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Issue One: May 2013

Your Health Digest


Inside: Did you know that cold baths can cure Hypertension? How to curb Save for a cravings Flu(ey) for fries! Day: Why a health policy is important

On natural appetite suppressants

Indulge your mind: A

review of Aminata Forna’s Memoir

Crumbs... A pair of scissors and a comb on your beard can do more than an electric trimmer when it comes to shaping the bulk of your beard, according to an expert on these matters called Sandy Poirier, a celebrity stylist. Try it! :-)

Cold Showers do much much more... As crazy as it sounds, cold showers are therapeutic. There it is. It’s that simple. Research shows that the health benefits related to a simple shower are numerous.

All Beardey!

The science behind it is a bit complex. For now the easiest way to understand it is that cold showers lead to thermogenesis which turns on the body’s repair systems consequently boosting immunity.

Gotta go...

Drinking less fluids does not necessarily reduce the number of times you have to run to the bathroom. It just makes your urine less concentrated which may irritate your bladder. Solution: Reduce intake after 6 p.m. and you’ll be good!

Another one of the many researches on coffee

Heard of Green Coffee Extract, right? Yap, awesome against weight loss.


Gardening with allergies is possible. All you have to do is choose plants whose pollen grains are spread by insects since they are heavier and rarely airborne.

Here are people excluded from drinking it for weight loss or anything else: • Adults below 18 years old. This includes children and adolescents •

Anyone allergic to coffee or caffeine

Pregnant or lactating mothers

One then wonders why lab rats were allowed to use it.

Feature Diabetes Mellitus: What do you know? BY sharon ogugu We all know a friend, relative or family member who has gone through the tribulations that follow a diagnosis of Diabetes. What would you do if it were you? How much do you know about the disease? Diabetes is a condition that affects the way our bodies use food. Everything we eat is broken down to produce glucose which is the fuel that our cells use to produce energy for day-to day activities. 100% of carbohydrates – which include fruits, vegetables, starch, dairy products and legumes – are broken down to glucose; while 60% of protein –including meats, fish, poultry, eggs and nuts - becomes glucose; and 10% of fats and oils become glucose. In the absence of carbohydrates, the body can break down 100% of protein or 100% of fat to produce glucose, because the human body will only use glucose In Diabetes, the problem comes in where there glucose from food remains circulating in the blood because it is either poorly absorbed or not absorbed. Where there is poor absorption of glucose, one is classed as having type 2 Diabetes; whereas one is said to have type 1 Diabetes when there is absolutely no absorption of glucose into the cells. Insulin is a vital hormone in the regulation of blood glucose levels in the blood. Essentially, glucose is the key that unlocks the cells so that they can receive glucose. When the pancreas, the organ that produces it, cannot produce insulin or produces too little insulin, then there is an excessive amount of glucose which remains in circulation. This condition, characterized by elevated blood glucose, is commonly referred to as hyperglycemia. Hyperglycemia can ultimately cause damage to blood vessels nerves and tissues. In summary, Diabetes is characterized by higher than normal blood glucose levels because the body either lacks completely or has an inefficient mechanism to allow for body cells to be unlocked and thus take up glucose which the cells in turn use to produce energy. So far, it is clear that controlling Diabetes lies chiefly in dietary management. In this regard, the following points basi-

cally summarize what every diabetic must pay attention to: Portions Everything we eat becomes glucose (sugar) so the more we eat the higher our blood glucose levels and the less we eat the lower our blood glucose levels. Paying attention to how much you eat means that you will control how much glucose circulates in the blood after a meal. Quality of Food The quality of a food refers to how quickly that food is broken down to glucose after you have eaten. It is important to eat as much of our food whole, without processing it, as we possibly can. This is because whole food takes longer to be broken down to glucose than processed food, since it has more fibre than processed food does. Fibre is an important dietary component which acts like a glucose rich sponge that only releases small amounts of glucose over a longer period of time. Processed food, on the other hand, spikes blood glucose levels above the normal healthy range and then drops quite quickly – the reason why most people will fill up on whole meal flour products for longer than they would processed flour products. Processed food includes blended ad freshly pressed juices since blending breaks down fibre mechanically and pressing reduces how much fibre from the fruit is consumed which makes sugar more readily available for absorption. Also, a lot more fruit and vegetables are used to prepare a juice than if the actual food were eaten whole; which translates to more glucose in circulation after consumption. Recall that everything we eat becomes glucose and that the more you eat, the higher your blood glucose levels; meaning that you will be taking more medication to bring down the elevated glucose levels in blood. Timing of Meals We need more energy for work and play than we do in the evening when we are retiring to bed. Diabetics who have been prescribed for insulin will usually be given a dose that is taken in the ration of two thirds in the morning and one third in the evening. Naturally, it means that breakfast should be

the heaviest meal taken by any person and supper should be the lightest. Skipping meals puts diabetics at the risk of hypoglycemia – the opposite of hyperglycemia – which is a condition where one has low blood glucose levels, leading to symptoms such as fatigue, body weakness, dizziness and even fainting. Animal proteins can take up to 8 hours to digest and should therefore be avoided at dinner so as to allow the body to rest adequately throughout the night. Skipping meals during the day tends to leave one hungrier in the evenings. This translates to eating unnecessarily more before bedtime and waking up tired because the body has been digesting food while you slept and so you did not rest adequately. Sugar Triggers There are foods that raise the blood glucose levels of some people above normal, while having no such effect on others. These are what we call sugar triggers. Unlike the glucose load factor, sugar triggers are different for different people. The only way a diabetic can identify their sugar trigger/s is by monitoring blood glucose levels before and after meals so as to note the regular spikes with particular foods. Over 95% of the management of Diabetes rests on good nutrition practices by the diabetic. The other 5% is left for the doctor, nutritionist, family members, friends and medication. If you think about it and practice it, your health is really in your hands. Sharon is a nutritionist and author. With special thanks to Dr. Alice Ndong (Nutritionist and Dietetic Consultant) for the great mentorship and inspiration thus far.

Fit n Full



hy natural appetite suppressants? Because it is easier Natural Appetite to lose weight when feeling full than when hungry. Even BY charles bodo though they may seem to be a myth, natural appetite suppressants not only exist but work well. Any dietitian will admit this; some diets are hard to stick to. With suppressants, the person is less likely to fail on the diet plan due to underlying cravings.


What happens when dieting?

Without cravings, overeating is a thing of the past. Moreover, these suppressants have no harmful ingredients constituting their makeup. One of the known natural appetite suppressants is soluble fibre. Foods and drinks found with this fibre e.g. oats and apples act as suppressants, naturally. The difference between soluble and insoluble fibre is how long they they sit in the

stays longer in the stomach as a gel-like material. This material is expelled later on in stool. Foods/drinks containing soluble fibre include barley, prunes and citrus fruits.

stomach. Insoluble fibre moves faster through the digestive process, promoting bowel movement. Soluble fibre on the hand

Your body signals the brain to produce hunger pangs when it wants more calories to convert to add to existing fat stores. That does not mean that one has to ingest food, this defeats the purpose of dieting. In other words, your body may have enough but still produce food cravings. Instead of stopping such a diet, why not try natural appetite suppressants?

Healthy Recipe: Peas and Carrot in Cashew Nut Sauce BY sharon ogugu

Have you ever wanted to give the ordinary peas and carrots you cook that extra kick. Well, here’s how! Ingredients: 400g of cashew nuts 500ml plain yoghurt or mala 2 sweet ripe tomatoes, diced 1 medium-sized onion, diced 4 glasses of fresh green peas 4 large carrots, diced Method:

1. Boil the peas and carrots for about 4 minutes or until the peas are cooked. The carrots should still be crunchy. Drain and leave to cool. 2. Put the diced tomatoes, onions and cashew nuts in a blender and add half the yoghurt/mala. Blend to obtain a thick, smooth consistency. Keep adding yoghurt/mala until you have achieved a consistency of your liking – although the sauce should not be too thin or runny. 3. Drain the blended mixture into a bowl and add the cooked peas and carrots. 4. Serve cold or warm in a sufuria or microwave if you prefer to have it hot.

Serving Suggestion: Serve with mashed potato or rice and a stew such as beef or chicken. Idea from Olive Osoro, a friend who shares a love for cooking and all the experimentation that tends to come with it.

You a cat person? Cats too get Diabetes. Fibre doesn’t taste great to cats too, but it does slow their glucose absorption and is advised for Diabetic kitties.

Health+Money No statistics, but

Most people worry more about having a car policy compared to a health cover

Health Insurance: Before You Fall Sick

BY jackie maigua


o one can predict when one will get ill or have an accident that needs urgent medical attention. This could happen in the middle of the month when your pockets are dry and the only option that you have is to borrow. Even after borrowing you may get just engough for consultation but no follow up. That is why you need a health insurance. A health insurance is just like your car insurance. Your health should be accorded more if not the same importance given to your car. Besides how will you make that money to fuel that car if you are sick in bed unable to move? If you have a family then having an insurance cover is an even greater deal. Your wife could fall sick while pregnant, or your newborn could be unwell. Having an

insurance cover gives you piece of mind as you are assured that you can receive medical attention when you need it. What are the factors that you consider when choo sing a health insurance cover? You sho fy the hospital covered so it is best to find out if your hospital or doctor is within their cover. You need to also know if the policy begins immediately or after a certain amount of payment is done. Finally you need to find out if there are any health services and medical conditions that are not covered by the medical policy. If you still do not have a medical policy,


visit the nearest insurance company, sit and discuss which would be the best option for you.

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Mind and Soul Movie Review: Oz the Great and Powerful


walk into IMAX with my companion to find blue decor, balloons and all. They are celebrating their anniversary with some live acoustic music by Stan, Fadhilee and Tetu. We nod our heads as we troop into the cinema hall anxious to see the Film adaptation of a childhood storybook. Sam Raimi’s Oz the Great and Powerful is true to it’s trailer in that it starts off in black and white. Sam Raimi is the one who gave the world the Amazing SpiderMan. In this prequel to the 1939 classic, he does a good job. James Franco’s delivery as Oscar Diggs (the Wizard of Oz) is seamless even through his reluctant change from womanising fraud playing small time in the MidWest to the hero in the land of Oz. Zach Braff is comical as the winged monkey and the fragile china doll provides some moments too, throwing tantrums that left us chuckling. The CGI is impressive as far as creating a land that exists only in the imagination, making you even create a bit of your own. The landscapes are expansive which places you there, thanks in part to the 3-D effect too. Mila Kunis starts off shakily as the pretentious Evil Witch leading to some awkward moments. However, she picks up and gives a good showing. As a family movie, Oz the Great and Powerful is worth an afternoon with popcorns.

Book Review:

Place Review:Tichinos


was meeting someone on a random evening in town and I headed to my usual restaurant only to find it closed. Well, I took the opportunity to find me a new restaurant and ended up in Kaunda Street, stumbling upon Tichinos in the process. The ambience is good and turning, I spotted an upstairs section. I prefer sitting upstairs because of the privacy compared to the distraction caused by the frequent movement downstairs. When I reached the landing, I almost went back down. I thought I had walked into a reserved section. Every table was set up, complete with wine glasses and the only thing missing was the guests. I had to confirm with the waiter that that there were none expected before sitting down to absorb the place. I am not a fan of restaurants where I have to shout for my company to hear me and Tichinos spared me the agony. Looking through the menu, a few things caught my eye, like their breakfast name choices: Metroboy, Urban Energy, Morning Glory. They have sandwiches with interesting names like the Fatboy which is made from sliced mozzarella, lettuce, tomatoes, cream cheese and oregano. I enjoyed my cup of cocoa, which was well presented. What I liked most about the place was the tranquility. Being there makes you lose a sense of place and time.If you are ever in town and looking for a place to just sit and enjoy a meal without the usual commotion, try Tichinos.


y recollection of the bewilderment that was left dwelling in my mind after reading the first page of this book several years ago has not left me. As one who possesses a vivid imagination, I have a keen taste for brilliant, colourful and expressive writers. Such is the work of Aminatta Forna in her memoir. Africa is one big village. Our stories have blaring similarities in cultural traditions, history and the memories we have from our childhoods. Set in Sierra Leone is the story of a little girl who adores her father, the family members and the happenings in the household are brought to life in the most beautiful depiction. Little and large details tie the story into a complete whole – the traits of the narrator’s siblings, the observation of someone’s methodical eating, the practices of the locals in Koidu vis-à-vis Aberdeen University, Mohammed Forna’s reputation in his hometown following his relationship with the locals as contrasted against the view of his political rivals in a wicked and corrupt regime. Riddled with flashbacks which help the reader understand the current happenings in the book, several of which focus on the clinic in Aminatta’s home, the writer rolls out images that remain wrapped in one’s mind for a long time to come. Although the story quickly turns political, there is a personal touch in the narration. Biased or not, Aminatta gives us a feel of who Mohammed Forna really was as a father, as a husband and as a doctor; all through the voice of a child whose adoration makes you side with her.

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Siha digest May-June 2013  

In this maiden issue of Siha we look at the basics of Diabetes and why it is important to eat healthy and exercise. We also share secrets on...