Sunday, 23 August 2015

A healthy diet and disease

Did you know that you need to eat A BASKET OF FRUITS on a daily basis in order to get the optimal amount of nutrients for your body?

"Fruit and vegetable intake: five a day may not be enough, scientists say":

  • we should instead be aiming for seven a day, and mostly vegetables at that.
  • Eating at least seven portions of fresh fruit and vegetables a day was linked to a 42% lower risk of death from all causes. It was also associated with a 25% lower risk of cancer and 31% lower risk of heart disease or stroke.
  • Vegetables seemed to be significantly more protection against disease than eating fruit, they say.
  • There was a surprise finding – people who ate canned or frozen fruit actually had a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and cancer.

 We need 7 servings of colourful vegetables & fruits daily

Yes, you need to eat A BASKET OF COLOURFUL VEGETABLES for health:
  • If you eat 1 portion of vegetables per day, you have 16% less chances of premature death
  • If you eat 1 portion of salad (lettuce and other leafy greens), you have 13% less chances of premature death
  • If you eat 1 portion of frozen/canned fruit, you have 17% more chances of premature death
Since our cells grow and die on a daily basis, it's important to keep up a balanced diet on a daily basis to ensure that our bodies get the optimal amount of nutrients to keep everything in balance. If you don't, then your body goes out of whack and you're susceptible to all sorts of diseases.

How can I get 7 servings of colourful vegetables & fruits daily?

If you're a busy Mom like me, you'll need dietary supplements. 

Specifically, you'll need supplements that can give you pure extracts of 4 servings of fruits, 5 servings of vegetables from 6 coloured varieties of fruits and vegetables.


Currently, I am taking a top quality supplement that provide:

- marigold extracts (containing lutein, zeaxanthin), tomato lycopene, carotene, gardenia (containing crocetin)
- refined fish oil for DHA, wheat germ oil, blackcurrant extracts, blueberry extracts, 
- vitamin E and vitamin B1, B2, B6, B12

With only 2-3 chewy soft gels per day, I feel more alert and energized, no menstrual cramps and I sleep better :) 

If you'd like to know more about these supplements, please call/text +6012 9122 436 or Email iamsupermum[at]gmail[dot]com

Free radicals and antioxidants

More and more people talking about "cancer" and "free radicals" that I started to read up on it.

I found this article: "Are Antioxidants the Key to Preventing Chronic Disease?": "Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules through a process known as oxidation.

Let's go back to high school Chemistry class, where we learned the cool term "Redox", which basically describes the process of oxidation and reduction when fruits like apples turn brown or when metal starts to rust.

Photo: Study In "What is Oxidation? Definition, process and examples" Chemistry teacher, Ms. Elizabeth (Nikki) Wyman, explains it as such: "When an atom or compound is oxidized its properties change.

For example, when an iron object undergoes oxidation it is transformed because it has lost electrons. Unoxidized iron is a strong, structurally sound metal, while oxidized iron is a brittle reddish powder.

Most of the time, oxidation occurs in tandem with a process called reduction. Reduction is the process of gaining one or more electrons. In an oxidation-reduction or redox reaction, one atom or compound will steal electrons from another atom or compound.

Illustration: Artinaid A classic example of a redox reaction is rusting. When rusting happens, oxygen steals electrons from iron. Oxygen gets reduced while iron gets oxidized. The result is a compound called iron oxide, or rust. Unoxidized or pure iron is distinctly different from the oxidized form that occurs in rust."

Oxidation and antioxidants

"When the soft insides of fruit are exposed to oxygen in the air, they become oxidized, causing them to break down and turn brown. The process is very similar to the rusting discussed above; oxygen steals electrons from atoms and compounds. The oxidized form of these compounds is different from the unoxidized form that is, unfortunately, unappealing to eat.

Antioxidants and free radicals

On the food tangent, many 'superfoods' are advertised as containing antioxidants. An antioxidant is a compound that reduces the oxidation of other compounds. In theory, consuming antioxidants will help our bodies fight off the harmful effects of oxidation, keeping our cells and enzymes happy and healthy. In other words, eating things like blueberries and chocolate will help our insides from looking like browning fruit." Source: Study "Are Antioxidants the Key to Preventing Chronic Disease?" goes on to explain that because free radicals are missing an electron, they are deemed unstable molecules. Molecules strive for balance, so a free radical, missing an electron, is going to attach itself onto the nearest stable molecule (e.g. proteins/healthy tissue like flesh, muscle, skin; lipids/fats, cholesterol and DNA) it can find and steal one of its electrons. image004 The problem is this could turn the new molecule into a free radical, which will then find another molecule to steal an electron from, causing a chain reaction. Free radicals, in and of themselves, are not necessarily harmful. In fact, they are a vital part of our body's systems and are created naturally in the body. Problems come, however, when there are too many free radicals in the body." ( be continued)

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Dollars and Sense - The Berenstain Bears

Both of our kids are Millennials and I am guilty of preparing lavish kiddy parties (birthday cake, party deco, party packs albeit from cheapest deals I can from eBay, wholesale shops etc) when they were born till kindergarten.

Now that both of them are in school and are still tempted by the treasures in Toys R Us, I decided to start them on some financial management.

First of all, I am not the best in finances but I grew up in a humble household where all money available was spent on food, household expenses and school supplies.

Clothes? I grew up with A LOT of hand-me-downs.

Anyway, I don't go around telling my kids that "money don't grow on trees" or that "I am made of money" thus the kids laughed in glee when they see Papa Berenstain saying that ;-) when the kids go up to him asking for money to buy baseball cards and a wedding dress for a doll.

I thought that the introduction of the concept of "playing with money" was great since most kids did start off with flipping, rolling and stacking coins.

The plot got intense when the kids were given a PILE of dollars for their weekly allowance - I could see the kids getting interested since they are now sort of on a dollar-a-day allowance hahaha.

They loved it when they saw the Berenstain Bears speed out off the house the minute they grabbed their allowance! Kids are kids...

Despite this being an old book, childish (nor adult) behaviours do not change much through time and thus, the Berenstain Bears soon got bored of the candy and toys they'd bought in a hurry. Sound familiar?

One thing I didn't like about the book is the stereotypical angry, shouting Papa Bear archetype when he's asked for money with Mama Bear coming in all calm and sensible - most of the men I grew up were rather good financiers. In reality, the women were always shopping, shopping, shopping...

Thus, the kids were puzzled as to why Papa Bear was getting all hot and bothered but then we got to the part of the kids writing a cheque in exchange for cash with Mama Bear playing the role of a banker.

I thought that this was a brilliant because the kids could see how dollars and cents added up to something.

I've since started a sort of checking account at home for #1 because he had been buying a lot of books using "cash advances". I'm still figuring out something for #2 though.

Anyway, this is a great book to get kids started on financial planning and financial management. #2 loves it as a bedtime story and I like it that she's learning basic financial planning because she could articulate that the girly bear saved her $10 allowance from one week and spent the following week's allowance to bear the doll's wedding dress.