Saturday, September 17, 2016
Being a spice obtained from the inner bark of the cinnamon tree, cinnamon has long been used as a spice and as a medicine. While cinnamon can be a valuable condiment that can be added to foods to create a fragrant and sweet taste, there are reports that it can also help diabetics.
Unfortunately, findings regarding cinnamon’s health effects have been mixed. For instance, researchers reported in one study that cinnamon reduced cholesterol by about 18 percent and blood sugar levels by 24 percent in participants who ate 1 to 6 grams of cinnamon for 40 days. Yet in other studies, cinnamon was reported to be of no effect in lowering blood sugar or cholesterol levels.
High cholesterol levels, especially the bad one (LDL or low-density lipoprotein), and high blood glucose levels, are 2 of the risk factors that could lead to development of heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and other chronic diseases.
In China, cinnamon has been used as a traditional treatment for thousands of years. To find out whether cinnamon supplements could aid in the treatment of Type-2 diabetes in Chinese subjects, Chinese researchers enrolled a total of 66 patients with Type-2 diabetes, and randomly divided them into 3 groups: placebo, low-dose and high-dose supplementation with cinnamon extract at 120 and 360 mg/d, respectively.
During the course of 3 months, the researchers found that both hemoglobin A1c and fasting blood glucose levels were significantly reduced in patients in the low- and high-dose groups, but no change in the placebo group. The blood triglyceride levels were also found to be significantly reduced in the low-dose group. On the other hand, the blood levels of total cholesterol, high-density lipoprotein cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein cholesterol, and liver transaminase remained unchanged in the 3 groups.
Their findings, which were published online June 14, 2012 in ‘Nutrition Research’, seemed to indicate that cinnamon supplementation can significantly improve blood glucose control in Chinese patients with Type-2 diabetes. As the study may be too small to assess the true effects of cinnamon dose on blood glucose levels, it appears that more research is still required to confirm these findings.
Nevertheless, it should be fine to enjoy cinnamon in food unless one has liver damage. This is because large amounts of cinnamon may worsen the condition of these people.
As a word of caution, people who want to take cinnamon supplements should consult their doctors first, especially those who also take other supplements or medications that also lower blood sugar levels. It is feared that cinnamon may interact with these supplements and medications.
Thursday, September 08, 2016
Traditional Mediterranean diet has been tied to reducing the risk of heart disease. One of the components of the diet is mixed nuts. Several studies conducted over the years have strongly suggested that eating an ounce of nuts 4 or 5 times a week can significantly cut the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD) by as much as 40 percent. Would eating nuts really prevent heart disease? Find out more at:
Thursday, August 25, 2016
For smokers, lighting up a cigarette is a pleasure but non-smokers find smoking irritating. Smoking can put both smokers and people around them (via second-hand smoke) at a higher risk of developing chronic medical conditions, including heart disease, high blood pressure, lung cancer, and stroke.
How to quit? Find out more at:
Friday, August 19, 2016
Sleep plays a paramount role in preserving one’s good health. It is as important as exercising regularly and eating healthy diet. Getting sufficient amount of quality sleep can help protect one’s mental and physical health, quality of life as well as ensure safety. During sleep, the body is working to support healthy brain function and keep the physical health for adults, and to support growth and development for children and teens.
A very small number of people can be fine on little sleep, but most people require 7 to 9 hours of sleep a night. Teen and children may need even more. Unfortunately, many are having too little sleep. For instance, at least 40 percent of United States population are not getting enough sleep, as reported by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).
In addition to eye health, it is estimated that 30 percent of chronic diseases are related to sleep disorder. Clinical studies have indicated that sleep deprivation could affect a person’s brain function. His or her thinking ability and emotional states are compromised and he or she could not concentrate well, yawn frequently and could be more irritable than usual. This would limit the ability to learn and affect the memory.
Lack of sleep can make one short-tempered and have mood swings. Insufficient sleep can trigger mania episodes in people who have manic depression. People who do not have enough sleep can also have impulsive behavior, depression, paranoia and suicidal thoughts.
People can have microsleep because of sleeping problem, too. Microsleep happens when a person nods off for up to 30 seconds without realizing it. This frequently occurs when a person is fatigued but trying to stay awake to perform a monotonous task such as driving a car or watching television. This can be dangerous during driving, and microsleep can also make a person more prone to injuries from trips and falls.
The body’s immune system can be weakened by lack of sleep. People can fall sick more easily and recover more slowly than others from illnesses. Sleep deprivation can worsen the condition of people who already have chronic lung disease.
Having not enough of sleep over a long period of time can increase the risk of developing chronic diseases, including heart disease, high blood pressure, stroke and diabetes. People can also gain weight because of lack of sleep. Sleep deprivation raises the production of the stress hormone cortisol, and lowers the levels of a hormone called leptin that tells a person's brain that he or she has had enough to eat. Weight gain can lead to higher risks of high blood pressure, heart disease and stroke, too.
For people who sleep fewer than 4 hours a night, their risk of death from all causes goes up by 15 percent, according to studies.
William Shakespeare once said, “The eyes are the window to your soul!” In reality, the eyes can actually reveal early warning signs about one’s health. By looking into the eye, doctors may actually determine whether a person is at risk of many health risks including heart disease and stroke. Find out more at:
Posted by Ng Peng Hock at 12:22 AM
Friday, August 12, 2016
Who does not like delicious foods, yet delicious foods are usually unhealthy because they usually contain high amount of salt, sugar and fats. For instance, fried foods are loved by many but they are probably high in trans fat, saturated fat, cholesterol and calories. Eating too much fried foods could not only make people overweight or even obese but also put them at high risk of developing many diseases including diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure and stroke.
Healthy foods should be one that contain less fat with minimum amounts of salt and sugar, as well as with plenty of fibers. So how to make healthier foods delicious? There are a few ways to accomplish this.
Fats, especially saturated and trans fats, should be reduced. Fat from meat can be trimmed and the skin removed from poultry before cooking. Or one can choose less fatty meat. Lean pork, for example, is a good source of protein and has all the essential amino acids needed for the body. 100 grams of lean pork loin contain 29 grams of protein and 5 grams of fat, of which 2 grams is saturated fat. They also contain iron and Vitamin B like niacin, thiamin, B6 and B12.
Method of cooking plays a part, too. If frying is preferred, then a good non-stick pan should be used and the meat should be dry fried. Leaving out the oil could reduce 45 calories per teaspoon in the meal. If the food is drying out, a little water instead of more oil can be added. If oils are needed in the recipe, one can use those that are high in poly- and mono-unsaturated fats, say olive oil, and try using less than the recipe suggests.
Salt should be cut down by using alternative seasonings like pepper, herbs, spices, lemon juice, vinegar or mustard. Salt is responsible for causing high blood pressure that in turn would lead to heart disease and stroke. Sugar, which increases calories and causes people fat, should also be reduced. Most cakes will still taste good even if the quantity of sugar is halved. Items like fruit cakes, fruit scones and tea breads can be made without adding sugar as the dried fruit will provide the necessary sweetness.
Besides eating more fruits and vegetables, one can also increase the fiber content of recipes by using brown alternatives of rice, pasta and bread. In doing so, one can feel fuller for longer. Mix wholemeal and plain flour to bake instead of using all plain white flour in recipes, or when making apple crumble, add porridge oats to make the top crunchy and add more fibers.
Thursday, August 11, 2016
Scientists believe blood vessels play an important role in many health conditions. For instance, stroke and vascular dementia patients whose blood vessels are actually damaged before brain cell deficits happen. Studies have already shown it could be something that precedes neuron damage. Find out more at:
Tuesday, July 26, 2016
High intake of salt can, however, cause high blood pressure, which in turn would lead to other medical conditions, including heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Recent study warned that even if one does not develop high blood pressure from consuming too much salt, his or her blood vessels, heart, kidney and brain might still be damaged. Find out more at: