Tag Archives: health

Consumer Info: All About Japanese Encephalitis

UPDATE as of 2017 Sep 30: Since the 9 reported deaths and 149 cases of Japanese Encephalitis in the country, there has been no reported new cases regarding the deadly virus which has been basically isolated in Pampanga, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija.

While it’s good news, wouldn’t it be great if we were better informed about this seemingly strange disease and so, protect ourselves?

FACTS 

  • Japanese Encephalitis or the JE virus is commonly found in South to Southeast Asia, although as the name suggests, it actually started in Japan when it was first spotted in 1871.
  • It generally occurs in agricultural regions where it’s associated with rice production and flood irrigation; however, it could also appear in urban areas. In the Philippines, the last recorded case was back in 1982.
  • The JE virus is a viral disease (and transmitted via mosquitoes, not human to human) that is characterized by the inflammation of the brain (encephalitis) and currently has NO CURE but only prevention, else, total care if already infected.
  • The JE virus may not really be able to penetrate one’s body if a person has a strong immune system; otherwise, symptoms would usually appear between 5 to 15 days after being bitten by an infected mosquito.

SYMPTOMS

  • INITIAL: headache, fever, nausea, vomiting and weakness.
  • SEVERE: stiff neck, seizures, convulsion, confusion, motor paralysis, behavioural changes and swelling around the brain.
  • LATER STAGE: coma or death.

MANAGEMENT 

Salt solution
  • Since Japanese Encephalitis has no specific cure or treatment yet, supportive care and close observation is even more crucial here.
  • Take paracetamol during fever.
  • Hydrate with lots of fluid and salt solution.
  • Have good nutrition.
  • Get proper rest.
  • Intensive care if necessary.

PREVENTION 

  • Have yourself vaccinated. JE vaccines costs less than P2,000 but then, you should get vaccinated twice within 28 days.
  • Be extra watchful during the rainy season — especially between May and October as these are the mosquito’s high activity period.
  • Control mosquito breeding by keeping your surroundings clean and not letting water stagnate.
  • Mechanize the growing of rice if possible.
  • Use insect repellents.
  • Wear long-sleeved shirts and pants.
  • Reduce exposure to mosquitoes during its peak ‘biting hours’ which is actually when it’s cooler.

    Where JE mosquitoes normally breed

REMINDER: If you live within a reported JE area, once you are bitten by an infected mosquito — avoid scratching instead apply hydrocortisone or calamine lotion to reduce itchiness. Then consult your physician. For severe cases, you would have to submit to a CSF (cerebrospinal fluid) — this is getting fluid samples from your spine for testing.

Remember, while Japanese Encephalitis has no cure yet, it is a preventable disease. Thus, take the necessary precautions.

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Consumer Info: All About Honey

Yes, we have all heard of how healthy honey is; after all, it is the elixir of life. Not surprisingly, not many knows the exact benefits of honey, much more how to distinguish pure honey from adulterated honey. So, here goes..

First. We understand that you already know that honey could even come in many varieties, right? Like floral, fruity, smokey, woody, spicy or earthy — all depending on the source of its nectar. Also, that honey could be clear to as dark as molasses in its appearance — yet with all these, don’t be surprised if some of them smells fresh while others are even pungent! Bottom line is, you could only get the full benefits of honey if it’s pure. Thus, if the supermarket is your only access to honey, at least make sure to examine its physical qualities before buying them. How?

  1. Real honey has some small particles suspended within it while the fake ones do not.
  2. Real honey is thick and dense while fake honey is thin and runny.
  3. Check the label. Real honey contains only one ingredient — honey.
Especially if no ingredient is listed on the label then think twice before buying the honey

NUTRIENTS. Raw honey contains 22 amino acids, 27 minerals and 5,000 enzymes. Minerals include iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, phosphorous, magnesium and selenium while the vitamins in honey include vitamin B6, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid and niacin.

BENEFITS. Boosts energy. Reduces muscle fatigue. Regulates blood sugar. Treats cough and sore throat. Heals (surgical) wounds, cuts, minor burns and ulcers. Protects from infection, odor and pus. Reduces acid production in the mouth for better oral health. Helps with insomnia. Good moisturizer and treats skin fungus. Reduces and controls weight. Improves appetite and digestion. Relieves constipation, diarrhea and dysentery. Helps kidneys function better. Aids in blood cleansing as well as in its regulation and circulation.

DOSAGE: 1 tbsp a day if only  for maintenance purposes

STORAGE. Not in cans but glass jars or plastic containers. Do not expose to sunlight, near heat or inside the fridge but in a cool, dry place where temperature is stable.

EXPIRY. Because of its unique composition and chemical properties, honey could be preserved long term — like, decades or even centuries. The key to preservation is limiting its access to humidity; if honey is exposed to moist air, fermentation could begin and eventually ‘damage’ the honey.

Store and carefully seal honey in glass jars or plastic containers

AUTHENTICITY. It is but common sense that if we really want pure honey, it would be best if we just get it straight from a bee farm — then again, how many actually has the time and proximity to do that? And so, this would leave us with almost no choice but to buy from the sidewalk or just blindly trust supermarket displays wherein most are not really concerned about our health but only our money.

TESTING. Now while we could physically examine honey in supermarkets, such scrutiny only gives us a clue to its purity — nothing else. Especially in cases like this, facts could only be verified through actual testing. Unfortunately, many times that testing would not be possible in supermarkets since honey here is sealed or totally wrapped — and determining prices does not mean anything to its purity! Therefore, you would only know about its authenticity once you have bought the honey and tested it at home.

Prices does not really have anything to do with the purity of honey
  • Water Test. Fill a glass with water. Add a tablespoon of honey. Pure honey settles at the bottom of your glass while adulterated honey will dissolve in water because of its sugar content.
  • Flame Test. Dab some honey on a piece of cotton. Light it up with a matchstick. Pure honey would burn while adulterated honey would not light up because of its water content.
  • Finger Test. Put a small drop of honey on your fingernail. Pure honey stays put longer while adulterated honey would easily drip down your finger.
  • Bread Test. Apply some honey on a slice of bread. Pure honey hardens the bread in minutes while adulterated honey would make the bread ‘soggy’ because of its moisture content.
  • Stickiness Test. Rub some honey between your fingers. Pure honey is not sticky while adulterated honey would be sticky because of its added sweeteners.
  • Absorption Test. Pour a few drops of honey on blotting paper. Pure honey does not get absorbed in blotting paper which has the opposite effect on adulterated honey. Also, if you pour pure honey on a white cloth, it would not leave stains — unlike adulterated honey.
  • Egg Yolk Test. When poured into a container with yolk alone and then mixed, the yolk would appear cooked if the honey is pure — while it does not have any effect if the honey is adulterated.
BEWARE: Honey can give botulism to children under 1-year-old  (Photo: Getty)

REMINDER: Honey should never be given to pregnant women or children under 1 year old. Heating honey at high temperatures would not only reduce its potency but could even produce carcinogenic effects.

Consumer Info: The Confirmed Health Benefits of Apple Cider Vinegar

From honey to lemon to green tea to baking soda.. Another one of ’em vital health drinks is the Apple Cider Vinegar.

Of course, even apple by-products are healthy; so, then let’s check out ACV’s proven facts..

Skin. Digestion. Nutrient absorption. Well, even without science, you’d already have an idea about ’em. Like since it’s made of apple, a lovelier skin would be a given in its consumption. And with its sourness, better digestion and nutrient absorption would be like common sense.

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Not all ACV's are the same. Choose organic.

As for weight loss, personally, I never really felt that ‘fullness’. Fact is, I became ‘hungrier’, after all, it did aid my digestion. Right? But ‘clean energy’, hmm, probably. Not sure if it’s really Apple Cider Vinegar or regular exercise that made me tire out even longer. Perhaps both.

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The supposed benefits and uses of ACV

Finally, like what the video rather the research revealed, ACV can kill cancer cells and shrink tumors. Hey, that’s like a ‘wow’! Seriously? If so then that’s an extra line of defense for us..

Just don’t abuse your body!

Consumer Info: The Health Benefits of Drinking Baking Soda

Many would have thought that ‘baking soda’ is just for, well, cooking; altho some may have heard of its cleaning properties. Then again, did you know that it could actually be drunk plain with water? And for health benefits that is.

Yes, you heard us right. Baking soda is another ‘miracle’ drink that you can count on.

Hmm… It’s important to take note, however, that while baking soda could restore our kidneys’ functions while normalizing blood pH levels among others — baking soda is not really good for those with high blood pressure since it’s got an ample amount of sodium.

So, don’t just take in something just because you heard ‘health benefits’. Check it out.. And Follow Us too.

Hey, t’is actually good news! I mean, the water! It’s not hot water as in coffee or tea, so there’s no need to boil water just to drink baking soda! Lesser hassle, right?!

NOTABLE AND RELATED FACTS ON BAKING SODA

One. With its cleaning properties, baking soda is a good ‘substitute’ and an ’emergency’ option when you run out of toothpaste.

Two. One reason for ‘arthritis’ is the kidneys’ failure to manufacture sodium bicarbonate — this happens when you eat fatty foods.

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Preventing cramps and fatigue? Not only bananas but baking soda

Three. Note that the lactic acid released during physical activity results in stiffness and fatigue — and that the consumption of baking soda can be used to increase and maintain physical performance.

In all, key here is self-discipline towards a healthy lifestyle; yet when the worst just gets crossed, remember the dosage to your ‘baking soda therapy’.

Food Review: Pongko Pongko (Visayas)

Pongko Pongko is actually not a food but a kind of eatery, one that is setup just about anywhere especially on sidewalks where you sit on stools and dine at low tables. And yeah, the Visayan region is the one who most probably started it.

Why do we say so? Because of the ‘hanging rice’, or puso in the vernacular. Thus with puso being a Visayan creation, it’s the Visayans who sort of came up with ‘pongko pongko’. Makes sense.

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Eating at sidewalks is sometimes like a picnic
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Puso, or 'hanging rice'

See, puso is very convenient to bring just about anywhere you go and so, you could also have your meal just about anywhere you want to. Hehe.

And since it’s ‘just about anywhere’ then those who are in this kind of business normally serves ‘fried food’ to go along with the puso. Yep, from different cuts of chicken to thin slices of pork; to barbeque to hotdogs and lumpia, and even to fried eggs and meat loaves.

Hey, they’re even much, much more affordable than the ‘Chicken Joy’ — without really much difference in taste except for the sauces! Seriously!

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Some of the fried food that goes well with 'puso'

Chicken Joy uses gravy while the ‘pongko pongko’ fried chicken generally uses a mixture of: vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, and chili. Now obviously, because of it’s affordability — and ‘addicting’ blend, what with also the cold soda giving that extra kick — the ‘pongko pongko’ market has seen a huge surge!

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Even saucers or little bowls for sauces are wrapped in cellophanes

Still, if ever there’s a negative side to this kind of eatery — it’s not really ’em dishwashing issues. Ey, plates are wrapped in cellophanes! Same goes with spoons and forks, I mean, they’re not used here; instead, you use your hands to eat — which is also covered with cellophane, of course!

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Notice the cooking oil? It's already dark!

So first, negativity here could be the ‘use of cooking oil’ as they use such until it’s real dark already. That’ll be unhealthy. But so is gravy and the saturated oil in Chicken Joy! Second would be the question of food ‘cleanliness’. You know, you’re eating at sidewalks — where air pollution abound! Smoke. Dust. And what have you.

Then again, how many actually got sick?? Hardly anyone. Unless there was something else that was cooked. There you go!

Till next time.. Enjoy!

Consumer Info: Clearing Clogged Arteries Naturally through Food

There was a time when strokes or heart attacks for that matter were basically experienced by the middle-aged and especially senior citizens; however, times have changed. Circulation and heart problems have also become health issues among those in their 30’s, and to some extent — even those in their 20’s. Why is this?

Poor eating habits. Lack of exercise. Unhealthy lifestyle. Plus. Plus. Plus.

Result? A blockage as a result of an accumulation of plaque where one’s blood flows. Thus, a stroke or a heart attack that could cut short one’s life. Change has to happen — alongside the consumption of foods that could ‘clear’ clogged arteries, naturally.

Well, looking closely, none of the foods we saw really ‘clears’ clogged arteries. Otherwise, you just have to consume it for a looong time for it to take effect. After all, plaque is hard, and it’s already been stuck in the blood vessel for quite a while; so..
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Once it’s blocked, it’s blocked. And the only way to actually clear it is through ‘angioplasty’, or the surgical repair or recanalization of a blood vessel. So, what gives? What then are these food for?

Prevention.

As we know, prevention is better than cure. And like many information and videos that we actually get on food that are said to ‘clear’ clogged arteries, it’s in fact only for prevention.

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Now, it’s a matter of knowing what’s available at the market; yet worry not, it doesn’t really have to be all of them! You just have to understand how to mix and match (for maximum benefits) — even three or so of these foods in your daily meals.

Let your food be your medicine, and your medicine be your food!

Consumer Video: Foods You Should Not Really Eat

A week ago, we had this feature on the healthiest vegetables in the world; now, we bring you the opposite. Well. Foods that are actually not so good for consumption. Yet we like ’em. No. Love ’em!

Let’s watch this compilation before having another bite, if ever you are eating right now.. Okay?

Know what? This is like saying don’t eat anymore. Hah! See, some of these foods are actually staples. Like rice, for one. So to say that it’s something that should be avoided is like pushing us to the brink. Then again, we’ve known the fact that rice indeed is not good especially for those with diabetes.

Rice: A staple of Asians
Rice: A staple of Asians

But while some types may lack ‘nutritional’ value — it’s just some. Not all. So choose your rice well. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be expensive.

On the other hand, foods like muesli (a dry cereal made from toasted whole oats among others) and energy bars (supplemental bars containing cereals and other high energy foods ) are not that common here — so, it doesn’t really matter unless you are one of those consuming it. If you are, then maybe it’s time to think about it especially if you are weight conscious. After all, weight not only affects beauty but health, too.

Microwaved popcorn
Microwaved popcorn

For the rest, let’s go through them briefly.

Popcorn. Once again, it’s the chemical diacetyl that makes it ‘toxic’. If you don’t use butter with it, well.. how’d you know if it doesn’t have such in the first place? Best would be to avoid butter. But really, could you??

White bread
White bread

White Bread. For the simple fact that it contains a lot of sugar makes it unhealthy. Again, not good for those with diabetes especially; but even for those in weight control actually. Best would be to control your intake. Otherwise, try to wash it away with regular exercise and tea.

Fried Food. How many could actually avoid fried food? This would be close to impossible. Then the next best thing would be to choose the oil you fry with. Go for olive oil or canola oil.

Frozen dinner (Photo: Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post)
Frozen dinner (Photo: Damon Dahlen, Huffington Post)

Frozen Dinner. Argh! This just for lazy people. Sorry. But it can’t be for people in the rush. Why? They still got control of themselves. Without even watching the video, one should already realize the preservatives in these frozen dinners. Yeah, the sugar, salt and fat. Not good.

0901 high fructose corn syrup grocery-store-mercuryHigh Fructose Corn Syrup. Wow, it’s found in sodas, processed food, baked goods, and pasta sauces. How could you avoid it?? One way or another, we are going to consume at least one of those foods! Again best would be ‘control’ — at least, it just causes weight gain. So?

Crispy banana chips we love
Crispy banana chips we love

Banana Chips. Here’s another food that’s quite common here. And true enough, many in fact believes it to be healthy since it’s ‘banana’. But then, the oil. The cooking oil that was used is most likely not olive or canola — worse, it’s been re-used for several times! Oh-uh..

Sushi
Sushi

Tuna Sushi. Now who would think that sushi is not good for humans? After all, it’s fish. Tuna. And not even fried! Still, only a few would’ve heard that sushi does contain excessive mercury. Yet again, tho we are one of those who knew about that mercury thing, we still do keep coming back for sushi. Why? Look at the Japanese. They got one of the world’s highest life expectancies!

Home-made peanut butter is best
Home-made peanut butter is best

Peanut Butter. Ahhh.. Why not make your own peanut butter?? You  know peanut butter from supermarkets are processed! For one, they contain preservatives and coloring agents — not to mention the natural fats that were replaced in processing.

Home cooking is always good. Just watch your salt, fat and sugar!