I was reading the newspaper and I saw this article about yogurt. It has been a known fact that yogurt is healthy for our bodies (just see how companies market it so much these days). However, there would be a relative population who needed some push to believe so I’m pasting below the article. Hope you enjoy reading this then grab a tumbler of yogurt!

Yogurt for health? Yo!
MIND YOUR BODY By Willie T. Ong, MD (The Philippine Star) Updated March 02, 2010 12:00 AM
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Have you tried eating yogurt? Yogurt, one of the world’s healthiest foods, is actually made from fermented milk. Yogurt is regarded by experts as a complete food, having the perfect combination of proteins, carbohydrates, and fats. Yogurt has calcium for the bones, potassium for the muscles, and vitamin B for the nerves.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, a cup of regular yogurt (100 grams or 3.5 ounces) gives the following nutritional values: 61 calories, 4.7 grams (g) of carbohydrates, 3.5 g of protein, 4.7 g of sugar, 3.3 g of fat, 121 mg of calcium, 250 mg of potassium, 16 mg of magnesium, and the B vitamins.

But more than your regular milk, yogurt has the added health value of probiotics, the good bacteria our body needs, such as your lactobacilli. Let us look at the possible ways yogurt can help us:

• For those who can’t tolerate milk. A substantial number of Asians (including me) can’t tolerate milk. Some people have trouble digesting milk proteins and the sugar lactose in milk. They develop bloating and diarrhea. As an alternative, eating a cup of yogurt a day doesn’t give the same unwanted effects.

According to Dr. John Briffa, a London physician, columnist, and nutrition expert, yogurt is less likely to cause an upset stomach for two reasons. First, the healthy bacteria used to make yogurt help in partially digesting the milk proteins. Second, these friendly bacteria also digest the sugar lactose, converting it to lactic acid. Thus, yogurt contains less of these diarrhea-inducing components.

• May help prevent stomach cancer, ulcer, and colon cancer. Dr. John Briffa writes that the healthy bacteria in yogurt have the potential to help people with stomach ulcer, food poisoning, constipation, diarrhea, and other bowel-related problems. The presence of good bacteria in yogurt somehow helps ward off and displace the bad bacteria.

One such annoying bug, called Helicobacter pylori, is known to cause stomach ulcers. A Taiwan study shows that two probiotics in yogurt — lactobacillus and bifidobacterium — help treat patients with ulcers and are taking medicines to treat Helicobacter pyloriinfection.

• For strengthening the immune system. Several studies have shown that yogurt assists our immune system. A breakthrough study by Dr. Georges M. Halpern of the University of California School of Medicine shows that eating two cups of yogurt a day for four months can increase our body’s gamma interferon (substances fighting infections) by five times. Dr. Halpern and colleagues found that yogurt with specific live active cultures (containing Lactobacillus bulgaricus and Streptococcus thermophilus) boosted interferon levels.

In addition, a one-year follow-up study by Dr. Halpern shows that eating six ounces of yogurt a day can help prevent colds, hay fever, and diarrhea. And if ever the patients developed a cold, the symptoms were less troublesome.

Yet another research done on elderly people shows a significant reduction in the duration of illness (including gastrointestinal and respiratory illness) in those taking yogurt. Because of its effect on the immune system, yogurt is believed to be beneficial, too, for people with allergy, various cancers, and HIV-AIDS.

• For those taking antibiotics, especially children. Whenever you take antibiotics, it’s commonsense to take a cup of yogurt every day. Although antibiotics are extremely helpful medicines, they can sometimes destroy the good bacteria, along with the bad bacteria. Some experts believe that eating yogurt will help replace the good bacteria that may have been destroyed by the antibiotic. One study suggests that eating certain probiotics (named L. casei, L. bulgaricus, and S. thermophilus) can also reduce the incidence of diarrhea, a possible side effect caused by taking antibiotics.

• To help prevent osteoporosis. We know that both calcium and vitamin D play a major role in preventing osteoporosis. And since a cup of yogurt contains 12 percent of our daily calcium needs, this can help protect our bones. Check the labels because some yogurt preparations are made with added vitamin D. Other food sources with vitamin D are eggs and sardines. Early morning sunshine also helps our bodies produce vitamin D.

• To help treat vaginal yeast infection. Symptoms of this common vaginal infection (called candida) are itchiness and the presence of a whitish discharge in the vaginal area. Doctors usually prescribe an anti-fungal suppository for seven days. Aside from medications, experts suggest eating a cup of yogurt for five days to help replenish the healthy lactobacillus in the body. One study reported that women who take a cup of yogurt a day had less vaginal yeast infection and less urinary tract infection (UTI). Yogurt researcher Dr. Georges Halpern believes that yogurt is especially beneficial for women, “Yogurt boosts immunity, delivers lots of available calcium, and helps prevent vaginitis.”

• To help treat canker sores (locally called singaw). Canker sores are small, shallow, and painful lesions inside the mouth. It’s not contagious, but it can make eating and talking very painful. It usually starts with a small injury (from teeth braces, accidental biting, and abrasion from the teeth).

From my own experience, ear, nose, throat specialist Dr. Elmer De La Cruz advised me to eat yogurt. According to Dr. De La Cruz, yogurt is particularly helpful because it coats all of the painful sores, even in places that are hard to reach, like the throat and inner gums. I tried it and it was a great relief! One technique is to take in one to two tablespoons of yogurt every hour or two, so as to cover the canker sores and hasten their healing.

• To help you lose weight. Compared with regular ice cream, yogurt has fewer calories, less fat, and less sugar. A small cup of yogurt yields only around 70 calories. In fact, a small study from the University of Washington in Seattle shows that eating yogurt makes one feel fuller and less hungry, compared to drinking fruit juices and other sugary drinks. So it pays to indulge in yogurt instead.

Some final tips when buying yogurt. First, you may choose the low-fat or fat-free variety. Second, make sure also that your yogurt has “live and active cultures,” which means that it has the healthy bacteria inside. Third, be sure it’s not yet expired.

And so, if you want to be healthy, many experts will agree: Have some yogurt today.

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What is hypothyroidism:

Hypothyroidism happens when the thyroid gland is underactive and is not able to produce enough thyroid hormones to help your body function at the correct level. When a person’s thyroid is improperly formed at birth, surgically removed (all or in part), or becomes incapable of producing enough thyroid hormone, that person is diagnosed as hypothyroid.

In layman’s terms, hypothyroidism is when the thyroid glad does not give out the correct amount of hormones to our body. It can be compared to the situation of an undernourished plant having enough water but no sunlight.

What is the thyroid gland:

The thyroid gland is situated in the neck, just below the larynx (Adam’s apple) and produces thyroid hormones. The main hormones released by the thyroid are triiodothyronine (aka T3) and thyroxine (aka T4). These hormones are essential for physical and mental growth and development. They also play a vital role in many metabolic processes in the body.

What causes hypothyroidism:

One of the most common causes of hypothyroidism is the autoimmune disease called Hashimoto’s disease, in which antibodies gradually target the thyroid and destroy its ability to produce thyroid hormones. Other causes are:

– surgical removal of the thyroid gland

– radioactive iodine theraphy

– chronic inflammatory-like disease of the thyroid gland

– congenital malformation of the thyroid gland

– stress

Who are susceptible to hypothyroidism and the risk factor:

– genetic susceptibility: if it runs in the family it will occur in any family member

– over 50 years of age: usual explanation is because the body is experiencing a lot of changes and becomes slower in its functions

– female gender: females are dictated by hormones all throughout their lives. From the regular menstrual periods to child birth women has the greater reliance on their hormones to do function properly.

– iodine/drugs

– thyroid surgery and exposure of the neck to x-ray or radioactive treatments.

What are the signs and symptoms to Hypothyroidism: (they can include two or more of the following)

◊ Feeling very tired

◊ Weight gain or trouble losing weight

◊ Very dry skin or paler skin than usual

◊ Coarseness or loss of hair

◊ Increase of hair usually present only in males = Hirsutism (i.e. females having mustache or other facial hair, increase hair on the legs )

◊ Hoarse or raspy voice

◊ Enlarged thyroid gland (front and neck)

◊ Feeling cold all over

◊ Muscle or joint pains

◊ Constipation

◊ Having trouble remembering things

◊ Having trouble concentrating or slower thinking

◊ Feeling depressed

◊ Irregular or heavy menstrual period

◊ Infertility

◊ High cholesterol levels (Hyperlipidemia)

◊ Slower speech / ◊ slower reflexes / ◊ slow heart beat

◊ Swollen hands / ◊ cold hands / ◊ brittle nails

◊ Puffy face

Do you have two or more of these symptoms?


If you have two or more of the symptoms:

I suggest that you seek medical help immediately. Common tests done to find out if you have hypothyroidism are:

– Physical exam to detect initial signs of hypothyroidism

– Blood tests (TSH, T4, T3, WBC)

– Thyroid scan (for thyroid imaging)

– Thyroid ultrasound (used in the diagnosis of thyroid nodules, to know whether the thyroid is enlarged)

Your age, weight, health status and the results of your blood tests will be assessed by your doctor to determine the starting dose. Usually, you may be required to repeat blood tests every 2 – 8 weeks until your doctor is sure that you have the optimal dose for your current situation

Note that not all hypothyroid case are the same. There are people who will require larger doses than others.

Medications and Treatment:

Usually endocrinologists will prescribe taking levothyroxine (Synthroid) which is a synthetic hormone provider. I will create another post that will wholly discuss synthroid.

Aside from taking levothyroxine, female patients are advised to also seek an OB-Gynecologist especially of you are having irregular or heavy menstrual flows. A problem in hormones directly affects the female reproductive system.

An as any old adage, taking medicines needs to go hand-in-hand with exercise and proper diet. This is very important with hypothyroidism because it generally causes an abnormal weight gain and a harder time to lose weight even though you are not eating a lot.

Living with hypothyroidism:

Periodic monitoring and compliance to medication are required to manage hypothyroidism and to judge your responses to medication. Your doctor will regularly monitor the amount of thyroid hormones in your blood. Depending on the result of laboratory tests it may be necessary to adjust the dose your thyroid medication.

Continued care by an endocrinologist (a specialist in thyroid disorders) is necessary for appropriate hypothyroidism management. It is also important that whenever there is a change in your status, go back to your doctor for your dose may need adjustments. For example, if you:

* gain or lose weight

* start any new medication

* reach 50 years of age

* become pregnant or is planning to become one

* develop diabetes

* develop new illnesses or existing illness gets worse

* enter menopause

References:

1.Hypothyroidism (2009) A pamphlet of  Organon Philippines, Inc

2. Your thyroid gland – Pamphlet of Abbott

The first Sunday of 2010, I was attending a mass and I was pissed to hell. Ironic right? Apparently God and our parish priest thought so too.

So there I was, sitting on the front row of our parish’s pews and boiling inside with fury. My wrath was crying for an outlet to the point that I was staring daggers to our parish priest because he was taking his glorious time while I was sitting there and burning with emotions.

But throughout the mass I tried  to calm it out because 1. I was inside the church, 2. I was attending a mass, and 3. for all my derailed-mind I am afraid to go to hell by committing sacrilege.

Then the first strike of irony came. You see, I think it would be perfectly normal that once a person was embroiled in the emotion of fury that person could not focus on any other thing than the emotion itself. So there I was, generally pissed off at the world (yes, I was arguing with it) when a church server asked my whole family to go at the back. We were invited to bring do the Offering of the Gifts.

Cold water thrown all over me and I cursed. Both mentally of course. I asked God, why of all the days in my life had he chosen that time to choose our family to do the Offering of Gifts. I was wishing to do that kind of task for our parish ever since I was a kid but to no avail. Then, when I was not at my finest (I was at my foulest really) he chose that moment to let me experience it.

I wanted to bang my head for feeling angry and at the same time guilty. Angry because the timing couldn’t be so wrong in my opinion and guilty because I was wishing for that opportunity and I was being ungrateful when it was already given.

However, that quelled my emotion just a little bit. I was having more self-control and stopped sending dagger stares to our parish priest, icy stares would do. Then it was the time for Homily and the second Armageddon came my way, well that was solely my opinion.

Our parish priest was talking about really being Catholics and doing the things what Catholics should do. He then pointed out how even though the Philippines is the biggest Catholic population in Asia, its people are not living its religion properly.

That’s when he asked the question, “Katoliko nga ba tayo, o tayo ay laging Katok-Liko?” (Translation 1: Are we really Catholics or we are just a bunch of crazy [katok = have mental incapacity] people who always turns [liko] away from our supposed religion? ; Translation 2: Are we really Catholics or all we just do is knock [katok] on the door of our God’s mercy but ‘turn away’ [liko] from our true duties as Catholics?).

He then gave out examples. The first one was to castigate the people who would always be present in the church, would always be doing church services but does not live like a Catholic. Those people who would deem themselves to be religious but would not be generous as to share their blessing with others. Our priest also pointed out how our people would always call of cooperation yet our nation is so entrenched with crab mentality.

His question threw my composure out and have officially branded myself a Katok-Liko type. I am a Catholic and was supposed to attend Sunday masses but I don’t attend regularly and I was attending the first mass of 2010 with fury in my being. I was given the chance to do the Offering of Gifts (although it was given like after 13 years?) and all I felt doing was tell the Lord how bad his timing was because I was not at my best to appreciate it.

Realizing it also made me feel sad. Such reality is so entrenched in our society, how are we supposed to take it out? How would we change it? My idea right now is focusing towards the children, because Rizal was right in saying that ‘the children are the hope of our nation’ however, he did miss the fact that the adults teach the children. How would our next generation become genuine Catholics (and thus nationalistic Filipinos) if the people who they look up to and rear their personalities would all be Katok-Liko in religion and in culture… and could we ever break from a vicious cycle?

quaterhina

I was suddenly taken back to reality.

Last Sunday I went to hear the mass. Although I was supposed to listen, human as I am, I was dozing off to dreamland especially when the choir would sing the high-pitched songs. Seriously, why do they have to make Church songs so damn hard to sing for people like me who were not gifted?

Anyway, so I was off to the Land of Tra-la-la when I heard the priest utter words that placed a leashed around my consciousness and hurled me back to rejoin my body to realize that I was still attending Mass. The words he said were, “The heart is at the center of our chest. But it leans toward the left. Thus making the heart not always right.”

He explained it together with the Beatitudes. Like how the beatitudes told us that the poor were blessed but in our reality we consider them with pity and think that being rich would be equal to being blessed.

But I was not that interested with his sermon about the connection of the heart and the beatitudes. Upon hearing his words my mind started reeling and contemplating. I was amazed how a simple observation  like that could bear so much truth and could be related to so many things in our lives.

His words made me feel glad because there were mysteries and interesting information for me to know.  The thought made me laugh at myself for not giving importance to such a tiny detail. The words made me remember one of Socrates’ famous lines, “Wisest is she who knows she does not know”. I don’t mean I am the wisest but I am actually humbled and truly, such words strengthened my belief that there’s a higher being.

So now, I leave to you what the priest told us in the mass, “The heart is at the center of our chest. But it leans toward the left. Thus making the heart not always right.” Read it. Interpret it. Even forget about it. But we can never deny it.

quaterhina

Asthma is affecting a lot of people today due to changes in our environment.  It is an ailment in the lungs that can be mild or severe. There are many ways to control and prevent asthma involving parts of a person’s lifestyle.

So, if you search around the net, asthma is described as  [1]“a chronic (long-term) lung disease that inflames and narrows the airways. Asthma causes recurring periods of wheezing (a whistling sound when you breathe), chest tightness, shortness of breath, and coughing.”

The thing that is happening inside someone who’s having an attack is that the airways are getting swollen or inflamed that the space for the air to flow is getting smaller and smaller making it harder for the air to reach the lungs.

Basically it’s like this. Imagine a pump tube for a balloon. Without anything pressing on the pump tube air flows in without difficulty. But when you press the tube or put something heavy on it the air will have a harder time going inside the balloon. This causes the difficulty in breathing for people who have asthma. It feels like someone is squeezing the air passage and is placing two sets of giant dictionaries over the lungs.

First symptoms for me are coughing and runny nose. My father’s family has a history of asthma but mine only surfaced when I was 16. I was told to avoid a lot of food (that usually triggers asthma attacks) and to drink antihistamines with steroids before. However, I rejected the option of using nebulizers. I had the inclination that if I got one I would become dependent over it.

Yet, the sad thing about getting asthma is that it’s for long term. People say that older people who obtains asthma will have to carry it with them for life. Unlike with young children where there are cases that they were able to outgrow them because they still had the time and opportunity to develop and strengthen their lungs.

So what I do is try to avoid food allergens (but I do take a bite from time to time), look at the weather reports (because sudden changes in weather contributes in attacks), buy hypoallergenic and natural stuffs, and always have a stash of antihistamine (now without steroids) in all of my bags.

If you are coughing for more than a week, until night time, and it’s not getting better with any form of cough medication or is recurring I suggest that you visit an EENT or an Allergologist.

[1] What is Asthma? (2008) U.S. Department of Health and Human Services – National Institute of Health

[2] Asthma – Wikipedia

Okay, so now I am seriously having a hard time breathing with my asthma but I am so bored just lying around and I felt pity on this blog for not being alive.
So here goes my goals for this blog and its purpose now.

1. I will use this blog to share all the things I’m doing to control all my inherited maladies. Yeah it sucks if the only thing I could blame is genetics. Couldn’t do anything about it.

2. I am going to write mostly about how I am treating my body challenges (it’s just too gloomy to call them sicknesses or diseases… I’m not terminal) using doctor’s medications and natural methods I’ve tested. Don’t worry I’ll inform you if the things I’m saying were tested by me or just a hearsay / research.

3. Since I am inflicted with asthma, allergic rhinitis, chronic anemia and PCOS I will be focusing on those things to discuss here in the blog.

4. Since I’m a girl and am entitled to my own vanity I might put entries here about wellness.

5. I promise to update my blog at least twice a week. Promise (cross fingers)

Volvo XC60

It was dead. Black, bruised, battered. The instant pain turned to shock as blood tried to escape from its confines. It was dead and excruciatingly painful.

That was how I felt when I accidentally, note it was never my intention, killed my left thumbnail. And yes, I am guilty. It was when my cardigan’s sleeve latched onto the hook of my Aunt’s Volvo when I already pushed the door to close it… and just with a sudden door click and the realization that my thumb was stuck in between heavy metals, and that I killed my nail.

But I had to pay for it dearly. The pain the came next from the onslaught of blood clotting within the confines of my nail was beyond my imagination. It was like another heart beating inside the small space. It felt like digging and breathing. Persistent to let me feel its retribution. It even showed its ugly face of turning my thumb black and blue. As if I painted it with black nail polish.

Its vengeance was even sweeter as I was not armed with the proper knowledge to battle with it. I had the outdated one which was to put it under cold compress. That was supposed to be step two.

After talking with some carpenters who saw my ugly left thumb, they told me that whenever they hammer on their fingernails (and it didn’t bled on its own) they would immediately prick it with a nail or anything sharp to make it bleed. This way the blood rushing would be able to go out and this would ease the dumb, drilling pain I had experience. Add that it wouldn’t turn that darker shade of black I also had.

Plus, I wouldn’t have to experience waiting for the blood to clot inside, wait for it to dry 1 more month and then be obliged to cut it until the roots when it was chipping out. Indeed, revenge is sweeter when served cold and in small biting pieces.

So, as for the people reading this. You have been warned. When you slam something on your finger or toenails and it didn’t bleed on its own prick it with a sterilized sharp object before placing it under cold compress. It would make your life so much easier. But then again at least I have proven the theory that Volvo has great quality. It could even kill a fingernail with just a snap.

Nudity is not an option. The philosophy of side A & side B is also not accepted*. Especially if you’re traveling international.

I must admit that I am a heavy packer and I blame this for being trained to foresee things that might happen and that will not be according to my travel plans.  I’m a follower of the girl scout motto of being “laging handa” (i.e. always ready). Though I’ve never joined the club in my entire school years but at least I’m a true believer of their motto.

Anyway, so trying to pack things that will give the assurance that I have everything, even for most unexpected situations,  and put them inside 2 luggage bags is a mind-boggling feat. This specially applies when you’re going around places with different kinds of weather. Try being in place where there’s always a heat-wave, then go next to a chilly mountainside, then drive to a humid seaside area and then tour around a place where Autumn is beginning… and while being in all those places you try to dress properly and accordingly. Although mixing & matching will solve this problem somehow… but not all the time… especially if you want to be photographed wearing different styles in every photo album you upload in your Facebook / Myspace account.

Another luggage stressor is when you meet with friends and with other people and they tend to give you a lot of stuffs as souvenirs. It doesn’t matter what kind of things but they will give you stuffs and it can make your 2 bags turn into 4 heavy luggage and you’re not even halfway with your itinerary! What you can do here is give away some of your original stuffs as souvenirs also ^_^ That way you create space for the things they will give you. Just be prepared to say ‘bye-bye’ to your things. A tip here, don’t bring things that you know you cannot part with.

In addition, bringing liquids is a problem. You have to settle for stuffs that have non-liquid counterparts (e.g. bar soap) and wrap tightly all the liquid stuffs you cannot avoid bringing. This is because liquids tend to weigh more with their packaging and some evaporates inside their bottles due to the heat inside the airplane’s baggage area. Best advice here, if you’re staying for a long time in a single destination… allocate some of your budget, include the tax rate, to buy liquid-based basic necessities from that place. This will save you the baggage space during your trip but not sacrifice your personal hygiene for the duration of your travel.

Vanity items also pose a serious challenge… majority for girls. How are you suppose to chuck your make-ups, lotions, hair removal treatments & tools, napkins/tampons, panty liners, etc in an organized manner? My mother would usually insert these things around the extra spaces in her luggage bags but that method does not suit me. Since the moment she opens her bag all the small stuffs will be placed on dresser (luckily if there’s one) or inside the bathroom (if there’s a lot of flat space) or just beside her luggage bags (if the first two options are not available). It will just be a total mess of girly things all around the place. However, I’m not saying that my mother’s method does not work. It does when it’s crunch time but I just don’t prefer it.

Preparing your luggage based on your itinerary and your style poses a big problem / stressor all the time. You need to choose the things you will bring and plan ahead to leave enough space in your bags to give leeway to the things you might buy during your travel. Unless you are willing to spend hundreds of dollars in paying for you extra bags. Another tip will be to learn the Bundle Wrapping technique. Just google it and a lot of websites will teach you how to do it and its benefits and as for me it works.

(*For the people who don’t know what side A & side B is… it’s when you wear the one side of your clothes/underwear in a day and will wear the other side of the same clothes/underwear the next day. Unsanitary… obviously. Disgusting… you don’t have to tell me.)

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