Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Health Benefits of Chocolate

Health benefits of chocolate are plenty.  Nevertheless people do associate eating chocolate with fattening and junk food.  This is so untrue as you will discover below what I am about to tell you will indeed turn your perspective about chocolate from a bad to a good one.

Health benefits of chocolate, chocolateCan you believe that chocolate can actually cleanse your blood and revive the elasticity of your blood vessels reducing your chances of suffering from a heart attack or stroke for that matter. The mystery actually lies on the fact that chocolate contain a substance called Flavonoid.  It produces Nitric Oxide which helps relax and widen our blood vessel.  It also acts as an anti oxidant by preventing the LDL or bad cholesterol from being oxidized forming fatty plaques that builds up inside our artery wall and narrows up the blood vessels.  It can also prevent our blood platelets from clumping together (blood thinning) resulting in lower chances of getting a heart attack or stroke due to blood clot in our heart or brain arteries. Flavonoid contains more than 50% of saturated fat called Stearic Acid that can help reduce the bad LDL cholesterol and increase the good ones HDL cholesterol. We can find it in the form of cocoa butter in supermarket for our daily cooking.

Chocolate can also prevent blood inflammation by keeping the inflammation protein at bay.  The Pentameric Procyabidin or Pentamer is said to have the property that can prevent cancer cells from dividing thus able to help control these malignant cells from spreading in our body.  People with Alzheimer can have a sign of relieve as the Epicatechin in chocolate can help protect our brain cell by preventing the formation of sticky protein, Amyloid plaque in our brain that is the main cause of Alzheimer disease.  Many would have thought chocolate can cause high blood sugar level in our body but actually the reverse is true.  Chocolate can help reduces diabetes by regulating our insulin level in our body.  The high sugar level in chocolate is probably due to the high milk contain and other sweetening substances added to chocolate to target the younger age market.  So remember to choose dark chocolate which has higher Flavonoid contain and has all the beneficial elements as mentioned above.

Other interesting facts are that chocolate can help boost our maths or our calculation instinct within us.  Having a bar or chocolates before we enter into the exam hall may do the trick.  The Theobromine in chocolate is said to have a positive effect in cough control by reducing our vagus nerve activities that give rise to coughing reaction. Chocolate also contain Tryptophan, an essential amino acid that stimulate the production of serotonin, our brain's natural anti-depressant or natural feel good chemical. So why not buy some chocolates to your girl or boy friend to help them feel good all the time! The Flavonoid in chocolate has another amazing property in that it can protect our skin from UV damage from the sun. Thus, grab some chocolate bars while you go for a swim at the beach as it can help to protect our skin from the sun and also it can help boost our mood for the better.

All in all there are many good elements in chocolate that help to regulate our body into a healthier one.  And believe it or not consume chocolate on a regular basis can actually add a few years into our lives.  A good example is that of French lady by the name of Jeanne Louis Calment who live to 122 years of age.  She consumed about 2 and a half pounds of chocolate per week which is equivalent to 162 grams per day.  For us, we can go for 100 grams of chocolate per day to harness the health benefits of chocolate as mentioned above.

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

What Is After Burn Effect

what is after burn effectAn after burn effect simply means that our body will continue to burn the fat reserve after a session of exercise.  This happens as the strenuous exercise that we did depletes all our body's glycogen, essential for ATP (Adenosine Tri-phosphate) or energy production to support our exercise movement. When our body is lack of glycogen a process of lipolysis or fat burning will occur.  During this process our body fat or triglyserides will be broken into fatty acids to replenish the glycogen in our body for future energy requirement.  This fat metabolism is a very slow process and will continue even after we have stopped our physical activities.  That is why the more intense our exercise is, the more glycogen we will use up and the longer it takes for our body to replenish our glycogen level back to normal.   This can take up to 24 hours after our workout.  

Let check out the type of exercise and their respective after burn effect in the table below:
what is after burn effect

As you can see from the chart above, doing abdominal exercise like crunches and sit ups actually burn the least fat before and after exercise. While doing stationary bike, treadmills or other cardio machine exercises may burn a lot of bat during the exercise itself but the after burn effect is minimal as compare to the more strenuous exercise like weight training.  The blue bar shows the calories burnt during exercise while the red bar represents the calories burnt after the exercise.

After burn exercises are training that involve the combination of strength and cardio exercises with high level of intensity for a certain period of time.  For example, alternate sets of 15 push-ups, 15 crunches and 15 seconds military jog (jogging on the same spot with out moving forward) repeat for 5 minutes without rest in between.  We can also use cardio machine like stationary bike, alternating high and low intensity intervals in our pedalingOr even go to the extreme of doing a mixture of swimming, cycling and jogging like that of a triathlon to intensify our workouts a bit.  After burn exercise is a free choice exercise as we can use our own creativity to design our own workout that fits us best. This kind of training is so intense that our body's energy reserve, namely the glycogen is used up. Without any glycogen, our body will turn to our fat storage in our body for extra fuel.  This fat burning process is a very slow process which is why we will feel tired as the strenuous exercise continues.  The metabolic activity in our body will continue to run even after we have stopped the exercise as our body needs to replenish the glycogen storage by burning more fat tissue.  With this knowledge of how effective fat burning works in our body, we can save time doing the right kind of exercise and get the result we most wanted without wondering around like lose sheep in the field with no changes to our physique what s ever in terms of our fat losing regime!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

What Is Body Mass Index

What is body mass index, BMI, weight control, healthy weight, how to calculate BMI
What is Body Mass Index or BMI?  It is a measure of the amount of body fat in one's body.  It is based on a person's weight in kg over the square of his or her height in meter.  The formula on how to calculate our BMI is as follows:

Body Mass Index (BMI) =Weight (KG)
(Height (Meter))2

There are 8 categories of BMI according to their respective kg per m2.

CategoryBMI Range - kg/ m2
Very severely underweight< 15
Severely underweight15 - 16
Underweight16 - 18.5
Normal (Healthy weight)18.5 - 25
Slightly overweight25 - 30
Overweight30 - 35
Severely overweight35 - 40
Obese (very severely overweight)> 40

So what is the significance of these BMI readings to us?  People who has BMI readings of 25 kg/ m2 and above may have health risks of developing high blood pressure due to the high amount of bad cholesterol accumulated within the body.  They may also have a higher chance of having a heart attack, stroke, diabetes and high uric acid as well.  The higher the BMI reading, the more risk of getting these bunches of life threatening conditions in your body.  On the other extreme, people with BMI readings lower than 18.5 kg/ m2 may suffer from osteoporosis and nutritional deficiency.  The idea is to get your BMI within the healthy weight range of 18.5 - 25 kg/ m2 and you will be fine.

BMI is only an indicator designed to help us monitor our weight at a healthy level.  It may not be 100 % accurate as some people may have more muscle mass such as some sports athletes especially the bodybuilders that makes them more heavy and have a higher BMI reading.  This does not means that they have high body fat and are unhealthy.  Their higher BMI is mainly due to the fact that they have more muscles which contribute to their higher in weight.

Normal people like you and me with BMI readings outside the normal weight categories should really consider a diet change and some physical activities incorporated into our daily regime if our existing one is a sedentary one.  Weight control is our priority. Eating healthily is the key to getting back a healthy body weight.  Try losing all those high fat and processed food such as burgers, French fries, pizzas, pork ribs, grilled cheese wedges etc.  Eat instead more fresh fruits and vegetables like orange, apple, kiwi, watermelon, grapes, strawberry, spinach, carrots, pineapple and so on.  Nuts and wholemeals confectionery are also great as they offers lots of fibers and omega 3 to help us fight off the ever feared LDL bad cholesterol in our body. Try salmons instead of pork chops.  Or lemonades instead of root beer float for instance.  All these can be crucial in our quest of gaining a healthy body weight. 

On the other end of the equation is to do exercise and I mean lots of them. In fact for your body to be able to function well and burn off the excess fats that makes you unhealthy and disease prone.  A 30 minutes of walk or on a stationary bike, 3 times a week is good enough to get you started towards a healthy lifestyle.  Other physical activities that you can do are mountain biking, swimming, hiking, yoga, Pilate, tennis, squash, badminton, rowing and many more.  These physical activities are fun to do and indeed are very good to your health.  Don't treat exercise as a boring and hard to bear thing.  They are there not only to add some spices into your life but also to keep you healthy and let you have a healthy BMI!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Why Drink 2 glasses of Water in the Morning

why water, what are the health benefits, about drinking water, water benefits, glass of water, what is the benefit of water, water and health
Have you heard of the idiom, "an apple a day keeps the doctor away"?  I think most of us have but how about this one, "two glasses of warm water during the dawn every day, keeps the toxin in your body far far away"?  I know it is quite a mouthful, but there is indeed some truth in the latter idiom or phrase or whatever you want to call it.  You see 70% of our body is made out of water.  Our blood, sweat, tears, urine, saliva, gastric juice, embryonic fluid and many more are all water based elements.  Without water, all these cannot exist.  The biological systems in our body can only function with water in it. These are our digestive system, respiratory system, reproductive system, blood circulation system, Endocrine system, immune system, lymphatic system, muscular system, nervous system, skeletal system, urinary system and tons of other system all work based on water. Without water none can be functional at all so to speak. 

So what are the health benefits of drinking 2 glasses of warm water every morning?  It is said that the time we just wake up in the morning, all the systems in our body are not yet fully in operational mode.  Thus, when we drink warm water, our systems are best in flushing away all the toxins within our body.  Why is that so? While we were sleeping at night, our body is repairing itself, the muscles repairing and tissues growth occurs during our bed time.  Energy are replenished and also hormones are being balanced in our sleep and the resultant toxins and other waste materials will be ready to be flushed away in the morning once we drink water into our body. 

Scientist in Japan also prove that drinking 2 glasses of warm water right after we woke up not only flush away toxin in our body, which is beneficial to our health, it also helps to cure numerous diseases in us.  It is said to relieve our body pain, headache, eye soreness, ear and nose discomfort, constipation, heart burn, joint pain (arthritis), diabetes, gastric problems, kidney and other women's disorder (menstrual), bronchitis, asthma, throat diseases, tuberculosis, meningitis and even cancer. This is what they called water treatment in the Japanese society.  Which mean the use of water to treat diseases and problems in our human body.

Its method of treatment is very simple.  Just drink 2 full glasses of warm water when you wake up.  The water must be warm enough but not too hot until it burns your tongue.  This must be consumed before you brush your teeth.  One glass will be too little to flush anything away in your system so 2 glasses are just the right quantity to do it.  Cold water is not very good to our body as our body needs to release heat to the water to get it back to our body temperature and cold water is not good to our throat and stomach as well.  Try pour cold water into a boiling engine and you will know what I mean!  Warm, body temperature water is good not only to our body; it is also the optimum condition for our biological systems to perform especially to removal of toxin and others.  Health Fitness and Life.


Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Gastric - Natural Cure Remedies

People with or have friends with gastric problem should know that it is a very painful experience when the gastric attack occur.  Gastric is the acidic juice produce by our stomach to digest the food we eat.  Normally this acidic juice will only be produced when there are foods inside our stomach.  Overtime, as we consume our meals at irregular hours coupled with the habits of eating highly processed and acidic foods. These make our stomach produce the gastric juice in irregular amount and timing.  The sudden overflow of this highly acidic juice in our stomach will harm the stomach wall, causing unbearable pain eventually when the protective mucus in our stomach lining has all been eroded by the gastric acid. 

Gastric, Natural cure remedies, how to cure gastric, health fitness and lifeThere are many natural cure remedies for this haunting gastric problem which we can practice daily.  The foremost habit that we must strictly adhere to is to have our 3 main meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner) at the same time on a daily basis.  For example our 3 respective meals are at 7am, 12noon and 7pm.  We should strictly have our meals at these hours and try not to have them, 30 minutes before or after it or even worst as to skip them totally!  Try to consume some food at least, some biscuit or chocolate bar for example, if your schedule are too tight for you to have a full meal. This will prevent the gastric juice from damaging your empty stomach wall. 

During your meal, do not eat excessively or in other words over eat!  This will confused your stomach to produce extra gastric acid when the next time you only eat a little and this may damaged your stomach wall with the overflow of acid inside your stomach.  Eat smaller meals at a reasonable intervals will be a best solution.  Eat slowly and chew your food properly as this will help in easier digestion and there will be no excessive gastric juice produced in the stomach due to the need to dissolve the big chunks of food not chewed properly. Consume more fruits and fiber such as vegetables and nuts.  These are good at cleaning your digestive tract making your system runs more smoothly.  Avoid oily and processed food at all cost as these foods are highly acidic and when added to your gastric juice may create an environment of acid overflow inside your stomach.  This condition is very detrimental, especially to our stomach wall which gives rise to gastric pain.

For those who are already have gastric problems, avoid drinking beverages that contained caffeine such as coffee and tea.  Also drink less alcohol and carbonated drinks like coke and sodas.  Instead drink lots of plain water.  Coconut water and lemonade are also good for your stomach.  Never drink orange juice on an empty stomach as it is highly acidic and may cause damage to our stomach wall in the long run.  It is good to avoid pickles, vinegar and spicy foods as these foods are acidic as well.  One or two pieces of pickles in a month may not harm your stomach but if the consumption level is like one or two pieces every minutes then it might not be so good to your stomach isn't it!

Recently my wife had a gastric attack and a local Chinese doctor advise her to eat plain mashed potato.  He said it is good for the repairing of our already damaged stomach wall.   I wonder whether this is true or not but he said that some of his patients have tried it and are now less prone to gastric attacks and some even haven't got it ever since! Health Fitness and Life.

Monday, October 1, 2012

Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Potato

This morning I had some steamed sweet potatoes for breakfast and I have decided to share with you all its nutritional benefits.  Many people are more familiar with potato as it is more common around us in the form of French fries and mashed potatoes.  I think less would be acquainted with their close cousin, the sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes are just like potatoes but they are in a longer root like shape and usually are orange and dark purple in colours.  More uniquely is that it has a sweet taste to it as compared to potatoes which are tasteless.

Nutritional Benefits of Sweet PotatoLittle do we know that sweet potato is a very nutritious kind of food.  It contains a variety of vitamins including B6, C, D and E.  Vitamin B6 are vital in the process of reducing homocyteine in our body which contributes to degenerative disease.  It also helps to prevent the hardening of blood vessels which may leads to heart attack. Vitamin C contributes to our general health and is the best cure against flu and cold.  It also gives us strong bones and teeth, good digestion and cell formation, accelerate wound healing and vital ingredient in collagen for our skin elasticity.  Vitamin D helps boost our immune system with beneficial effect on our bone, heart, nerves, skin, teeth and thyroid gland.  While vitamin E contributes towards a beautiful hair and skin plus our overall health and longevity.

Besides vitamins, sweet potato has many minerals that are good for our health.  Is has iron which is good for red and white cell production, helps in protein metabolism and is vital for a proper immune function in our body.  It also contains magnesium which is an anti stress agent that helps us to relax. It also gives us healthy arteries, blood, bone, heart muscle and regulate our nerve function.  Potassium in sweet potato aid in the lowering of our blood pressure by getting excess sodium out of our body.  It is a good electrolyte which helps regulate our heart beat, brain and nervous signals.  It can also relax our muscle after strenuous activities, helps reduces swelling and protects our kidneys.  Sweet potato contains manganese which is an important component in carbohydrate metabolisms.  It also support sa healthy blood sugar level and helps stabilize our appetite.  Manganese also acts as a co-factor in enzyme for efficient generation of energy and antioxidant utilization in our body. 

Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber which is good in cleaning our digestive tracts.  Its starchy nature helps us to feel full and can prevent us from indulging in more food that makes us overeat and become fat as a result.  Its carbohydrate or natural sugar is oxidized slowly thus preventing sugar surge in our blood stream thus its energy can be used in a more controlled manner in our body.  Another nutritional value of sweet potato is its carotenoid pigment which contains vitamin A and is good for our eye sight.  It is a great anti-oxidant, good for fighting cancer and aging.  Its beta carotene protects our skin from sun damage and helps in repairing skin from the sun's UV.

Sweet potato can be eaten plain after steaming it or it can be cooked as a dessert with rock sugar and the green pandan leave boiled in water which is very popular among the Asian or even fried as sweet potato chips.