Archive for December, 2007

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To ALL!!!!

December 27, 2007

As much as I want to read more and share some new things in my website…time for the holidays is mainly for the family and the kids.  We just came back from a family gathering with my father and my 8 bros and sisters in the province and it was not only relaxing but worth the effort and time of the travel to see my folks again and make sure they keep themselves in good health!  It is actually a time also for them to ” consult” with me and make sure they are doing right with their health!

Tomorrow will be my time for my own family where for the first time I’ll bring my three kids to Hongkong Disneyland… I have already brought my 2 older kids to Hongkong last summer, to Korea last year and Singapore and China 2 years ago but this trip will be the first for the youngest one.  The disneyland affair in December is also worth the fun! I am sure I will need a massage and spa after this trip but my kids deserve this trip!

So to all my friends in the web… Merry Christmas and A Happy New Year To ALL!!!!

CHEERS to a Better Health in the Coming Year!!!

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Yogurt And Its Health Benefits….

December 22, 2007

My family loves Yogurt so I thought of sharing with you how this great tasting beverage can be healthy as well.

1. Yogurt contains active, living cultures and the most abundant are lactobacillus bulgaricus and streptococcus thermophilus. These cultures help keep the colon healthy with studies showing it to lower the risk of colon cancer.

2. Yogurt contains lots of protein, vitamins, and minerals — and now you have choices of which to choose depending on the amount of calories each preparation has.  But overall for the weight conscious…it contains less calories than you think.

3. Yogurt uses nonfat milk in its preparation, and therefore a rich source of calcium and water as well. Meaning good for the bones!!!!

4. For those who have lactose intolerance and therefore unable to tolerate milk can easily enjoy yogurt.  The culturing process of yogurt makes it easily digestible.  The cultures present in yogurt help create the substance lacking in patients with lactose intolerance which is lactase.

5. Yogurt helps increase the absorption of certain nutrients and vitamins including Vitamin B and calcium.

6. Lastly, some studies have shown it to boost ones immunity and is considered a grow food… good for our children because it is rich in protein but also it helps in the absorption of other food protein needed for growth!!!

Need I say more my friends.  I let my kids bring yogurt to school daily as snack instead of the usual fruit juices which are rich in sugar and therefore calories.  I also prefer yogurt mixed with my fruits and they just blend very well….Use it in place of ice cream and one can even use yogurt in place of milk for baking goodies….

So next time you go grocery shopping in time for the Christmas celebration dinner… grab a yogurt on your way out or two!

Yogurt Does Your Body GOOD!

Intensive Blood Sugar Control Can Reduce Risk of DEATH

December 20, 2007

Go to fullsize imageFor my diabetic patients, it is very important that they understand that the reason for controlling their blood sugar is… to reduce the risk for complications like heart disease and stroke.

Now comes a new study that proves…tight control of blood sugar can indeed lower the risk of a patient to die from the disease…. published in Diabetes Research and Clinical Practice 2007

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The study concluded:

Normal mortality was attained in the elderly under intensive mutifactorial diabetes control ( Including control for BP and cholesterol)

Renal dysfunction, prior stroke, high LDL-cholesterol, and prior obesity were prominent risks for mortality, macroangiopathy and/or ESRD.

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For me the bottom line in addressing any disease is based on two key  things:

  1. Discipline to live a healthy lifestyle! Remember…to live longer does not mean controlling blood sugar alone because if you continue to gain weight with high blood pressure and high BAD cholesterol due to poor choices of food then the end result is still early mortality due to complications!
  2. Follow Your doctor’s advise!.But choose the right doctor for your specific disease to get the best solution to your problem because just like any job we want done… you find for the best person to do the job RIGHT! and not just to finish the job!…

In the end of the day… everything boils down to one conlcusion….

To Live LOnger Requires Discipline!

Red Meat and Your Risk for Cancer…

December 18, 2007

I eat meat…. who doesn’t?  I know of few friends that are purely vegetarians but I can only count them with my one hand.  I try to introduce veggies to my kids as often as I can but food is finished faster if there is meat especially red meat from fried chicken!!!!

Now comes a new study linking red meat consumption to increased cancer risk.  This study was recently published online in PLOS Medicine, December of 2007 with a conclusion from the editorial below:

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…Red and processed meat intake appears to be positively associated with risk of cancer of the colon and rectum, esophagus, liver, lung, and pancreas in a new, large US cohort study of 500,000 men and women.

….However, this study provided little support for an association with other cancer sites. Current dietary guidelines recommend selecting meats that are lean, low-fat, or fat-free, thus promoting limited consumption of red and processed meats.

…..Overall, the strongest risk factors for cancer in the US are smoking and obesity. However, understanding the complex interaction of diet with smoking and obesity, and how specific foods and nutrients are metabolized, may provide further clues into the etiology and, most importantly, the prevention of cancer.

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It is also important to note that while red meat is indeed a risk factor for cancer…majority of patients on red meat are also taking processed foods which are high in fat and therefore associated with obesity which in itself increases ones risk to develop cancer.  And therefore the interaction of the different risk factors is in itself a matter of importance.

For this holiday season…let us therefore examine the way we lead our lives … the way we eat and the way we take care of our health. It is really up to us to interpret and practice the things we know that are healthy and avoid or shy away from the things we know that are harmful. 

….Which way to go and adopt the practice in our lifestyle is up to us!….

Be Informed! and Live Well!

Experience in Taipei, Taiwan….

December 15, 2007

Go to fullsize imageJust on my way home from a trip to Taipei …was here in the 90’s and so much has changed since then. The progress is evident but it seems that the progress has not changed the culture at all.  The cleanliness is evident as well as the character…of the place and the people.

This is touted as one of the safest places to go around in Asia. It may not boast of a lot of touristic destinations but the history in itself is worth the visit.  You dont see a lot of tourists from the US or Europe and majority or 90% of the people visiting places like the museums and nearby cities are from the domestic travelers.  It is unfortunate though that one place which is worth the visit which is the Chiang Kai Skek Memorial Museum will be closed down in the near future and will be renamed the Democracy Museum…for whatever reason for now mainly political.

From the way people live to the way they manufacture things are totally not the same as in mainland China.  For one… the motorcycle scooters are parked without locks including the helmets…just incredible trust with their fellow Taiwanese that nothing is going to be stolen.  The taxi drivers are honest and the services are great that you dont fear going around by yourself.  The plus factor is that many Taiwanese including the waiters and waitresses speak good english…a plus for foreigners who dont speak Mandarin.  The market also is not flooded by imitations but true Taiwanese made that are cheap and looks sturdy especially the elctronics icluding clothes.  There is no intimidation of haggling which I like and they dont get angry of you dont buy the things you are asking for unlike in other Asian countries.

I seldom see people smoke and I dont see a lot of obese Taiwanese. This translates to a healthy standard of living.

Overall…this trip has been rewarding in terms of learning more about the history and the culture of Taiwan and how this renegade province of China has become one the safest and disciplined countries in the world… and probably healthier that the mainland China.

I will be posting some picture soon in my flicker website and travel website for the sites in Taipei including the now tallest buildng in the world: the Taipei 101 with 101 floors and having the fastest elevator that can bring you to the top in less than 40 seconds. 

And lastly…of course…the experience of Excellent Chinese food…nothing beats Taiwan!

Diabetes and Obesity: The Cancer Link…

December 11, 2007

New studies recently surfaced regarding the increased risk of diabetics or obese individuals to different kinds of cancer.  The hyperinsulinemic state associated with these two metabolic conditions may be responsible to predisposing these individuals to a higher cancer risk.

The American Cancer Research Society website published recent researches linking the two conditions to cancer:

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1.Women with diabetes are 1.5 times more likely to develop colorectal cancer than those who do not have the metabolic disorder, according to researchers at the University of Minnesota.

2.Women with invasive breast cancer and high blood levels of C-peptide (a marker of insulin secretion) face a risk of death nearly three times higher than women with lower blood levels of C-peptide, according to findings from the Health, Eating, Activity and Lifestyle (HEAL) Study, a long-term observational study of breast cancer patients. The effect was most notable, researchers say, among women in their 40s.

3.Gaining weight following a diagnosis of invasive breast cancer could increase a woman’s risk of death from the disease by more than half, according to researchers leading the Collaborative Women’s Longevity Study. In fact, the researchers associated weight gain with a measurable increase in risk of death due to all causes, not just breast cancer.

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But this risk is not uniform to all types of cancer. Diabetics for example have been shown to have lower risk to develop prostate cancer.  As to why remains unclear but maybe related to diabetics having a lower testosterone level.

New reasons for us to really be aware of the dangers of gaining weight to the level of being overweight and to avoid being obese.

So….. 

This Holidays…Think Healthy and Be Wise!

Another Milestone…. With 100,000 MARK!

December 10, 2007

The website just reached it’s 100,000 visits after 1 year and 2 months in existence.  I thank all of those who have helped made this possible especially my patients who endorsed this website to their relatives and to my friends who have been loyal followers of the site. 

However this would have not been possible without the support of my bro-in- laws help by way of my websites exposure through his company’s website and portal: The NgKhai Portal and his multiawarded top blog site: The Bizdriven Life….

Will continue to not only update you with what is the real truth with regard to health but also upgrade the contents of this site based on what the readers really want to know.

I likewise have been invited and hopefully be starting to write articles for the Monthly magazine FOOD by their editor who likes the articles in the website starting March of next year if plans will push through.

Another Milestone I Call A Success !

“Don’T Sit Close To TV Or Else You Go Blind” and Other Myths About The EYE!

December 8, 2007

Hearsays are what the physicians hate the most.  Patients always have some hesitancy to follow some of our advices due to what they hear from their friends or relatives.  Good if the problem is not life threatening but if so, almost always the skill of the physician is put to the test versus that of the popular beliefs based on hearsay within the community.

Since childhood, I was told not to sit too close to a TV or else Ill go blind.  Or not to go straight to bed if my hair is wet otherwise Ill also get blind.  Am sure a lot of parents continue to counsel their kids based on hearsays that have been passed from generation to generation.

I cam across a nice compilation of myths regarding the eye and its care from the Harvard Health Publications: The Harvard Health Beat which I want to share:

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5 common eye myths dispelled

  1. Myth: Doing eye exercises will delay the need for glasses.Fact: Eye exercises will not improve or preserve vision or reduce the need for glasses. Your vision depends on many factors, including the shape of your eye and the health of the eye tissues, none of which can be significantly altered with eye exercises.

  2. Myth: Reading in dim light will worsen your vision.Fact: Although dim lighting will not adversely affect your eyesight, it will tire your eyes out more quickly. The best way to position a reading light is to have it shine directly onto the page, not over your shoulder. A desk lamp with an opaque shade pointing directly at the reading material is the best possible arrangement. A light that shines over your shoulder will cause a glare, making it more difficult to see the reading material.

  3. Myth: Eating carrots is good for the eyes.Fact: There is some truth in this one. Carrots, which contain vitamin A, are one of several vegetables that are good for the eyes. But fresh fruits and dark green leafy vegetables, which contain more antioxidant vitamins such as C and E, are even better. Antioxidant vitamins may help protect the eyes against cataract and age-related macular degeneration. But eating any vegetables or supplements containing these vitamins or substances will not prevent or correct basic vision problems such as nearsightedness or farsightedness.

  4. Myth: It’s best not to wear glasses all the time. Taking a break from glasses or contact lenses allows your eyes to rest.Fact: If you need glasses for distance or reading, use them. Attempting to read without reading glasses will simply strain your eyes and tire them out. Using your glasses won’t worsen your vision or lead to any eye disease.

  5. Myth: Staring at a computer screen all day is bad for the eyes.Fact: Although using a computer will not harm your eyes, staring at a computer screen all day will contribute to eyestrain or tired eyes. Adjust lighting so that it does not create a glare or harsh reflection on the screen. Also, when you’re working on a computer or doing other close work such as reading or needlepoint, it’s a good idea to rest your eyes briefly every hour or so to lessen eye fatigue. Finally, people who stare at a computer screen for long periods tend not to blink as often as usual, which can cause the eyes to feel dry and uncomfortable. Make a conscious effort to blink regularly so that the eyes stay well lubricated and do not dry out.

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Hope this post will remind everyone that myths will continue to be with us but the access of new information technology should now help us decide to follow them or not! Gone are the days that we rely on what our grandparents say about something and believe in everything they say about the ins and outs of daily living.

In Health… Rely Only on FACTS!

Dark Chocolate and Your Heart

December 6, 2007

More and more studies have found new reasons for us to enjoy dark chocoalate this holiday season… or we are just looking for excuses to indulge in one. 

But a new study published in the Journal Circulation in November of 2007 showed the potential mechanism why Dark Chocolate especially the 70% cocoa can be healthy:

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Conclusions— Dark chocolate induces coronary vasodilation, improves coronary vascular function, and decreases platelet adhesion 2 hours after consumption. These immediate beneficial effects were paralleled by a significant reduction of serum oxidative stress and were positively correlated with changes in serum epicatechin concentration.

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The above conclusion points out that indeed dark chocolate can increase blood flow to the heart and more so in patients who are already on medications like ACE inhibitors and Beta blockers. Therefore beneficial to prevent blockage of blood vessel that can lead to heart attack!

But caution to those who will start indulging in Dark chocolate.  Remember the color of the chocolate does not necessarily mean its dark.  It’s the content of the cocoa and more so the content of the flavanol.  This study was done using 70% cocoa.

But before grabbing a chocolate…make sure you are careful not to over do it.  Remember …chocolate is rich in calories and fat! But at least we now have reasons to take a bite before and after a meal without feeling too much guilt!

A Bite of Dark Chocolate for the Holidays!

How Not To Gain Weight This Christmas In 3 Simple Steps!

December 4, 2007

It’s already December… the weather is getting cooler… and the Christmas music is everywhere…. and next comes PARTIES!!!!

As much as we want to say no… we always resort to the saying: ” This only comes once a year”.  How many” once a year” events have you been to this year?

Here are some tips I would like to share to help curb the urge to eat but not necessarily avoid the enjoyment of the season and the food!

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1. Take a Break in between helpings.  After an appetizer, rest for 10 minutes to allow yourself to socialize and enjoy a nice conversation with friends.  Then reassess if you’re still hungry and then just select certain foods you really like before taking another break.  Breaks help tell your brain that you have eaten already!

2. Dont go to a party HUNGRY!!!!!  I always hear friends telling me…” I missed my lunch so I can really enjoy the buffet”.  I just dont like to spoil the fun they have in their minds at that particular point but I do tell them afterwards that what they’re doing is terribly wrong! They are doomed to suffer the binging!

3. Avoid Alcohol with an empty stomach.  Alcohol has been shown to increase your appetite! Enjoy other drinks that are low calorie and still satisfying!

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Lastly… while enjoying the food and conversation in between… drink more liquids especially water to keep your mouth BUSY… they can trick your brains and your mouth at the same time!

And of course … end the night with a cup of coffee.  Remember the health benefits of coffee  plus it’s low in calories!!!!

Let’s Enjoy Christmas Without The GUILT!

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Notes From Our Marketing Friends 

One goes through many incentives for healthy weight loss over the internet. These incentives involve weight loss with the help of supplements, diets, pills and drugs. They allow you to buy these drugs online as well. You can buy adipex, xenadrine and many other diet supplements online very easily.
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Meal Planning Is Key To Diabetes Control

December 3, 2007

I always tell my patients that there are three things that affect ones blood sugar: the food, the activity and the drug!  Almost always patients blame the drug as a failure for not controlling their blood sugar when in fact the main culprit is the poor planning of the meal!

The food is the source of sugar.  If one overeats then it amounts to overloading the pancreas with work.  The pancreas then has to pump out more insulin to drive the sugar inside the muscle.  However in a diabetic…the pancreas is already sick meaning…it’s capacity to produce insulin is already limited or insufficient therefore the blood sugar goes up.  Planning a meal therefore is very important for a diabetic.

A meal plan should consist of three main meals ( never skip breakfast) and three snacks.  The purpose of snacking is to reduce patient’s craving for food in between meals.  There should be consistency in timing ( same time of the day) and portion sizes of food ( balance the carbohydrate , protein and fat content).  The main issue is the total amount of food being taken in and not only the rice in the meal that one has to be careful about! Patients always tell me that…”doc I only eat 1/4 cup of rice…BUT unlimited in other stuff!”  Remember…one has to be extra careful not to overload the system with these “other stuff”… like fruits because they can be a source of sugar too!  It’s the total calories in…that counts!

A balanced meal plan for a diabetic should include a complex carbohydrate source from high fiber grains that is low in glycemic index( its the capacity of the food to increase ones blood sugar) ; good source of protein from lean meats, as well as fruit and vegetables.  Since diabetics are two to four times more likely to develop heart disease than people without the disease, a good meal plan should be one that not only controls blood sugar but should likewise help reduce the risk for heart disease.  It  should therefore be low in saturated fat and cholesterol as well as low in salt. 

As to what foods and how much to take for each food group will be determined by a registered dietician who will calculate the total daily caloric requirement and the portions of each food according to what doctors recommend.

What You Eat Is What You Become In Health and Illness! 

Please check my other post: Foods To Eat If You’re A Diabetic

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Notes From Our Marketing Friends: 

People are getting crazy to loose weight and become slim and trim. They are in taking food supplements, weight loss diets and much other stuff in this respect. Many herbal diets are now available in market. One of them is zantrex 3 by “Zoller Laboratories”. Another weight loss aid is weight loss pills like xenadrine and many others. One should consult his physician before taking any kind of diet supplement.
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