Diets & Exercise Tips to Regain Your Pre-Pregnancy Body Shape

WORDS DR VICKY KOH

DR VICKY KOH
Medical Director
Clinic RX
WELL, READ THIS FIRST

Every woman’s body is unique. Therefore, the question of the ‘right option’ or ‘best option’ is something that each and every woman has to figure out on her own.

For example, mothers that breastfeed often experience rapid weight loss and may benefit from an increased intake of certain nutrients or supplements. Women that gave birth via caesarean section may need a longer time to recover. Existing health issues and lifestyle variables also need to be considered.

If you are interested to find out more about the topics discussed below, you should discuss the matter further with your doctor.

BREASTFEEDING CONSIDERATIONS

Postpartum weight loss averages about 4.5 to 5.5 kg in the first 6 weeks. Women often return to their pre-pregnancy weight within a year, though this time frame varies depending on how much weight was gained during their pregnancy.

Breastfeeding aids in weight loss since it consumes extra calories, resulting in a natural weight loss for many women.

Breastfeeding women should pay special attention to their diets at this time.

While experiencing weight loss after giving birth may seem like a good idea, doing so too quickly will actually hinder healing!

POST-PREGNANCY DIETARY RECOMMENDATIONS

Dietary recommendations should include a variety of fresh produce, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

Breastfeeding mothers, in particular, should drink a lot of water (6-10 glasses daily). Try to stay away from sodas and other sugary drinks.

Meanwhile, for moms that had a C-section, they should focus on eating foods that are high in protein. Avoid junk foods and take vitamin supplements, especially if they are nursing.

Vitamin and mineral supplements are crucial for moms during and after pregnancy.

This is because nutrients such as calcium, iron, vitamin D, folic acid, zinc, and more are normally redirected from the mother’s bloodstream to the developing infant.

Furthermore, the delivery process as well as breastfeeding depletes the body of essential vitamins.

Hence, postnatal supplements such as calcium, vitamin D, B vitamins, docosahexaenoic acid (DHA), magnesium, selenium, iodine, and choline may be helpful in replenishing nutrients that were used up during pregnancy and after childbirth.

EXERCISE RECOMMENDATIONS

Regular exercise after childbirth will help strengthen and tone your muscles while increasing your energy levels and making you feel less weary.

It also aids in the loss of excess weight.

During the first 6 weeks, the uterus returns to its pre-pregnancy size, and some women may feel uterine cramping and discharge.

However, mothers are recommended to gradually resume their exercise habits, starting with less strenuous activities during the first few weeks after giving birth.

A few days after delivery, you can start doing gentle abdominal and pelvic floor exercises if they don’t cause you any pain.

Try to proceed at your own pace—you can gradually increase the duration and tempo of your workout of over time.

Swimming, cycling, yoga, pilates, mild weight training, and low-impact aerobics are all good alternatives after the first few weeks.

5 Things You Should Know About Probiotics

5 Things You Should Know About Probiotics

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS HANNAH MAY-LEE WONG

  1. THEY’RE ALIVE!

The World Health Organisation defines probiotics as live microorganisms which when administered in adequate amounts, confer a health benefit on the host. In other words, probiotics are live bacteria and yeasts that when taken, give your body good health benefits. Probiotics supplements that are now widely available mainly support the digestive system. However, researchers are still trying to figure out how exactly probiotics work to benefit the body. It is also unsure which probiotics are most helpful for specific health problems and what the ideal amount or dose taken should be.

That said, there is evidence to show that some probiotics can help prevent diarrhoea caused by antibiotics and diarrhoea caused by infections; probiotics are also known to alleviate symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome and help restore a healthy balance between “good” and “bad” bacteria in the gut.

  1. PROBIOTICS ARE COMMONLY REFERRED TO AS “GOOD BACTERIA”

Although bacteria are notoriously known for causing disease, some bacteria are dubbed “good” bacteria because they help ensure healthy functioning of the body. Lots of “good” bacteria live in our digestive system, and they aid us in the process of digesting food, destroying disease-causing microorganisms and producing vitamins. Most of the microorganisms found in probiotics supplements are the same or similar to those good bacteria found naturally in our bodies.

  1. YOU DON’T JUST GET THEM FROM SUPPLEMENTS

Probiotics don’t just exist in neatly packaged sachets or bottles found at the pharmacy. Certain foods are known to be rich in probiotics. Probiotics can be found in many fermented products, for example: yoghurt, kefir, kimchi, tempeh, pickles and more.

  1. NOT ALL PROBIOTICS SUPPLEMENTS ARE THE SAME

There are a couple of things that can differ greatly from one probiotics supplement to another. These include: colony forming units (CFUs), suitability for children, required mode of storage (some need to be stored in the freezer) and the number of strains of bacteria. Different strains of bacteria give different health benefits, but generally there are two groups of bacteria commonly found in probiotics: Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium. If you are unsure which probiotics is best for you, seek the advice of your physician.

  1. PREBIOTICS ARE NOT PROBIOTICS

Probiotics supplements are often packaged with prebiotics, and for good reason. Prebiotics are non- digestible food substances that support the growth of “good” bacteria in the digestive system. When prebiotics are combined with probiotics, they are known as synbiotics. HT

IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS

IMMUNITY BOOSTING FOODS

May 8, 2022   Return

GeorgenprofilepicDSC...

Georgen Thye

BSc. (Hons) Nutrition and Dietetics, IMU Dietitian, Holmusk

Council Member, Malaysian Dietitians’ Association (MDA)

Founder of Georgen Cooking

www.youtube.com/channel/UCrEVuCcW4qHliA3c6dJo1cA

georgen_thye@live.com

Boost your immune system to fight COVID-19! Healthy eating is important to build a strong immune system, to protect us from falling sick and other health problems. There’s no one food or supplement that can prevent illness. Support your immune system by eating a variety of healthy wholefood on a regular basis!

WHAT TO EAT

  1. PROTEIN 

Heal & Recover

  1. VITAMIN A

Keep Skin Barrier Strong

  1. VITAMIN E

Work as Antioxidant

  1. VITAMIN C

Stimulate formation of Antibodies

  1. ZINC

Help immune system work properly

GOOD TO DO

  1. Prepare simple meal at home

Keep it simple, follow healthy eating plate. #sukusukuseparuh

  1. Avoid binging on Unhealthy snacks

Choose lower calories & healthier snack. eg fruits & nuts.

  1. Avoid Fast Food delivery

Explore other healthier alternative on your food delivery app today. HT

SUPPLEMENTS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

SUPPLEMENTS IN THE TIME OF COVID-19

May 8, 2022   Return

WORDS LIM TECK CHOON


During a time of pandemic such as COVID-19, we may see a surge of consumption of supplements in an effort to boost one’s defense against infectious diseases.

Professor Dr Hans Hauner from the Technical University of Munich recently published an article that reviewed the evidence—or lack of, in some cases—supporting the use of certain supplements.

Vitamin D

He points out that there are plausible indications that vitamin D may have positive health-related effects.

However, he notes that these indications are the results of studies conducted on cell cultures and animals. The evidence suggesting that these studies will yield the same beneficial results in humans is, as he puts it, “very weak”.

Some review papers in medical journals suggested that there is an inverse association between vitamin D status and the risk of acute respiratory tract infection and depression. This is to say, the risk for these conditions decreases when one consumes sufficient vitamin D to meet their daily nutritional needs. However, Professor Dr Hans Hauner believes that more high-quality studies are needed to confirm this.

Polyphenols and carotenoids

They are said to strengthen the body’s immune function. However, the current evidence to support this theory is weak; more research is needed on this matter.

A balanced diet is a sensible option

“High-quality controlled human intervention studies in COVID-19 patients are not yet available; therefore, the benefits of supplements for people with a virus infection are questionable,” says Professor Dr Hans Hauner. “Personally, I would not recommend taking these supplements unless there is an actual medical reason.”

He adds that a balanced diet provides a person’s body with a sufficient amount of all the required micronutrients.

Reference: Hauner, H. (2020). Wie ernähre ich mich am besten in Zeiten der Corona-Pandemie? : COVID-19 und Ernährungsmedizin [Which diet during the Corona pandemic?]. MMW Fortschr Med.;162(9):57-60. https://doi:10.1007/s15006-020-0480-1

Are Cough Syrups Safe?

Are Cough Syrups Safe?

May 2, 2022   Return

Cough syrups are one of the most commonly prescribed medicines in clinics and hospitals. They are generally safe for most children above the age of 6 years old as well as for adults.

“Generally” safe? Does that mean…

Some cough syrups contain ingredients that can have a psychoactive impact on our mind – altering how our brain normally works (affecting our mood, etc) – when taken at much higher doses than recommended. Such ingredients include dextromethorphan, codeine and promethazine. So, it is important to follow the prescribed dosage carefully and stop taking the cough syrup when you are feeling better.

Safety through regulations

Cough syrups, like all other medicines, are produced through a closely regulated process – from the manufacturer to the consumer.

The World Health Organization (WHO) and many national governments, including ours, follow established Good Manufacturing Practices (GMP) and quality control. Thus, with the regulated process, cough syrups have consistent quality and are safe for consumption.

The Malaysian National Medicines Policy (NMP) states, “Only safe, efficacious and quality medicines that meet approved standards and specifications shall be registered and made available for sale and use by all consumers in Malaysia.” By setting down such regulations, the Malaysian Ministry of Health (MOH) ensures that “medicines marketed for consumers are safe, effective and of quality, and to promote quality use of medicines to meet the health needs of the nation.” This includes cough syrups, naturally.

Each registered product sold throughout Malaysia has two main features on its packaging – the registration number and genuine hologram sticker. The registration number starts with ‘MAL’ followed by eight numbers and ends with the letter T, A or X, which indicates traditional medicines, scheduled poisons (prescription products) and non-scheduled poisons (over-the-counter products), respectively. The authenticity of the hologram sticker can be checked using the Meditag hologram decoder, which should be available at the pharmacy.
So, you can rest assured that cough syrups available in your neighbourhood pharmacy or convenience store are safe for consumption. All you need to do is look out for the MOH registration code and hologram sticker when you buy cough syrups.

Take Your Own Precaution (insert in textbox)

When taking several medicines for your cough and cold, make sure your read the labels properly. This is to avoid taking medicines containing the same ingredients, which may lead to an overdose. If you are unsure, always check with your doctor or pharmacist.

If you have a medical condition like heart disease or high blood pressure, do check with your doctor before using any cough syrup

References:

Ministry of Health. Available at www.pharmacy.gov.my

National Institute on Drug Abuse. Available at www.drugabuse.gov

WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com

World Health Organization. Available at www.who.int

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Pumping Iron

Pumping Iron

May 2, 2022   Return

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Pumping iron may be a part of your workout regimen to help you stay fit but did you know that there is another type of pumping going on in your body which is vital for your wellbeing? Every day, your body continuously pumps iron through the bloodstream. Why is iron so important, you may ask?

Why iron?

Iron is necessary for the production of haemoglobin, which is a component of red blood cells. To put it simply, haemoglobin is somewhat like a mode of transportation for carbon dioxide and oxygen. It picks up and carries oxygen from the lungs, and drops it off in the tissues. It then picks up carbon dioxide transporting it to the lungs where it is expired. But in the event that your body lacks iron, it becomes incapable of producing haemoglobin resulting in a condition known as anaemia.

Foods for Fighting Anaemia

But how do we keep your iron levels adequate to prevent – or in certain cases, treat – anaemia? For that, we need to look at the cause. Anaemia can either result from an imbalanced diet or a more severe health issue (eg, inflammatory bowel disease or stomach ulcer). If it is the former, an adequate intake of iron via diet and supplementation can do the trick. 

Beetroot

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The next time you whip up a salad or a smoothie, don’t forget to include some beetroot in there. Researchers found that anaemics who consumed beetroot experienced less sensitivity to cold and palpitations (anaemia symptoms) compared to anaemics who didn’t. The iron in beetroot aids in the repair and reactivation of RBCs. When RBCs are activated, oxygen supply to your entire body increases.

Tomato

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Aside from beta-carotene, fiber and vitamin E, tomatoes are also jam-packed with vitamin C, a nutrient which aids iron absorption. According to experts, eating 1-2 raw tomatoes daily can up your vitamin C levels and subsequently, your iron levels.

Red Meat

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Red meat (eg, beef and lamb) is a rich source of heme iron, a type of iron that is typically absorbed more quickly by your body. Incorporating red meat in your diet 2-3 times weekly can help tackle anaemia.

Whole grain bread

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You may want to swap your white bread with whole grain bread because a slice of whole grain bread can provide roughly 6% of your daily iron requirement. Studies show that eating 2-3 slices of whole grain bread daily can up your iron levels.

Seafood

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Oily fish (eg, salmon) and shellfish (eg, oysters) aren’t merely high in omega-3 fatty acids; they contain lots of iron too. In fact, 100g serving of oysters has as much as 7.2mg of iron.

What if it’s still insufficient?

Very often, we’re unable to obtain adequate amounts of iron from food. This is where supplementation comes in. Choose an iron supplement containing Fe3+ as this type is gentler on the digestive system. Unlike iron supplements with Fe2+, its side effects (eg, bloating and diarrhoea) are significantly less. For more details, speak to your healthcare professional.

References:

Cleveland Clinic. Available at http://my.clevelandclinic.org/

Eat Right. Available at www.eatright.org

MyHealthTips.in. Available at www.myhealthtips.in

Patient. Available at www.patient.info

WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com

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How Do Throat Lozenges Work?

How Do Throat Lozenges Work?

May 2, 2022   Return

Strangely, the word lozenge is derived from an Old French word losenge, which is related to the Latin lausiae lapides or stone slabs. Well, now we know lozenges as medicinal tablets that are used to soothe sore throats!

Most of us are used to popping a lozenge in our mouth for that nagging pain in our throat. There are many types of lozenges on sale at supermarkets, pharmacies, and even at your neighbourhood convenience store. But how do you know which one works for you?

How do lozenges work?

Lozenges come in various colours, taste and with different ingredients to soothe sore throat. When you pop one into your mouth, the lozenge dissolves in your mouth slowly. This causes the active ingredients in the lozenge to be released.

The ingredients stimulate your salivary glands and cause it to produce saliva. Your saliva mixes with the ingredients and coats your throat lining.  A thickening agent, pectin is one such ingredient that can coat the throat like honey. This helps to reduce the pain, dryness and itchiness in your throat. 

Different types of lozenges

What make lozenges different from one another are the active ingredients. Some lozenges have natural ingredients in them. There are many types of natural ingredients like honey, lemon, peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus.

Honey and lemon are used to soothe your throat and reduce coughs due to irritated throat. Peppermint, menthol and eucalyptus help to loosen phlegm so you can cough it out easily. They also have a cool sensation on your throat.

Some lozenges have pain medication that brings the swelling down and gives instant pain relief. This helps to soothe the sore throat while the pain relief helps the sore throat to heal.

For really quick relief from pain, some lozenges contain local anaesthetics like lidocaine. So, when you pop lozenges of this type into your mouth, you will experience some numbness in your throat. You get the much-needed relief from pain.

Antibacterial medication may also be added to some lozenges. This type of lozenges helps to get rid of the germs that are causing the infection in your throat. But, antibacterial lozenges only work against bacteria and not virus.

You may have a sore throat due to a dry cough. There are lozenges that have antitussives or cough suppressants that may help to get rid of the cough.

You need to take one lozenge every 2-3 hours or as indicated on the lozenge package. If you have any doubts, do consult your pharmacist or doctor for further advice.

References: 1. The HealthSite. Available at www.thehealthsite.com 2. Choice. Available at www.choice.com.au

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Acclaim About the Eggshell Membrane

Acclaim About the Eggshell Membrane

May 2, 2022   Return

As we age, our bones and joints can progressively weaken due to wear and tear. In time, we may experience increasingly restricted movement which cripples our quality of life and greatly limits our ability to find fulfilment and joy in our golden years. Our knees are the most vulnerable to weakness, pain and damage, as they not only support our weight but also bear the pressure that arises from every movement we make.

Fortunately, there is a product in town that, when taken once a day, can provide relief from knee pain (such as that caused by osteoarthritis) and improve knee health. Kordel’s Eggshell Membrane with BiovaFlex, touted as the ‘natural solution to osteoarthritis’ can start making your knees happy in just seven days.

Launched in Kuala Lumpur on September 9, 2015, this natural supplement is a new solution to combat the age-old problem of joint pain. It is formulated from BiovaFlex, an all-natural, clinically-tested eggshell membrane extract.

The launch was organised by Cambert (M) Sdn Bhd, the sole distributor of the supplement. Matt Stegenga, President of Biovia LLC, was present to share insight on the supplement with members of the audience.

Eggshell Membrane? Really?

Yes, really – eggshell membrane contains naturally-occurring nutrients that have been shown to support joint health and flexibility. BiovaFlex is an all-natural, clinically-tested eggshell membrane extract used as a formulation for Kordel’s Eggshell Membrane supplements.

Eggs-cellent for Your Knees

Kordel’s Eggshell Membrane with BiovaFlex contains six bioactive ingredients:

  • Elastin and desmosine/isodesmosine, both of which increase the elasticity of the joints, skin and blood vessels; therefore improving mobility.
  • Transforming growth factor-beta which plays a role in regenerating cells, repairing tissues and promoting immune function.
  • Collagen and total glucosaminoglycans (GAG), both of which support joint and connective tissue health.
  • Antioxidants that inhibit reactive oxygen species (ROS) and lipoxygenase – both of which could damage tissue – as well as reduce inflammation that can lead to joint pains.

But does it work?

A six-week study on 42 patients with arthritic-type joint pain and connective tissue order that limit their range of motion found the following:

 

Within 7 days

Within 14 days

After six weeks

Pain

Reduced 8.25%

Reduced 16.42%

Reduced 20%

Knee flexibility

Improved 9.20%

Improved 10.14%

Improved 37.8%

The study also found no reported side effects.

Mr Stegenga concludes that that BiovaFlex has been proven effective in improving joint-related symptoms. It also has no side effects, which makes it an attractive alternative for patients who experience side effects from taking medications such as NSAIDS (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs).

Furthermore, it is easy and convenient to consume – just take one capsule once a day, preferably in the morning with food. Take the supplement for six weeks for optimum results.

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A Plant that is Simply Di-Vine

A Plant that is Simply Di-Vine

May 1, 2022   Return

The ivy Hedera helix Linn, also known as English Ivy or European Ivy, is a fast-growing, climbing vine plant that mainly grows and spreads in two stages. The first stage or the juvenile stage sees the plant producing 3 to 5 thick, lobed dark green leaves. In its adult stage, the plant produces round umbel-like clusters of greenish-white flowers followed by blue-black berries.

Native to Europe, the plant was brought to various parts of the world by settlers during the colonial regime. Its leaves are widely used to treat respiratory tract ailments.

Relief for the Throat

Ivy leaves were classified under traditional medicine for treatment of the following conditions:

  • For the relief of symptoms associated with chronic inflammatory bronchial ailments,
  • As an expectorant to aid in conditions such as a common cold or cough,
  • As a mucolytic agent to release mucus from the respiratory tract.
  • To relieve breathing complications by  relaxing airways and dilating bronchioles. Ivy leaf preparations are available in solid or liquid dosage forms for oral consumption. The dosage and administration will vary based on the product, patient age and recommendation by healthcare provider.

How Ivy Works Its ‘Magic’

Ivy leaves contain triterpenoid saponins, mainly hederacosides B and C, flavonoids like rutin, kaempferol and quercetin, caffeic acid derivatives, and sterols.

Ivy leaf preparations exert their effect via the following ways:

  • In respiratory diseases, Ivy leaf preparations can relieve severe muscle spasms caused by frequent coughing.
  • The saponins in ivy leaf extracts can cause thick, sticky mucus in the throat to become more liquid and fluid. This helps to make it easier to cough out the mucus.
  • The flavonoids in ivy leaf block the release of histamines (the substances that give rise to allergy reactions( and thus help to  suppress allergic manifestations.
  • The saponins, alpha-hederin and hederacoside C in ivy leaf all help to suppress inflammatory conditions of the respiratory tract.
  •  The triterpenoids in ivy leaf aid in antimicrobial activity against various strains of germs that infect the respiratory system (Staphylococcus, E.Coli, Klebsella pneumoniae) and also the influenza virus. Thus, they can suppress respiratory tract infections.

Side Effects

Side effects of Ivy leaf preparations include mild allergic reactions like rashes, skin irritation, and gastrointestinal complaints. Consumption by children below the age of 2 years and by expectant mothers should only be under medical advice.

References:

Kooperation Phytopharmaka.  Available at www.koop-phyto.org

Clinicians Research Based. Available at www.clinicians.co.nz.

European Medicines Agency. Available at www.ema.europa.eu

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Healthy, Burpy & Smelly

Healthy, Burpy & Smelly

May 1, 2022   Return

Garlic

Called the ‘stinking rose’ for a good reason, garlic promises a slew of health benefits but there is one downside: the smell. In addition to having ‘garlic breath’, you may also develop a distinctive body odour if you eat fresh garlic over a long period of time.

  • Try garlic supplements. Depending on the formulation, some may offer reduced garlic breath or body odour side effects. The odour-free ones are usually made from aged garlic extract, which contains lesser amounts of allicin – the active substance that makes garlic beneficial as well as gives garlic its distinctive smell – and therefore, are less potent. Your pharmacist can further advise you on the use of garlic supplements.
  • If you love the taste of fresh garlic and want to continue to make it a part of your meals, you can use deodorants, body sprays, and such to keep the garlic odour from your skin under control. Regular use of mouthwash and breath fresheners can help with garlic breath.

Fish oil

Oil from fatty fish, a great source of omega-3 fatty acids, can often lead to ‘fishy burps’. This is because your body produces a lot of excess gas when trying to digest fish oil, hence the constant burping and even passing of wind from the other end!

  • Leave your fish oil in the freezer overnight. This slows down its digestion in the stomach, causing less gas to be produced as a result.
  • You can also take fish oil during your meals, or take in smaller doses throughout the day.
  • You can also consider red krill oil supplements as an alternative. Red krill oil is also a rich source of omega-3 fatty acids.

Coating up the taste

Supplement capsules can be coated with a compound called enteric, which allows them to release their contents only once they reach the intestine. This prevents any unpleasant aftertaste or embarrassing side effects like odours or burping.

However, the use of enteric coating often drives up the price of the supplement. Furthermore, some studies suggest that certain foods such as fish oil provide more optimal benefits when absorbed from the stomach rather than the intestine.

Ultimately, it is up to you. Are you willing to pay a little bit more to avoid the side effects, even if this means getting less than optimal health benefits from the supplement? You can consult a pharmacist for more advice.

References:

1. Livestrong. Available at www.livestrong.com 2. WebMD. Available at www.webmd.com

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