Functional Foods – Yes or No?

a drink at the beach

People’s motivations are complex. The only reason for purchasing a functional food over any other type of food would be the health benefits offered by the product. Functional foods by definition claim to have some added benefit, whether it may be an added ingredient or a part of another fruit or vegetable, which could have a positive effect on our health. Examples of functional foods would be the polyphenols and probiotics in fruits and yoghurt, or vitamin-enhanced foods (Functional Foods Research in ARS, the United States Department of Agriculture).

Naturally a person wanting to take better care of their body would be attracted to that product and decides to buy it. If I’m feeling bloated or constipated, I might be persuaded to buy an often-advertised yoghurt that claims to reduce these uncomfortable feelings. This is an example of a personal factor or a person’s consumer behavior being influenced by the availability of a product offering added benefits. But is this the only reason for choosing one type of product over another?

Pearson et. al in their paper ‘What we Know (and do not Know) About Consumers’ suggested that people may choose to get a certain product due to impressions of better quality and fashionability from the product. In terms of quality, the buyer does not just believe that the item will do what it advertises, but believes that it will do it better than any other brand.

In addition to this belief, there is also the reasoning that not all products are equal in terms of how much of the special ingredient they add. Those with some nutritional knowledge will know that the amount of ingredients used in different lines of the same product, change according to the brand. Therefore an ordinary apple may have just the right amount of cancer fighting nutrients, but it will be overlooked if the apple with ‘Enhanced!’, ‘Added!’, or ‘Extra!’ nutrients is on the shelf right next to it.

Some of us buy products just because they see other people doing so. These people are less likely to believe in the messages of salvation being preached by the foods they buy, but are nevertheless prejudiced by what is happening around them. Therefore a consumer will buy something just because everyone else is doing it, with the belief that if other people are buying it, then there must be some benefit to it!

So far, these functional foods affect consumer psychology in ways that are no different than any product. They seem to influence through belief and perception, fears about health and longevity and desires for quality and something to trust.

Source:
What we Know (and do not Know) About Consumers’, David Pearson, Joanna Henryks, and Hannah Jones – Functional Foods Research in ARS, the United States Department of Agriculture (www.ars.usda.gov)

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How To Fall Asleep Faster

dandelion

Need to fall asleep now? Have an important meeting tomorrow? Here are some methods I use when I have trouble falling asleep at night. Perhaps it might help you too!

Listen to ASMR (Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response). ASMR is the “weird head feeling” or “head tingles,” when you hear a certain sound. Here are some videos that have helped me sleep (remember not to turn the volume up too high):

If it doesn’t  work another alternative I use is White Noise to mask out other noises.
Out of all the 6 sounds, Grey Noise works for me.

Try relaxing sounds, like the sounds of the ocean and the sound of rain.

Make sure there‘s no light in your room, not even the light from your laptop or alarm clock. Place them where you can’t see them. Or if not place something to block out the lights.

Change sleeping position.
I usually sleep on my back. Lying on my sides does help some times.

Use aromatherapy.
The scent of Lavender works for me.

What methods do you use to fall asleep quicker?


Related articles:

ASMR, The Good Feeling No One Can Explain
Lavender – The Sweet Scent of Sleep
10 superfoods to help you sleep well

You Can Overdose On Food

soy sauce

Just this month in the news, there was a young man who overdosed on soy sauce and went into a coma. This condition is called hypernatremia, where there was too much salt in the blood. Fortunately the doctor’s managed to stabilize his condition and he survived. This case was published in the Journal of Emergency Medicine.

All foods have to be taken in moderation. No exceptions.

Here are some foods that’s possible to overdose on:

  1. Carrots
    Eating too many carrots can bring in too much beta-carotene. This can lead to excess blood carotene which can discolor the skin. This condition is known as carotenemia. However not to be alarmed as carotenemia is a mostly harmless where one can easily recover from.
  2. Tuna Sushi
    Eating too much raw tuna can increase the intake of mercury. Mercury can cause severe neurological problems. FDA advises pregnant women and young children to avoid eating too much tuna.
  3. Coffee
    Too much caffeine can cause insomnia, restlessness, nausea, irregular heartbeat, muscle tremors, anxiety and headaches.
  4. Starfruit
    Common symptoms for star fruit intoxication include hiccups (the most common symptom, especially in mild intoxication), vomiting, weakness, and insomnia. Those with kidney problems should avoid pure, sour star fruit juice and mild, diluted pickled juice in large amounts, especially on an empty stomach.
  5. Water
    Water intoxication occurs when a person drinks so much that the water dilutes the concentration of sodium in the blood, creating an electrolyte imbalance.
  6. Nutmeg
    When overdose, might even cause hallucinations.

Source

Read more about this case – Survival of Acute Hypernatremia Due to Massive Soy Sauce Ingestion

You Might Have Diabetes, But You Don’t Know It

unhealthy foods

Just how much do you know? Often people with diabetes might not know they even have it. The symptoms may not be obvious. It may not happen you but it could happen to your friends or family members. It is good to have some general knowledge of what diabetes is.

There are 3 main types of diabetes; Type 1, Type 2 and Gestational diabetes.

Type 1 Diabetes

Also called insulin-dependent diabetes. It occurs when our body cannot produce insulin. The immune system attacks insulin producing cells in the pancreas. This type of diabetes is usually diagnosed in children and young adults, and was previously known as juvenile diabetes.

There is the risk of other serious complications such as heart disease, nerve damage, blindness, and kidney damage.

Symptoms can include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss even with increased appetite, nausea, vomiting, abdominal pain, fatigue, and absence of menstruation.

Type 2 Diabetes

This is the most common type of diabetes diagnosed. It progresses slowly and may cause symptoms such as skin infections, poor healing, kidney problems, and vision problems. It is possible that the diabetes is not diagnosed after years of mild symptoms. Many people do not show not severe symptoms and as a result did not seek medical care.

Gestational Diabetes

Gestational diabetes occurs during a woman’s pregnancy where they have high blood sugar levels.  It affects 4 % of all women during pregnancy.

Symptoms include increased thirst, increased urination, weight loss in spite of increased appetite, fatigue, nausea and vomiting and frequent infections including those of the bladder, vagina, and skin.

It is possible for gestational diabetes to be missed in pregnancy. That’s why it is important to get tested because it could harm the baby and lead to other complications.

If you show any of the symptoms of diabetes or suspect you have it, see your doctor immediately. Don’t put it off. It is better to be safe than sorry.

Quick Tip: Don’t Store Eggs and Milk on the Fridge Door

eggs and milk

Highly perishable food items like eggs and milk are vulnerable to changes in temperature. It is best to keep your eggs and milk at a constant cool temperature.

The door area of the fridge is the warmest part due to the exposure of warm air from the kitchen every time the door is opened. It is recommended to keep them in the main compartment of the fridge, where the temperature is colder and more constant. However is still safe for milk, but it may not last as long.

The door shelves are better suited to longer shelf life less perishable items like bottled sauces and fruit drinks.

Drinking Tea Stains Our Teeth

tea

Tea is one of the most widely consumed beverage in the world apart from coffee. People have been drinking tea since 5000 years ago and is still a popular choice in this day and age. Drinking tea has its health benefits, however the downside is that; Yes, consuming tea can stain our teeth and no ones like to have yellowish teeth!

How does it work?

Tea stains is due to the tannins or tannic acids contained in the tea leaves.  Drinking tea very often can lead to the staining of the outer layer of our teeth.Over time, the acids will make the surface of the teeth more porous. When the tea penetrates the enamel’s surface, it stains the teeth.

The stronger the brew, the more acidic the tea becomes. Likewise, the longer the steeping time, the more acidic the tea gets. Try also not to leave your brewed tea overnight as this may increase the acidic levels too. An example of acidic tea is Black Tea with a pH of 4.9. The lower the pH number, the more acidic the food is. By the way, fruit juices have a pH of about 3 or 4 and energy drinks about 2 and 3. Green Tea is considered to be milder among the different types of teas.

Adding milk to teas helps dilute the tea and may slow down the staining process. Cold tea too can also slow down the staining. Avoid adding lemon to your tea as it is considered very acidic.

After drinking tea, always rinse your mouth with water to wash out any tea left. However you don’t have to worry too much because tea is not acidic enough to cause any harm.

Foods that can stain teeth includes:- coffee, wine, dark-colored sauces, sports drinks, berries, and carbonated drinks.

 

Further reading:
Foods That Stain Your Teeth (www.webmd.com)

Sources:
Tooth erosion: Tooth surface pH during drinking of black teaBritish Dental Journal, 190, 374 – 376 (2001)
Acidic beverages increase the risk of in vitro tooth erosionNutr Res. 2008; 28(5): 299–303. doi: 10.1016/j.nutres.2008.03.001.

How to Get Rid Of Bloating and Gas

That feeling when your stomach is bloated is extremely uncomfortable. If this happens often, then it’s time to take a look at your eating habits and your exercise regimen. Causes of bloating can include gas, water retention, constipation, overeating, and food intolerance. Let’s look at some remedies to this common problem.

Firstly take a look at your eating habits. Does your diet include having too much or too little fiber? Regulating the amount of fiber in your diet can greatly reduce the amount of bloating you experience. If you are taking too little fiber, adding more can help regulate your digestive system and reduce constipation. However if you are taking in plenty of fiber, maybe you should temporarily stop especially if you are experiencing a lot of gas.

Intake of carbonated drinks, junk food, and oily food should also be reduced. Also reduce the intake of acidic drinks like coffee and alcohol.

When eating your veges, make sure they are cooked as they will be digested more easily and thereby reducing gas. However some vegetables like cabbage, peas and beans may be harder to digest.

Avoid spicy foods. When you eat spicy foods, your stomach releases acid which can cause or worsen bloating. Take a walk for 15-20 minutes each day to help digest your food.

Foods that cause bloating may differ between persons. So take note of the food you eat to find out the food that is causing the bloating. Common culprits include milk and wheat.

You can also try taking foods with prebiotic. Prebiotics can help your digestive system and therefore reduce bloating.

For quick relief, try applying pressure to your stomach. In a circular motion, gently apply pressure on your abdomen to ease physical stress on the stomach and help relieve gas.

water splash