Winter Worms

official website for New Age Healthcare. Health/fitness tips and cordyceps sinensis

August 5, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Not Man Enough

shutterstock_67682197

For some guys, Viagra alone is not enough. When they hit their 40s, they start feeling run-down in the afternoon and by the time they reach home, they don’t feel like moving at all. It takes tremendous effort and motivation just to get out for a walk. Their muscles start to get flabby, they lose interest in sex and their hobbies, showing signs of depression. For many men, these are symptoms of decreasing testosterone levels. Some playfully call it Manopause. While objective blood tests may reveal an almost normal level of testosterone just marginally on the low side, supplementation with male hormone has been shown to relieve some of the above mentioned symptoms.

However, the FDA only approves testosterone therapy in patients with a medical condition like hypogonadism that arises from its deficiency. Any other form of supplementation is off-label and not approved by the FDA. Nevertheless, thousands of doctors in the US and Australia have already been injecting testosterone in their patients without any clear signs of hypogonadism. Meanwhile, the drug companies have increased their marketing budget by nearly 3000 times. Risks have been downplayed, but cases of blood clots, heart attacks and stroke have been reported following these injections. Folks with vested interests argue that no adequate clinical studies have been conducted to rule out other causes like smoking, heavy drinking and pre-existing cardiovascular diseases in these victims. Testosterone injections may not have been the cause for these fatalities after all.

The heated debate goes on and on. Some men swear by it, claiming that it makes them get off the couch and shed a few pounds. Others see it as a placebo. I’m personally not in favour of “supplementation” unless there is a conclusive evidence of low testosterone revealed by a blood test. Some symptoms of Manopause could be due to mental issues. What do you think?

May 31, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Too Much Water

shutterstock_133832210

Some folks just don’t like to drink water. They have trouble drinking just 1.2 litres of water a day. Others go crazy flushing out their systems that they keep going to the toilet all day long. We often get the advise “drink more water” whenever we update our friends on Facebook, telling them that we’re sick. We’ll never know how much they really care, but are there any ill effects in drinking “too much water”.

660ml of blood goes through the kidney every minute. Most of the filtrate i reabsorbed back into the bloodstream. For a healthy kidney that manages 850 litres of water passing through it in one day, even drinking in excess of 10 litres of water will have minimal effect. Is there a limit to how much water a person can safely consume in a day? Theoretically, experts have worked out an upper limit to be 23 litres a day. As almost nobody can drink that much water in a day, the figure is not very meaningful. In real life, a trip to the bathroom every hour is probably the maximum frequency which will not affect job performance. Spread out over a person’s waking hours, it translates into just 5 litres of water a day.

However, there is an upper limit where water can become toxic. Such situations normally only occur at drinking competitions. One competitor gulped down 10 litres of water in 10 minutes and died of brain swelling. An ignorant woman also thought that drinking 1 litre of water every hour could help her detox and slim down. She ended up puffy and swollen.

Apart from these extreme examples, drinking to “excess” will not harm the body.

May 29, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Healthier Way With Cured Meat

Most Chinese cured meats are prepared using meat seasoned with salt, sodium nitrite, black pepper, cinnamon, cloves, fennel etc. The meat is then dried or smoked. The process usually begins at the start of winter when it’s cold and dry.

The high salt and high cholesterol content of these meats make them very unhealthy. 50% of cured meat is fat. There is 125mg of cholesterol and 1.92g of salt in every 100g of cured meat. Nitrite is carcinogenic. Even at permitted levels, it is likely to cause harm with regular consumption. Signs of poisoning include gidiness, headache, nausea and stomachache. Smoked meat also contain benzoapyrene, a known carcinogen.

So should we avoid these meats altogether? Here are some tips on how to consume cured meats more healthily.
1. Limit consumption to 100g per week or even once a year during Chinese New Year.
2. Blanch the meat in hot water before cooking.
3. Cook the meats with fruits, vegetables or crushed vitamin C tablets.

In spite of these precautions, there are medically compromised people who should not consume cured meats at all.
1. High blood pressure, stroke patients
2. Kidney failure
3. Pregnant women/children
4. People who suffer frequent bouts of indigstion
5. Obese people

May 27, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Before Or After Meals

They’re not medicines, but do we consume them before or after meals? Here are some answers according to experts.

Fruits
Fruits contain large amounts of fructose and glucose. They also contain fibre. Eating fruits before meals will suppress appetite. For those on a weight loss programme, this may be a good idea, but for growing children, this is obviously not. Eating fruits after a meal will increase the already high glucose level in the blood. It not only stresses the pancreas, it also increases the feeling of drowsiness after a meal. The best time to consume fruits is in between meals. An hour or two after breakfast or lunch is ideal.

Alcohol
Alcohol on an empty stomach is a definite no. Most people consume alcohol with food or after food. This is also not ideal as the extra calories consumed with food will almost certainly be turned into fat. The healthiest way to consume alcohol is to consume light wines in between meals.

Tea
Chinese tea is perhaps the most flexible beverage. You can have it either before or after a meal. In moderate amounts, tea improves appetite, quenches thirst and hot tea even helps regulate body temperature. However, tea that is too concentrated may affect the body’s absorption of iron.

It does not make a very big difference where you have fruits, wine or tea before or after meals. Still, it is good to know.

May 24, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Fruit Fallacies

Squeezed Juices

These juices must be consumed immediately after squeezing if maximum benefit is to be derived from them. It is possible that broken cell walls in the fruit may cause some antioxidants to degrade rapidly when exposed to the atmosphere. Experts advise that only citrus fruits should be squeezed as their juices tend to retain their nutrients better after squeezing. Eating peaches and watermelon whole provides more nutrients than drinking their juices.

Processed Juices

The packaging can be incredibly enticing but what is touted as “fruit juice” at supermarkets is seldom the real thing. The juices are seldom the real thing. They are often made by reconstituting fruit concentrates with water, colouring, flavouring and a dash of fruit pulp. The amount of actual fruit juice varies but never exceeds 30%. Strictly speaking, these are just cleverly disguised fruit drinks. Some products fool customers with labels like “no sugar added”. That only means that no sugar was further added when the high sugar concentrate was diluted. These are expensive drinks considering how cheaply they are made. There is probably no harm drinking, but be aware of what you are drinking and don’t expect too much nutrients when these “juices”.

Dried Fruit

Drying a fruit is an effective method of preserving it. In spite of the fact that fruits lose much of their antioxidants through drying, raisins and sultanas are still quite nutritious, healthy and convenient to carry and store. However, drying alone is often not enough to preserve a fruit. Very often, sugar or honey is added to prevent bacterial growth. This certainly appeals to those with a sweet tooth, but for people who demonise sugar and see it as the root of all health problems, some manufacturers have replaced sugar with artificial sweeteners. Without sugar to act as preservative, an artificial preservative needs to be added. Are these “no sugar added” dried fruit products healthier than those preserved in sugar? Certainly not. In fact, many of these preservatives are known to be carcinogenic. They may be more harmful than sugar.

Canned Fruit

Unlike dried fruits, canned fruits do not need any preservatives. Heat applied during the canning process destroys all bacteria. The cooked fruits are then sealed in a sterile environment. The only problem is sugar again. Canned fruits are often kept in sugary syrups. There’s quite a bit of empty calories there, but at least you won’t need to worry about carcinogenic preservatives.

Fresh Fruits

Without any doubt, these are the best forms of fruits that you can eat. 200-400g of fresh fruit a day may actually keep the doctor away. Fresh fruits retain all the nutrients like vitamin C beta carotene, potassium, fibre and a host of antioxidants naturally found in the fruit. Some experts advocate that we only consume local seasonal fruits for maximum health benefits. There is no evidence to show that eating imported fruits or those not in season will result in less benefits as long as the fruits are fresh.

© Chan Joon Yee

May 14, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Resveratrol Not Effective?

NEW YORK — A compound found in wine and chocolate may not be linked to improved health as was once claimed, a new study has showed, although more research is needed.

The compound resveratrol was not associated with less inflammation, cardiovascular disease or cancer, or with increased longevity among a group of elderly Italians, researchers have found.

“This is contradictory to all the hype that we typically hear from the popular arena,” said Dr Richard Semba, the study’s lead author from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore, Maryland.

Previous studies had found that resveratrol, a compound naturally present in certain fruits and vegetables, has properties that may benefit people’s health, Dr Semba and his colleagues wrote in medical journal JAMA Internal Medicine. But there was little evidence on the compound’s effect on a large population, they added.

Research on resveratrol hit a snag in 2012, when one of the field’s leading researchers was accused of fabricating data. For the new study, Dr Semba and his colleagues used data from 783 Italians who were tracked starting in 1998, when they were at least 65 years old. All were living within their communities at the time.

The participants were examined and asked to complete a questionnaire about their diets. Urine samples were also collected to measure levels of broken-down resveratrol.

Just more than one-third of the participants died during the following nine years. About 5 per cent were diagnosed with cancer and 27 per cent of those who did not initially have heart disease developed it during the study. The researchers found that there were no differences in rates of death, heart disease or cancer or in the amount of inflammation between people who started out with high and low levels of broken-down resveratrol in their urine.

Although resveratrol levels were measured only once, Dr Semba said the participants’ diets were assessed every three years via a questionnaire, which showed they did not change much during the study — so the researchers assumed that resveratrol in the urine stayed somewhat consistent as well.

“This study suggests that dietary resveratrol from Western diets in community-dwelling older adults does not have a substantial influence on inflammation, cardiovascular disease, cancer or longevity,” they wrote.

Dr Teresa Fung, a nutrition researcher at Simmons College in Boston who was not involved in the new study, said she was not surprised by its findings. She told Reuters Health she would not expect the amount of resveratrol found in a normal diet to have a detectable effect on health.

“I don’t see evidence that we should go after this by drinking wine, eating grapes or anything like that,” she said, adding that grapes could still be part of a healthy diet along with wine and chocolate — in moderation.

Dr Fung also said there might be some detectable health effects from much larger doses of resveratrol, but this remains to be seen. “Even at pharmaceutical doses, those studies aren’t trending in one direction or another.” REUTERS

May 9, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Potassium Supplements

SONY DSC

The author did not receive any payment for mentioning the above pictured product.

Many factors affect one’s blood pressure and there are several ways to control it. Salt (sodium chloride) intake is one of them. Potassium salts, however, can help to lower blood pressure by balancing out the negative effects of sodium salts.

Our kidneys help to control our blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in our bodies. The more fluid, the higher our blood pressure. All the blood in our circulatory system will go through the kidneys. All is not lost as the filtered blood is reabsorbed back into circulation. A concentrated urine is sent for storage in the bladder. The reabsorption process is is determined by the balance of sodium and potassium salts in the body.

Eating sodium salt raises the amount of sodium in your bloodstream and and this results in water retention and increased blood pressure. Potassium is lost during prolonged strenuous exercise, diarrhoea and vomitting. Oral rehydration salts contain potassium. By eating more fruit and vegetables like bananas and potatoes, we can also increase our potassium levels and help to restore the delicate salt balance in our bodies. Besides food sources, potassium can also be supplemented in the form of pills.

However, not everyone with hypertension will respond well to potassium supplementation. It is important to consult your physician before taking potassium to lower your blood pressure. I take potassium supplements and drink lots of water before embarking on a strenuous workout. This way, I can avoid eating too many bananas.

shutterstock_60420418

© Chan Joon Yee

May 1, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Blood Pressure Down

Blood Pressure Down by Janet Bond Brill

Fancy lowering your blood pressure without medication in 4 weeks without medication? Blood Pressure Down by Janet Bond Brill is a clearly-written, easy to read book on this subject. The first part, about 60 pages, explains the “mechanics” of high blood pressure and dire consequences of not managing it well.

Part 2 goes straight into the 10-step plan.

1. Lose 5 pounds
2. Cut the salt
3. Eat bananas (for the potassium)
4. Eat spinach (for the magnesium)
5. Eat Yogurt (for the calcium)
6. Eat Soy (as a meat substitute)
7. Eat dark chocolate (for the flavonoids)
8. Drink red wine (for the resveratrol and procyanidin)
9. Take vitamin D3, Coenzyme Q10, Omega-3 fish oil, vegetable juice.
10. Exercise

Well, who doesn’t know that you need to lose weight, exercise and cut your salt intake. What I find most useful about this book are the tables showing the amount of mineral of vitamins in common foods. I’m a little surprised that there’s more potassium in baked potatoes than bananas. However, it should be noted that diet control and restriction alone will not work for everybody. These steps work best for those suffering from secondary hypertension – those caused by electrolyte imbalances and kidney issues. Those without any specific cause, also known as essential hypertension, may not response to diet therapy. Those with arteries already clogged are also unlike to see any significant improvement sans medication in 4 weeks.

Overall, the book still provides valuable information and it’s a very good and easy read. Just take the “without prescription drugs” part with a pinch of salt.

Reviewed by Chan Joon Yee.

April 29, 2014
by admin
0 comments

Mangosteen Juice

I thought the hype would have died down by now, but mangosteen juice is still selling at my local store. The key to selling any wellness product is to make sure that it’s exotic and unfamiliar. Well, the word “mangosteen” is not even recognised by any spellchecker. I’m not surprised if some Westerners might think that it’s a kind of unripe mango, but really, mangosteen is a very cheap and common fruit in Southeast Asia and South Asia.

The flesh is soft, white and slimy, sticking to the seed such that it’s virtually impossible to separate the two. It tastes sweet and a bit sour. If you bite too hard and break the seed, it can taste quite bitter too. Most people will spit out the seed with a significant amount of flesh still attached.

Some marketers claim that mangosteen juice can treat diarrhoea, menstrual problems, urinary tract infections, tuberculosis, and a variety of other conditions. Others say that it’s so packed with exotic antioxidants that it can boost the immune system and even prevent cancer. Suffice to say that I’ve come across many online ads and flyers with ordering information for this juice. Needless to say, the juice is priced many times higher than the fruit itself, but mind you, this stuff is more slimy than pulpy, so extracting juice from it can be challenging. The result is that many mangosteen juices are actually mixed juices. They are all purple in colour – which happens to be the colour of the husk and not the flesh.

This one is from Thailand and Mung Koot means mangossteen in Thai. It claims to be “100% mangosteen juice and mixed fruit juice”. That really tells us nothing as I can have 1 gram of 100% gold in 1kg of silver and copper. Can I still call it gold? Well, this bottle of Mung Koot cost me a little more than $2, so no harm trying. A carton of orange juice may give me more bang for my buck.

Well, traditionally, the people who grew up with mangosteen used it to treat “heatiness” – especially after a feast of durians. In other words, mangosteen is believed to have a cooling effect on the body. I eat it quite regularly and I don’t think much about the amazing health benefits and certain won’t bother to pay a premium for the juice.

© Chan Joon Yee