60-Second News: Why Leafy Greens Are Your Friend

Abbott studies show two nutrients found in kale and spinach help keep your mind sharp.

Kale is the star of the leafy green vegetables. It’s said to help digestion, lower cholesterol, and boost iron levels.

But if you’re still unsure about trying the “superfood,” these two Abbott studies might just make you a believer.

Brain gain
One study showed the nutrient lutein (loo-teen) — found in leafy greens like kale and spinach, as well as egg yolks, broccoli, and avocado — is linked to brain health and intelligence in older adults. Click here to read more.

The other study showed that lutein and quercetin (kwur-si-tin) — found in kale, apples, and many other fruits, veggies, and grains — improved brain function in mice when combined with other nutrients. Read the study’s abstract here.

We use a blend of lutein, DHA, and Vitamin E in our infant formula Similac OptiGRO. The nutrients are common in breast milk, and help support the development of a baby’s brain, eyes, and immune system.

Baby steps
What does this mean for you?

Making small changes to what you eat, like adding more leafy greens to your meals and snacking on fruit, could help keep your memory, decision-making, and problem-solving skills sharp as you age.

Click here for a short video on how lutein gives your brain a boost.


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The Diabetic’s Guide To Dessert





Dessert isn’t out of the question if you have diabetes. Learn how to keep your sweet tooth happy with these tips.

Diabetes is not – as mistakenly perceived – caused by eating too much sugary food, but is a condition where the body can no longer ‘unlock’ the energy from carbohydrates (including sugar), causing dangerous spikes and dips in blood sugar.

This means that when it comes to choosing what to eat, diabetics need to control not only their intake of sugar but carbohydrates in general. Carbohydrates refer to sugars, complex carbohydrates and fibre – all of which can be found in foods such as rice, bread, noodles, fruit and sweet foods.  All these, not just sugar, count towards a diabetic’s carbohydrate quota for the day.

Carbohydrates have the greatest impact on blood sugar levels causing it to rise

In process and packaged foods, carbohydrates may be labelled as starch, sugar, honey, alcohol, polydextrose or maltodextrin. Even foods that are labelled “sugar free” or “diabetic friendly” may still contain a substantial amount of other types of carbohydrates and have a significant impact on  blood sugar. Thus , it is important to read the nutrition information panel and/or the ingredient list to make wiser choices.


Balancing Act

If you are diabetic, identifying and knowing just how much carbohydrates you are eating is important because it means you can better maintain a good carbohydrate balance – and even enjoy the occasional dessert. A “diabetic-friendly” dessert, should be one that is relatively low in carbohydrates and calories. Ideally, it should also be high in fibre. This includes frozen low-fat yogurt with nuts, fresh fruit or even homemade low-sugar cookies. This means you don’t have to give up dessert altogether, but carefully tweak your diet so you can still enjoy a sweet finale.


Opt for brown instead of white rice, boodles or pasta and eat a little less than your usual serving

– This means you can still “afford” to have a small slice of cake after your meal without going beyond your ‘carb quota’.

Celebrating a special occasion with care or ice cream ? Halve your portion or share it with a friend.

Cut back on sugar by using low-calorie sweeteners – though keep in mind that , depending on the sweetener, these also contain some carbohydrates.

You can also curb  sugar cravings by complying with your diabetes medication, eating regular balanced meats and getting regular exercise. Poor diabetes control caused saliva to turn sweet, dulling the ability to taste sweet foods and increasing sugar cravings. — Remember that sugar is not forbidden, but, rather focus on quantity, quality and frequency.



Sugar Alcohol – sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol, glycerol, lactitol, erythritol, isomalt

Artificial Sweeteners – aspartame, sucralose, saccharin and acesulfame potassium

These can be used to sweeten drinks or in cooking. However, keep in mind that these do not help reduce sugar craving and should be consumed in limited amounts.”



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Diabetes causes more deaths a year than breast cancer and AIDS combined , and if left undetected,, untreated or poorly managed, it may lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure , blindness and amputations (Every day, on average, 20 diabetic patients underwent an amputation in the state.).

Diabetes and Obesity are main causes of end stage kidney failure. How do you protect your kidneys while being burdened by these 2 diseases ? Empowered yourself to protect you and your family Today !

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Essential Tips To Lose Weight Healthily


Losing too much weight too quickly is not a good thing. Healthy weight loss should not exceed 0.5kg to 1 kg per week.

by Joyce Teo


The promise of quick weight loss is always attractive but the effect does not last.
Besides, losing too much weight too quickly is bad for our health.
Dr Liu Han Ping, an aesthetic doctor at Thomson Well Women Clinic, said: “For most people, the initial weight-loss target should be a 10 per cent reduction from the baseline body weight over a period of about four to six months.”
Healthy weight loss should not exceed 0.5kg to 1kg a week, he said.

“The best diet is one that is low-fat, high in complex carbohydrates and high in fibre.”
Dr Liu added: “This also includes avoiding food with a large amount of calories, such as oily food, sweetened drinks and alcohol.”
Furthermore, it is important to have an appropriate exercise plan to preserve lean body mass and increase daily energy expenditure.
This involves gradually increasing a simple aerobic regimen from 20 minutes, three times weekly, to 30 minutes, five times weekly and, finally, to 45 minutes, five times weekly, said Dr Liu.
Here are a few tips from him.



Ideal planning of meals means that you should not feel hungry most of the time.
Some ways to achieve this include snacking on low-calorie drinks, consuming fruit and raw vegetables, such as carrot sticks.
A good way to reduce our staple food intake of rice and noodles is to switch to brown rice or eat more servings of vegetables and fruit during meals.
This helps to slow down digestion and absorption, which allows you to remain full for a longer period of time.



Hydration is important in optimising the body’s metabolic rate and, hence, its energy expenditure.
The average recommended daily water intake is eight to 10 glasses of 250ml each.
But listen to your body too. If you feel thirsty because of hot weather or after an exercise session, for instance, drink more water.



Alcoholic drinks are high in calories. Biochemically, the drinks also suppress fatty acid oxidation, the process by which fatty acids are broken down by various tissues to produce energy.



In today’s fast-paced world, the most common method that people use to lose weight is to skip breakfast. However, breakfast is the most important meal of the day.
When we do not eat breakfast, our body goes into starvation mode and tries to protect itself by conserving energy.
As a result, the body’s metabolism is not at an optimal rate. We will tend to snack before lunch or overeat during the next meal. Our moods will get affected.
All three meals of the day should not be missed.
We must listen to our body and eat a healthy meal when hunger strikes.
A successful weight-loss programme should minimise hunger and fatigue.

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Bake A Loaf Of Bread Using Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil

The best olive oils are extracted by col-pressing excellent quality olives.
With no heat involved, cold-pressing helps to retain the flavour,aroma and nutritional value of the olive oils.

This is exactly how Sumich yields its olive oil using the finest olives from Australia’s premier growing regions.

Exclusive to Fairprice, Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil is rich in antioxidants and free of cholesterol, trans fats and preservatives.

Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil

Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil

That is why Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil is the perfect choice for health-conscious individuals.Plus, you get purity of flavour and all the goodness that olive oil has to offer.

Best of all is olive’s versatility  –  It is not only good in salad dressings, dips or for cooking, it also lends itself well to baking and desserts too.
Take this wonderfully moist, wholesome and easy-to-make pumpkin olive oil loaf.
Make it the night before and serve it up in the morning for a healthy, delicious breakfast.
It also makes for a great afternoon snack with a nice cup of your favourite brew.



Serves 4 to 6
Preparation time : 30 minutes
Baking time : 1 hour 15 minutes

Ingredients :   Pumplin Olive Oil Bread With Yogurt And Fruit
1 Cup sugar
1/2 cup Sumich Extra Virgin Olive Oil or Olive Oil
2 eggs
1 cup canned pumpkin puree
1 cup grated green apple
3/4 cup plain flour
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp baking powder

To Serve :
Soft fruit of your choice (like oranges, peaches, plums), sliced or diced.

1) Preheat oven to 180ºC. Grease a loaf tin with olive oil.
2) In a bowl, whisk oil and sugar until blended, then add the eggs and pumpkin puree. Whisk till combined.
3) Lay out two paper towels, one on top of the other, and lay the grated apple over the towels.Roll up the paper towel into a log and squeeze gently to remove excess juice from the apple.
4) Add the grated apple to the pumpkin mixture and stir to combine.
5) In another bowl, whisk together the flours, spices, baking powder and baking soda.
6) Add the pumpkin mixture to the flour mixture and stir till combined. Allow the batter to rest for 15 minutes.
7) Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake till the loaf is very dark and a skewer inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean, about 1 hour and 15 minutes.
8) Transfer to a cooling rack and cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out the loaf onto the rack to cool completely.
9) To serve, slice the loaf and top the slices with some yogurt and fruit.Serve immediately.

~ Annette Tan



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Beefy Noodles

Photo : Health Promotion Board

Photo : Health Promotion Board

Mind your Body- 16th October 2014


Don’t you love slurping up a plate of moist braised beef noodles at your favourite hawker haunt?

For all its tantalising flavours, the dish is not always the healthiest – One serving of dry beef noodles can pack more than 1,700 mg of sodium !  This is close to the daily recommended limit of 2,000 mg.

For those who want to replicate the dish at home we suggest that you should try making it without any added salt.

Instead, as demonstrated in this recipe by Mr Yong Bing Ngenm owner-chef of Majestic Bay Seafood Restaurant, rely on small amounts of light soya sauce and oyster sauce to accentuate the natural flavours of the beef slices and fresh greens. By doing so, you can reduce the sodium level of the dish to just 440 mg per serving.

In this recipe, Mr Yong uses brown rice spaghetti, giving the dish an added fibre boost. Not only does eating high-fibre food help to control one’s blood sugar, it also makes you feel full quicker. That way, you can cut down on second servings.

Plenty of vegetables are included as well,but do take care not to overcook them. Stir-fry lightly to retain their flavours and crunch. Overly wilted veggies will taste bland and much of their nutrients would have been stripped away by the heat.

And if you find that the spaghetti strands break too easily, Mr Yong has this tips : ” Cook the spaghetti in boiling water until it starts to soften. Spread them on a tray and cover them with a cloth for five minutes.”

Nutitional Information (per serving)
Energy : 379 kcal
Protein : 14 g
Total Fat : 5.7 g
Saturated fat : 1.3 g
Cholestrol : 19 mg
Carbohydrate : 64.4 g
Dietary fibre : 4.4 g
Sodium : 440 mg


Braised Brown Rice Spaghetti with Sliced Beef Receipe (Serves four).



  • 300g brown rice spaghetti
  • 150g beef, thinly sliced
  • 100g cabbage, shredded
  • 50g spring onions, chopped
  • 2 pieces of shallots, chopped
  • 30g Chinese parsley
  • 2 tsp sunflower oil
  • 1 tbsp light soya sauce
  • 2 tbsp oyster sauce


  • Blanch the spaghetti in boiling water, according to the packet instructions, until it softens. Rinse it in cold water for 3 minutes.
  • Heat a wok. Add the oil, followed by the shallots and beef slices. Saute the ingredients briefly.
  • Add the spaghetti and stir-fry for a few minutes, making sure to mix the ingredients well.
  • Working quickly, add the cabbage, spring onions and sauces into the wok. Stir-fry until the vegetables soften, but are still crunchy.
  • Garnish with Chinese parsley before serving.


** TIPS : Leaner cuts of meat- for example, skinless chicken breast, lean pork and beef – are flavourful yet lower in fat. Remove any visible fat and skin before cooking.


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Tom Yam Fish Parcel (Fish parcels with a Thai flair)

This paper-wrapped tom yam fish releases delicious smells when opened and is sure to be a hit at dinner parties.

This paper-wrapped tom yam fish releases delicious smells when opened and is sure to be a hit at dinner parties.

by Sylvia Tan
Mind your Body- 9th October 2014


We all know paper-wrapped chicken – it is an old-fashioned dish that has been around for decades.

It involves wrapping marinated chicken pieces in paper and then deep-frying the parcel.

The result is chicken that is remarkably tasty and surprisingly, not very oily, despite the deep-frying.

This is because the paper protects the chicken from the hot oil it is cooked in (although some does get in, I admit) and the marinade is kept within the parcel, basting the meat as it cooks.

Then I decided I have had enough of the oily mess associated with deep-frying: so I baked the chicken parcels in the oven instead.

It was a hit, especially at dinner parties. There is something special about unwrapping a parcel of food, releasing its delicious smells as you do it.

I decided to go one step further: I made paper-wrapped fish instead, flavoured with tom yam herbs.

It was even better – The nutrient-rich fish was protected by the wrapping, so it was not overcooked. Instead, steam built up in the packet to cook it quickly yet gently.

Any mess was contained within the parcel – just junk the wrapping after eating – and best of all, the fish was infused with all the flavours of the aromatic ingredients it had been wrapped together with.  It would be the case whether you place chicken or fish, or anything else, in the parcel.

This tom yam fish parcel is no bland offering.
It has all the benefits of paper-wrapped foods, plus a pleasing punch from the spices.

We ate it one night with stir-fried green vegetables with a few slices of Chinese sausage, in line with the Thai theme.

Yet,despite the advantages of the cooking method,why do we not resort to paper-wrapped foods more frequently?

For us, wrapped foods are limited perhaps to barbecued fish wrapped in banana leaves, rice dumplings once a year , or nonya and Malay kueh.

If you are persuaded to make it a habit, here are  a few tips to remember :-

  • limit yourself to food that cook quickly, such as chicken breast, fish, shellfish or even vegetables  – I will never forget the parcel of mushrooms and potatoes that I ate in a restaurant in Tuscany, Italy, years ago, thanks to the truffle oil drizzled over the contents.        When I opened the parcel, the most aromatic smells wafted out, and the flavours were infused in the mushrooms and potatoes inside as well.
  • Remember to cut the ingredients into roughly equal sizes to ensure they all cook at the same time.   In this case, I made sure that the galangal, lemongrass and onions surrounding the fish, for examples, were all thinly sliced.
  • Do add moisture if the main ingredient is dense and lacks liquid.  – That could come from the seasoning, in this case, a splash of fish sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice, or even a tomato. –     This fish, in any case, oozes its own delicious juices, but I did add some sliced chilli and , yes, a kaffir lime leaf too, for even more aroma.


  • 4 snapper fillets, about 150g each and picked clean of bones
  • 4-5 tsps fish sauce
  • A pinch of salt
  • 4 slices of galangal
  • 1 stalk of lemon grass, sliced
  • 1 red onion, peeled and sliced
  • 2 red chillies, sliced
  • 4 kaffir lime leaves
  • 1 lemon, cut into quarters
  • 4 pieces of greaseproof paper, each 30cm by 30cm



  • Heat the oven to 180 deg C.
  • Rub your finger over the fish fillets to make sure that it is boneless. Otherwise, use tweezers to remove the fine bones.
  • Rub the fish sauce and a bit of salt over the fillets. Leave aside, covered, in the fridge, while you prepare the other ingredients.
  • Slice the aromatics: Galangal, lemon grass, onion and chilli.
  • Spread a sheet of greaseproof paper on a tray. Place a piece of the fish in the middle of the sheet, then top with a portion of the sliced ingredients.
  • Squeeze juice from a lemon quarter over the mixture. Add a kaffir lime leaf.
  • Wrap, bringing up the corners of the paper together. Fold over the edges twice and staple it into place. Repeat with the other pieces of fish.
  • Place the parcels on a tray in the hot oven and cook for about 10 minutes, depending on the thickness of the fish.
  • The parcel will be puffy and slightly browned when it is nearly done.
  • Serve at once, allowing the guests to unwrap the parcel at the table.

Sylvia Tan is a freelance writer and cookbook author. Her previous recipes for Eat To Live can be found in two cookbooks, Eat To Live and Taste.

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Goya Chanpuru – Bittergourd stir-fry with tofu, pork and egg



By Hedy Khoo
The Straits Times, 4 October 2014.


Going on a holiday is a great way to discover new dishes and flavours.

You may develop a taste for the bitter if you try this Okinawan dish of goya champuru – a stir-fry of bittergourd and pork – that I discovered on a recent trip to Japan.

Goya is bittergourd and in Okinawa, the southernmost prefecture in Japan, they seem to prefer using the mini version. It is also available here.

This dish is a staple of the Okinawan diet and regarded as a healthy way to longevity.

During a recent visit there, I met nutritionist and chef Emiko Kinio who runs a quaint rustic eatery, Emi no Mise, in Ogimi Village. The village is famed for its high number of centenarians.   I liked the dish so much, I tried cooking it when I got home. The ingredients are easily available here and the recipe is straightforward.

If you want to change to a healthier diet, this dish is a good place to start.
Chef Emiko says that goya is chockful of Vitamin C.

Goya juice makes a refreshing thirst-quencher, especially with the weather there being as hot as ours.

Goya chanpuru is quite similar to one of my favourite home-cooked dishes – bittergourd fried with egg.

This version is dressier, with the addition of pressed tofu and bonito flakes for extra flavour.

Just do not use silken tofu or you will end up with mush.
Start off with large chunky pieces of tofu because these will inevitably get broken up during the stir-frying process.



– 3 mini bittergourds
– 1 block (425g) of pressed tofu
– 200g pork collar, sliced
– 100g bean sprouts
– 1 small carrot, sliced
– 2 eggs, beaten
– 2 tsp light soya sauce
– White pepper
– 1 tsp sesame oil
– ½ tsp salt
– Handful of bonito flakes
– Oil for cooking



1. Halve each bittergourd lengthwise and use a spoon to scrape away the seeds. Slice.
2. Heat 2 tbsp of oil in a pan.
3. Break the tofu into large pieces by hand and place in pan. Fry until the pieces brown.(A)
4. Add the pork. Fry until the meat is almost opaque. (B)
5. Add the sliced bittergourd, carrot, bean sprouts and season with light soya sauce, salt and pepper.
6. Pour in the beaten eggs.
7. Add the sesame oil.
8. Add the bonito flakes.(C)
9. Fry until the egg is cooked through.

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Quick-fix Sicilian classic

Pasta with fennel and sardine (serves four)

Thursday, May 01, 2014
Mind Your Body, The Straits Times.

So you are stuck at home and hungry.

Before you reach for the phone to order fast food, Mr Roberto Galetti, the executive chef of Italian restaurant Garibaldi, would advise you to check your cabinets for a pack of pasta and a tin of sardines.

The only other ingredient that may warrant a trip to the supermarket is the fennel, an aromatic and crunchy vegetable with a white, heavy-bottomed stem base – this is the “bulb” part that is used in this recipe.

Fennel is packed with antioxidants, vitamin C and fibre. It also contains a phytonutrient called anethole, which has been shown in studies to have anti-inflammatory effects in the body.

Sardines, on the other hand, offer their own set of health benefits. Besides having a high concentration of vitamin B12, which promotes heart health, the fish also boasts essential minerals such as selenium and phosphorus. And yes, these nutrients are retained even in canned sardines.

Italy-born Mr Galetti did not add a single pinch of salt to flavour the dish. A bit of salt was added only to the water to boil the pasta, but this was later poured away.

Instead, the flavours came from the herbs and fresh condiments used. Plus, the tomato sauce in the tin would already contain some salt.

“Sardines and pasta is a very common combination in Sicily, where I come from,” said Mr Galetti. “As a child, I would eat this every day.”


1. Heat the oil until it gets hot before stir-frying. Not only will this shorten the cooking time, it also reduces the amount of oil absorbed by the ingredients.

2. Use fresh herbs and spices instead of salt to add interesting and varied flavours to dishes. The daily recommended sodium intake is not more than one teaspoon of salt.


Pasta with fennel and sardine
(Serves four)


260g angel hair pasta (dry)
120g fresh fennel bulb, diced into small pieces
5g fresh dill, chopped
40g sardines in tomato sauce
30g shallots
2 tsp olive oil
1 litre of water (for boiling pasta)
1/2 tsp salt (for boiling pasta)


1. In a pan, cook the diced fennel in olive oil.

2. Add the dill and shallots, followed by the sardines in tomato sauce.

3. Cook this sardine mixture over low heat. Add water if necessary. Set aside.

4. Cook the pasta in salted boiling water until al dente. Remove and strain.

5. Toss the pasta in the sauce and serve warm.

(Per serving)

Energy: 286 kilocalories
Protein: 10.2g
Total fat: 4.2g
Saturated fat: 0.6g
Cholesterol: 3mg
Carbohydrate: 51.1g
Dietary fibre: 1.4g
Sodium: 169mg

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Bitter Gourd Curry


Bitter Gourd Curry (diabetes friendly recipe)

Introduction :

bitter gourd curry

bitter gourd curry

Bitter gourd , also known as bitter melon, is a popular vegetable in Asia. It provides essential micronutrients and dietary fiber required for good health.
Bitter gourd has been used in traditional medicine for managing diabetes and other diseases. In the past decade, scientific evidence increasingly has shown that bitter gourd can contribute to lowering high blood sugar and high blood pressure.
It helps you to maintain a healthy weight too !

Servings: 2-4

2-3 medium-sized bitter gourd, deseeded and cut into thin slices (dark green variety)
1 onion , finely chopped
2 tomatoes, chopped
1 tsp ginger-garlic paste
1 tsp cumin seed
1/4 tsp red chilli powder
1/4 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp coriander powder
1/4 tsp dried mango powder
Salt to taste
2 tbsp cooking oil
1 pinch sugar
Optional : 2-3 green chillies, finely chopped
1/4 tsp garam masala (mixed Indian spices)

1. Heat oil in a pan.
2. Add cumin seed and once it begins to sizzle, add onions and green chillies. Fry onions until tender and brown.
3. Add tomatoes, ginger-garlic paste and dried mango powder.
4. Add red chilli powder, turmeric powder, coriander powder and salt. Saute to blend in the spices and continue cooking until the oil separates.
5. Add salt and sliced bitter gourd, cover and cook for 7-8 minutes or until the bitter gourd is cooked.
6. Sprinkle garam masala on top and serve hot with basmati rice.

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