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Key -ingredients for skin hydration

In general there are three types of skin condition, oily skin, dry skin, and combination skin. Skin expert believe that every skin condition need certain amount of hydration in order to keep the skin in its healthy condition.


There are  variety of products in the market formulated in order to moisturized and hydrate skin.


But do you know that there is different between moisturizing skin and hydrating skin?


  • Hydrating ingredients are ingredients that can be used to add water into the skin, as the ingredients have the ability to pull water into the skin.


  • Moisturized ingredients are ingredients which can help to keep the hydration in the skin by preventing Trans-Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL – A process which evaporates water from skin).


Dry skin need both hydrating ingredients and moisturizing ingredients in order keep skin moist and healthy. Whereas for oily and combination skin, application skincare is depending on the type of skincare, its ingredients and also type of skin at the particular area.



All in all, there are three types of hydrating and moisturizing ingredients in the market. This includes humectants, emollient, and occlusive.


  • Humectants is the kind of ingredients that can attract water and moisture to the skin. When humectants are present on the skin, water from dermis is absorbed into the epidermis. (E.g.: Glycerin, Honey, Hyaluronic Acid, Panthenol, Propylene Glycol, Butylene Glycol, Hydroxy Acids: Glycolic Acid, Lactic Acid)
  • Emollients are chemicals that improved the ‘feel’ of the skin by filling the spaces in between skin cells and also provide lubrication, or imparting sense of softness in the skin. (E.g.: Dimethicone, Isopropyl Palmitate, Propylene Glycol, Isopropyl Isostearate).
  • Occlusive is an agent that serve to reduce Trans-epidermal Water Loss (TEWL) by forming a non-friendly skin barrier  over the skin surface to prevent evaporation of water from the skin to the environment (E.g.: Mineral Oil, Squalene, Lanolin Acid, Lanolin)


Other that these, newly discovered ingredients that raved the skincare industry is the ceramide, thus many skincare company started to incorporate this holy ingredients into the skincare formulation. Study shows that the application of ceramide in 24h can lessen the Trans-epidermal Water Loss, which is a good indicator in order to moisturized and hydrates skin.


Other than this, study also look at the relationship between consumption of ceramide whether it can improve skin condition. Surprisingly, consumption of ceramide also helps in improving skin condition. Study found out that consumption of ceramide in 12 weeks is beneficial to especially dry skin condition as compared to placebo.


The study also look at the safety of ceramide consumption to the body and found out that ceramide is safe for consumption.


In conclusion, hydration and moisturization is important for skin. Combination of emollient, humectants, occlusive and ceramides is important in maintaining skin barrier and moisture. Consumption of supplements product containing high antioxidants properties and ceramides also help to improve skin condition.



  1. Tsuchiya, Y., Ban, M., Kishi, M., Ono, T., & Masaki, H. (2020). Safety and Efficacy of Oral Intake of Ceramide-Containing Acetic Acid Bacteria for Improving the Stratum Corneum Hydration: A Randomized, Double-Blind, Placebo-Controlled Study over 12 Weeks. Journal of Oleo Science69(11), 1497-1508.
  2. Spada, F., Barnes, T. M., & Greive, K. A. (2018). Skin hydration is significantly increased by a cream formulated to mimic the skin’s own natural moisturizing systems. Clinical, cosmetic and investigational dermatology11, 491.
  3. Science Becomes Her. Emollients, Occlusives, & Humectants, Moisturized explained.

Understanding calories

Calories are a unit of measurement for the amount of energy in food and beverages.


We put energy into our bodies when we eat and drink. This energy will then be used in our daily activities, such as breathing, sleeping, and running.


To maintain a stable weight, we must balance the energy we put into our bodies with the energy we use through normal body functions and daily activities. Simply put, the more calories you put into your body, the more activities you need to do to burn them off, and vice versa.


General calories intake


Men on average need about 2500 kcal per day, while women need about 2000 kcal per day. However, as mentioned above, the amount of recommended nutrient intake varies from person to person based on their daily activities, occupation, frequency of exercise, lifestyle habits, and also body metabolism.


The more vigorously you engage in an activity, the more calories you will expend. Fast walking, for example, burns more calories than moderate walking. If you're gaining weight, it could be because you've been eating and drinking more calories than you've been burning. To lose weight, you must expend more energy than you consume; this can be accomplished by eating less or exercising more vigorously. Doing this consistently over time will get you to your desired weight.


When people try to lose weight, they tend to restrict their food intake and often do not enjoy their diet changes. A healthy diet should also be a sustainable diet, which means gradually but consistently reducing unhealthy food consumption, consuming more healthier food options, and being mindful of the amount of food consumed.


Calorie counter


Nowadays, there are various apps that can be used on a mobile phone to track not only your calorie intake but also your steps, exercise, and the energy that you burn. Using all these apps and gadgets is helpful in making sure that you are on track with your diet and exercise.


One of the apps developed by the Ministry of Health Malaysia that is compatible with the Malaysian variety of foods is My Nutri Diary 2.0. The app is helpful in monitoring your calorie intake and your weight progress. Often, when we use calorie tracking apps, it frustrates users that the app does not know how many calories a nasi lemak has (or any local food), but with my nutri diary, it covers a variety of Malaysian food options, which can be helpful for our daily food consumption.


Gap between unhealthy diet and body needs


While trying to lose, put on, or maintain weight, imbalanced consumption of foods may lead to the loss of some essential nutrients. Hence, to bridge the gap between the lack of nutrients in food and what the body needs, consumption of multivitamins and multiminerals is helpful.


Other conditions include denture problems, loss of appetite, a hectic lifestyle, and many more.




What is Anemia?

Anemia is a common blood disorder. It is a condition when the body does not have enough red blood cells and is unable to deliver enough oxygen throughout the body.


Anemia is diagnosed by a low haemoglobin or hematocrit level in a blood test. The main protein in red blood cells is haemoglobin. It transports and distributes oxygen throughout your body. Your haemoglobin level will be low if you have anaemia. If it falls below a certain level, your tissues or organs may not receive enough oxygen.


Symptoms of anemia


Lethargic or tiredness are the most common symptoms of anemia. Other symptoms include pale skin, an irregular or fast heartbeat, shortness of breath, chest pain, headache, and light-headedness.


Types of anemia


Among the types of anemia are sickle cell anemia, iron deficiency anemia, thalassemia, aplastic anemia, and many more.

Each of these types of anemia has its own cause.


In conclusion,

anemia must be treated depending on the cause, ranging from taking supplements to having medical procedures.

Most importantly, anemia can be prevented by consuming a healthy and varied diet.

Iron-rich foods include boiled cockles, chickpeas, fried soy bean curd, liver, dried anchovies, bitter gourd, spinach, and kangkung.

Is it compulsory to consume iron supplements during pregnancy?

Iron is a mineral found in many proteins and enzymes that the body needs in order to stay healthy. Most of the iron in the body is found in haemoglobin, the pigment of red blood cells. Haemoglobin transports oxygen to all of the tissues and organs in the body. If there is an insufficient amount of iron in the blood, the amount of haemoglobin in the blood decreases too. This will reduce the oxygen supply to cells and organs.


During pregnancy, a haemoglobin level of 11 g/dl or above is considered normal. Between 3 to 6 months of pregnancy, a small drop of 10.5 g/dl is also considered normal. Lower levels of haemoglobin are usually due to a lack of iron (iron deficiency). Usually, the level of iron in the blood is measured in order to find out whether a low haemoglobin level is due to a lack of iron.


For a pregnant lady with a normal level of iron in her blood, it is not compulsory to consume an iron supplement; some people might consume it as a precautionary measure, but studies involving more than 40, 000 women show that there are no noticeable health benefits for the pregnancy or the baby. Although iron supplements were found to lower the risk of anaemia, they did not influence the number of preterm births, the number of babies with low birth weights, or infections in pregnant women.


However, it is important to know some of the examples of iron-rich foods that can be beneficial during pregnancy and for overall health, such as pistachios, sesame, rolled oats, whole grain rice and pasta, tofu, strawberries, tuna, shrimp, lettuce, chickpeas, peas, meat, and internal organs (liver).


In conclusion, we normally get iron from the food we eat. Meat has a lot of iron in it from haemoglobin in the animal’s body. The liver (internal organ) is particularly high in iron. Other than these foods, iron can be taken in the form of iron supplement too.



1. Pregnancy and birth: Do all pregnant women need to take iron supplements? December 22, 2009. Last update March 22, 2018. National Library of Medicine. National Centre of Biotechnology Information. National Institute of Health (NIH).

Your Prostate Health Matters!

Many men do not care about or even know the importance of their reproductive organs, especially the prostate gland. The prostate gland has an important job, which is to produce a thick, milky-white fluid that becomes part of the semen, the liquid ejaculated during sexual activity. The prostate isn’t that big—about the size of a walnut or golf ball. The prostate is located just below the bladder and in front of the rectum. It also wraps around the upper part of the urethra, the tube that carries urine from the bladder out of the body. That means prostate problems can affect urination and sexual function.

What are the problems? If your "man" has problems like pain during urination or often urinates at night, you have to check and detect the problem early and take precautions. While you may not have any problems related to this, you have to know ways to prevent them from developing.

Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia

Is extremely common in older men. It is not cancerous, but it has the characteristic of enlarging the organ. The prostate goes through a period of rapid enlargement during puberty, but this levelled off once puberty was completed. The prostate will begin to grow again in midlife, but at a slower rate. These periods of growth are thought to be caused by increased levels of male hormones such as testosterone. The prostate grows throughout a man's life because testosterone is produced throughout his life.

The most common symptom of BPH is difficulty urinating or dribbling after you urinate. Also, you may feel the need to urinate a lot, often at night (5).


It starts with a bacterial infection or prostate inflammation. Prostatitis can result in burning or painful urination, an urgent need to urinate, difficulty urinating, difficult or painful ejaculation, and pain between the scrotum and the rectum or in the lower back. Prostatitis is classified into two types: acute bacterial prostatic and chronic bacterial prostatic. It only causes mild urination difficulties and can cause fever, chills, or pain. A bacterial infection is also the starting point. The second is chronic bacterial prostatic disease, which occurs when an infection recurs frequently. This is a rare and difficult to treat condition. To feel better, you may need to consult your doctor (5).

Prostate Cancer

It is the most common type of male cancer. Prostate cancer typically grows slowly and is initially confined to the prostate gland, where it may not cause significant harm. The development of cancerous cells within the prostate gland, which may spread to other parts of the body. While some types of prostate cancer grow slowly and may require little or no treatment, others are aggressive and spread quickly. It primarily affects older men (1, 5).

Here are a few simple tips on how you can manage or care for your prostate gland. There is also a way to prevent it.

Healthy Eating – Better Health!

First and foremost, you must strive for a healthy eating pattern, which is easier than you might think. Adhering to a heart-healthy, low-animal-fat, low-carbohydrate diet. You must substitute whole-grain bread for white bread, as well as whole-grain pasta and cereal. Choose healthy fats like olive oil, nuts (almonds, walnuts, and pecans), and avocados. Limit your intake of saturated fats from dairy and other animal products. Avoid partially hydrogenated fats (trans fats), which are found in many processed foods and fast foods. Fruits and vegetables high in antioxidants are always beneficial to your body in preventing cancer-causing oxidants. Consume more fish because it contains omega-3 fatty acids. Because obesity has been linked to prostate problems, you should limit your sugar intake as well. Avoid sugar-sweetened beverages such as sodas and many fruit juices (1, 2, 3, 4). 

Exercise For Everyone!

You should stay active in addition to eating a healthy diet. Regular exercise will lower your risk of developing certain problems, such as heart disease, stroke, and certain types of cancer. Although relatively few studies have directly assessed the impact of exercise on prostate health, those that have concluded that exercise is beneficial in the majority of cases.

If you have any kind of symptom, such as pain when urinating, you urinate frequently, especially at night. Screening for prostate problems is recommended between the ages of 55 and 70. Your doctor may perform a rectal exam as a physical test and blood testing for prostate-specific antigen (PSA) (5).



  1. Jennifer H. Cohen, Alan R. Kristal, Janet L. Stanford. (2000). Fruit and Vegetable Intakes and Prostate Cancer Risk. Vol 92. Issue 1 (61-68)
  2. Katie M. Di Sebastiono, Marina Mourtzakis. (2014). The Role of Dietary Fat throughout the Prostate Cancer Trajectory.
  3. Paul Turek. (2014). How To Keep Your Prostate Happy
  4. Harvard Health (n.d). 10 Diet & Exercise Tips for Prostate Health.
  5. MedicineNet (n.d). Prostate Problems.


Erectile Dysfunction: Is it taboo or a health concern?

In Malaysia, erectile dysfunction (ED) is not uncommon. Three out of ten Malaysian men reported having difficulty getting hard enough. Erectile dysfunction (ED), also known as impotence, is the inability of a male to produce or maintain an erection during sexual activity, according to the National Health and Morbidity Survey Malaysia (NHMS).

Globally, it is estimated that 100 million men have ED problems, but even with such a figure, ED is considered a taboo topic to discuss because it is considered an embarrassment, and people do not want to seek medical help for it. It is not taboo to discuss ED because it is a health issue. Sexual well-being is one component of overall health, and as we age, our bodies do not function as well as they used to, which is why ED is common in men aged 40 and older.


ED can be caused by a variety of factors, including physical, psychological, and social factors. Physical factors such as heart disease, atherosclerosis, high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, obesity, Parkinson's disease, multiple sclerosis, liver or kidney problems, Peyronie's disease, and alcoholism are common among older men. These medical conditions typically affect the nerves and blood vessels that control erections, which explains why people with such conditions are more likely to develop ED. Psychological factors can also contribute to ED. Worry about being unable to achieve or maintain an erection, as well as prolonged emotional distress related to economic, professional, social issues, relationship conflicts, and depression can all distract a man of any age from becoming aroused. 


Stendra (avanafil), Viagra (sildenafil), Cialis (tadalafil), and Levitra or Staxyn (vardenafil) are some of the most commonly prescribed erectile dysfunction treatments. Aside from medication, lifestyle changes such as exercise, healthy eating, stress management, and adequate sleep will also aid in the treatment of this condition.


According to the study, not all types of exercise help with ED; exercise such as cycling might not be helpful for ED, according to the National Health Service, UK; however, weight-bearing exercise can increase the natural production of testosterone, which is a significant factor in erectile strength and sex drive. Apart from weight-bearing exercise, kegel exercises, which improve your pelvic floor, yoga, and aerobic exercise, which are targeted to improve stamina and overall fitness, also help. In general, exercise will improve sexual health as it improves blood circulation, hormone regulation, stamina, and endurance, thus improving sex drive and erection problems.



Apart from exercise, nutrition also plays an important role in ED. A study found that men with a 42-inch waist are 50% more likely developing ED than men with a 32-inch waist. Also, being obese increases men's risk of getting vascular diseases and diabetes, which contributes to ED. Reduce or stop smoking, and consuming alcohol has also shown tremendous positive effects on ED problems. Smoking for a long time affects the vascular health; it causes the blood supply to the penis to become restricted due to blockage or narrowing of the arteries, thus causing the erection problem. While, as for the consumption of alcohol, it suppresses the central nervous system that is responsible for releasing nitric oxide (a chemical that is responsible for producing and maintaining an erection), which is why the more men drink alcohol, the more likely they are to have an ED problem.


In conclusion, talk to your doctor regarding your condition. You might think that your condition is too petty to discuss, but by letting your doctor know about it, it gives a different perspective to your whole treatment plan.



  1. Everyday Health (n.d). Naturqal Treatment for Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  2. Healthline (n.d). Erection Problems. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  3. Medical News Today (n.d). Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  4. National Health Service, United Kingdom. Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  5. National Institute of Health (NIH), National Institute of Diabetes, Digestive, and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). Symptoms & Causes of Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  6. Mayo Clinic. Erectile Dysfunction. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).
  7. Everything you need to know about ED. (Accessed on March 2, 2021).


Menopause in men

While some claim that men go through menopause, others assert that this is not the case for men. Which is accurate? Men can experience this type of menopausal period under certain circumstances, but it would be inaccurate to refer to it as menopause since the process is different from what women go through (6).


The pathway by which men's testosterone levels decline is when older men's testosterone levels fall as a result of declining Leydig cell mass in the testicles or a malfunction in hypothalamic-luteinizing hormone, which in turn results in low testosterone production (6).


In men who are 50 or older, andropause causes a decrease in testosterone production. The term andropause is frequently used by doctors to refer to male hormone changes brought on by ageing. While testosterone production does decrease as men get older, it also does so when they have diseases like diabetes, among others.


Hormone changes occur naturally as we get older. There are several ways in which male menopause differs from female menopause, and not all men go through it. Your reproductive system won't completely shut down as a result. However, because of your lower hormone levels, there might be sexual issues. The decline of testosterone in men happens more gradually than it does in women during menopause, when hormone production completely stops. In contrast to the ovaries, the testes never run out of the substance required to produce testosterone. A healthy male may continue to produce sperm well into his 80s or beyond. Men's testosterone levels vary greatly. The testosterone levels of older men are typically lower than those of younger men. Throughout adulthood, testosterone levels gradually decrease (1, 2).



What are the signs and symptoms of andropause?

Recognizable signs and symptoms of low testosterone levels may include:

  • Changes in sexual function.

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

  • Changes in sleep patterns.

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

  • Physical changes. 

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

  • Emotional changes. 

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



How do men stay healthy?

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

  • Eat a healthy diet.

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

  • Get regular exercise.

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

  • Get enough sleep.

  • Reduce your stress.

What are the andropause treatments?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), men who experience a drop in testosterone level should be offered treatment with testosterone replacement therapy in addition to leading a healthy lifestyle to prevent or reduce the risk of andropause happening.

It is therefore best to seek medical advice if you ever experience any of these symptoms. If a lifestyle or psychological factor is the root of the issue, the appropriate action will be taken to deal with it. It might be brought on by stress, depression, low self-esteem, obesity, being overweight, smoking, or consuming excessive amounts of alcohol.



  1. WebMD (n.d). Male Menopause
  2. Healthline (n.d). What Is Male Menopause?
  3. Adam Fellman. (2018). Is The Male Menopause Real?
  4. Mayoclinic (n.d). Male Menopause: Myth or Reality? Https://
  5. NHS. (2019). The ‘male menopause’
  6. Duncan, C.G. & Richard, P. (2000). The Male Menopause: Does it exist? For some men need investigation and testosterone treatment. West J. Med. 173(2): 76–78. DOI10.1136/ewjm.173.2.76

Oyster and Men’s Health

In general, oysters are a type of shellfish. Not only is it important for ecosystems since one of its functions is to filter pollutants out of the water and provide habitats for other species, like barnacles and mussels, but it is also an excellent source of zinc, copper, iodine, iron, potassium, and selenium. Since oysters are rich in nutrients, they are also used in the supplement product for various reasons.

Oyster supplementation (1, 2, 3)

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do the study's findings say? (4,5)

In 2003, a study in Japan used oysters, which contain a significant amount of zinc, to investigate whether they could improve the reproductive health of mice. This study was conducted on three groups of mice, where the first group was supplemented with a diet rich in zinc from oysters, the second group was supplemented with zinc from zinc carbonate, and the third group was fed a diet deficient in zinc.

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

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

In conclusion

To date, there has been no meta-analysis or systematic study with regards to oysters specifically and men’s reproductive health. However, randomised controlled trials and review articles from a few studies, such as the two above, are able to portray that zinc deficiency may hinder sperm quality and fertility in men. Since oysters have a significant amount of zinc, they can be used to treat or prevent men’s reproductive health problems. Furthermore, the study also noted that the content of taurine and glycogen will also help alleviate this problem.




  1. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Take This Supplement to Improve you Sex Life. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  2. Men’s Health Online Magazine. Oyster Nutrition Facts. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).
  3. Are Oysters Good for you? Benefits and Danger. (Accessed on August 13, 2020).

What is Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH)?

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

Among the signs and symptoms of this problem are:

  • Frequent or urgent urinating problem.
  • Increased frequency of urination at night (nocturia).
  • Difficulty starting urination
  • A weak or interrupted urine stream.
  • Dribbling at the end of urination
  • Urine incontinence
  • Pain after ejaculation or during urination
  • Unusual urine colour or smell
  • Inability to completely empty the bladder.

Most of these symptoms usually come from a blocked urethra or an overworked bladder from trying to pass the urine through the blockage in the bladder. For BPH, the size of the prostate does not necessarily indicate the severity of the problem; men can have a greatly enlarged prostate with little blockage and a few symptoms or a minimally enlarged prostate with greater blockage and more symptoms.

The cause of this condition is rather poorly understood, but there are probably two reasons for this, according to scientists. First, throughout their lives, men produce testosterone (male hormone) and a small amount of oestrogen (female hormone), but as men age, the amount of active testosterone decreases, leaving a higher proportion of oestrogen, which promotes prostate cell growth, hence the enlargement of the prostate. Second, it is due to the dihydrotestosterone (DHT) hormone, which plays roles in prostate development and growth. As men get older, they continue to produce and accumulate high levels of DHT in the prostate, which encourages prostate cells to continue growing. This is also theorised because men who do not produce DHT do not develop BPH.

 There are various treatments that can help with BPH, depending on the individual's severity and condition. Discuss your condition with your healthcare professionals so they may suggest a better treatment plan for you. The treatment plan usually involves lifestyle modifications such as:Urinating as soon as you feel the urge

  •  Go to the bathroom to urinate, even when you don’t feel the urge.

  • avoiding over-the-counter decongestants or antihistamine medications, which can make it harder for the bladder to empty.

  • Avoid alcohol and caffeine, especially in the hours after dinner.

  • Reduce your stress level, as nervousness can increase the frequency of urination.

  • Exercise regularly, as a lack of exercise can aggravate your symptoms.

  • Learn and practise Kegel exercises to strengthen your pelvic muscles.

  • Keep warm, since being cold can make symptoms worse. 

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


  1. Mayo Clinic. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  2. National Institute of Health (NIH). National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia (BPH). (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  3. What do you want to know about enlarged prostate? (Accessed on Feb 25, 2021).

  4. Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). National Health Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2018) Infographic Booklet  







Is fruit juice really healthy for us?

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

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



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


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


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


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



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

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

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



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


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


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


The takeaway message


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



  1. Mayo Clinic.
  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.
  3. Healthline (n.d). Is Fruit Juice is as Unhealthy as Sugary Soda?
  4. Healthline (n.d). Juicing vs Blending: Which one is better for me?
  5. 5Ram M Uckoo1Guddadarangavvanahally K JayaprakashaV M BalasubramaniamBhimanagouda S Patil. Grapefruit (Citrus Paradisi Macfad) Phytochemicals Composition Is Modulated by Household Processing Techniques.
  6. Julia K Kolodziejczyk1Shirley W FlattLoki NatarajanRuth PattersonJohn P PierceGregory J Norman. Associations of Soluble Fiber, Whole Fruits/Vegetables, and Juice With Plasma Beta-carotene Concentrations in a Free-Living Population of Breast Cancer Survivors. Women Health 52(8). DOI: 10.1080/03630242.2012.728189
  7. How many orange does it take to make a cup of orange juice? (n.d).
  8. Chanel News Asia (CNA) International (2019). That cup of fresh fruit juice could contain as much sugar as a soft drink.

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.




  1. Alina, P. 2019. Artificial Sweeteners: Good or Bad? Healthline. Available from [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  2. American Heart Association. 2018. Added Sugars [online]. Available from [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  3. American Heart Association. 2018. Life is Sweet with These Easy Sugar Swaps-Info graphic [online]. Available from [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  4. American Heart Association. 2018. Non-Nutritive Sweeteners (Artificial Sweeteners) [online]. Available from [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  5. American Heart Association. 2019. By Any Other Name It’s Still Sweetener [online]. Available from [Accessed on 15 April 2020].
  6. American Heart Association. 2020. What’s the Difference Between Sugar Free and No Added Sugar [online]. Available from [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 [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[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 [Accessed on 15 April 2020].

Get your Facts on Fiber!

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


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


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


Soluble fiber


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


Insoluble fiber


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



 Facts About Fiber (3,4)




#1 Fiber aids in achieving healthy weight.


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


#3 Fiber helps to lower cholesterol.


#4 Fiber helps to regulate blood glucose.


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



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


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


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


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


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


#11 Fiber cannot be cooked out.


Tips to Increase fiber intake (5,7)


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


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



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



Eat unpeeled whole fruit and vegetables not juice.


Snack on fruits and vegetables


Take a fiber supplement (e.g psyllium)


In conclusion,


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



  1. Cleveland Clinic. 2019. Improving Your Health With Fiber. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  2. Danielle, D. 2018. How much fiber is too much. Medical New Today. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  3. Harvard University School of Public Health. (n.d.). Fiber. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  4. Karin, L. 2016. 45 Interesting Facts about FIber. Fact Retriever. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  5. Kerri, A., J. 2016. 16 Easy Ways to Eat More Fiber. Healthline. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  6. Mayo Clinic. 2018. Dietary fiber: Essential for a healthy diet. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].
  7. My Health Ministry of Health. 2012. SERAT DAN KAWALAN DIABETES. Available from [Accessed on 23 April 2020].


Tips to eat healthily while fasting in Ramadhan

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


What happened to your body during fasting?


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


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


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


4 Tips to eat healthily while fasting in Ramadhan


1.Do not skip ‘suhoor’



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


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


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


2. Keep hydrated

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


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



3. Break the fast gently



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


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



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



4. Moderation and variation


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


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


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





  1. World Health Organization (WHO) (2020). Dietary Recommendation for the month of Ramadhan. (Accessed May 8, 2020)
  2. British Nutrition Foundation (n.d). A healthy Ramadhan. (Accessed May 8, 2020)
  3. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Pulau Pinang.  (Accessed May 8, 2020).
  4. Indra Balaratnam (2018). New Straits Times (NST). Eat Well Healthy Eating for Ramadhan. (Accessed May 8, 2020).

Chocolate craving, the science behind it !

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


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



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


The Science Behind Chocolate



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


#1 Chocolate, the mood booster (6)!


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


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



#2 Chocolate craving and magnesium deficiency (4)



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

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


#3 Chocolate craving and menstrual cycle (8)



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


#4 Antioxidants in chocolate



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


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


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


Eat It or Leave It (1)?


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


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



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

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

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


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




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




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


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


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


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



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




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


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




5. Potong ayam atau daging dalam size yang kecil.


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

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


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


1. Makan dalam saiz hidangan atau kuantiti yang kecil.


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


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




3. Pilih makanan tinggi serat untuk mengelakkan sembelit.



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


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




5. Pilih buah- buahan segar sebagai pencuci mulut.


6. Hadkan pengambilan makanan yang tinggi kandungan garam seperti kerepek



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



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


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



1. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Perancangan dan Pemilihan Menu Sihat Rumah Terbuka Aidilfitri. 0Raya%202013.pdf

2. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Makan Secara Sihat di Hari Raya.

3. Jabatan Kesihatan Negeri Perak. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM), bahagian Pemakanan. Makan secara sihat di hari raya.


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


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


Terdapat beberapa perkara serius menurut hasil dapatan ini iaitu;


1 daripada 2 dewasa di Malaysia adalah obese!


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


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



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


1 daripada 5 dewasa mengalami masalah diabetes!


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


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


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


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


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


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



4 daripada 10 dewasa mengalami masalah kolesterol


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


3 daripada 10 dewasa mengalami  Hipertensi


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


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





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



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


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



  1. Portal Rasmi Pendidikan Kesihatan Malaysia (MyHealth) (2016). Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Bagaimana Diabetes dikesan?


  1. Portas Rasmi Pendidikan Kesihatan Malaysia (MyHealth) (2008). Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. Obesity and Overweight.


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.



  1. National Institute if Diabetes, Digestive and Kidney Disease (NIDDK). United States Department of Health and Human Services. What is Diabetes?,to%20be%20used%20for%20energy. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


  1. National Diabetes Institute of Malaysia (NADI).,in%20the%20last%203%20months. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


  1. Clinical Practice Guideline (CPG) for Management of Diabetes Mellitus Type 2. 5th Ministry of Health Malaysia (MOH). (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


  1. Mayo Clinic. Diabetes. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid Supplement. (Accesed on June 16, 2020).


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


  1. Diabetes Action. Alpha Lipoic Acid.,of%20oxidative%20stress%20and%20inflammation. (Accessed on June 16, 2020).


  1. Alpha Lipoic Acid (ALA) and Diabetic Neuropathy. (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.




  1. The Star. Benefits of eating durian? Its rich in antioxidant but its fattening (2019). (Accessed on June 17, 2020).


  1. Tan M.C & Shyamala A. (2018). Exploring the Nutritional Content and Benefits of Durian (Durio Zibethinus). Institute of Bioproduct Development, Universiti Teknologi Mara. zibethinus/#:~:text=Durian%20is%20widely%20celebrated%20for,and%20protect%20against%20cardiovascular%20diseases. (Accessed on June 17, 2020).


  1. Reshma M. Ansari (2016). Potential Use of Durian Fruit (Durio Zibenthinus linn) as an Adjunct to treat Infertility in Polycystic Ovarian Synrdome (PCOS). PubMed. (Accessed on June 17, 2020).


  1. International Medical University (IMU). Can A Durian A Day Keep the Doctor Away? (Accessed on June 17, 2020).


  1. A. Chua., H. Nurhaslina., S.H. Gan. (2008). Hyperthermic Effect of Durio Zibethinnus and Its Interaction with Paracetamol.,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 works? 

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.


When food is consumed, an enzyme called insulin converts the glucose in the food into glycogen, which is then stored in the body until it is used again (2).



Meanwhile, when you need energy, the glucagon enzyme in your body will break down the glycogen stored into glucose and use it as energy, or better known as ATP (2).



The Overall pathway.


This is where L- Carnitine plays it role. This is where L- Carnitine comes into play. Mice fed a high-fat diet are able to lower their blood glucose levels when L- Carnitine supplementation is given to the mice, 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 product, L – Carnitines can be found naturally in  food such as beef and fish.

Beef: 81 mg/ 3 ounces

Pork: 24 mg/ 3 ounces

Fish: 5 mg/ 3 ounces

Chicken: 3 mg/ 3 ounces

Milk: 8 mg/ 3 ounces




1. WebMD. L – Carnitine. (Accessed on July 13, 2020).


2. Feedback Loop of Insulin and Glucagon. (Accessed on July 13, 2020).


3. Randall L. Mynat (2009). Carnitine and Type 2 Diabetes. NCBI. PMC Journal. (Accessed on July 13, 2020).


4. Mingroe, Graco et al., (1999). L- carnitine Improves Glucose Disposal in Type 2 Diabetes Patient.,also%20observed%20in%20normal%20subjects

(Accessed on July 13, 2020).


5. Healthline. L – Carnitine: Benefits, Sides Effects, Sources and Dosage.


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. 



  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. (Accessed on August 21, 2020).
  3. Ainayanti Adnan. Diabetis: Mesti Jalani Pemeriksaan Mata (2016). MyHealth Portal. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia. (Accessed on August 21, 2020).
  4. Diabetic Retinopathy (n.d). American Optometric Association (AOA). (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.



  1. National Health Service (NHS). U.K. The Truth About Sweeteners. (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. (Accessed on September 9, 2020).
  4. Mc Clave, S., Obert, J., Casey, L. (2017). The Association Between Artificial Sweeteners and Obesity. Nutrition and Obesity. Current Gastroenterology Reports volume 19, Article number: 64 (2017).
  5. Brown, R. J., De Banate, M. A., & Rother, K. I. (2010). Artificial sweeteners: a systematic review of metabolic effects in youth. International Journal of Pediatric Obesity, 5(4), 305-312.


The importance of Fiber

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


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


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


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


Heart Health.


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



Diabetes Mellitus Type 2.


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


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





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





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


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


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



1. Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Fiber.
2. National Health and Morbidity Survey (NHMS) (2019). Chapter 09, Of fruits, veggies, and plain water. 
3. Malaysia Food Pyramid 2020. Ministry of Health Malaysia. Nutrition Division. 


Diet Suku – Suku Separuh ?

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

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


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


Contoh hidangan suku – suku separuh:


Capati dengan kuah dhal.

Nasi beras perang dengan ayam tanpa kulit dan sayur.

Nasi putih dengan ikan bakar dan sayur.


Nasi lemak

Roti dengan telur dan salad. 

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


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


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

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


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


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


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



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


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


Contoh makanan berkarbohidrat yang tinggi serat:



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


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


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


Cara mengantikan pengambilan minyak dan santan dalam masakan dan makanan:



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


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


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


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


Cadangan hidangan harian di rumah:




  1. Kementerian Kesihatan Malaysia (KKM). Bahagian Pemakanan. Panduan Pinggan Sihat Malaysia.

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.


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