Talks on Wellness & Nutrition, part 4

Part 4 -- the last in this series on wellness and nutrition. Wow, I could not believe I was able to compose this series of posts in one week! This is a feat for me as I am used to writing only once a week (twice at most) and posting on a Friday. 

I am proud to say that this is a labor of love for the benefit of my DML Montessori family, as this will also be published in Bambini, the school's official newsletter. As mentioned in part 1, this very informative seminar was organized by our PTA and there will be two more parent seminars in the offing. And as part of my commitment to the group, you can expect future posts about the upcoming talks as well.

This concludes my four-part blog series.
Part 4 - Talk and Slide Presentation by Dr. Nina Sy-Quia Sioson, MD, DFM, MSCN

How Antioxidants Work
  1. Antioxidants work in synergy, not effective when taken singly
  2. Help reduce the progression of disease, they cannot prevent it
  3. Cannot replace a balanced diet
  4. No study justifies benefits of having mega-doses (10x above RDA)
  5. Can cause harm if not taken properly
  6. Being 'natural' or 'herbal' is not synonymous with 'safe'
  7. Controls formation of free radicals
First of all, what are Free Radicals anyway?  I apologize for missing this important explanation by the doctor as I was taking too much photos at that time, and so, I took the liberty of researching about it, here is an interesting site that explained it in simple terms, and to quote from another site:
"Free radicals are atoms or groups of atoms with an odd (unpaired) number of electrons and can be formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed, these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes. Their chief danger comes from the damage they can do when they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage, the body has a defense system of antioxidants."

Therefore, the formation of free radicals "can cause cellular damage" which may lead to infections and heart disease. Here you can find what causes the formation of free radicals, such as exposure to certain chemicals, pollution and radiation, and cigarette smoke.

Most commonly known Antioxidants:
* Vitamin A, and Carotenoids - carrots, squash, broccoli, tomatoes, bright-colored fruits & veggies
* Vitamin C - citrus fruits, green leafy veggies, strawberries
* Vitamin E - nuts and seeds, whole grains, liver oil
* Selenium - fish & shellfish, eggs, garlic
Glutathaione and Superoxide dismutase (SOD) are also considered antioxidants.

Tips to Healthy Eating

The doctor gave very useful and simple tips that we can all apply on our day to day meal planning, cooking techniques and eating habits.
  • 3B's:  Boil, Broil, Bake - one of the best ways to cook is in a turbo broiler, as the fats drip out
  • Limit frying
  • HMV - Healthy choices, Moderation, Variety
  • Breakfast, Lunch and Dinner (imagine this in an inverted pyramid) - as the saying goes, "Eat breakfast like a king; lunch like a prince; and dinner like a pauper."
  • Season in the kitchen, not on the dining table - this will help control your salts
  • Use your hand - a way to control portion of your food
While Dr. Sioson explained the portions using our hands (as I illustrated in part 3), with a fist size equivalent to one (1) serving of fruit, everybody in the audience were already comparing how much, or how little, they should be eating based on their hand size, so it was such a fun revelation for all of us!

Here are more portioning guides:
1. Fist Size = estimate for 1 cup veggies; 1 serving of fruit (medium apple, orange, 1/2 cheek of mango)
2. Deck of Cards = estimate for 3 ounces
3. Matchbox Size = estimate for 1 ounce
(guide 2 & 3 is for servings of meat or fish cuts, cheese, tofu, beans/legumes)
4. Special Drinks (servings) per Day - 1 serving for women; 1 - 2 servings for men
  • Red Wine = 5 oz. / serving
  • Hard drinks = 1 shot / serving
  • Beer = 12 oz. / serving

Cardiovascular Exercise

Aside from having a healthy diet, we are all encouraged to do some forms of exercise.  For busy parents like myself, it is a luxury to be able to enroll and hit the gym, or indulge in a sport.  And so the simplest, most convenient way, especially for women, is 'malling'!  Going to mall (read: malling = walking) is considered a work-out already so let this serve as an encouragement for everyone that getting a bit of exercise is something you don't have to do in a gym.

For people who plan to begin an exercise regimen from a sedentary lifestyle, myself included, the doctor advised a gradual build-up starting with 30 minutes a day.  You can also break your work-out in different times of the day:  A quick 15 minute leisurely walk, at the mall or elsewhere, is a good start, and increase weekly up to 1 hour. This means window shopping only --  no stopping in stores, then increase your speed.  However, if you cannot commit to an exercise routine, then don't start it.

Did you know...?

... soda (soft drinks) are high in phosphates and depletes calcium stores in the body

... taking Vitamin E + Gingko Biloba + Aspirin = Blood thinner, which can cause bleeding

... Kava-kava is an anti-anxiety herb, but has a negative effect on the liver

... hypertensives should lower salts and fats intake

... seasonings and ketchup are high in sodium

DML sisters and parents checking out food supplements, sponsored by ABW and CranUTI, free samples were given out as we ended the talks

I know I missed quite a lot of important health tidbits during the course of the seminar and so I hope I that even with just these highlights (spread in 4 parts!), this series was able to enlighten you. Many thanks to our esteemed resource speakers and hardworking organizers from DML.

If you have anything you wish to share or clarify, or even correct any of the info presented here, please leave me a feedback as I will greatly appreciate them.  'Til the next seminar!

Go back to Part I here.
Nutrition in Life Cycles (part 2)
Healthy Lifestyle & Nutrition (part 3)