YOUR QUARTERLY HEALTH &WELLNESS JOURNAL
YOU R Q UA RT ER LY H EA LT H &WEL L N ES S J OU RN A L
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a fitter, happier, health YOU! ier
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YOUR QUARTERLY HEA LTH&WELLNESS JOURNAL
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2O14! a fitte
r happier, , healthier YOU!
JurongHealthA happy workplace where every staff matters.
ALLIED HEALTH • • • •
Senior Medical Technologist • Senior Radiographer Senior Occupational Therapist • Senior / Respiratory Therapist Senior Pharmacist • Vascular Technologist Senior Physiotherapist
ADMINISTRATIVE & ANCILLARY • Senior Manager / Manager / Assistant Manager (A) Clinical Operations (B) Operations (Community) (C) Operations (Support Services) i. Environment Services ii. Procurement
• Senior / Accountant • Financial Analyst • Senior / Executive (A) Communications & Service Quality i. Communications ii. Service Quality (B) Innovation & Improvement (C) Medical Affairs
(D) Pharmacy (E) Procurement (F) Referral Evaluation & Management(JCH) Analyst (Medical Informatics) Associate Executive (Procurement)
• • • Logistic Associate • Patient Care Assistant (AH / JCH) • Patient Information Associate (Call Centre)
• Patient Service Associate
• • • • • • •
Senior Nurse Manager Nurse Clinician Nurse Educator Assistant Nurse Clinician Clinical Instructor (Senior / Staff Nurse) Senior / Staff Nurse (AH / JCH / JMC) Principal / Senior / Enrolled Nurse (AH / JCH / JMC)
• Degree • Diploma • National ITE Certificate
• Degree (Local) • Diploma
Happy New Year! We hope the festive season has been a meaningful one for you and your family. At JurongHealth, we welcome the start of 2014 with excitement for several reasons. For one, it brings us closer to the launch of Ng Teng Fong General Hospital at the end of the year. For another, it refreshes our own commitment – and our own New Year’s Resolution – to bring health to every home. Aptly, this issue focuses on some of the changes you can make this year for a healthier you. We believe better health is within the reach of everyone – all it takes is the willingness to change and the knowledge to go about it.
Whatever your state of health, we hope you are inspired to take this New Year to bring about a new you! The New Year; New You special (page 15 to 35) looks at all the achievable steps, small changes and healthier habits that can bring about a transformation in how you feel. In our cover story, be inspired by the determination of some everyday Singaporeans and learn some powerful tips to stick to your own health resolutions for the year. Learn how to workout wherever you are, and be motivated to keep to your healthy regime by understanding the benefits of losing just that little weight. For smokers, read how to make 2014 the year to quit the habit. Don’t forget the importance of dental hygiene either; make flossing a regular part of your daily routine and lower the risk of dental cavities and more. In our regular features, read about the way Jurong Community Hospital will deliver holistic transitional care in HealthBUZZ. Turn to WeCARE to discover the alter egos of three Nursing Merit Award winners and take a behind-the-scenes look at what goes on in the JurongHealth laboratory in HealthSense. For more, flip to FOODforLIFE for tips on portion control, a story on the benefits of eating a rainbow of fruit and vegetables daily and a delicious crepe recipe that you can make for breakfast, brunch or tea. Lastly, HealthBites shares some of the ways you can refresh and revive your body, heart and mind every day.
–The editorial team
(A) Emergency Medicine (B) Specialist Outpatient Clinics (C) Wards (AH / JCH)
• Senior / Administrative Assistant (AH / JCH)
JurongHealth is Singapore's public healthcare cluster for the West. JurongHealth is building the new integrated healthcare hub comprising the 700-bed Ng Teng Fong General Hospital and 400-bed Jurong Community Hospital (JCH) to provide holistic care for patients from 2014. JurongHealth is currently managing Alexandra Hospital (AH) and Jurong Medical Centre (JMC) with a comprehensive range of clinical services for the community.
Apply now at www.juronghealth.com.sg/careers Or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
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Winner of: • Leading CEO Award • Leading HR Leader Award • Leading HR Practices in Employee Relations & People Management (Special Mention) Award • Leading HR Practices in Quality Work-Life, Physical & Mental Well-Being (Special Mention) Award
“ The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step.” – Lao Tzu
2014 • ISSUE 3
P UB L IS H ER JURONG HEALTH SERVICES PTE LTD ED ITOR-IN -C H IEF CASEY CHANG D EP UTY ED ITOR AARON LOH CON TRIB UTIN G EX P ERTS DR CHUA CHI SIONG DR GAMALIEL TAN DR LENNARD THEAN DR LESLIE LAM DR MICHAEL YONG DR TEY BENG HEA DR WONG LI BENG CHIONG JIN YENG CHOO YEE MUN ELISA MAK ERLINDA LIM GRACE LAI MARK ANTHONY CHAN MARTINA JOYCE LAU MASWATI AMAT WONG HUIMIN P UB L IS H IN G CON S ULTAN T THINKFARM PTE LTD M AN AGIN G D IREC TOR CHRISTOPHER TAY ED ITORIAL & D ES IGN SHERALYN TAY SHARON HO WANTENG TAN DEWON SWEE WRITIN G & P H OTOGRAP H Y ADAM KOH CARYN YEO CHUA HWEE LENG LINA LEWIS LOUISA FOO JUSTIN LOH CLI EN T REL ATION S H IP M AN AGER JESSIE KEK
–––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– The information in this publication is not meant to take the place of healthcare or services you may need. Please see your doctor or primary healthcare provider about any personal health concerns. All information is correct at time of print. ONEHEALTH IS PUBLISHED QUARTERLY BY JURONG HEALTH SERVICES PTE LTD. COPYRIGHT IS HELD BY THE PUBLISHER. REPRODUCTION IN PART OR WHOLE WITHOUT PERSMISSION IS PROHIBITED. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MICA (P) 112/06/2013 PRINTED BY KHL PRINTING CO PTE LTD. –––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––––– For general enquiries, email
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HealthBUZZ 04 CONTINUING CARE
Jurong Community Hospital will enable and deliver holistic transitional care that will improve how patients rehabilitate and re-integrate into the community
JURONG MEMORY PROJECT
r u o y e t u b i r t Comn emories an‘odld’ f o s e o t n e m e mJ u r o n g f o r t h e g s n o F g n e T g N ral Hospital’ Genmeemory wall
HealthSense 08 ASK THE EXPERTS
18 THE POWER OF
22 EVERYDAY FITNESS
Health questions answered
INSIDE LABORATORY MEDICINE
Take a look at what goes on inside JurongHealth’s medical laboratory
WeCARE 12 THE UNSTOPPABLES
JurongHealth’s award-winning nurses reveal more about themselves beyond the uniform
Arm yourself with a POWER-ful way to keep your health goals Exercise anywhere; at home, at work and even on-the-go!
26 ONLY 1O%
Lose a little weight for a whole lot of good
FOODforLIFE! 36 HEALTHY
Divide your plate and lose the weight
EAT A RAINBOW
Add a spectrum of colourful fruit and veggies to your diet
FILL UP WITH FRUIT Make a fresh fruity crepe full of vitamins and fibre
HealthBites 41 NEW YOU, EVERY DAY! Refresh your body, spirit and mind daily
29 SAFE ZONE
Simple ways to adapt your home to prevent dangerous falls
32 FLOSS YOUR WAY
TO BETTER HEALTH
Daily flossing can prevent cavities and even protect your heart
34 BUTT OUT FOR GOOD If you smoke, we show you how to kick the habit
JurongHealth is a public healthcare cluster formed to integrate healthcare services and community care for the west.
Managing Alexandra Hospital since August 2010, JurongHealth is growing in capacity and skills in preparation for the big move to the Ng Teng Fong General Hospital in December 2014 and Jurong Community Hospital in 2015.
JCH Medical Director Dr Chua (right) takes time to build rapport with patients to understand their needs and concerns
Jurong Community Hospital will deliver more appropriate levels of care for patients as their needs change
Mdm Ho Ah Mui was cooking soup when she turned to get more water for the pot – and fell, fracturing her rib. The incident earlier this year led to a long stay at JurongHealth’s Alexandra Hospital of almost three months, part of it under the care of the Transitional Care department. Recalling her stay, 70-something Mdm Ho said, “The doctors and nurses were all very nice, very experienced and I had very good care.” She is also grateful that their care went beyond her stay in the hospital. “After I was discharged home, the therapist visited me and accompanied me on my walking route to church,” Mdm Ho shared, “She helped to look out for any danger spots and also teach me how to cross the road safely.” Her doctors and Medical Social Workers also referred her to the Apex Day Rehabilitation Centre for the Elderly. “I’m here five days a week and it’s good because I have somewhere to go where people can take care of me,” said the expressive elderly lady adding with a chuckle, “Here, I also have no excuse to be lazy and have to do my exercises for my osteoporosis.” Mdm Ho’s experience with JurongHealth’s transitional medicine team illustrates the concept of step-down care that will be fully realised when the Jurong Community Hospital (JCH) opens in 2015. And even before 2015, JCH will start operating in three wards within Ng Teng Fong General Hospital (NTFGH) when the latter opens in December 2014.
It will deliver transitional care – care that is adapted to meet changing patient needs as they recover from an acute medical event. This not only complements the services offered at NTFGH, but completes the spectrum of care for patients (read box story on page 6).
1. Mdm Ho (centre) benefited from the holistic care given by the Transitional Care department 2. The transitional care approach ropes in a spectrum of healthcare professionals to help improve function and quality of life for patients 3. Mdm Ho (holding flowers) showed her gratitude to the team during the first anniversary of the Transitional Care department this year
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Transitional, holistic, total care According to Dr Chua Chi Siong, Medical Director, JCH, the move towards this model of care is driven by demographic shifts and changing disease patterns. “Transitional care is increasingly important because people are living longer but are also suffering from chronic diseases that require more long-term care. There is a need to provide healthcare services that go beyond acute care.” This is where a community hospital like JCH plays an essential role to “right site” patients. “As patient care needs change from acute care to one where function, rehabilitation, social and emotional wellness becomes more important, it is the role of the doctors at JCH to harness and deploy the skills of a multi-disciplinary team to develop and effect a customised care plan so a patient can regain their quality of life.” JCH’s multi-disciplinary team operates and handles issues beyond medical care, Dr Chua elaborated, “Someone with a hip fracture may also need help with learning to walk again, prevent future falls as well as getting a caregiver,” he said by way of example, “So the medical treatment and care plan are customised to address specific needs and challenges.” And importantly, instead of having patients travel back to NTFGH for care, “we move the doctors to them instead”, said Dr Chua.
Live life, live well! A road safety and mobility park will provide a safe setting for convalescing elderly to learn about safe road habits, develop more confidence and independence in going out, especially after a fall or accident. The park can also serve the community in areas of road safety.
Looping strolling paths
Textured walkways with
A public garden with
Mock MRT trains & other public transport vehicles
offers space to walk; the enclosed ‘wandering path’ is also a safe space for people with dementia and their family/ caregivers to spend time together aromatic plants, shelters and seats welcomes the public
different surfaces (bathroom tiles, gravel, etc) simulate different environments to help prevent potential and future falls
for less mobile elderly to develop confident use
A focus on rehabilitation Some areas of focus at JCH will include chronic wound management, treating infections related to longterm intravenous antibiotic use, convalescent care, palliative care and psychogeriatrics, Dr Chua said. The latter two in particular, will become more important as end-of-life care and dementia management take greater prominence. The goal, Dr Chua said, is to help each patient resume as much function as possible (i.e., conduct activities of daily living such as self-care, mobility, hygiene, etc.). Some areas that bring about great benefit to patients, noted Dr Chua, are hip fracture rehabilitation, post-stroke therapy and helping those who have been bed-bound for a long time to regain their physical strength and mobility. Another component in JCH’s approach is to work with, educate and empower caregivers so they are able to cope with and manage specific needs. “Caregiver support is a crucial part of care. Apart from offering training to help them cope, caregivers are included as an integral part of the care team,” he said.
What is transitional care? Transitional care ensures the coordination and continuity of care for patients as their condition and needs change during the course of an illness. Transitional care goes beyond treatment of a specific illness or injury to look at other factors. This includes social, emotional, financial and functional aspects to help patients return to a quality of life that is as close to ‘normal’ as possible. Transitional care can take the form of: • Counselling or psychological therapy to help address depression, anxiety or stress over the illness • Financial counselling to facilitate access to financial help • Caregiver training to help families and caregivers better manage patients at home • Referrals to day care centres, nursing homes and other step-down facilities • Rehabilitation with physiotherapists, occupational therapists, podiatrists, speech therapists and other services
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Do you have any interesting memories about Jurong in the 60s, 70s or 80s? Share your story and/or old photos with us and it could be featured on the Jurong Memory Wall in the new Ng Teng Fong General Hospital! Want to share your stories/photos? Please send them to firstname.lastname@example.org or call 6370 6827
Memories of the Brick Factoranra briyck
Partnerships for health One distinct feature of JCH is its proximity to NTFGH. The closeness to NTFGH means that other medical specialists and access to laboratory and radiological investigations are always close at hand. At the community level, JCH will also work closely with community partners, step-down care providers and JurongHealth’s Family Medicine Clinic, which will play a key role in taking over some patients in the community. “All these collaborations will support the continuing care for patients through the sub-acute and rehabilitative stage to their reintegration into the community.”
Completing the spectrum of care JCH will complement Ng Teng Fong General Hospital to provide the sub-acute and rehabilitative continuum of care for patients. It plays an integral role, offering a more appropriate level and dimension of care for patients as they recover, rehabilitate and return to their homes and community. The JCH Team at Alexandra Hospital currently runs the Transitional Care Service and cares for patients requiring sub-acute rehabilitative care.
ily “During the 1960s, my fam s, the place was factory in 95-5 Jurong. As kid often had friends over. a huge playground and we for me as I celebrated It was especially memorable 1977, our factory was my 21st birthday there. In been many developments, sold. Since then, there have of condominiums. which include the building Jurong East Today, the estate is known as pular area for Avenue 1 and remains a po g the residents and tourists visitin Chinese Garden.” m Suan
– Memory of Mdm Yeo Gi
Celebrating my 21st birthday at the brick factory My brother on his bicycle
I’ve been troubled with bad breath for the past year, and have been trying to determine the cause. I practise daily oral hygiene, use many dental products and visit the dentist twice a year. Some people say that the problem may be ‘internal’ so I have even sought treatment and advice for my stomach and digestion. I feel helpless. What should I do?
My granny has early stage cataracts. What can we do to improve her vision to prevent the need for an operation? If your granny’s vision is blurry or she complains of glare, she might indeed have cataracts. The best way to tell is from an eye examination. In the early stages, your granny can improve her vision by using stronger bifocals, adjusting the degree of her spectacles or using a magnifying glass. These can delay the need for surgery, but if the cataract reaches an advanced stage, surgery is advisable. Cataract surgery involves implanting a new lens into the eye. Vision will usually improve in two to three days and the greatest improvement will be felt after four weeks.
Studies have shown that up to one-third of the population are affected by moderate chronic halitosis (bad breath), while severe halitosis affects about five per cent of the population. The main cause of bad breath is bacteria in the mouth, caused by poor oral hygiene, periodontal disease, dental caries and tongue coating. Strong-smelling foods such as onions and garlic can be another contributing factor. Dry mouth is caused by caffeinated drinks, smoking, alcohol and certain medications. Beside oral causes, other conditions like sinusitis, post-nasal drip, tonsil stones, gastroesophageal reflux and uncontrolled diabetes can also result in halitosis. Do discuss your concerns with your dentist so that a thorough oral assessment can be done to identify and eliminate underlying causes. Meanwhile keep up your good oral hygiene. Try drinking plenty of water and eating sugar-free mints to stimulate salivary flow and reduce dry mouth. If halitosis is not due to oral causes you may be referred to the appropriate medical physicians for assessment and intervention.
Dr Lennard Thean, H E A D & S E N I O R CO N S U LTA N T, O P H T H A L MO LO G Y
My dad has been suffering from back pain which happens on and off. When do we know if we should see a doctor? Low back pain is a common problem. 80% of people will experience low back pain at least once in their lives. In most cases, the pain will get better with a short course of painkillers and physical therapy. In some cases, the pain can persist for months. It’s advisable to consult your doctor, if you’re experiencing the following: • • • •
Dr Wong Li Beng,
• • • •
AS S OCI AT E CONSULTANT, DENTAL
O8 ON E HE ALT H
Ask the expert!
Have a burning health question? Send your question, name and contact number to email@example.com
Pain associated with loss of weight/loss of appetite Pain with weakness and numbness of the legs Pain with inability to control urine and bowel Back pain after trauma (e.g., fall from height, road traffic accident) Pain not getting better after one month Pain that radiates into the legs Pain associated with fever Pain that is increasing
During the consultation, the doctor will try to ascertain if the pain requires further investigations like an x-ray or even a MRI scan of the lumbar spine. This is done by a physical examination and determining the history and nature of the pain. If your doctor deems further tests or a more specific opinion is needed, he will refer you to a spine surgeon.
Dr Gamaliel Tan, H E A D & S E N I O R CO N S U LTA N T, O RT H O PA E DI CS
Inside laboratory medicine
What happens after a blood test?
Your blood tells a story. Extracting, interpreting and telling this tale are laboratory medicine professionals who work behind-the-scenes to support your medical treatment “Laboratory medicine is the study of human blood and tissue specimens. Although much of it occur ‘back of house’, it plays a critical supporting role in medicine. Studies show that 60 to 70 per cent of laboratory results support a doctor in either the diagnosis, treatment or discharge of patients. A large part of laboratory medicine is in interpreting the results. Ensuring the integrity of the process – throughout the pre-analytical, analytical and post-analytical stages – to ensure a valid, accurate and precise result is as important. At the lab, we maintain high standards of quality control. We do this with internal and external mechanisms, such as calibration of our analysers, daily quality control standards testing and subscribing to proficiency testing. We are committed to timely turnaround to make sure results reach the doctor at the right time to inform the right treatment. We always keep in mind that there is a patient at the end of every sample.”
STEP 1 A lab technologist collects a blood sample, extracting it into a specimen tube. The different coloured top on each test tube indicates a different type of blood test
STEP 2 Each sample is carefully labelled with your name and request of what tests are to be run
“We always keep in mind that there is a patient at the end of every sample.”
STEP 3 Your sample arrives at the laboratory and the information is scanned into the lab information system, which “tells” the laboratory analyser what tests to run STEP 4 If the tests requires a component of blood, such as plasma or serum, the sample will be processed in a centrifuge to separate the parts for testing
Dr Leslie Lam, HE A D & CONS ULTA NT, L A B OR ATORY M E D IC INE
STEP 5 The lab analyser machine will run the specified tests on your sample STEP 6 The analyser will alert the laboratory technologists if there are any unusual results, otherwise, the results will be processed electronically. In some cases, your blood may be analysed under a microscope or cultured to identify certain bacteria or viruses
Dr Leslie Lam offers a look inside his lab
1O ONE HEALT H
Yes, this senior nurse enjoys playing computer games. Her current favourite? Plants vs Zombies. But it is not just her zombie-annihilating skills that earns her the title of The Gamer, but how she always manages
to stay a step ahead of the game, whether it is at her job or with her children.
Parents might well admit that having teenage children can be quite challenging and how the former are often left wondering what the kids are up to. But not Ms Choo. Facebook, Instagram, Whatsapp. You name it, she is there “I am on all the social media platforms my children are on so that I can keep up with them and be in the know of their activities and company,” she said. Ms Choo even has the friends of her 18-year-old son and 21-year-old daughter sleep over at their family home. Far from being a prying parent, her children see her as their good friend and even their friends are at ease around her.
“SARS or no SARS, at the end of the day, my children would run to me for a bear hug and it made me grateful for each day I have with my family.”
What is the Nurses Merit Award? The Nurses’ Merit Award is a prestigious annual award that recognises nurses from the public and private sectors for their dedication to the profession. This award goes to those who have demonstrated outstanding service over a three year period and made continual efforts to upgrade skills through professional courses. Of the 77 nurses recognised in 2013, three were from JurongHealth.
she first started her nursing career almost 30 years ago, she was posted to the surgical department. One would think that all those surgeries would make the average Joe cringe or feel queasy. But for Miss Lim, it was not enough – she yearned for something more challenging and she found it at the JurongHealth emergency department, where she now works. “It’s unpredictable, very chaotic; but it is an organised chaos,” she said. The desire for the adrenaline rush is also reflected in her life outside of nursing. While most people would be content to lie in bed on off days, this avid adventure seeker is likely to be hiking at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve, legging the trail – often solo – come rain or shine. If she is not hiking, she is swimming – and not just laps in the pool, but also out in the open water.
When she is not using plants to shoot down zombies on her computer, Ms Choo is spending time with her family or organising family holidays. As someone who is extremely attached to her family, Ms Choo remembers how tough it was during the SARS period. She had wanted to stay in the hospital, afraid of passing the virus to her family members, but her husband wanted none of that. She recalled: “SARS or no SARS, at the end of the day, my children would run to me for a bear hug and it made me grateful for each day I have with my family.”
choo yee mun the Gamer
The Unstoppables 4 8 , NUR S E C L INIC IA N
Just like Clark Kent is Superman without the cape and Bruce Wayne is Batman without the mask, these three nurses who received the Nurses Merit Award share their passion when out of their uniforms By Lina Lewis 12 ON E HE ALT H
Miss Lim is an adrenaline junkie. When
Erlinda Lim the Adventurer 42, N U R S E CL I N I CI A N
On off days, this avid adventure seeker is likely to be hiking at the Bukit Timah Nature Reserve
It all started about 10 years ago, when Miss Lim discovered the challenge of mountain climbing. Her first hike was up Mount Kinabalu in Sabah. To date, she has climbed the 4km-high mountain twice. The sense of achievement and self-satisfaction she experienced at the peak got her hooked on climbing. Since then, she has climbed mountains in Sapa, Vietnam, and Tasmania, Australia. In July, she climbed Mount Fuji in Japan. The only climb she could not complete was at Mount Rinjani, the active volcano in Lombok, Indonesia. “The volcanic ash made the trek up extremely difficult. For each step I took, I’d slip back three steps,” said Miss Lim, who attempted the climb on two different visits. So, what is next for this thrill-seeker? “The roller coasters at Six Flags in the US,” she said with a chuckle.
When she is not in uniform, Madam Maswati wears a painter’s beret. She is the go-to person when her department needs a poster – any time, any day. All it takes her to make a poster is less than an hour.
Give her a vanguard sheet and some markers, and she will draw up a poster freehand, effortlessly.
Maswati Amat the Artist 44, SENIO R STA F F NUR S E
For something more elaborate, she prefers to work on it at home. “My children enjoy arts and crafts as much as I do, and we are constantly creating something. My home is like an art supply store! I have everything I need there,” said the 44-year-old mother of four – a son and three daughters. Every year, the family gives their home a fresh coat of paint for Hari Raya. No professional painters needed! Madam Maswati is also an avid reader and a big fan of Jodi Picoult. Pick any book by the award-winning author and you will find it in Madam Maswati’s collection. When in uniform, she is as dedicated to her career as she is passionate about her hobbies. In her own words: “I cannot imagine doing something else.” And that comes from a woman who described her first day in the operating theatre as “scary”. Her dedication has inspired one of her daughters to follow in her footsteps. The 11-year-old girl dreams of donning the nurse’s uniform, just like her mother.
Her dedication has inspired one of her daughters to follow in her footsteps. The 11-year-old girl dreams of donning the nurse’s uniform, just like her mother.
14 ON E HE ALT H
exercise daily lose some weight keep home fall-free floss more! quit smoking
stick to resolutions!
new year new you! Make simple achievable changes throughout the year for a healthier, better you
schedule your screening: have you ha
packing a healthy lunch to school or work a few days a week can help you watch your calories and save money too
The brand new you that you’re aiming for is not an overnight occurrence but the result of small consistent steps. Whether it’s a little less weight or a little more exercise, every healthier meal or lap around the track helps. In this special issue, we take you through some of the changes that you can take to make 2014 a better, healthier year for you and your family
work out this weekend!
make your own lunch
salsa, trek, swim, jog or skip – try a new activity every weekend to keep exercise fun!
essential head your checks for thlth e year?
dedicate fridays to family and friends
hang out with mum, catch up with grandpa or call a friend to say hello!
walk 30 minutes
once a day to burn calories and keep muscles limber make mondays meatless
once a week and cut down on your overall intake of saturated fat and cholesterol
explore new sites and places to refresh your spirit and widen your horizons
de-compress and de-stress; whether it’s a few deep breaths, a long run, a hot shower or a cold drink – take time to relax today
one less canned drink or swapping to unsweetened coffee makes a difference in the long run
decrease your daily sugar intake; 16 ON E HE ALT H
ditch the television tonight and head to
bed earlier! a proper night’s rest is essential for health
Plan Objectives Withhold Endure Rejoice of Resolution Set aside time and resources
Ensure your goals are achievable
Refrain from taking the easy way out
Be in it for the long haul
Celebrate your victories; each step counts!
Being healthy doesn’t just happen overnight – adopt a powerful personal plan to stick to those positive New Year resolutions. Here’s how! By Adam Koh & Chua Hwee Leng IN CONS U L TATION W ITH DR MICHAEL YONG, C O NSUL T A N T A N D DIR E CT O R , PS Y CHIA T R Y
P.O.W.E.R to quit smoking “I started smoking five years ago during a rough period in my work and personal life. At that time, smoking really seemed to help relieve my stress – at least for the three minutes that the cigarette lasted. I soon found myself smoking a pack of cigarettes a day. I knew that smoking was bad for me, but I had no motivation to quit. Then I found myself waking up at night feeling breathless. The smell of cigarettes on my breath and in my home also became unpleasant to me. “Instead of going cold turkey, I planned to quit by slowly reducing my reliance on cigarettes. I limited myself to five sticks a day and was down to a few cigarettes twice a week. Now, I feel that I can go without smoking; the cravings no longer rule my life and I feel liberated. I also feel more energetic and head to the gym almost five days a week. This year, I plan to totally cut out cigarettes from my life!” Plan Seek help from pharmacists and smoking cessation counsellors to explore various ways to quit; consider options such as nicotine patches or gradually reduce your nicotine intake Objectives Set a ‘quit date’ and stick to it Withhold Heavy smokers should avoid going cold turkey to prevent severe physical and psychological withdrawal symptoms Endure Distract yourself every time you want a cigarette; think about how far you’ve come and the health benefits you’re reaping Rejoice Celebrate every stick reduction, knowing that your heart, lungs and family will thank you!
“...I found myself waking up at night feeling breathless. The smell of cigarettes on my breath and in my home also became unpleasant to me.” Andy Tham 3 8 , Q U A L I T Y MA N A G E R
If one of your New Year resolutions is to make 2014 a healthier year – good for you! The thing about New Year resolutions is that they stem from your own inner desires. This recognition for the need to take action and make a positive change increases motivation and the likelihood of successful and sustained change. Dr Michael Yong, Consultant and Director, Psychiatry, JurongHealth, shares how you can stick to your health resolutions with the P.O.W.E.R plan. In addition, three Singaporeans reveal how they’ve made healthier changes in their lives and their goals for the year.
18 ON E HE ALT H
P.O.W.E.R to start an exercise regime
“Since primary school, I always missed out on Physical Education lessons due to asthma. As a child, I fell ill easily and had to be sent to the emergency room on several occasions. The only time I ever exercised was in the army, but I didn’t stick to it after I completed my National Service. When I entered university, I found myself falling sick frequently. In March 2013, I resolved to improve my health and started exercising more regularly: twice a week, two hours each time. Scheduling time for exercise helped me avoid procrastination. Now, Thursday mornings and Sunday evenings are set aside for my workouts (jogging, crunches, sit ups and resistance training). “It was difficult to gain momentum at first, but it got easier. I fall ill less frequently and am able to run 2km now. I’m pacing myself, but I would love one day to be able to run 21km like I used to in the army.” Plan It is never too late to start exercising. The key is in planning the type and duration of exercise that will fit into your schedule. Tell your family and friends about your plan Objectives Start slow and gradually increase the intensity of your workouts Withhold A sudden intense workout is likely to cause more harm than good. If you have a medical condition like diabetes, heart problems or an obstructive airway disease, you should first consult your doctor before starting a new exercise regime Endure Minor aches and pains are signs that your body is telling you to slow down. Pace yourself. Let your body and mind adjust Rejoice For every target you achieve, reward yourself and tell other people!
“It was difficult to gain momentum at first, but it got easier. I fall ill less frequently and am able to run 2km now. I’m pacing myself, but I would love one day to be able to run 21km like I used to in the army.”
P.O.W.E.R to lose weight “I have always been a ‘big girl’. At 168cm in height, the lowest I’ve weighed since I was 23 years old was 110kg. I used to eat six meals and snacks a day, including lots of fried food, carbohydrates and processed food. I never thought seriously about dieting until I was preparing for my wedding two years ago. I tried to diet twice but both attempts failed. I took shortcuts, went on crash diets and started an unsustainable five-day-a-week exercise regime. The changes were too drastic and instead of losing weight, I gained even more as I was constantly hungry. “In 2013, I was introduced to a more balanced diet plan and it was a breeze. Together with a doctor and a fitness coach, I worked on my diet, started briskwalking and yoga, and slowly built up my workouts to high intensity interval training. Now, I can do a 5km run – a feat for me! After losing 22kg, I suffer less from water retention and breathlessness. I’m 146kg now and feeling great! I would love to shed another 20kg this year!”
Plan Remember, losing weight takes time and is a combination of healthy eating and regular exercise. Consult experts such as a dietician and/or a fitness trainer on your diet and exercise regime
“I used to eat six meals and snacks a day, including lots of fried food, carbohydrates and processed food. I never thought seriously about dieting until I was preparing for my wedding two years ago.” Haryani Othman 3 5 , W R I T E R & A CT R E S S
Objectives Set realistic and safe goals; a realistic goal is to lose 10 per cent of your total weight over 3 months Withhold Avoid going on crash diets or taking slimming pills, which could do more harm than good Endure A realistic diet and exercise plan with room for the occasional treat will help tide you through. Rope in a support system of friends and family to help you stick to your plan. Had a lapse? Don’t give up, just start over! Rejoice Celebrate every kilogram or half kilogram lost! Every bit helps and builds positive reinforcement and affirmation
Standley Tan 2 5, STUDENT
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Everyday Fitness Who says you have to go to the gym to keep fit? Use routine activities and household items to make fitness an integral part of your life By Sheralyn Tay
IN CO N S UL T A T IO N WIT H M A R T I N A J OY CE L A U & M A R K A N T H ON Y CH A N, PHY S IO T HE R A PIS T S
If your goal this year is to get more exercise, why not make use of the activities that you already do every day? JurongHealth’s physiothera pists share some great ways to exercise anywhere and any time. You don’t even have to be ‘exercising’ to get a workout. Try burning a few extra calories each day with these tips.
Ramp up your routine When it comes to exercise, every little bit counts. It could be as simple as 10 minutes of walking three times a day, or as intense as training for a triathlon. Whatever your ability, preference or goal, the most important thing is to ensure that your chosen activity is one you enjoy and can do regularly. Ideally, opt for a mix of exercises from these three groups: aerobic activities (running, swimming, basketball); resistance workouts (weight training, body weight exercises); and stretching. Climb the stairs to your home instead of taking the lift. Even better, make it a point to use the stairs wherever possible (in train stations, malls, etc.)
Increase your walking by alighting one or two bus stops before your destination
Ditch the supermarket trolley and carry your groceries in a basket instead
The “Great Home Workout” Chores are an inevitable part of life, so why not transform them into a workout? All that moving and bending is a great way to get a full body workout! So, crank up the music and get ready to clean up, burn calories and tone those muscles. Just ensure you maintain good posture (e.g., avoid slouching to prevent back strain; bend your knees when bending forward; squat – not bend from the hip – to pick up heavy items; etc.) while engaging in your home workout. You can even fit in a whole exercise circuit while watching TV.
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Wash your windows inside out. Move the cleaning cloth in a circular motion to tone arms and shoulders
Sweep or mop the floor vigorously for at least 10 minutes
Squat or kneel to scrub your floors (use knee pads for protection)
Be thorough; move your furniture when vacuuming
Scrub away and wash your clothes by hand
Try this workout circuit at home: - 10 wall/air squats - 10 lunges for each leg - 10 calf raises with/without support - 10 crunches - 10 bicep curls with a filled water bottle (progress to larger bottles or tins as you get stronger!) ONEHEALTH ONEHEALTH
Interlock your fingers behind your back with your elbows bent. Then gently straighten the elbows and pull the arms away from the back.
Bring your right arm to your left shoulder, keeping the elbow at shoulder height. Use your left arm to bring the right arm closer to the body. Repeat this three times and then stretch the left arm.
Do some deskercise!
Whether you prefer to work out at home or at the gym, continue to inspire yourself to stick to your new and healthy routine
1. Schedule regular workout times to build a habit
2. Find a workout partner for added social support 3. Go for gym classes. Since you’ve paid for it, you’re likely to be more motivated to get your money’s worth 4. Alternatively, be flexible and allow yourself to exercise at home
Being stuck at your desk doesn’t mean you can’t sneak in some exercise. Apart from leaving your desk for short walks, regular stretching can ease those tight neck, shoulder and chest muscles. Hold all stretches for about 10 to 15 seconds and don’t forget to breathe throughout the stretch.
5. Keep it interesting: include a variety of different activities 6. Work out in the morning so you don’t have the excuse of being too tired at the end of a long day 7. Keep a diary to track your exercise achievements and goals 8. Set small and realistic goals
9. Reward yourself when you reach a goal (e.g. going for a massage, going to the movies etc.) 10. Change your workout music regularly to prevent boredom
Your neck moves in six different directions, so it is ideal to stretch all six movement ranges. Alternatively, focus on the areas that are tightest.
Bring your chin to your chest A
Raise your chin to the ceiling and bring your head as far back as possible B
Lower your right ear to your right shoulder and vice versa C
Turn your head to the right, keeping your chin close to your shoulder and vice versa D
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You need at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity to start burning fat. You’ll know you’ve hit that intensity when you feel slightly breathless but can still speak SOURCE: AMERICAN COLLEGE OF SPORTS MEDICINE
It doesn’t take a lot to improve your health. In fact, if you’re overweight and/or suffer from a chronic disease, losing just 10 per cent of your body weight can do a world of good. This small loss may not be enough for you to fit into those skinny jeans, but it can result in some significant health benefits. Dr Tey Beng Hea, Senior Consultant and Endocrinologist, JurongHealth, shared, “Studies show that for overweight/obese people, losing just 5 to 10 per cent of body weight results in significant improvement in the risk factors of various chronic diseases.” For example, in patients with diabetes, it can halve the fasting blood glucose level (a measure of good sugar control), reduce both systolic and diastolic blood pressure in patients with hypertension, lead to a 10 per cent fall in total cholesterol and even raise good cholesterol by about 8 per cent.
“Studies show that for overweight or obese people, losing just 5 to 10 per cent of body weight results in significant improvement in the risk factors of various chronic diseases.” Any weight loss – even a little – does more good than you may think. Trimming 10 per cent off the scales is enough to halve your risk of some diseases By Sheralyn Tay IN CONSULTATION WIT H D R T EY B EN G H EA , S E N IO R CO N S ULTA N T, ENDOC RINOLOGY & D IR ECTO R , WE IGHT M A N AGE M E N T PR O GR A M M E
only10% 26 ON E HE ALT H
For overweight people without a chronic condition, trimming down can stave off the risk of developing these chronic diseases, in particular, diabetes. Being obese is a key risk factor for a condition known as pre-diabetes or impaired glucose tolerance (IGT). This is where blood sugar levels are higher than normal, but do not yet meet the level where diabetes is diagnosed.
reasons to lose
Better blood pressure
Lower heart disease risk
Drop in total cholesterol
Improved insulin sensitivity
Reduced risk of pre-diabetes
Less aches and pains
Improved quality of sleep
Reduced risk of colon cancer
Better mood and motivation
Dr Tey pointed out that a recent study revealed that in Singapore, people with IGT are 4.8 times more at risk of developing diabetes. The good news is that unlike diabetes, pre-diabetes can be reversed, so there is still time to take preventive steps. The most effective way is a weight loss of 5 to 10 per cent. This small loss can have big gains in those who are pre-diabetic, reducing the risk of progression to diabetes and may even help them to revert to normal blood sugar levels. The lower the risk of pre-diabetes, the less likely a person will develop diabetes, preventing a host of diabetesrelated complications from occurring.
Weighty issues If you are obese, the obvious goal is to not just trim 10 per cent in weight, but to achieve a normal weight. This is more than an issue of looking good. Dr Tey, who is also Director at JurongHealth’s Weight Management Programme, explained that excess weight due to fat, abdominal fat in particular, can lead to a host of health issues because visceral fat produces and secretes hormones, free fatty acids and inflammatory substances that disrupt various bodily processes. Apart from causing insulin resistance and diabetes, obesity is also associated with an increased rate of cholesterol production in the body. “Studies show that obese people produce more cholesterol than people of a healthy weight,” said Dr Tey. A similar relationship is seen for high blood pressure: the more weight you put on, the greater the risk of hypertension. Dropping the pounds not only reduces these risks but also has an impact on the quality of life, added Dr Tey. “Aches and pains are more common in people who are overweight or obese. These conditions include arthritis (osteoarthritis and gouty arthritis), depression, fibromyalgia, type 2 diabetes and back pain.”
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A tumble can be potentially serious for seniors. Here are some simple changes you can make at home to reduce the risk of falls By Sheralyn Tay
The hidden fat
I N C O NS U L TA TI O N W I TH W O N G HU IMIN , O C C U P A TI O NA L TH ER A P I S T
Even if you don't yet tip the scales into overweight territory, your body could harbour a secret — and dangerous — store of fat. Doctors are now more concerned about the fat you cannot see. Visceral fat is fat hidden deep within the abdomen and wraps around your organs. It is this fat that is linked to a higher risk of chronic disease. One way to tell if you have a lot of hidden fat is your body shape. Those with a more apple-shaped body (with more weight around the abdomen) have more dangerous visceral fat while pearshaped people (with more weight in buttocks and thighs) have less.
Visceral fat is fat hidden deep within the abdomen and wraps around your organs. It is this fat that is linked to a higher risk of chronic disease.
Pear shaped Apple shaped More fat around the abdomen More visceral fat
More fat around the buttocks and thighs More subcutaneous (under-the-skin) fat Less visceral fat
If you’ve ever stubbed your toe on a step, tripped over a rug or slipped on a wet floor, you’ll know accidents can and do happen in the home. Home safety and fall prevention is even more critical for seniors, said Occupational Therapist Wong Huimin. Statistics indicate that one in three people above 65 fall each year but many more do not seek medical attention and are not accounted for. Falls may result in mild injuries such as bruising or sprains leading to discomfort and decreased mobility.
Even more worryingly, severe falls may result in broken bones or head injuries and death. Injuries that require a prolonged stay in hospital and/or surgery are not just a financial impact for the family, but have deeper negative consequences. “It can affect physical and emotional wellness,” said Ms Wong, “Common problems reported include decreased movement, mood and confidence.” This may lead to less social and physical activity, resulting in increased dependence on others, isolation and lower quality of life.
Fall factors for the elderly In older people, falls can occur because of their medical or physical condition (intrinsic factors), or because of the environment or habits (extrinsic factors). Ms Wong elaborated, “Falls occur most often in the bathroom, when changing position (from sitting to standing or vice versa; walking; etc.), and at night.” Other factors can also increase the risk of falls.
Medical condition High blood pressure, Parkinson’s disease, chronic dizziness, etc.
Physical condition Decreased mobility, muscular weakness, poor vision, etc.
Environment Cluttered floors/ walkways, wet floors, unsecured wiring/floor coverings, inadequate lighting, etc.
Tips for household safety
• Opt for ‘rocker’ switches to ease turning on the lights at home
• Use a sturdy bathroom chair or install a shower seat to provide a safe and secure place to rest while showering. Sitting reduces the risk of falls due to slippery and soapy floors
• Use sturdy chairs with a back and arm rest to offer adequate support for sitting down and getting up. The ideal height for a chair/bed is at knee-level. Do not use plastic chairs as these are too flimsy to support one’s weight
• Improve safety by using coloured tape in contrasting colours to highlight height differences in the floor (e.g. curbs, steps, risers)
• Use rubberised non-slip mats on the bathroom floor. Alternatively, use a non-slip floor treatment solution • If using bathroom mats, attach them to a non-slip rubber underlay so there is adequate friction to prevent the mat from sliding
• Place commonly used items within easy reach. The ideal height is no higher than eye-level and no lower than kneelevel. Items should also be within arm’s reach without the need to stretch
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3 Room Apartment
• Place a nightlight or bedside lamp near the bed to help improve lighting in the room, especially at night
• Install a grab bar in the shower and/or near the toilet bowl. Ensure you secure the grab bars firmly to the wall so they provide stable and safe support
Habits Reaching for items beyond arm’s length, neglecting to turn on the light when visiting the bathroom at night, etc.
FIRST AID BOX
• If the bathroom is a distance away, consider using a bedside commode during the night
Ensure your first aid box is within easy reach. Equip it with antiseptics, gauze and sticky plasters to treat minor falls and sprains
Standing in the way of better dental health is dental plaque, a creamcoloured sticky build-up that hides from obvious view under the gum line and in the crevices between the teeth. Fighting tooth decay is not just a matter of brushing your teeth.
Good flossing technique 1. Slide the floss gently between the teeth and under the gum line
An often over-looked – and no less important – weapon is regular flossing. According to Dr Wong Li Beng, Associate Consultant, Dental, JurongHealth, flossing shouldn’t be ignored. “Brushing alone may not be sufficient to clean the interdental spaces, especially for people with overcrowded teeth,” he noted, “Flossing, when done correctly, can dramatically reduce plaque build-up below the contact points of the teeth.”
Not just fresh breath Brushing and flossing well is not just an oral hygiene issue, added Dr Wong, “It can also bring about significant health benefits.” Poor oral hygiene leads to the build-up of dental plaque around the teeth and gum, causing gum inflammation (gingivitis). “If left unchecked, it may progress to the loss of supporting structures and the detachment of gum tissue around the teeth, a condition known as periodontitis,” he pointed out. In severe periodontitis, the surface area of detached gum tissue can be equivalent to a wound the size of an adult’s palm!
Floss your way to better health There’s more to daily dental hygiene than brushing! Make it a point to floss to keep your gums – and body – in the pink of health By Sheralyn Tay IN CO NSULTATIO N WITH D R WON G L I B EN G , A S S O CIAT E CO N S ULTA N T, DE N TA L
32 ONE HE ALT H
Clean teeth, healthy heart More significantly, periodontitis can raise the level of inflammatory mediators called cytokines in the body. “This inflammatory burden may play a contributing role in the progression, or hinder the control of chronic disease,” said Dr Wong. He highlighted that there are studies indicating that chronic periodontitis is associated with diseases
of the blood vessels, atherosclerosis and increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Other early research also suggest that periodontitis may be associated with erectile dysfunction and poorer blood glucose control in patients with diabetes.
2. ‘Hug’ the tooth with the floss in a C-shape. Gently move the floss along the curve of the tooth
3. To floss back teeth more easily, do not open your mouth too wide, so your fingers have enough space to reach in the molars
Still stuck on flossing technique? Ask your dentist to demonstrate and be sure you practise daily!
While periodontitis is not the sole risk factor, the systemic effect of oral disease cannot be ignored, he added. After all, "Prevention is always better than cure," he said. So the next time you reach for the toothbrush, don’t forget to grab the floss as well.
Keep your floss handy! Tuck a small box of floss in your bag to clean teeth in between meals, or opt for an interdental brush
Smoking is bad for you. It increases the risk of many chronic illnesses including heart disease, stroke and cancer. It also smells bad and costs a bomb – just 10 cigarettes a day adds up to a whopping $2,000 a year – enough to fund a really nice vacation! Many people make excuses when it comes to quitting smoking. Chiong Jin Yeng, Pharmacist, JurongHealth, addresses some of the popular ones – and reveals them for the excuses they are.
Reverse the damage
Steps to quit smoking
Quit now and gain health benefits immediately! The first week is the hardest, but over time, the health benefits increase, cravings cease and health risks dip.
1. Identify your smoking triggers
“It is too hard to quit. I’ve tried and failed. It’s no use.”
2. Decide on a personal smoking cessation plan
It’s true that quitting is hard – nicotine in cigarettes is a powerfully addictive drug – but it's not impossible. Many people who successfully quit smoking had to try more than once, and tried different methods.
“I smoke because my work is very stressful. Smoking relaxes me.”
Butt out for good No more excuses! Break the smoking habit with these steps. It’s a long but rewarding road to better health By Adam Koh IN CONSULTATION WITH CHIONG JIN YENG, PHARMACIST
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Blood pressure and heart rate returns to normal
Nicotine and carbon monoxide levels in the bloodstream dip significantly
Oxygen levels in the blood returns to normal
Your risk of a heart attack starts to dip
Nicotine is actually a stimulant, raising your heart rate, blood pressure and breathing. Cigarettes also deprive your brain of oxygen, lowering your work productivity.
“I’ll get fat if I quit.”
2 to 15 weeks
Nicotine may suppress appetite and boost metabolism, but people don’t gain weight because they quit smoking, they gain weight because they eat more. Ensure you eat a balanced diet and get regular exercise – and you’ll be much healthier and smoke-free.
“I’ve been smoking for so long, the damage is done.”
It’s never too late to quit. As soon as you do, your body repairs itself. In fact, you'll notice improvements just a few days after stopping.
Nerve endings start to regrow; your sense of taste and smell improve
Cravings become less intense; lung function starts to improve Cravings cease; circulation improves; that nagging ‘smoker’s cough’ disappears; lung capacity increases up to 30%
You’ve halved your risk of heart attack and stroke
Risk of stroke comparable to that of a non-smoker
Risk of smoking-related cancers halve
Risk of heart disease comparable to that of a non-smoker
Smoking is a habit. Identify the triggers and look for solutions to avoid them or distract yourself by going for a walk, drinking water or doing some deep breathing exercises.
Choose a plan that suits you. Go Cold Turkey Prominently highlight the day on which you plan to stop, mark it on a calendar, tell your family or post it on Facebook. Stop completely on your chosen day. This method takes a lot of willpower but many long-term quitters actually successfully quit smoking this way. The Sliding Scale Over a period of time, reduce the number of cigarettes ‘allowed’ a day till you hit day zero and stop completely. Delay and Postpone Every time you want a cigarette, delay and postpone the need to smoke. This can reduce the number of cigarettes a day and build your willpower to eventually stop permanently. Nicotine Replacement Therapy Use nicotine patches, gum or inhalers to reduce the need for cigarettes. Easing off the addiction to nicotine will make it easier to give up cigarettes for good.
3. It’s ok to fail
If you lapse and succumb to a smoke, it’s not ‘game over’. Move on from any lapses and restart the process.
1 serving is equivalent to:
• 1 small apple, orange, pear or mango (130g) • 1 wedge pineapple, papaya or watermelon (130g) • 1 glass pure fruit juice (250ml) • 10 grapes or longans (50g) • 1 medium banana (120g) • ¼ cup dried fruit (40g)
SERVINGS A DAY
SERVINGS A DAY
1 serving is equivalent to:
• ¼ round plate cooked leafy vegetables (100g) • ¼ round plate cooked non-leafy vegetables (100g)
1 serving is equivalent to:
• ½ a bowl of rice or noodles (100g) • 1 thosai or 2 small chapatis (60g) • 1½ cup plain cornflakes (40g) • 2 slices of bread (60g) • 4 plain biscuits (40g) • 1 large potato (180g)
SERVINGS A DAY
SERVINGS A DAY
1 serving is equivalent to:
• • • • • •
3 eggs* (150g) 2 glasses of milk (500ml) 5 medium prawns (90g) ¾ cup cooked beans (120g) 2 slices of cheese (40g) 1 palm-sized piece of fish, lean meat or skinless poultry (90g) • 2 small blocks soft beancurd (170g)
*No more than 4 yolks per week
Healthy proportions It’s not just what you eat, but how much of it too. Here’s how to portion your plate to keep tabs on those calories By Louisa Foo
IN CONSULTATION WITH ELISA MAK, DIETITIAN
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In the era of ‘super-sized’ meals, it’s easy to eat too much without really realising it. Instead of the complicated task of counting calories, size down your meals to healthier portions. “Generally,” said Elisa Mak, Dietitian, JurongHealth,
“You can gauge a balanced diet by aiming to have half a plate of fruit and vegetables, a quarter plate of protein and a quarter plate of rice or alternatives.” Apart from keeping to these healthier portions for each meal, ensure your total daily intake is within the Health Promotion Board's (HPB’s) recommended serving sizes (as described above; refer to HPB website for more details). Ideally, opt for wholegrain or complex carbohydrates, lean protein and fresh fruit and vegetables. Another way to cut back on calories is to ‘trick’ your brain. Research shows that using a smaller dinner plate resulted in people eating less compared with those who used a larger plate. People also tend to feel more satiated eating from a full-looking smaller plate than an emptier-looking large plate. Most importantly, whatever your meal, focus on it and enjoy; avoid watching TV while eating as it distracts you from realising how much you are eating.
Eat a rainbow
A colourful plate is not just a feast for the eyes, but one rich in healthgiving vitamins, fibre and protective antioxidants By Louisa Foo IN CO N S ULTAT IO N WIT H EL I S A M A K , DIE T IT IA N
Jazz up your plate with the brilliant colours of nature! Fruit and vegetables add variety, vitamins and antioxidants to your meals. Elisa Mak, Dietitian, JurongHealth, said, “We should aim for a diet that includes all food groups.”
Including a wide variety of fruits, vegetables, nuts and other plant foods is particularly helpful in boosting antioxidant intake. Antioxidants are naturally occurring chemical compounds that protect our healthy cells against free radical damage, Ms Mak explained. Free radicals (e.g., tobacco smoke or radiation) damage healthy cells and increase the risk of cardiovascular disease and some cancers. “It has been found that consistently having two servings of fruits and two servings of vegetables a day is sufficient to increase your antioxidant intake.” In general, brightly coloured fruits and vegetables tend to be higher in antioxidants so it’s important to include a variety of plant foods across the spectrum of colours. This is because each individual food contains varying amounts and types of antioxidants. For the best effect, a range of foods should be included so they all complement each another.
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Are antioxidant supplements just as good?
“There’s no supplement that can replace whole foods because of the complex nature of the latter,” said Ms Mak, “Nutrients in food works synergistically for protective effect.” On the other hand, some antioxidant supplements such as beta-carotene or vitamin E in concentrated form, show disappointing results in lab tests and may even have harmful effects. “It is always safer and best to consume your antioxidants via foods and not supplements.”
There’s more to a healthy diet than eating greens... Colour your plate with reds, orange, yellows and blues as well!
Red-coloured foods indicate high levels of antioxidants such as lycopene, and quercetin. Lycopene may promote prostate health, while quercetin – found in apples, red onions and red grapes – may lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
Orange fruits and vegetables contain betacarotene which is converted to an active form of Vitamin A when ingested. Vitamin A is important to maintain a healthy immune system.
Yellow foods contain lutein. Lutein is especially active in the eye, particularly in protecting the retina and lens from oxidative damage. Therefore, it may reduce the risk of cataracts and agerelated macular degeneration.
Green fruits and vegetables contain heart-protecting folate. Folate can decrease the amount of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine is a substance in the blood that can increase the risk of heart disease.
Dark blue and purple foods have anthocyanins, an antioxidant that may provide protection against inflammation, some cancers, diabetes, bacterial infections and neurological diseases.
HealthBites Are you
This crepe, dressed with luscious fruit, is a vitamin-rich option for dessert, brunch or tea
sitting properly at your desk? Avoid slouching; instead, engage your core muscles and sit upright while you work or
C O NTRI B UT E D B Y DIE T E T ICS A N D N UT R IT IO N DE PA R T M E N T , J UR O N G HE A L T H
sing smile at least!
Fill up with fruit!
Keep yourself motivated with a favourite ‘pump up’ song or motivational self-talk
Fresh Fruity Crepes Preparation time: 25mins Serves: 10 Crepes 2 Eggs 1 cup Plain flour, sifted 1 cup Low-fat milk 2 tbsp Reduced fat margarine, melted 1 tsp Vanilla essence ¼ tsp Salt Custard 1 cup Milk 1 tbsp Custard powder 1 tbsp Sugar Fruit filling 5 Bananas (medium-sized), sliced 3 Peaches, sliced 10 Strawberries, or other berries Method 1. Add ingredients for crepes in a mixing bowl and whisk to a smooth batter 2. Pour ¼ cup of the batter into a pan over low heat 3. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes until golden brown 4. Repeat steps with the remaining batter 5. Add custard ingredients in pot and stir well 6. Simmer the custard mixture on medium heat and stir till thickened 7. Set aside to chill To serve 1. Spread the custard over the crepes and add the sliced fruits 2. Sprinkle cinnamon powder over the fruit and fold the crepe over 3. Serve chilled Nutrient value (per crepe) Calories 147 kcal Protein 4.6g Fat 2.8g Dietary fibre 2.43g
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Work out as you commute.
Beat the carb coma with a wellbalanced lunch. Don’t forget to include
veggies & fruit
New you every day!
do the ‘commuter crunch’
(squeeze your abs while standing or sitting), take the stairs or walk the longer route to work
9 Do not skip breakfast. It helps you to
Oatmeal, eggs, yogurt or fruit are good options
Before you reach for that cuppa,
bond a large over dinner glass with friends of water or family first thing in the morning to cleanse the system
Reach for the toothbrush and floss for
fresh postlunch breath
take stock of your d
ay and repriori ti your to-do se lis if you have t to Do a little stretching at your desk to
relieve tired muscles Gaze out the window into the far distance; gently press your palms on to closed eyelids; or refresh your eyes with eyedrops
give your eyes a break!
Busy day? Take a breather. Close your eyes and
breathe deeply for 30 seconds
The road to better health is made up of small steps every day. Try this checklist to do yourself some daily good