An Apple a Day

Christmas has just come and gone! I hope everyone had a good Christmas! 2010 is just round the corner now! Time for New Year resolutions! I’ve already made a list of them, many of which are only for my eyes. Teehee. But some regular entries on my list include good health and better beauty regime, which I believe should be on everyone elses’ too! Only if we are in optimum health and feel good about ourselves can we set out to fulfill all our other resolutions. Don’t you agree?

One of my greatest New Year resolutions with respect to beauty and health is to consume at least one apple every day, because apples have many health and beauty benefits as listed below:

1. Prevents Weight Gain
Compared to other fruits, fat level from apples is virtually negligible. Apples don’t contain protein. Every 100g of apple contains only about 60 calories. Apples are also rich in malate, which stimulates the dispersal of fats in the body, thus preventing weight gain.

2. Whitens Teeth
Apples are rich in cellulose, among which some have the ability of cleansing grime on and between your teeth. Smile as much as you like after enjoying an apple!

3. Detoxifies Intestines
Apples are rich in pectin, which promotes bowel movement. Its rich source of dietary fibre helps to expel toxins from your body, consequently improving your skin’s appearance.

4. Skin whitening
Apples contain plenty of Vitamin C, which helps to lighten freckles, age spots and keeps your skin rosy and supple.

Since apples are great for skin, why not use them on your face too! Here’s a simple recipe for an apple mask that you can do once or twice a week!

Skin an apple and mash it up into pulp. If you have dry skin, add milk or vegetable oil to the apple pulp. The amount you add depends on how watery you’d like your mask. Preferably it should of course not be too watery that it runs down your face. Personally I find a quarter of a glass to be pretty good. If you have oily skin, add egg white from an egg to the apple pulp. Stir until the mixture is even and apply all over your face. Leave it on for 20 minutes and then rinse off with clean water. This mask helps to lighten acne scarring, freckles and brown spots. You’ll feel that your skin becomes smoother, softer and whiter.

Do you also know that apples can help to reduce eye circles? Simply place a thin slice of apple under each eye. It works like cucumbers!

Always remember the old adage, “An Apple a Day Keeps the Doctor Away!” Skin doctors and dentists included too!

Pomelos for Christmas

Christmas is just 2 weeks away! Have you started drawing up your shopping lists for Christmas dinner? This year, I’m going to include pomelos on my dinner table. Yes, you read right. All my guests will be getting a slice from the huge fragrant fruit usually eaten during Autumn Moon Festival.

Then again, who says pomelos should only be eaten during a particular season? Pomelos are a native fruit to South East asia and they can be found in Singapore even during this period. They may be more rare in supermarkets and markets, but you can try wholesale vegetable markets or even across the causeway!

According to those who practice Chinese Traditional Medicine, pomelos have the ability to reduce phlegm, soothe lungs, detoxify the intestines, contribute to the production of red blood cells, and strengthens the spleen, amongst many other medical advantages. It’s a great rehabilitation food to have after a cold, or simply to counteract the many sinful foods you’ve eaten at the Christmas dinner table! In fact, it’s a healthy fruit to eat on a regular basis.

But it is very important to bear in mind that pomelos cannot be consumed with certain types of medication, especially prescribed medication for people suffering from Hyperlipemia. Consuming medication with inappropriate food products can result in intoxication and consequently muscle aches and kidney problems. Do consult your doctor if you have medical problems!

On the plus side, it reduces sugar and cholesterol levels and when consumed in the long run, promotes healing in patients suffering from diabetes, high blood pressure, hardening arteries etc. It also stimulates weight loss in obese people. Even for healthy people with no medical problems, pomelos promote healthy and beautiful skin!

There are some simple tricks to ensure that you select a pomelo that is guaranteed to be sweet! First of all, ripe pomelos are very fragrant, so choose one that your nose likes! Next, gently knock and press against the peel with your finger joint. If the peel dents easily, ditch it. The key word is ‘gently’. Using strength is just going to dent anything, no matter how top-grade the pomelo is. Besides, you wouldn’t want to get yelled at by the seller, would you? An ideal pomelo has the standard shape of a broad, round base that extends to a narrow tip, skin that’s not dull and is pale green or yellow. (If it is an intense shade of green, it is not ripe!) When you’ve purchased your pomelo, it is not quite ready for eating just yet! Pomelos keep for a long time, so keep it aside in a cool place for about 2 weeks. By then, it would have ripened further and lost extraneous water content and it would taste sweeter.

So don’t wait until Eve of Christmas to buy your pomelo. Time to go pomelo hunting now!

Why you should let your body rest at night

Altering your biological clock radically can result in potential illnesses in the long run. In this aspect, many people are guilty of sleeping late and disrupting some of the body's most essential processes, which only take place at night. Here’s another outline of the workings of your body, this time, focusing on its nightly detoxifying actions.

1. 9pm – 11 pm. Lymphatic system detoxifies.

2. 11 pm – 1 pm. Liver detoxifies.

3. 1 am – 3 am. Bile ducts detoxify.

4. 3 am – 5am. Lungs detoxify. When you’re suffering from a cough, your cough is most vigorous at this point of time. Don’t try to stifle or stop your cough as you’ll be interfering with the lung’s detoxification process. Head out of the room instead if you don’t wish to disturb your room mate.

5. 5am – 7 am. Large intestine detoxifies. This is the time when you’d normally go to the toilet to defecate.

Our body’s detoxification system works best when the rest of our body is in resting mode. Hence, it’s best to be asleep during the entire detoxification process. But few people have the luxury to sleep by 9 and would prefer to spend the time before midnight on leisure activities. Nevertheless, from 9pm to 11pm, you can still optimize rest time by doing relaxing activities like listening to music and reading and avoiding high-energy activities such as eating (yes, eating burdens your digestive system) and adrenaline-pumping computer games.

The Healthy Life

Humans are highly adaptable, but going against the workings of our biological clock is never good for you in the long run. When your health is poor, there is no beauty to speak of. So let's take a look at what the ideal healthy lifestyle should be like to stay healthy and beautiful!

7:30: Time to wake up! Researchers from Westminster college have discovered that those who wake up between 5:22 to 7:21 are more susceptible to heart problems. It’s best to wake up a little after 7:21.Turn on the room lights once you’re up. This helps your body to register that it is daylight and snap out of rest mode. Next, drink a glass of water to make up for the lack of water in the night.

7:30 – 8:00: Before breakfast, brush your teeth. Fluoride from the toothpaste creates a protective layer over your teeth.

8:00 – 8:30: Breakfast time! Breakfast is mandatory and the most important meal of the day. It helps to stabilize your sugar levels. Cereals especially make good breakfasts as they are healthy and quick to prepare.

8:30 – 9:00: Avoid vigorous exercise as your bodily system is overall weakest at this point of time and rather than improving your fitness and immune system, you may end up being more prone to injuring yourself. Walking is all right and recommended though.

9:30: Begin with the most challenging task of the day. According to New York Sleep Centre researchers, we are often most alert in the first 2 hours that we’re awake.

10:30: If you’ve been working on the computer, look away and rest your eyes for 3 minutes. Keep doing this every hour if you have to use the computer for long hours.

11:00: Have some fruits. Consuming fruits before lunch makes you fuller so that you will eat less for lunch.

13: 00: Lunch hour! Be sure to have a delicious and nutritious lunch in order to have the energy and vigour to continue work for the day. Consume more vegetables and bean products and less meat. Rice can be supplemented with bread too if you’re packing your own lunch and find it a hassle to prepare rice.

14:30 – 15:30: Have a half hour nap (subject to boss’s approval, but it has been scientifically proven that employees who take afternoon breaks are more productive). According to a university research team in Athens, napping for half an hour for at least 3 afternoons per week reduces death from heart problems by 37%.

16:00: Have a yogurt drink. It helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and is good for the heart.

17:00 – 19:00: This is the best time to exercise. Most working people are probably still in the office though. But you can try doing some office workouts.

19:30: Have a light dinner. Eating too much for dinner causes sugar levels to go up and also affects sleep because your digestive system has to work into the night. Avoid high-calorie and protein foods. Eat more vegetables instead, and take your time to chew your food so that it is more easily digested.

21:45: Having cleared up after dinner, you can watch a little tv for relaxation, but don’t watch tv on your bed. It affects your quality of sleep because your body then gets attuned to the idea of bed being a place for watching tv instead of rest.

23:00: If you have problems falling asleep, take a warm shower to relax your muscles.

23:30: You should be asleep by this time! If you wake up at 7:30 the following day, you will enjoy 8 hours of sleep.

Few people I know are actually able to follow this schedule exactly due to our committments. Adhere to it as much as you can, but don't panic if you can't! You can always substitute what you can't do with something just as good. For example, if you have to get up before 7:30, make it a point to go to bed even earlier. If you can only spare time to exercise in the morning, do it anyway! Exercising at a less productive time is better than no exercise at all!