, and their leptin levels increase as well (a hormone that promotes feeling full after a meal, went down).


Another blue light study compared the effects of 6.5 hours of blue light exposure to exposure to green light of comparable brightness. Blue light suppressed melatonin about twice as much as green light during the same exposure period, which shifted circadian rhythms by twice as much (3 hours vs. 1.5 hours).

 

In conclusion, blue light after sundown can affect health in a variety of ways. While we need this to progress in this modern society, we can also make minor adjustments to make things work without jeopardizing health.

 

  •        For night lights, use dim red lights because red light is less likely to disrupt the circadian rhythm and suppress melatonin.
  •       Avoid looking at bright screens beginning two or three hours before sleep.
  •       Consider wearing blue-blocking glasses at night if you work a night shift or use a lot of electronic devices.
  •       Allow yourself to be exposed to a lot of bright light during the day, which will improve your ability to sleep at night as well as your mood and alertness during the day.

References

  1.       Blue light has a dark side. Harvard Health. https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/blue-light-has-a-dark-side (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  2.       Seeing blue: How can blue light affect your health. WebMD. https://www.webmd.com/eye-health/blue-light-health (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).
  3.       What is blue light. Prevent blindness. https://preventblindness.org/blue-light-and-your-eyes/ (Retrieved on January 3, 2023).   

 

 

Healthy Living, Healthy Vision.

Tips for eye care are closely related to living a healthy lifestyle in general. Most eye problems, if they are not genetic (based on family history), are caused by high blood pressure, diabetes, and artery narrowing or hardening. All of these issues, if left untreated, will result in vision loss.

 

Eat Healthy Food

 

It is commonly assumed that the health of your eyes is unrelated to what you consume, but the truth is that it is. Consuming nutrient-dense foods will allow you to maintain good health, thereby avoiding complications that may arise in your eyes as a result of your health complications.

 

As part of a healthy diet, choose foods high in antioxidants, such as vitamins A and C, which have been shown to benefit eye health. Foods high in vitamins A and C include green leafy vegetables and foods with bright colours like orange and red. It also contains carotenoid, which is beneficial to the eyes. Carotenoid is an antioxidant found in plants that are brightly coloured, such as red, orange, yellow, and green. Aside from that, it can act as a cancer-fighting agent. Carotenoid works in the macular (the most sensitive part of the retina responsible for vision production and colour perception).

 

Lutein and zeaxhantin are types of carotenoids.

 

Inadequate antioxidant intake, alcohol consumption, or saturated fat consumption may result in free-radical reactions that harm the macula. High-fat diets can also cause deposits in the arteries that restrict blood flow. Because of the small size of the blood vessels that feed the eyes, they are especially sensitive to this.

 

 

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.

 


 

Wear sunglasses

 

The American Academy of Opthalmology (AAO) encourages people to protect their eyes from the sun's harmful UV rays. Sunglasses are more than just a fashion statement; they are also a wise and healthy choice. Long-term sun exposure without adequate protection can increase the risk of eye disease such as cataract, macular degeneration, eye growth, and a rare form of eye cancer.

 

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.

 

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

 

 

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.

 

Eye care in conclusion

 

People usually take their eyesight and health for granted; it was only when we began to lose the ability that we began to take it seriously. Start taking care of your eyes now by doing the above. If you are constantly looking at a screen, you can also give your eyes a break every 20 minutes by looking 20 feet away for 20 seconds. If you have a family history of eye problems, schedule a comprehensive dilate eye exam on a regular basis. If you wear contact lenses, make sure to disinfect them and replace them on a regular basis. Also, remember to wash your hands before touching your eyes or face

 

References


 

 

 

Why screening is bad for eye health ?

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)!

 

 

 

The benefits of antioxidants for eyes.

As humans, we never truly appreciate our senses until we lose them. One of the many things we should be thankful for is our senses of smell, touch, sound, taste, and sight. Isn't it horrible to wake up one day and not be able to see, touch, hear sound, or smell?


Many people take their sense of sight for granted because they believe that vision problems can be corrected with the help of lenses or spectacles. People even take it lightly now that we have advanced technology, such as Lasik surgery, because they believe there is a cure. When, in fact, there are numerous health complications or conditions that can impair your ability to see, such as being diagnosed with diabetes. Isn't it terrifying?

The good news is that nutrition can prevent this from happening! A varied and balanced diet can help to prevent many diseases, including blindness. Many studies have found that consuming antioxidants, also known as cancer fighting agents, can help prevent vision loss. Antioxidants are compounds that aid in the scavenging of free radicals that can cause cell mutation and cancer.

 

Since many of these antioxidants are found in plant-based diets such as vegetables and fruits, one mechanism for this is said to be due to the prevention of other chronic diseases such as hypertension and diabetes, lowering the risk of vision loss. Lutein and zeaxanthin, vitamin A, omega 3, and vitamin C are all antioxidants that have been linked to vision health (2). 

 

Lutein and zeaxanthin are members of the carotenoid family, which is a well-known antioxidant for eye health. Apart from being found in green leafy vegetables like spinach, it can also be found in yellowish, orange-red plant-based foods like capsicum. In nature, lutein and zeaxanthin appear to absorb excess light energy to protect plants from overexposure to sunlight, particularly high-energy light rays known as blue light. While in the human body, lutein and zeaxanthin are abundant in the macula of the human eye, the name 'macula lutea' is derived from lutein, which means yellow spot.

 

 

 

The National Eyes Institute (NEI) conducted research on lutein, zeaxanthin, and the effect of carotenoids supplement taking in May 2013. It is the second largest eye- disease research study, namely, AREDS2. The purpose of this study was to see how nutrients, such as lutein and zeaxanthin, affected the prevention of AMD and other age-related eye diseases. For five years, participants in this study were given 10 mg of lutein and 2 mg of zeaxanthin every day. The use of daily antioxidant supplementation reduces the risk of progressive Age-related-Macular Degeneration (AMD) by 25% among those with early and intermediate macular degeneration, according to this study. However, it is unclear whether it can aid in the prevention of cataracts and their complications.

 

Vitamin A is another common antioxidant for the eyes. Night blindness is commonly caused by a lack of vitamin A. Vitamin A functions as photoreceptors, where it aids in the maintenance of light-sensing cells in the eyes. It's found in animal-based foods like dairy and egg yolk.

 

Omega 3 Fatty Acids (1,2)

 

EPA and DHA, which are derived from omega-3 fatty acids, are essential not only for brain development during infancy, but also for vision health. A study of people with dry eyes found that taking EPA and DHA supplements daily for three months significantly reduced dry eye symptoms by increasing tear fluid production (lacrimal fluid). Oily fish is a good source of EPA and DHA, and microalgae supplements are also available.

 

 

Vitamin E (1,3)

 

Vitamin E is a fat-soluble vitamin that protects fatty acids from oxidation. Because the retina contains a high concentration of fatty acids, adequate vitamin E intake is essential for good eye health. A study that supplemented 7 mg of vitamins E found that it can reduce the risk of age-related cataracts by 6%. However, a randomized controlled study discovered that vitamin E supplementation does not slow or prevent the progression of people who already have eye problems. Almonds, sunflower seeds, and flaxseed oil are good sources of vitamin E.

 

 

Vitamin C (1,3)

 

Vitamin C is commonly consumed for skin purposes, but since many studies have discovered that vitamin C is an important antioxidant for eye health as well, many supplements are now beginning to incorporate vitamin c rich sources in eye supplementation. It's a good thing because it gives you two effects in one!

 

Zinc (1,3)

 

Zinc is abundant in the eyes. It functions as a transporter for vitamin A, which is later involved in the formation of visual pigments in the retina known as melanin. As a result, zinc deficiency has been linked to night blindness. Oysters are a natural dietary resource high in zinc that is also beneficial to men's health!

 

In conclusion

 

Taking care of your vision health entails more than just avoiding screens and wearing sunglasses when you go outside. It is also what you put inside your body. Again, healthy eating is important for overall health, including vision!

 

References

 

 

 

How do you make your skin glow?

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 protect skin from premature ageing like wrinkles, fine lines, and hyperpigmentation. Studies show that people who are under 55 years old and wear sunscreen regularly can lower their risk of premature ageing by 24% as compared to those who wear sunscreen occasionally or not 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 aqua sunscreen, which is meant for dry skin, etc. You also must apply sunscreen every 2 hours or after exercise. Sunscreen should also be applied at least 30 minutes before going out, as it requires time to be absorbed by the skin and activated in order to protect your skin (2). 

 

Move, Move, Move

 

We know that exercising regularly can keep our bodies fit and healthy, but did you know that it can also keep your skin healthy?

 

Exercise increases blood circulation and flow throughout the body, hence making your skin radiant and glowing. Pssttt…you can kill twoi birds with one stone by doing this; you can keep your body lean while also getting healthy skin! (3)

 

Keep your body hydrated

 

Our skin is exposed to various conditions: cold due to the air conditioner, warm due to the water, etc., so drinking plenty of water will make our skin condition better. Everybody is born with a particular skin type, whether it is dry, oily, or a combination; however, all these surrounding factors and age factor can change skin condition as well (4, 5).

 

In order to see whether your skin is dry, try to pinch it in an area and see whether it has a wrinkle on it after your pinch or whether it bounces back after your pinch, which is an indicator for well-hydrated skin. Wrinkles and less bouncy skin are indicators of dry skin; it can also sometimes be seen based on your urine colour if it is too concentrated, meaning your body does not get a sufficient amount of water (4, 5).

 

Lifestyle changes can reverse this; drink at least 8 glasses of water per day. Limiting the intake of alcohol and drinking less caffeinated drinks like coffee and tea can improve the dry skin condition (4).

 

Face and manage your stress. 

 

We used to believe that suppressing our feelings and emotions was better for everyone, including ourselves. However, that is not always the case; we have to deal with it and manage it. Talk to someone if you have a problem; share it with someone that you trust. Think positive.

 

Pick up some hobbies, distract yourself from overthinking about it, and slowly find solutions. Doing outdoor activities can help calm a person if their mind is too saturated with a lot of stuff, or spending time alone can de-clutter their mind and create more space. Cleaning can sometimes make you a lot happier and help you think better about the solution to your problem.

 

Established a skincare routine

 

Skin care is essential for keeping skin in good condition. A good skin care routine will improve skin condition, but only if the products used are of high quality.First, you have to find out your skin type. Normal skin, dry skin, oily skin, and combination skin are the four skin types.

 

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 has 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 out your skin type, find the right product for it. The common one should have cleanser, moisturizer, toner, sunscreen, exfoliator, and makeup removal. Start with cleansing your face at least twice per day. If you need to exfoliate your skin at least twice a week, this is a good time to remove all of the dead cells, dirt, and blemishes on your face (5).

 

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

 

The only difference between a daytime and nighttime skincare routine is that moisturiser used on the skin is encouraged to be applied thickly at night so that the skin is not dry in the morning!

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

 

 

Diet vs skin condition

 

 As much as sugary food is bad for your waistline, so is it for your skin! Acne and breakouts can be exacerbated by sugary foods.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 used to make skin become radiant and glow. Vitamin C-rich foods are often used to boost skin conditions. Fruits like guava are really rich with vitamin C; it even has twice the content of vitamin C in an orange!

 

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

 

On the supplement ingredients list, you can see whether the supplement is made from natural or synthetic ingredients.Synthetic vitamin C is called ascorbic acid; it usually irritates the stomach and has a higher dosage of vitamin C as compared to vitamin C that is derived from natural fruits like berries, guavas, oranges, etc.

 

Synthetic vitamin C or ascorbic acid is also usually coloured with food colouring to make the supplement look as if it has a high content of vitamin C. If you notice that your soluble vitamin C supplement stains your glass of water after being diluted in it, there is a high probability that the supplement that you are taking has food colouring in it.

 

So be wise in choosing your vitamin C supplements. In order to make your skin glow, know how to find good vitamin C. Remember,  it has to be derived from a natural source with no coloring, and the content of the vitamin C does not need to be 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 the Greek word "kola,” which means glue, and that is basically the function of collagen, which is to hold protein and/or non-protein substances together. As an example, in the skin, the function of collagen is to hold all the skin structure together. Collagen is one of the major building blocks for many parts of the body, including bones, skin, tendons, and ligaments. It accounts for about one-third of the body's protein composition. It is also found in many other body parts, including blood vessels, corneas, and teeth.

Types of collagen

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

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

Type II: This type is made of more loosely packed fibres and is 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 that among the signs of ageing are wrinkles, which come from skin that is less elastic, less supple, and unfirm.

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

 

Where can we get collagen from?

The good news is that collagen can be gotten from food. There are foods that can stimulate the production of collagen and break down collagen. The body makes collagen by combining proline and glycine (types of proteins). Thus, consuming foods high in proline and glycine will help restore collagen levels in the body.

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

 

As for supplements containing collagen, they are usually in the form of hydrolyzed collagen. The source of hydrolyzed collagen can be fish, marine seaweed, pork skin, or other food sources that have high collagen contents. It is also said that hydrolyzed collagen is much easier to absorb by the body as compared to collagen from food.

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

Individuals with cyst problems and cancer problems must be careful with their consumption of collagen supplements, as they can be harmful. Hence, it is best to seek professional help before consuming any supplement. Certain supplements are contraindicated with the medicine that you are consuming, etc.
 

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!

Our skin is one of the largest organs in our bodies. It is our body's main defense organ against external insults such as radiation, ultraviolet rays, pathogenic microorganisms (bad bacteria), and mechanical and chemical stress (1). The condition of the skin or the skin barrier is greatly supported by the foods that we eat, whether we like it or not. There are foods that can benefit your skin and foods that can harm your skin. The foods listed below can either make or break your skin!

 

Omega-3-rich foods

 

The term "good fat" usually refers to omega-3 fatty acids. It regulates skin oil production, improves hydration balance, controls breakouts, and reduces signs of ageing. Furthermore, when applied topically, it can help soften rough, dry skin and soothe irritation and dermatitis. Omega-3-rich foods can improve skin composition by balancing its inflammatory response to sun damage, as well as improve sensitive skin condition by making it less dehydrated and dry.

 

Fish is high in Omega 3 fatty acids. Specifically, fish oil. As a result, if an individual does not consume fish at all or prefers not to consume fish, it is recommended that they take Omega 3 and 6 supplements for their heart health. Omega-3-rich fish include mackerel, tuna, sardine and anchovies, salmon, and herring. Freshwater fish rich in omega 3 are also available in Malaysia, including catfish (ikan keli), patin fish, and terubok fish.

 

Aside from that, certain plant-based foods, such as spinach (bayam), mustard leaf (sawi), and 'salad roket,' contain high levels of omega 3. There are also omega-3-rich oils that can be used in cooking, such as canola oil. Also, if you want to improve the health of your skin, instead of snacking on chips or other unhealthy foods, try eating walnuts, which are high in omega 3.

 

Antioxidant and vitamin-rich foods

 

Plant-based foods, such as vegetables and fruits, are typically high in antioxidants and vitamins. Fruits and vegetables high in vitamins like C, E, and A are known as skin best friends.' All of these vitamins work in the same way when they engulf free radicals or reactive oxygen species (ROS). Free radicals can be produced naturally in the body, or as a result of UV radiation exposure, among other things. In other words, it is something that happens to everyone. As a result, it is critical to consume foods high in vitamins and antioxidants to combat all of the problems caused by free radical formation.

 

The Malaysian Ministry of Health recommends eating two servings of fruits and three servings of vegetables per day. The cupped hand size is used to determine vegetable serving size. As a result, 2 cupped hand size equals 2 servings. While the serving size for fruit varies depending on the type of fruit, 1 serving is equivalent to 1 fruit for medium-sized fruit such as apple, pear, and orange, while larger fruit is dependent on the normal cut sized. To simplify things, if you eat two apples, two pear, two bananas, or two oranges per day, you've already met the daily serving requirement.

 

Guava, orange, and lemon are examples of vitamin C-rich foods. Did you know that guava has twice the vitamin C content of an orange of the same size? Consuming 2 servings of guava or 1 small guava already meets your daily vitamin C requirement (75mg).

 

 

Almond, pumpkin, corn, collard, red bell pepper, and soy-based foods are examples of vitamin E-rich foods. According to research, Vitamin E or tocopherol works synergistically with Vitamin C to protect against UV radiation or sun damage.

 

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

 

Sugar

 

Sugar, as many people already know, is bad for your health because it raises your blood sugar level, which can lead to obesity, diabetes, heart disease, and other metabolic diseases. But it's also bad for your skin.

 

Sugar, in any form, has an impact on the two main causes of acne: hormones and inflammation. When you consume refined and processed carbohydrates, such as white sugar, your blood sugar levels rise faster, and your pancreas responds by releasing insulin. By avoiding sugar, you may be able to reduce the amount of insulin your body produces, which will reduce the oil and acne production.

 

Desserts such as cakes, tarts, cookies, 'traditional' kuih, and bakery products are high in sugar. Our daily staple foods are also high in refined carbohydrates or refined sugar. White rice, white bread, noodles, and flour-rich foods are all high in refined carbohydrates, which can harm the skin condition in the long run.

 

In conclusion, eating a healthy and well-balanced diet is the best way to achieve younger-looking skin. Consuming a lot of fresh products, limiting processed foods, oily foods containing trans fat, and sugary foods will help you not only have younger looking skin but also a 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.

 

Placenta and skin health

The placenta is an organ that connects the foetus to the mother. It transfers oxygen and nutrients to the foetus and removes foetal waste products to the mother. When the baby is born, the placenta will also be discharged from the mother’s body. There has been a growing interest in placenta extraction as it is said to have high nutritional value. The nutritional substance includes cytokines, hormones, bioactive peptides, enzymes, growth factors, vitamins, and minerals.

 

Culturally, humans rarely consume placenta, but recently there has been growing interest in consuming placenta, be it from humans or animals. Mammals have been consuming placenta since years ago; it is called placentophagia, while in humans it is called placentophagy. The placenta could be served raw, cooked, or encapsulated and taken as a supplement as it contains various nutritional benefits.

 

Rave on this started when many Hollywood celebrities started using placenta therapy as part of their skincare routine treatment. Celebrities like Kim Kardashian, Victoria Beckham, and even male celebrities like Harry Styles from One Direction have said they have been using this for their skin to get baby-soft skin.

 

Placenta consumption in Malaysia.

 

In Malaysia, it is rare for people to consume raw placenta. Usually, it comes in health supplement form and is derived from deer or sheep. Hence, as it is in health supplement form, any products containing placenta extract in a pharmaceutical dosage will require to be registered with the Drug Control Authority (DCA) before they are sold or used in Malaysia.

 

 

Benefits of placenta consumption.

 

Findings from research reported that nutrients that are delivered via the placenta could be retained even after the process of delivering the baby. The research also stated that the placenta contains collagen, elastin, laminin, and vitamins such as B1, B2, B3, B4, B5, B6, B7, and B12. All these vitamins, better known as B complex vitamins, play roles in cell metabolism, cell division, cell development, and energy production.

 

Due to this aspect as well, it is said that it gives a lot of benefits to skin health. Placenta is even used in clinical settings, such as for burn injuries and wound healing. In one study, researchers compared the efficacy of topical placental extract dressings versus povidone iodine dressings in diabetic wounds in a variety of patients. Placenta wound dressings could significantly accelerate the rate of wound healing when compared to povidone-iodine dressings as they contained amino acids, vitamins, and nucleotides, which accelerated wound healing recovery by seven to ten days.

 

Due to all these effects, many skincare products have recently incorporated placenta, be it from sheep or deer, in their skincare or supplement products.

 

 

 

 

Caution with regard to placenta in the supplement

 

When it comes to placenta consumption as a health supplement, it is evaluated based on its safety of use and product quality. To be safe, sheep placenta products must be hormone-free. Because placenta typically contains hormones such as testosterone, oestrogen, and progesterone, being hormone-free is much more important for a placenta-based supplement. To confirm whether the products you are considering or consuming have been notified by the Ministry of Health, you can conduct an online product search on the National Pharmaceutical Registration Agency (NPRA). However, if the product is not listed in the DCA, it is not recommended that you consume it because its safety and quality have not been evaluated, and it may pose a health risk.

 

References

 

  1. Ministry of Health (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Sheep Placenta. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/sheep-placenta/ (Accessed on January 13, 2021)
  2. Pan, S. Y., Chan, M. K., Wong, M. B., Klokol, D., & Chernykh, V. (2017). Placental Therapy: An insight to their biological and therapeutic properties. blood4(11), 12.

 

Does Having Younger Looking Skin Have Anything To Do With Foods Or Genetics?

Skin is a window to your overall health. The condition and appearance of your skin is an indicator of how well your overall health is. When skin is in good condition, it works hard to protect the body from environmental stressors such as irritants, allergens, and microbes. It also helps to regulate temperature, making it look and feel smooth, calm, hydrated, and even in colour (1).

But, what if it is not in good condition? Is it hormonal in nature? Is it related to food? Is it hereditary? Is it any of these?

 

Yes, it is indeed all of these!

 

Skin that appears younger is closely related to lifestyle and genetics. According to research, there is a gene in the human body that controls our skin condition. Have you ever wondered why certain people of similar age but different appearances appear younger than their actual age while others appear older? The study by dermatologist professor Alexa B. Kimball from Harvard revealed that this has something to do with gene expressions.

 

According to the study, people with rapid gene expression speed up the skin-repairing process when exposed to external or internal stress, which is why they can maintain younger-looking skin. It has also been observed that some people who appear young have rapid gene expression that mimics those who are younger than their chronological age. According to the professor, the skin appears younger because it behaved younger (1)!

 

To elaborate, the one described above is known as intrinsic skin ageing, and it represents chronological ageing, with the same pattern affecting all internal organs. Extrinsic skin ageing, also known as aged skin, is caused by external factors such as environmental influence, particularly chronic sun exposure and ultraviolet (UV) irradiation, but also smoking, pollution, sleep deprivation, and poor nutrition. As a result, when it comes to skin, the best way to avoid harm is to avoid all of these extrinsic factors (1).

 

A study that compared sun-exposed skin (face and forearm) to sun-protected skin (buttock) among women aged 20 to 70 years old discovered that ultraviolet (UV) exposure is a major driver and accelerator of skin ageing. Although sun exposure without any skin protection, such as sunscreen, is harmful to the skin, there is a recommended amount of time spent outdoors without sunscreen so that UVB from the sun can activate vitamin D3 in the skin. The recommended exposure time is 5 - 30 minutes between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m., at least twice a week, to the face, arms, legs, or back (2). In Malaysia, where the weather is sunny all year, excessive sun exposure can cause skin damage. As a result, if one of your 2021 resolutions is to avoid sun damage, you should start wearing sunscreen religiously!

 

Apart from smoking and pollution, which can both cause skin damage, sleep deprivation can also cause skin to appear older. Sleep serves as a reset button for our entire health, including our skin. During sleep, the blood flow to the skin increases, and the organ rebuilds collagen and repairs UV damage, reducing wrinkles and age spots. According to research, sleep deprivation affects wound healing, collagen growth, skin hydration, and skin texture. Inflammation is also higher in sleep-deprived individuals, causing acne outbreaks, eczema, psoriasis, and sin allergies. To combat this, health experts recommend 7 to 9 hours of beauty sleep per day to achieve fluffy baby skin (3,4)!

 

Poor nutrition is also a major contributor to the appearance of older skin, and the worst culprit of all is sugar! Glycation is the process by which sugar interacts with skin. Younger-looking skin is always associated with firm and elastic skin, which refers to the cross-linking structure of skin fibres. This structure can repair itself naturally; however, when sugar is consumed, the glycation process renders the structure and renders the skin unable to remodel into its original structure. As a result, the youthful skin condition has vanished! This explain, sugar consumption is not only bad for metabolic conditions like diabetes mellitus, but also for skin conditions.

  

To summarise, the skin is the largest and most delicate organ; it may appear strong and capable of withstanding all of the external and internal harm that we inflict on it, but it, too, requires pampering. A good skincare routine will help with its condition, but it also requires good food, hydration, and sleep to keep everything in check and balance!

 

References

 

  1. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. (2017, November 28). Expression of certain genes may be key to more youthful looking skin: Certain gene expression patterns identified in women who appear younger than their chronologic age. ScienceDaily. Retrieved January 18, 2021 from sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/11/171128102918.htm
  2. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). MyHealth Portal. Vitamin D and sunlight. http://www.myhealth.gov.my/en/vitamin-d-and-sunlight-2/
  3. Kahan V, Andersen ML, Tomimori J, Tufik S. Can poor sleep affect skin integrity? Med Hypotheses. 2010 Dec;75(6):535-7. doi: 10.1016/j.mehy.2010.07.018. Epub 2010 Aug 1. PMID: 20678867.
  4. 6 Ways to Maximize Your Beauty Sleep for #wokeuplikethis skin. https://www.healthline.com/health/beauty-skin-care/beauty-sleep (Accessed on January 19, 2021).
  5. Danby, F. W. (2010). Nutrition and aging skin: sugar and glycation. Clinics in dermatology, 28(4), 409-411.

 

Grapeseed Extract and its benefits.

Grape seed extract (GSE) is derived naturally from grape seed and is commonly used in dietary supplements for a variety of purposes. It is created by removing, drying, and pulverising the bitter tasting grape seeds. It contains a lot of antioxidants like phenolic acids, anthocyanins, flavonoids, and oligomeric proanthocyanidins complexes (OPC). Grape seed extract, in fact, is regarded as one of the best sources of proanthocyanidins. As a result, grape seed extract provides numerous benefits to the human body, including disease prevention, protection against oxidative stress, tissue damage, inflammation, and many more. In this article, we will look in depth at the potential health benefits of grape seed extract (GSE) based on studies:
Wound healing activity and antioxidant properties. 

Numerous studies have shown that grape seed extract contains a high level of antioxidants. Using punctured wounded mice, researchers discovered that mice treated with GSE in the wound affected area grew tissue faster than mice treated with only normal saline. Another difference between GSE-treated mice and placebo-treated mice was more organized tissue formation and a higher rate of collagen deposition.

Topical application of 2% GSE cream in the area of a post-surgery surgical wound heals the wound completely in an average of 8 days, compared to 14 days for placebo. This is due to GSE's vascular endothelial growth factor (VEGF) properties, which promote the regeneration of damaged blood vessels while increasing the amount of free radicals present at the wound site. Free radicals aid in the killing and removal of pathogenic bacteria and endotoxin from the site, as well as in the healing of wounds.

Apart from wound healing and skin health properties, it also has anti-ageing properties. GSE proanthocyanidins delay skin ageing by reducing lipid oxidation on the skin structure.

 

Cardiovascular and antihypertensive properties. 

Cardiovascular disorders (CVD) are among the major problems that arise due to modern, unhealthy lifestyles, which are the primary cause of death worldwide. It is a disorder that affects the condition and function of the heart and blood vessels in general. Changes in these two can result in cardiac arrest, heart stroke, hypertension, chest pain, and other complications. Studies show that GSE may prevent atherosclerosis (a condition where there is a build-up of fats, cholesterol, etc. in the blood vessel walls, which can restrict blood flow), inhibit or limit the oxidation of LDL (bad cholesterol), reduce inflammation, inhibit platelet aggregation, and lower blood pressure. It lowers blood pressure by suppressing oxidative stress and inhibiting the angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) and nitric oxide, which mediate vasodilation, hence making the constricted blood vessels dilate and improving blood pressure.

Antimicrobial activity 

 

GSE has been shown to have antimicrobial properties; for example, when applied topically, resveratrol in GSE increases the production of cathelicidin, which inhibits the growth of Staphylococcus aureus. In another study, quercetin, caffeic acid, and quercetin-3-0-rutinoside in GSE were responsible for the inhibition of Listeria monocytogenes. It is also worth noting that GSE had the highest inhibition activity against almost all Listeria species. The review on the benefits of GSE also reported that the antimicrobial effect of GSE is attributed to changes in cell morphology and DNA content. 

 

Cosmetic and nutraceuticals

Skin ageing is a natural process which occurs due to the external and internal factors involving genetic, hormonal, and environmental factors. GSE is rich in proanthocyanidin help to reduces the lipid oxidation of cellular structure of the skin and inhibit the production of free radicals. A study was carried out in which the anti-ageing effect of GSE was investigate. The study concluded that GSE has a promising role as an anti-ageing compound.

GSE help skin structure by strengthening the collagen-based tissue (by increasing the collagen cross links). It also increases the synthesis of collagen and the conversion of collagen from soluble into insoluble one.

 

In conclusions,

GSE has various benefits to health due to its high antioxidant properties, it is able to scavenge the free radicals which an essential feature that could help with various body functions.

 

 References

  1. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Centre for Complementary and Integrative Health (NICCH). Grape Seed Extract. https://www.nccih.nih.gov/health/grape-seed-extract (Accessed on March 15, 2021).
  2. 10 Benefits of Grape Seed Extract, Based on Science. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/grape-seed-extract-benefits (Accessed on March 15, 2021).
  3. Gupta, M., Dey, S., Marbaniang, D., Pal, P., Ray, S., & Mazumder, B. (2020). Grape seed extract: Having a potential health benefit. Journal of food science and technology, 57(4), 1205-1215.

 

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