5 foods that can compromise your immune system

As the saying goes, we are what we eat. 

Contrary to popular belief, exercising is not a fail-safe method to keep our bodies healthy. A combination of physical activities and taking care of what we eat is the key to a healthy body and a strong mind that can keep sickness at bay.

A balanced diet consists of fresh fruits, colourful vegetables, whole grains, dairy, and protein. These foods will provide the nutrients that our bodies need to function, which are vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, carbohydrates, fiber, protein, and healthy fats. 

However, there are plenty of foods that can compromise our immune system and one of the biggest culprits is processed foods. Processed foods have made it easier for us to eat without having to spend a lot of time cooking. While the convenience is much welcomed, consuming huge amounts of processed foods can have negative effects on our bodies.

Here are five foods that can compromise your immune system. 

  1. White bread

Believe it or not, white bread can suppress our immune system. Like many other baked goods (cookies, cakes, and rolls), white bread is made from white flour, which is a refined carbohydrate, making it high in calories and low in nutrients. This could lead to unintentional weight gain and can cause obesity or insulin resistance. White bread is also a type of high-glycemic index food that causes the production of advanced glycation end (AGE) products in our bodies. Thus, white bread can contribute to inflammation, hindering your body’s ability to protect and heal itself. 

  1. Candy and sweets

Who can resist the temptation of these sugary snacks? Candies and sweets, including chocolate bars, mints, and more, are tasty, but they can also affect the immune system. Foods that are high in sugar can increase the production of inflammatory proteins—negatively impacting our immune system. Having high blood sugar levels will keep our immune system in a depressed state as our immune cells are unable to fight against infection. High sugar blood levels also cause gut bacteria imbalances which can alter our bodies’ immune response. 

  1. Fruit juice

While drinking fruit juice is a convenient way to add fruits into our diet, many may not realise that fruit juice can be harmful for our immune system. Most commercially sold fruit juices have added sugar to improve the taste which then counteracts the benefits these fruit juices have. Excess sugar, in general, limits the immune functions of our bodies causing us to be more susceptible to infections. Overconsumption of fruit juice can also lead to other issues including a negative impact on body weight, obesity, diabetes risk, and cancer. 

  1. Beer

Some of us might find it comforting to crack open a can of beer after a long day of work. However, alcohol can impair our immune system by damaging our immune cells and impairing their ability to fight off infection. Consuming alcohol also increases the levels of stress hormone cortisol, blood sugar, and insulin—all three when elevated can affect our immune system. Alcohol can also disrupt our gut’s health by triggering inflammation in the gut and destroying normal healthy gut bacteria which we need to maintain a strong immune system. 

  1. Breakfast cereal

Enjoyed simply with a bowl of milk, cereal is easily one of the most popular breakfast items. While it is often fortified with vitamins and minerals, most breakfast cereals are loaded in sugar and low in fiber. When consumed daily, the added sugar can have adverse effects on our immune system and can lead to other health issues. Even though most breakfast cereals claim to be healthy, it is important to check the nutrition facts and opt for cereals with low sugar and high fiber content. 

To make sure your immune system is functioning properly, it is important to pay attention to what you eat. Alternatively, you can boost your immunity with Asodi. With patented ingredients like cantaloupe extract, rose petal extract, and fermented soybean extract as well as green tea extract, green coffee extract, and barley leaf, Asodi supplies your body with superoxide dismutase (SOD), combats oxidative stress, and reduces AGEs.

Tune into Ecomins’ Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday from now till June 30 2021 and stand a chance to win free sets of Asodi. Contact us to find out more!

How to take care of yourself during MCO

For many of us, the day-to-day life we used to know has come to a halt—from the way we live and the way we work to how we socialize. As we move into the second year of the pandemic, this reality continues to pose a unique set of challenges for us all. It’s only natural to feel anxious and at loss after all this time. 

Amidst the influx of excess anxiety, stress and uncertainty, it is important for us to remain positive by prioritizing self-care. Self-care routines can be practices that you find enjoyable and also promote your emotional, spiritual, mental, or physical health. 

Let’s face it, in this new normal where we’re trying to productively work from home all day long, taking care of our family, having to spend longer time at home, or even being physically separated from loved ones—the situation can be quite tough and overwhelming. 

Here’s some self-care ideas and wellness tips for you during these tough times.

  1. Set up a routine to get ready for the day

It is important to set up routines and boundaries as working from home has made it harder to separate from our personal lives. Routines help get your mind ready for work and make you feel more in control. Start with the simple things—pouring yourself a cup of coffee, cleaning up your work space, or catching up on news. As our day continues to be filled with work and taking care of our family, these routines can really help us reconnect with ourselves.

  1. Take frequent short breaks

Gone are the days of popping by your colleague’s desk for a quick chat or catching up with your colleagues in the pantry during coffee break. Now that most of us are working from home, we may be taking fewer breaks. Working without a break can actually impact your productivity and mental health. Plan for a short rest—five to fifteen minutes every hour—by walking around your house, refilling your water bottle, or going through a series of simple stretches. 

  1. Sweat it out

Not only does staying active keep our body physically healthy, exercising also releases endorphins, which improves our mood, sharpens our focus and aids sleep. There are plenty of exercises that we can do at home. For cardio, instead of running, we can opt for jump rope. Yoga helps improve strength, balance, and flexibility. For something more challenging, opt for high-intensity interval training or bodyweight training. It also feels extra satisfying to sweat it out after a long day of work! 

  1. Quiet me-time

Schedule some time for yourself. It gets overwhelming when we are thinking about work or worrying about loved ones the whole day. Meditation can help reduce stress, ease anxiety, and regulate negative thinking. Or you could treat yourself to things you enjoy—a home-manicure session, reading a book, listening to music, or just simply enjoying a cup of tea. 

  1. Call a friend or family member

Even though we are physically separated from our loved ones, we should still continue to maintain our social interactions with them. Maintaining high-quality, close relationships are essential for our mental and physical well-being. Make it a priority to check-up on your parents, siblings or friends regularly. 

  1. Taking care of your diet

It is time-consuming to cook every day, and some of us may even find it stressful. It’s okay to order take-out food as long as we supplement it with proper nutrients. A convenient way of ensuring we have the nutrients needed for a healthy immune system is by drinking a glass of Asodi every day. 

Asodi contains patented ingredients like cantaloupe extract, rose petal extract, and fermented soybean extract as well as green tea extract, green coffee extract, and barley leaf. With these ingredients, Asodi helps enhance body functions and improve our immunity by supplementing superoxide dismutase (SOD), fighting oxidative stress, combating metabolic syndrome, and reducing advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in our bodies. 

With the increasing confirmed COVID cases in Malaysia, taking care of ourselves and boosting our immunity is more essential now than ever. From now till June 30 2021, tune into Ecomins Facebook every Tuesday and Thursday as we are giving away free sets of Asodi! Contact us to find out more!

Superoxide Dismutase: Boosting your immunity and vitality

Superoxide dismutase (SOD) is the body’s most powerful antioxidant enzyme that can be found both inside and outside cell membranes. Due to its antioxidant properties, SOD can reduce oxidative stress in the body, preventing damages to our tissues.

There are many uses for SOD, including improving the condition of arthritis, treating pain caused by sports injuries, preventing free radical damage to our skin, and more.

Let’s take a closer look at the benefits of SOD and how it can improve our immunity and overall health.

Powerful antioxidant properties

Free radicals are molecules that damage cells in our bodies. It reacts with other molecules, causing oxidation to happen—leading to various health issues like deterioration to the eye lens, joint inflammation, high blood pressure, and increased risk of heart diseases. Other negative effects of free radicals are accelerated ageing and cancer.

In order to combat oxidation, we need to stabilize free radicals with antioxidants. SOD catalyzes superoxide, one of the most dangerous free radicals, and converts it into smaller molecules that won’t damage our cells.

Treatment for arthritis

Inflammation is the underlying cause of many diseases, including osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Research shows that there is a connection between low levels of SOD and the early stages of osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.1

Osteoarthritis, the most common form of arthritis, occurs when the protective cartilage in our joints wears down over time and from repeated use. Rheumatoid arthritis, on the other hand, is a systemic autoimmune disease that happens when the immune system attacks the body’s healthy tissues.

Chronic inflammation can occur in our healthy joints causing pain and can affect our mobility. By administering a shot of SOD, which can also serve as an anti-inflammatory agent, you can alleviate the pain for those suffering from arthritis.

Anti-ageing effects

The accumulation of oxidative damage caused by free radicals is one of the key mechanisms of ageing. Due to its strong antioxidant properties, SOD can be used to reduce free radical damage to the skin. When used in cosmetics and personal care products, it can reduce wrinkles, fine lines and age spots.

Anti-cancer effects

Studies have shown the critical role of oxidative stress in carcinogenesis, leading to cancer initiation and progression in our bodies. Oxidative stress can lead to an increase of DNA mutations or induce DNA damage, genome instability, and cell proliferation.2 SOD can help reduce oxidative stress in our bodies and may help regulate cancer progression.

Prevent Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease

Another irreversible damage that can be caused by superoxide anions is the development of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. Patients suffering from Alzheimer’s disease have low levels of antioxidant enzymes such as SOD, catalase, and glutathione peroxidase.2 SOD can help prevent cell and tissue damage to the brain.

Beneficial against diabetes

Diabetes can cause hyperglycemia, which occurs when there is a high level of sugar in the blood. Hyperglycemia can lead to weakened antioxidant defenses and increased oxidative stress. The overproduction of oxygen reactive species (ROS) then leads to the accumulation of glucose and increased production of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) that are implicated in ageing and the development of degenerative diseases. Diabetes causes serious irreversible damage to the nerves and blood vessels. SOD can help increase the body’s antioxidant defenses, reduce ROS, and overcome oxidative stress to prevent diabetes.

As we age, natural SOD levels in our bodies drop and we become more prone to oxidative stress-related diseases. In order to boost up our immune system and improve our overall health, especially in this pandemic, we need to make sure that our SOD is at a healthy level. However high body temperature, harmful bacteria, and harsh chemical conditions within our bodies can destroy SOD, making it unusable.

Asodi contains patented ingredients like melon extract, rose petal extract, and fermented soybean extract as well as green tea extract, green coffee extract, and barley leaf which can help enhance body functions and improve immunity. Its specific functions include supplementing SOD, fighting oxidative stress, combating metabolic syndrome, reducing AGEs, among others.

With a glass of Asodi every day, you can start improving your immunity and taking care of your health. From now till June 30 2021, we are giving away free packets of Asodi every Tuesday and Thursday on Ecomins Facebook in light of the increasing confirmed COVID cases in Malaysia. Contact us to find out more!

References:

  1. https://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0203944
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2990475/

Ageing: What to expect and how to make it easier

Ageing is a process that we cannot avoid.

As we grow older, it’s also a time we want to be living our best life and want to be able to enjoy it. However, our bodies start to change and show signs of wear and tear as we age. For most people, the changes start small. You might find yourself having stomach cramps after ice-cream, or pain in the knee when climbing up the stairs.

These changes, when left untreated, can hinder your normal day-to-day life. By knowing what could happen as we age, we can prepare for it.

Arthritis

Arthritis, an inflammation of the joints, is most commonly seen in adults over the age of 65, but at times, it could also develop in younger adults.1 The most common symptoms of arthritis include joint pain, stiffness, and swelling. These symptoms can impact quality of life as the range of motion decreases. Many people also notice their arthritis symptoms are worse in the morning. In the case of rheumatoid arthritis, joint deformity can happen if left untreated.

Heart Disease

Plaque—made of cholesterol, fatty substances, cellular waste products, calcium, and fibrin—can build up in the arteries over time. When this happens, the wall of the blood vessel thickens, making it harder for important nutrients and oxygen from reaching your heart. This blockage can lead to a heart attack or stroke.

The risk of heart disease increases as we grow older—for women, it’s around the age of 55; and for men, it’s 45. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is the key to preventing heart diseases.

Osteoporosis

Osteoporosis, a condition that causes the bone to lose strength and density, becomes more common as we age, especially in women due to the loss of estrogen. With osteoporosis, people are more prone to fractures or bone breaks, even when doing routine activities like standing or walking.2 However, the early stages of osteoporosis do not have any symptoms. While we cannot stop ourselves from ageing, there are ways for us to lower the possibility of osteoporosis by taking care of our diet.

Alzheimer’s Disease

This irreversible, progressive brain order is the most common cause of dementia among older adults. People with Alzheimer’s disease will experience a continuous decline in thinking, behavioural, and social skills. Patients will forget recently learned information, asking the same questions repeatedly, and experience confusion about time and place. Eventually, patients lose the ability to carry out the simplest daily task.

Diabetes

According to the International Diabetes Federation, the number of adults with diabetes have tripled in numbers over the past 20 years. Type 2 diabetes has become more common due to poor lifestyle habits and does not only affect older adults but younger people too. Diabetes occurs when the pancreas can’t produce enough insulin which regulates blood sugar. Over time, this will lead to serious damage to the nerves and blood vessels. There were 1.5 million deaths attributed to diabetes in 2019.3 To keep diabetes under control, patients need to monitor their diet and maintain healthy physical activity along with medication.

Cancer

One of the most important risk factors when it comes to cancer is advancing age. In 2017, 46% of all the people who passed away from cancer are 70 or older.4 Cancer happens when cells divide uncontrollably and spread into surrounding tissues. For some people, cancer is caused by inherited genetic mutations. However, for others, it can be caused by certain environmental or behavioural triggers.

A healthy lifestyle, consisting of balanced nutrition and being physically active, can help keep certain diseases at bay. An alternative and effective method is to consume food that has generous health benefits for our bodies.

Health food products like NeeFlex and Asodi make it easier to get the extra nutrients we need to keep our bodies healthy. If you want to reduce inflammation, prevent joint pain, and regain your flexibility and mobility, NeeFlex is perfect for you as it contains ingredients like curcumin, black pepper (piperine), hydrolyzed collagen moringa, vitamin C, and more. If you want to regain your youth and vitality, Asodi contains strong antioxidant ingredients to neutralize free radicals and slow down the process of ageing.

There’s no better time than now to start taking care of your health.

References

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/arthritis
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/osteoporosis
  3. https://www.who.int/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/diabetes
  4. https://ourworldindata.org/cancer#cancer-deaths-by-age

A Younger You: 10 Anti-Ageing Food to Add Into Your Diet

Depending on your skincare routine—whether it’s a 10-step Korean or minimalist skincare routine—it may involve cleansing, exfoliating, prepping, moisturising, and hydrating our skin in the mornings and evenings everyday, in hopes of achieving clear, flawless, and younger-looking skin.

However, these toners, lotions, serums, creams, and masks can only do so much. The skin is the body’s largest organ and is often the first part of our body to show internal trouble. Instead of skincare products, the first thing that we need to take a closer look at is our diet.

For us to look younger, we need to maintain a balanced diet that has water, antioxidants, healthy fats, and essential nutrients. Studies have shown that fruits and vegetables are efficient at combating dull complexions and fine lines.1

Ready for better-looking skin? Here are 10 anti-ageing foods you should add into your diet for a natural and healthy skin.

This well-loved fruit, often seen eaten for breakfast and on toast, is packed with healthy unsaturated fats which can help nourish your skin and prevent dryness. Research also shows that avocado can help protect our skin from UV damage.2 Avocados are also great nutrient boosters, which help enhance the body’s absorption of vitamin A and other fat-soluble nutrients.

Blueberries are an excellent source of vitamin C and fiber. It is rich in an age-defying antioxidant called anthocyanin. Anthocyanin helps protect the skin from sun damage, stress, and pollution. Blueberries are also anti-inflammatory and can help prevent collagen loss. 

This big, juicy melon contains a lot of vitamin C, vitamin A, and an anti-ageing antioxidant known as carotenoids. Carotenoids help your body form vitamin A which helps maintain cellular health and protects your skin from oxidative stress. Cantaloupes are also nutrient-packed and low in calories—which is a huge plus!

Papaya is a superfood rich in vitamin A, C, K, and E as well as calcium, potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. There is a wide range of antioxidants in papaya that helps prevent damage from free radicals and delay the signs of ageing. Papaya can keep your skin elastic and minimise the appearance of fine lines. It also has one of nature’s best anti-inflammatory agents—papain.

This crunchy and refreshing fruit contains flavanol, which is said to have benefits against the development of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Pears also have folate and niacin, which are important for cellular function and energy production, as well as provitamin A, which supports skin health and wound healing.3

This vibrant spice is not only full of flavour, but also antioxidants that can protect our body from free radical damage (including accelerated ageing) and stimulate the body’s antioxidant defenses, preventing oxidative stress from happening. When paired with black pepper, this combo can help relieve nausea, headaches and poor digestion as well.

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are typically found in fried or grilled high protein, high fat animal food. AGEs accumulate as we age and are usually found in the development of many degenerative diseases, including diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease. Fermented soybean effectively inhibits glycation and reduces the formation of AGEs in our bodies.

Instead of making a cup of coffee in the mornings, switch over to a glass of green tea. Not only is green tea rich in fucoidan, a complex polysaccharide with proven anti-cancer effects, but also polyphenols, which protect collagen needed for our skin and joints. Green tea also offers calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin E.

This fragrant extract is highly beneficial for our bodies as it helps slow down skin ageing, improves skin elasticity, combats metabolic syndrome, and contains powerful antioxidant effects.

Vegetables are generally good for our health. Certain types of leafy greens like watercress and spinach are super hydrating and full of antioxidants. Rich in vitamin A and vitamin K, these leafy greens can help support a healthy immune system and keep inflammation at bay.

For our bodies to stay young, we need to start prevention early. Here’s a quick tip for anti-ageing care at home: instead of preparing dishes using these ingredients, you can enjoy them all in a glass with Asodi or NeeFlex.

References:

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3583891/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19168000/
  3. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/benefits-of-pears#TOC_TITLE_HDR_3

Understanding Joint Pain: Causes and Prevention

How often do you encounter these scenarios? You experience joint pain after participating in activities like soccer, tennis, running, or even weightlifting at the gym. You find it tougher to climb up the stairs at home as your knees hurt whenever you do so. When you bend over to pick things up, your lower back hurts.

These are everyday scenarios that we encounter as we grow older. Our muscles, joints, and bones are starting to show signs of wear and tear from repeated use. To understand how to treat joint pain, we must first know what causes joint pain.

The most common cause of joint pain is arthritis. There are two types of arthritis—osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Joint pain from osteoarthritis occurs when the cartilage between our joints breaks down. Rheumatoid arthritis happens when our body’s immune system mistakenly attacks our healthy tissue—causing pain, inflammation, and fluid buildup in our joints.

We also feel pain when our joints—shoulders, hips, elbows, knees, and wrists—are overused. Other causes of joint pain include lupus, gout, tendinitis, infection, fibromyalgia, and more. Most of these issues can be treated with medication, but only when the symptoms show up and are diagnosed by a professional.

So, how can we prevent joint pain?

Preventing joint pain

Aim for 30 minutes of physical activity at least three times a week. Research shows that exercises that focus on improving flexibility and strengthening like swimming and yoga can help relieve pain and make daily tasks easier.1

You should also avoid these foods if you’re experiencing joint pain:

  1. Added sugar

Eating too much sugar can lead to weight gain, an increased risk of heart diseases, and worsen arthritis symptoms. Added sugars are found in candy, sodas, and ice cream, as well as other less obvious food items like yogurt, biscuits, and sauces. Do check the nutrition label on the packaging and opt for low sugar foods.

  1. Processed and red meat

Red meat is tasty but it also has several health implications including increased risk for heart diseases, kidney problems, and inflammation which could lead to arthritis. You should replace red meat with other protein-based food like tofu, eggs, and Greek yogurt, or other types of meat like chicken and fish.

  1. Gluten

Gluten is a group of proteins found in wheat, rye, and barley. Avoid high-gluten foods like bread, pasta, and cereals which can lead to inflammation and worsen arthritis symptoms. Instead, add more naturally gluten-free foods in your diet like fish, meat, fruit, vegetables, and rice.

  1. Omega-6 fatty acids

Although omega-6 fatty acids are necessary for normal body growth and development, it can lead to various health problems when consumed excessively. Fatty acids can cause your body to produce proinflammatory substances, which could lead to joint pain.

  1. Food high in AGEs

Advanced glycation end products (AGEs) are formed when sugar and proteins or fats react with each other during the cooking process. Consuming high protein, high fat animal foods that have been fried, roasted, grilled, seared, or broiled, causes high accumulation of AGEs in your body.2 This will lead to inflammation and oxidative stress which is tied to various degenerative diseases as well as the development and progression of osteoarthritis.

Try adding these foods to your diet:

  1. Turmeric and black pepper

Turmeric is a spice commonly found in Southeast Asian dishes like curry, biryani, and chicken noodle soup. Curcumin, the most active compound in turmeric, is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects—which can help relieve and prevent joint pain. In order to boost the absorption of curcumin in our bodies, you should pair black pepper with turmeric.

  1. Hydrolyzed collagen and vitamin C

Both hydrolyzed collagen and vitamin C are good for our joints and cartilage. Hydrolyzed collagen is broken down, easier-to-process collagen pieces. In order to reduce joint pain caused by collagen loss in our cartilage, we need to consume collagen. Vitamin C is also a key ingredient in helping our bodies to produce more collagen.

With NeeFlex, you can easily incorporate these four key ingredients into your diet. It also contains ingredients like moringa, cat’s claw, and zinc-enriched yeast that reduce inflammation and alleviate arthritis symptoms. Learn more about NeeFlex here and relieve yourself from joint pain.

Reference

  1. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3042669/
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/foods-to-avoid-arthritis#8.-Foods-high-in-AGEs

How Does Turmeric Help With Joint Pain?

How often do you experience stiffness or pain in your body? As we grow older, we may find our bodies becoming slower and duller. We may even experience sudden pain—most commonly in our knees, back and sometimes, muscles—as we go through our daily routines. Simple things like climbing a flight of stairs or getting up from the chair requires more effort than before. 

Some of us find ourselves relying on painkillers just to get through the day. However, a majority of over-the-counter (OTC) pain medication comes with a string of unwanted side-effects like liver damage, stomach ulcers, kidney problems, depression and more.1 In the long run, your body could develop tolerance towards these OTC pain reliefs and you end up needing more pills. 

What is a safer option that can help relieve pain? You may find this surprising as the answer is in your kitchen, on your spice rack—turmeric. 

Know your spice - Turmeric

Taken from the root of the turmeric plant, turmeric contains many health benefits. It is commonly used in Indian cuisine and can also be found in Southeast Asian and Mexican food. Known as the golden spice, turmeric is earthy and peppery in taste. This unique flavour profile goes well with spices like cinnamon, black pepper and ginger. 

What are the benefits of curcumin?

Studies have shown that curcumin, the most active compound found in turmeric, have valuable health benefits. Curcumin can prevent chronic diseases and has positive effects against depression. 

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

Inflammation is important for our bodies to fight harmful invaders and repair damage. However, acute and chronic inflammation results in irreversible damage like DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring. This severe inflammation plays a major role in almost every chronic disease, including cancer, heart disease, metabolic syndrome, and various degenerative conditions.2

With its anti-inflammatory properties, curcumin can help fight chronic inflammation, eventually preventing and may even treat these diseases. 

Curcumin is also effective against oxidative stress. Oxidative stress occurs when there is an imbalance between antioxidants and free radicals. Free radicals can cause serious damage to our cells and organs as well as increasing the risk of coronary diseases and cancer. Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can block free radicals and stimulate your body’s antioxidant defenses.3

Fighting joint pain with turmeric

Arthritis is common in elderly people, however it can also appear in young adults. There are several types of arthritis and most of them involve inflammation in the joints. With its powerful anti-inflammatory properties, turmeric can provide pain relief for those suffering from arthritis or are experiencing pain in their knees, back, or muscles.    

Studies have shown that curcumin, the bioactive compound in turmeric, is more effective than anti-inflammatory drugs and can help with arthritis.4 Unlike OTC medication, turmeric is nontoxic and does not have negative side effects, unless taken in unnecessarily large doses. 

By adding turmeric into your diet, you vastly enhance your health and improve your quality of life. 

Consuming turmeric for pain relief

So, how can you use turmeric to relieve pain? While highly beneficial for our bodies, curcumin is poorly absorbed into our bloodstream. 

We can boost the absorption of curcumin by pairing black pepper with turmeric. Piperine, a bioactive compound found in black pepper, makes it easier for curcumin to pass through the intestinal wall which leads to better curcumin absorption. 

Like turmeric, black pepper contains anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties as well. When combined with turmeric, both ingredients become an effective anti-inflammation combo that can help reduce discomfort and pain.5

For the adventurous cook, you can try adding turmeric and black pepper into your cooking. Both these ingredients add a huge kick of flavour and require careful pairing with compatible spices like ginger. You can use it to season your roasted vegetables or top it off on scrambled eggs for an easy dish. 

Or, you can drink NeeFlex for all the health benefits that turmeric has to offer for general well-being and pain relief. NeeFlex also contains ingredients like hydrolyzed collagen, moringa, cat’s claw, vitamin C and zinc-enriched yeast that can help protect joints and rebuild cartilage. 

Start taking care of yourself and improve your quality of life by drinking NeeFlex.

Reference:

  1. https://www.everydayhealth.com/pain-management/6-surprising-sideeffects-of-over-the-counter-painkillers.aspx
  2. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation
  3. https://ecomins.com.my/blog/what-are-the-health-benefits-of-turmeric-and-curcumin/
  4. https://www.healthline.com/health-news/turmeric-may-be-as-effective-as-ibuprofen-for-relieving-arthritic-knee-pain-emb-2pm
  5. https://www.everydayhealth.com/diet-nutrition/why-you-should-combine-turmeric-and-black-pepper/

Turmeric and Black Pepper - A Powerful Combination

Getting to know turmeric and curcumin

Turmeric is a spice that is commonly used in Southeast Asian and Asian cuisines as well as Ayurvedic medicine. Taken from the roots of the turmeric plant, this spice adds a vibrant orange hue that is hard to miss when added into food. Its earthy and peppery taste adds a layer of richness to food. While it has many uses in cooking, turmeric is also widely used in medicine. 

Curcumin, the most active compound found in turmeric, has many health benefits for our bodies like anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.

Benefits of curcumin

Inflammation is part of the body’s defense mechanism and happens when your body is fighting against things that can harm it. Prolonged inflammation can lead to acute and chronic inflammation. If this condition is left untreated, it will damage your healthy cells, tissues and organs—eventually leading to DNA damage, tissue death, and internal scarring.1

These issues are linked to several diseases, including obesity, asthma, arthritis, heart diseases and cancer. Curcumin is a strong anti-inflammatory compound that can help prevent these diseases. It fights inflammation at a molecular level and matches the effectiveness of some inflammatory medicine, without the side effects.2

Free radicals can cause various health issues, including deterioration to the eye lens,  joint inflammation, high blood pressure, neurodegenerative diseases, accelerated aging, increased risk of coronary heart diseases and cancer. Curcumin’s potent antioxidant effects can protect our body from free radicals, stimulate our bodies’ antioxidant defenses and prevent oxidative stress from happening.3

Enhancing the absorption of curcumin

Even though curcumin has a lot of health benefits, it is, however, poorly absorbed into the bloodstream. We may be consuming a lot of turmeric in our diet, but we might not be fully getting its benefits. 

To enhance the absorption of curcumin, you should mix turmeric with black pepper when cooking. This aromatic black spice contains piperine, a bioactive compound similar to capsaicin which is the active component found in chili and cayenne pepper. Piperine also has various positive effects. Not only does it have anti-inflammatory properties, it can also help relieve nausea, headaches and poor digestion. Research has shown that piperine in black pepper can boost the absorption of curcumin in turmeric by up to 2,000%.4

So how does black pepper help with the absorption of curcumin? 

Piperine helps curcumin to pass through the intestinal wall and into the bloodstream. It also helps slow down the breakdown of curcumin by the liver.4

Recipes for turmeric and black pepper

In many curry recipes, you’ll find turmeric an important component. In Indian culture, it is common to consume turmeric and black pepper in tea along with honey, ginger, coconut oil and olive oil. 

Grab your pots and give these tasty turmeric and black pepper recipes a try!

1. Turmeric and Black Pepper Roasted Cauliflower 

For a healthy quick snack, you could try roasted cauliflower tossed in turmeric and black pepper. The recipe is fairly easy to make. 

Mix two teaspoons of turmeric with half a teaspoon of black pepper and a little bit of salt. Coat half a head of chopped cauliflower in a drizzle of oil (grapeseed or olive), then toss them into the spice mixture. Make sure that the cauliflower florets are evenly coated in the spice mixture. Lastly, spread the cauliflower evenly on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper and put it in a preheated oven (at 180°C) for 20 to 25 minutes.

2. Golden Milk

If you’re wondering how to make a turmeric and black pepper drink, this recipe is for you. You will need milk, turmeric, black pepper and a combination of your favourite spices - a common tasty combination includes cardamom, ginger, and cinnamon. 

Blend or whisk all the ingredients together and warm it up over the stove for 15 minutes. Let it simmer slowly and do not let it boil. 

Or, if you want something fast and easy, you could skip the cooking by drinking NeeFlex. With ingredients like curcumin, hydrolyzed collagen, piperine, moringa, cat’s claw, vitamin C, and zinc-enriched yeast, NeeFlex can relieve joint-related pain while protecting and rebuilding joint cartilage. Live a prosperous life and enjoy lifelong benefits with NeeFlex. 

Reference:

  1. https://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-inflammation
  2. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/top-10-evidence-based-health-benefits-of-turmeric
  3. https://www.healthline.com/health/oxidative-stress#effects
  4. https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/turmeric-and-black-pepper

What is Hand Foot Mouth Disease? How can we minimize the risk of infection and complication?

About Hand Foot Mouth Disease

Hand Foot Mouth Disease (HFMD) is a common disease that predominantly affects children under 5 years old, but older children and adults can also be affected. The human enterovirus 71 (EV71) and coxsackievirus 16 (CV-A16) are the main etiological agents for majority HFMD cases, whereas it can also cause by other strains of coxsackievirus, including CA5, CA6, CA9, CA10, CB2, and CB5. These viruses can be transmitted through direct contact with the nasal and throat secretion, feces, as well as vesicles fluid of an infected person. To date, there is no specific treatment for HFMD, and usage of the available EV71 vaccine is not approved in all countries.

HFMD symptoms and care

The main disease symptoms include fever and blisters on hand, feet, and mouth. Other clinical features include nausea, vomiting, sore throat, fatigue, malaise, loss of appetite, and irritability. Some HFMD-infected patients can also be asymptomatic and can still transmit the virus to other individuals. HFMD is mostly not serious and can recover within 7-10 days, but it is highly contagious. 

Fever and pain relievers, alongside with anti-inflammatory agents, are usually given to patients to manage the clinical manifestation of HFMD. Patients are also recommended to drink sufficient fluid to prevent dehydration as this could potentially lead to disease complications. It is also important to practice good personal hygiene to reduce the risk of contracting HFMD.

HFMD complications (Cox et al., 2017)

HFMD is mostly not serious and can recover within 7-10 days, but it is highly contagious. Of the two main causative agents, EV71 can enter into the central nervous system (CNS) and cause neurological complications and, cardio-respiratory compromise in rare cases. These complications include encephalitis, meningitis, acute flaccid paralysis, and cardiorespiratory failure, which are life-threatening.  Upon gaining access to the brain and the CNS, EV71 causes neuronal and astrocytic cell death, which sequentially lead to brainstem encephalitis, causing damage to the medulla oblongata. Neuronal and astrocytic cell death can also lead to an elevated response in the CNS immune and inflammatory system, resulting in a substantial release of certain cytokines, a phenomenon known as the cytokine storm. This may subsequently lead to the occurrence of increased vascular permeability and leakage, which may contribute to the severe complications of HFMD, such as total cardio-respiratory failure and eventually death.

Cytokine storm

A mass release of certain cytokine caused by cytokine storm can cause an uncontrollable inflammatory response, this could eventually lead to severe local and systemic inflammation. Elevated levels of several cytokines have been notably associated in severe cases of HFMD, these include IL-2, IL-6, IL-10, TNF-α, IFN-ɣ, (Li et al., 2015)  IL-1β, IL-1RA, G-CSF (Cox et al., 2017), suggesting the overreaction of immune response could contribute to the development of severe HFMD conditions.

Natural alternative in managing overacting immune responses

Inflammation is an essential biological process that is vital for health, hence an overacting or imbalanced inflammation response could result in various health issues, in which some may be life-threatening conditions. Numerous naturally occurring functional compounds, such as polyphenols, polysaccharides, alkaloids, etc, derived from plants have been widely recognized for their health-promoting properties. The anti-inflammatory activity demonstrated by plant-derived polyphenols has been shown to contribute to chronic disease prevention and progression (Andriantsitohaina et al., 2012, Azab et al., 2016, Calabriso et al., 2016, Yahfoufi et al., 2018, Spagnuolo et al., 2012).

How ASODI may assist in HFMD conditions?

To strengthen immune defense by delivering immunomodulating and anti-inflammatory actions

With an integrated formulation comprising a rich source of micronutrients that have been proven to display immunomodulatory, anti-inflammatory and antioxidant actions, ASODI may be employed as a precautionary measure against HFMD and to combat HFMD during the early stage on the prevention of an excessive accumulation of certain cytokines, which could lead to contribution in disease severity.

As one of the functional compounds in ASODI, soy isoflavones are naturally occurring phenolic flavonoids that are well discovered for their antioxidant, immunomodulatory and immunomodulatory effects. Another naturally occurring polysaccharide that was incorporated in ASODI, fucoidan, is also generally acknowledged for its immunomodulatory properties. Studies have revealed that the pro-inflammatory cytokine upregulation effect of fucoidan can help in immunity-boosting, it also reduces the release of inflammatory cytokines during infections, thereby providing regulation effect on the body’s immune system from varying perspectives (Wang et al., 2019).

In addition, the major component of green coffee polyphenols and green tea polyphenols included in ASODI – chlorogenic acid (CGA) and epigallocatechin gallate (EGCG), respectively, have been demonstrated to exhibit many anti-inflammatory actions (Naveed et al., 2018) and inflammatory modulating effects (Pae et al., 2013), correspondingly. Barley leaf in ASODI contains an abundant source of essential vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that is important for the maintenance of normal physiological function in the human body. 

Furthermore, the natural antioxidant capacity of polyphenols and SOD from ASODI can eliminate free radicals to protect the human body’s cells from oxidative stress, which in turn minimizes the occurrence of inflammatory responses, that could potentially contribute to the HFMD severity and complications.

References
  1. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention – Hand Foot Mouth Disease. https://www.cdc.gov/features/handfootmouthdisease/index.html
  2. Cox et al., 2017. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fmicb.2017.02249/full#B30
  3. Masilamani et al., 2012. https://doi.org/10.1007/s12026-012-8331-5
  4. Mace et al., 2019. https://www.nature.com/articles/s41598-019-41687-z
  5. Gredel et al., 2008. https://sci-hub.ren/https://doi.org/10.1016/j.fct.2008.09.047
  6. Zhang et al., 1998. https://sci-hub.ren/https://doi.org/10.1093/jn/129.2.399
  7. Wang et al., 2019. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6471298/
  8. Naveed et al., 2018. https://sci-hub.ren/10.1016/j.biopha.2017.10.064
  9. Pae et al., 2013. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23835657/
  10. Raekiansyah et al., 2018. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29429035/
  11. Zhong et al., 2019. https://www.frontiersin.org/articles/10.3389/fimmu.2019.00737/full
  12. Awuci, 2020. https://www.iprjb.org/journals/index.php/IJF/article/view/1024
  13. Li et al., 2015. https://www.alliedacademies.org/articles/changes-in-serum-cytokine-levels-in-handfootandmouth-disease.html
  14. Andriantsitohaina et al., 2012. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.1017/S0007114512003406
  15. Azab et al., 2016. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21101321
  16. Calabriso et al., 2016. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules21091147
  17. Yahfoufi et al., 2018. https://sci-hub.se/https://doi.org/10.3390/nu10111618
  18. Spagnuolo et al., 2012. https://sci-hub.se/10.1111/j.1749-6632.2012.06599.x

What are the health benefits of turmeric and curcumin?

Sometimes, getting up in the morning takes a while. The muscles are tense, the bones are creaking and the floors are uncomfortable to touch. Joint pain and fatigue occur more frequently as we age. Some may even experience this in our early thirties as bad posture, lack of exercise, and unhealthy eating habits become a part of our daily lives.

A number of us might even find it tough to do simple daily things - going up the stairs becomes a chore and playing with our children is not as easy anymore. Many of us participate in sports or workouts to stay fit. However, without proper maintenance, the wear and tear of our body from repeated use becomes an obstacle for a normal, worry-free lifestyle. 

Proper nutrition and diet are important for a healthy body - after all, we are what we eat.

Many health professionals have recommended adding antioxidants, probiotics, and digestive enzymes to our daily food intake for a more wholesome diet. In recent years, curcumin has become more popular due to its many scientifically-proven health benefits. 

What is curcumin? Where does it derive from?

Curcumin is the most active compound found in turmeric, which is a relative of ginger. Turmeric is most often found in Southeast Asia and Indian subcontinents. It is widely used in the cuisines of India, China and Thailand as well as Ayurvedic medicine. Turmeric can turn any dish into a vibrant yellow-orange shade and flavour-wise, it is earthy with a tinge of peppery spice. You will find this irreplaceable flavour in most curry powders. 

What are the benefits of curcumin?

For centuries, turmeric has been widely used in India and China for medical treatments of dermatologic diseases, infection, stress and depression.

In more recent scientific researches, curcumin is found to have many benefits, including antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-cancer effects. 

Anti-cancer effect

Through various research conducted, curcumin’s anti-cancer effect includes preventing cancer growth, killing cancer cells, and alleviating treatment side effects. Lab studies have also shown that curcumin can help kill cancer cells and reduce the growth of new blood vessels in tumours.1

Anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects

Acute and chronic inflammation underlies most chronic illnesses including cardiovascular, neurodegenerative, and metabolic diseases to obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cancer. Curcumin fights inflammation at molecular level, thus it helps in preventing and even treating these diseases.

Curcumin is a potent antioxidant that can block free radicals and stimulates your body’s own antioxidant defenses. Free radicals can cause deterioration to the eye lens, inflammation of the joints, damage to the nerve cells in the brain, accelerate the ageing process, and increase risk of coronary heart disease among others. 

Due to its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects, curcumin can help prevent many types of illnesses including diabetus, obesity, neurodegenerative and cardiovascular diseases, skin diseases as well as allergies and asthma.

How does curcumin help with joint pain?

Joint pain is common even among young adults due to our living habits and many other factors. Inflammation of the joints is what causes pain as well as arthritis. Other than medication, food or supplements with anti-inflammatory and antioxidants can help with joint pain. 

While some may take pain medication for joint pain relief, long term usage can cause many undesirable side effects such as kidney damage and heart problems. Hence, many have sought for other types of treatment or supplements. 

With its strong anti-inflammatory and antioxidants traits, curcumin is a good alternative for joint pain relief. However, curcumin is poorly absorbed into the bloodstream and requires other substances like piperine (which can be found in black pepper) to enhance the absorption of curcumin in our bodies. 

Curcumin and black pepper are two of the main ingredients found in NeeFlex which can be taken daily to help deal with joint pain. Other ingredients in NeeFlex include collagen, moringa, cat’s claw, zinc-enriched yeast and vitamin C to help protect and rebuild joint cartilage while promoting healthy bones.

Improve your mornings and live your life healthily by adding turmeric into your diet or you can take it the easy way by drinking NeeFlex for lifelong benefits.

References:

Ravindran, Jayaraj, Sahdeo Prasad, and Bharat Aggarwal. “Curcumin and Cancer Cells: How Many Ways Can Curry Kill Tumor Cells Selectively?” The AAPS Journal  11, no. 3 (2009): 495-510. https://doi.org/10.1208/s122248-009-9128-x.

Betül Kocaadam & Nevin Şanlier (2017) Curcumin, an active component of turmeric (Curcumalonga), and its effects on health, Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition, 57:13, 2889-2895. https://doi.org/10.1080/10408398.2015.1077195