Probiotics & Prebiotics – What’s the Difference?

 





















Probiotics and prebiotics have been the center of discussion for years now when we talk about a healthy digestive system. But before you jump onto the bandwagon of including probiotics or prebiotics into your regime, read on to learn more about the different roles of these two.

Having a healthy gut not only ensures a healthy digestive system but impacts physical and mental health, as many important health functions occur in the gut. The complex community of bacteria in the gut manufactures vitamins and produces short chain fatty acids which strengthen the immune system.

One key indicator of having a healthy gut is through having the right balance of good and bad bacteria. This balance is easily disturbed as the gut is highly sensitive to our lifestyle habits such as chronic stress, poor diet, long term medication usage, tobacco and alcohol consumption.

This is where probiotics and prebiotics come in handy.


1.     Probiotics

Probiotics refer to the group of “good” bacteria that provide health benefits when ingested. The most common probiotic bacteria that have been widely studied are Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium.

Source of Probiotics

  • Fermented foods such as yogurt, tempeh, kimchi, sauerkraut.
  • Supplement form

Benefits

Different probiotics have been found to address different health conditions, which is why most supplements combine a few species in a product. At the same time, it is essential to select the right probiotic that addresses your health concern.

  • Studies have found the beneficial effects of probiotics including:
  • Alleviating digestive disorders including bloating, constipation, diarrhea and gas
  • Reducing inflammation – the hallmark of diseases
  • Enhance immune function to protect against infections
  • Reduce symptoms of anxiety and depression
  • Aid in weight management

 

2.     Prebiotics

On the other hand, prebiotics refer to a group of carbohydrates that the human body cannot digest. However, these non-digestible carbohydrates serve as a food source for the gut’s healthy bacteria. Prebiotics selectively stimulate the growth of good bacteria in the gut, especially the Lactobacilli and Bifidobacteria group, which in turn provide the health benefits associated with these bacteria.

Source of Prebiotics

  • Fruits, vegetables and whole grains such as apples, bananas, berries, legumes, peas, flaxseed, green vegetables. 
  • Added to food products especially baby formula and yogurt. These are usually labelled as “fortified with galactooligosaccharides, fructooligosaccharides, oligofructose, chicory fiber, or inulin”. 
  • Supplement form

Benefits

There are plenty of ongoing research to understand the full effects of prebiotics on gut health. Prebiotics have been shown to:

  • Support growth of probiotics
  • Improve calcium absorption
  • Fermented by gut bacteria to product short-chain fatty acids, which improves gut integrity and prevents Leaky Gut syndrome, which leads to inflammation in the body.

In summary, probiotics themselves are the “good” live bacteria, while prebiotics are the foods for these bacteria. Hence, introducing probiotics and prebiotics can help ensure that you have the right balance of microflora in the gut for optimal health.

To introduce probiotics and prebiotics, practise a balanced diet that is abundant with a variety of high fiber fruits and vegetables. Fermented foods are a great option as well. At the same time, limit foods that are high in sugar and are processed, as these stimulate growth of bad bacteria in the gut, which ultimately affects the balance, regardless of how much probiotics you’re taking,

For supplements, select a supplement that contains both probiotics and prebiotics. However, it is best to speak to your healthcare provider to guide you in selecting the right supplement that addresses your needs as not all probiotics work the same way, and certain forms may not be suitable for those who are lactose intolerant or with yeast (Candida) overgrowth.

 

Reference

 

1.      Bischoff, S. C. (2011). 'Gut health': a new objective in medicine? BMC medicine9(1), 1-14.

2.      Quigley, E. M. (2013). Gut bacteria in health and disease. Gastroenterology & hepatology9(9), 560.

3.      Whisner, C. M., & Castillo, L. F. (2018). Prebiotics, bone and mineral metabolism. Calcified Tissue International102(4), 443-479.

4.      Slavin, J. (2013). Fiber and prebiotics: mechanisms and health benefits. Nutrients5(4), 1417-1435.

5.      Esgalhado, M., Kemp, J. A., Damasceno, N. R., Fouque, D., & Mafra, D. (2017). Short-chain fatty acids: A link between prebiotics and microbiota in chronic kidney disease. Future microbiology12(15), 1413-1425.

 

 

By Nutritionist 

Zuanne
Anna Hoo Clinic



八个提高免疫力的建议

 

传染疾病流行,免疫系统为我们抵御各种病毒、细菌等微生物的感染。不管什么病毒袭来,强大的免疫系统便是人体抵抗病毒感染的第一道防线。

那么,什么是免疫力?怎样增强免疫力呢?

免疫力是指人体免疫系统抵抗有害微生物和疾病的能力。我们的免疫系统极为复杂,包括免疫器官、免疫细胞、以及免疫分子等。大家都知道增强免疫力就可以提高我们的抵抗力,听起来很有道理,但是事实上却不容易。

首先,免疫系统不是一个简单的器官,不仅组织庞大、成员众多,而是一个极其复杂精密又相互调节的系统。其次,对于免疫反应的复杂性和相互作用,我们还有许多未知的东西,免疫细胞并不是越多越好,免疫反应也不是越强越好。免疫系统要发挥良好的作用,需要系统各部分之间的数量和功能上的平衡与和谐,而不仅仅是加强某一项。

提高免疫力没有神药,保持身体的整体健康是根本。保障有强力健康的免疫系统,除了我们无法控制的遗传因素之外,最重要的是坚持健康的生活方式。尽量避免不健康的环境和习惯,这样身体的每个部分包括免疫系统的功能自然会更好。

近日,哈佛大学的专家们给出了提高免疫力的八个建议

01 营养均衡的健康饮食 

就像任何战斗部队都需要供给一样,免疫系统作为身体的自卫军需要优质而有规律的营养供应。均衡而健康营养的饮食很重要。科学家们早就意识到生活贫困和营养不良的人更容易得传染病。老年人的饮食营养和免疫力低下之间也存在着相关性。老年人往往吃得少,饮食多样性也不够。许多研究发现,与年轻人相比,老年人不仅更容易患上传染病而且死亡率最高。即便在富裕国家,一种被称为微量营养素营养不良的情况也普遍存在。微量营养素营养不良是指缺乏某些必需的维生素和微量矿物质。这些微量营养素必须从饮食或食物补充剂中获得。对于食物摄入不足或者缺乏某些营养素的人群,食物补充剂可能会有帮助。

02 保持健康的体重

如何知道你的体重是否在健康范围?测量身体质量指数Body Mass Index (BMI) 简单易行。BMI的计算方法是将成人的体重(以公斤) 除以身高 (以米为单位)的平方。亚洲人的评估标准是:健康的BMI范围为18.522.923.0-27.4 属于超重;超过27.5属于肥胖。研究显示拥有健康的BMI,尤其是在理想范围内的人,死于疾病的风险较低。

03 经常锻炼

 

运动改善心血管健康,降低血压,帮助控制体重,并预防各种疾病。但这是否有助于自然增强免疫系统并维系免疫系统的健康呢?就像健康饮食一样,运动可以促进整体健康,从而促进免疫系统的健康。它还可以直接通过促进血液循环,使免疫细胞和免疫因子更流畅地达到全身各处,更有效地发挥其保护作用。

04 保证充足的睡眠

睡眠是身体休息并恢复生机的时候。虽然每个人需要的睡眠时间不一样,但通常都需要7-9个小时的优质睡眠。少熬夜早休息,是增强人体免疫功能很重要的生活习惯。

05 减轻压力

现代医学已认识到身心之间的紧密联系。各种各样的疾病,从胃部不适到心脏病,都可能与情绪或压力有关。科学家正积极研究压力与免疫功能之间的关系,尤其是长期压力状态对人体免疫功能的影响。适当缓解压力有助于整体健康,也会助于促进免疫系统的功能。

06 少吸烟,少喝酒

吸烟不仅增加患癌风险,还会损害人体免疫系统。对吸烟的人群来说,如果希望健康,最需要做的事就是戒烟。

07 坚持良好的卫生习惯


保持良好的卫生习惯包括经常洗手、不吃生肉、分餐制、用公筷等,以避免微生物感染。       

08 按时接种疫苗

按时接种疫苗。疫苗可激发免疫系统,在病毒感染之前帮助我们的身体做好准备。

 

结论:

防疫期间,我们得靠自己提升自身免疫力,对自己的健康自律。以上的专家建议供大家做个参考。与其服用各种神药,通过均衡的饮食和健康的生活方式自然增强免疫系统会更好。愿大家齐心抗疫,早日战胜病毒!

 

Anna Hoo Clinic

Lara 营养师

 

文献参考:

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-to-boost-your-immune-system

 

 

 

 

 

 


What is Cholesterol?

 

Most of us are aware that high cholesterol has become one of the common metabolic syndromes which contributes to health risks such as heart attack and stroke. As we age, cholesterol levels might increase with the triggers from environmental factors such as food, stress, and a sedentary lifestyle. A routine blood test and adjustment of lifestyle help to reverse the illness. Unfortunately most of the time it is not been taken seriously because high cholesterol does not manifest symptoms. 

What is Cholesterol?

Cholesterol is a soft fatty substance mainly produced in the liver and also found in animal-derived food. Not all types of cholesterol are bad for your health. Cholesterol in the blood is carried by a protein transporter called a lipoprotein. High-density lipoprotein (HDL) is known as “good” cholesterol which supports heart health while Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) is known as “bad” cholesterol which deteriorates our health.  

Functions of cholesterol and side effects of high LDL cholesterol.

Cholesterol assists in the production of vital substances such as hormones, bile acids, and vitamin D in our body. It is also a building block for human tissues which helps to maintain the integrity and fluidity of the cell membranes. Hence, it is important for the body to produce cholesterol for optimum cell functioning. The problem starts when over-production of cholesterol or overconsumption of fatty food leads to high LDL cholesterol in the blood.

Excess LDL cholesterol joins with fats and other materials to build up in the inner wall of blood vessels creating plaque. The plaque causes narrowing of the blood vessel and blocks blood from flowing normally. The risk of heart attack and stroke occurs when the plagues break loose and block the flow of blood and oxygen to the heart and brain tissues respectively. To avoid such incidents to happen, it is recommended to keep the LDL and HDL cholesterol levels in the normal range. Unlike LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol promotes cardiovascular health by removing the “bad” cholesterol from the blood vessel and eliminate it through the liver.

Possible triggers and prevention of Hypercholesterolemia.

1) Genetics

High cholesterol can be inherited but it depends on the lifestyle which makes it to be treatable.

2) Diet

A poor diet with a high intake of processed food, fast food, fried food, and an excessive amount of animal products may increase the cholesterol level.

Food high in cholesterol includes internal organs, egg yolk, fish roe, squid, and cuttlefish.  Limit intake of dairy products, meat, and poultry as it is a moderately high cholesterol food. Choose food with less or no cholesterol such as vegetables, fruits, beans, and fish. Consume food high in healthy fats such as olives, avocado, salmon, tuna, chia seed, flaxseed, nuts, and sacha inchi oil to increase good cholesterol HDL.

Watch out of the food labels with “cholesterol-free” because most of the time this processed food may not contain cholesterol but rich in Trans fat and saturated fat which may trigger the liver to produce cholesterol in the body. Check on the nutritional labelling and ingredient list for a better understanding of the fat intake. 

3) Lack of exercise

Inactiveness causes an increase in LDL cholesterol therefore recommended to do 30 minutes of cardio exercises 5 days a week. Active lifestyle promotes the production of HDL cholesterol. Being overweight or obese also impacts your cholesterol levels.

4) Smoking and alcohol drinking

Cigarette smoking and alcohol contribute to inflammation and triggers cholesterol deposits in the blood vessels. Smoking also reduces the “good” cholesterol HDL in the blood and on the other hand, drinking alcohol may increase triglyceride production. Therefore quit smoking and limit alcohol intake may help to reverse and prevent hypercholesterolemia.

5) Stress and sleep

High-stress level spikes the cortisol hormone production which eventually causes the body to demand to make more cholesterol. Hence, relieve stress through activities such as exercise, meditation and also catch up with your sleep. Sleeping early and a minimum of 7 hours of sleep may stimulate the body’s healing and recovery process.

In conclusion, high cholesterol condition matters and it is a reversible condition with a healthy lifestyle practice. Therefore when it comes to cholesterol, follow 3C key points which are CHECK, CHANGE, and CONTROL.

By Nutritionist

Moga
Anna Hoo Clinic

 

REFERENCES

Zampelas.A* and Magriplis.E. New Insights into Cholesterol Functions: A Friend or an Enemy? Nutrients. 2019 Jul; 11(7): 1645.

American Heart Association. 2020. Understanding & Managing Cholesterol. https://www.heart.org/en/health-topics/cholesterol/hdl-good-ldl-bad-cholesterol-and-triglycerides

 

Omega-6 : Omega-3’s Counterpart


Omega-6 Fatty Acids

While we’re probably familiar about the importance of Omega-3 fatty acids by now, there is another form of polyunsaturated fatty acid – or ‘good fat’, that complements Omega-3 and is just as vital for health, which is Omega-6.  

What are Omega-6 Fatty Acids?

Just like Omega-3s, Omega-6 fatty acids are essential fatty acids, which means that we need to obtain them through food intake.

Omega-6 fatty acids play a role in providing energy, stimulating skin and hair growth, maintaining bone health, regulating metabolism and have been shown to treat symptoms of chronic diseases.

At the same time, Omega-6 fatty acids produce eicosanoids which play an important role in the immune system by fighting cell damage and regulating pain. However, too much of a good thing raises a concern as excessive pro-inflammatory eicosanoids increase the risk of inflammation.

In that case, do we actually need Omega-6?

Yes, based on the Malaysia Recommended Nutrient Intake 2017, Omega-6 intake is recommended at 3-7% of our total energy intake.

The increased risk of inflammation associated with Omega-6 isn’t due to Omega-6 fatty itself, but rather, due to the imbalance in intake of Omega 6 & Omega-3 (the anti-inflammatory fatty acid) characterized by our diet today, which involves low intake of Omega-3 but high intake of not only Omega-6, but also saturated fat and trans fat.

Hence, consuming a balanced amount of Omega-6 and Omega-3 plays the deciding factor towards reaping the benefits of both types of fat. The recommended healthy ratios of Omega-6 to Omega-3 intake are between 1-to-1 and 4-to-1.

To put into perspective, diet of the human hunter–gatherer population in the Paleolithic period, which included large amounts of both Omega-6 and Omega-3 in meat, plants, fish, nuts and berries presented a balanced ratio of 1-2:1, which made a significant contribution to human evolution by influencing and allowing cognitive development.

In contrast, the Omega-6/Omega-3 ratio of the typical Malaysian diet today is about 10:1, while Western diets have a much higher ratio of 15:1.


Benefits of Omega-6

·       Heart Health

When Omega-6 fatty acids are used to replace saturated fat (which is usually found in red meat, butter, coconut oil and dairy), there is a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease. Heart disease has been the leading cause of death in Malaysia for more than a decade, due to high prevalence of risk factors including obesity, smoking, high cholesterol, hypertension and diabetes, which is interrelated with nutrition as well. 

·       Diabetes

Gamma linolenic acid, a form of Omega-6, has been shown to reduce symptoms of nerve pain in type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. Furthermore, it has been shown that those who had higher levels of omega-6 fatty acid in the form of linolenic acid were 35% less likely to develop type 2 diabetes.

 

How to Achieve a Balanced Ratio of Omega 6 & Omega 3

·       Rotate between different protein sources by substituting meat intake with fish, beans and pulses, which are lower in saturated fat, but higher in Omega 3 & 6.

·       In cooking or baking, swap butter and lard (which are high in saturated fat) with oils such as olive oil or avocado oil.

·       Select oils which are low in saturated fat, and contains a balanced amount of Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio. Examples include:

o   Sacha inchi oil: 1: 1.3 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio

o   Flaxseed oil: 1: 3 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio

o   Chia seed oil: 1: 3 Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio 

·       Limit deep fried foods, commercial baked goods, and processed foods which are high in trans fats.


By Nutritionist

Zuanne
Anna Hoo Clinic



References :

1.     Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2017). Recommended Nutrient Intake for Malaysia. Kuala Lumpur.

2.      Simopoulos AP. The importance of the ratio of omega-6/omega-3 essential fatty acids. Biomed Pharmacother. 2002 Oct;56(8):365-79. doi: 10.1016/s0753-3322(02)00253-6. PMID: 12442909.

3.     Farvid, M. S., Ding, M., Pan, A., Sun, Q., Chiuve, S. E., Steffen, L. M., ... & Hu, F. B. (2014). Dietary linoleic acid and risk of coronary heart disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis of prospective cohort studies. Circulation130(18), 1568-1578.

4.     Ministry of Health Malaysia. (2017). Clinical Practice Guidelines on Primary & Secondary Prevention of Cardiovascular Disease 2017. Malaysia. Retrieved from https://www.moh.gov.my/moh/resources/Penerbitan/CPG/CARDIOVASCULAR/3.pdf

5.     Wu, J. H., Marklund, M., Imamura, F., Tintle, N., Korat, A. V. A., De Goede, J., ... & for Heart, C. (2017). Omega-6 fatty acid biomarkers and incident type 2 diabetes: pooled analysis of individual-level data for 39 740 adults from 20 prospective cohort studies. The lancet Diabetes & endocrinology5(12), 965-974.

 


Nutrients You Need To Prevent Cutaneous Aging

 
















Cutaneous aging is an aging process that involves both biological aging and extrinsic aging due to inflammations, pollutions, toxins exposure, poor nutrition, and sunlight. Cutaneous aging results in the degrading of skin features and results in wrinkling, loss of elasticity, laxity, pigmentation, and rough-textured appearance.

The skin is the largest and visible organ, it shows obvious signs of aging. When skin ages naturally it results in thin, dry skin, fine wrinkles, and gradual dermal atrophy. However, with induced skin aging through environmental challenges, the skin may exhibit coarse wrinkles, loss of elasticity, laxity, pigmentation, and rough-textured appearance.

To get a young and beautiful appearance, we can slow down skin aging and helps to recover skin damages through nutrients which has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.

1) Vitamin C

Food source: citrus fruits, kiwi, bell pepper, berries, currant, guava, broccoli, and spinach

  •  Increases collagen synthesis in the skin
  •  Lightening of skin pigmentation
  •  UV sun protection

2) Vitamin E

Food source: Sunflower seed, hazelnut, avocado, squash, tomato, mango, almond, and kiwi

  • Work with vitamin C to protect skin damage from UV light
  • Prevent skin aging by inhibiting lipid peroxidation

3) Carotenoid

Food source: Cantaloupe, mangoes, papaya, carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, and pumpkin

  • Reduction of sunburn
  • Protect against skin cancer

4) Vitamin D3

Source: Fatty fish like salmon, and, egg yolks

  • Contributes to skin cell growth, repair, and metabolism
  • Destroy free radicals that can cause premature aging

5) Polyphenols

Source: Cocoa powder, berries, olives, flaxseed, nuts, green tea, herbs, and spices

  • Inhibiting collagen degradation and increase collagen synthesis
  • Reduce skin inflammations

6) Proteins

Source: Fish, chicken, beef, lamb, pork, peas, dark green leafy vegetables, and broccoli

  • Repair of skin tissues
  • Provides collagen and elastin for skin firmness and elasticity

7) Water

  • Maintain skin internal balance and tissue function
  • Prevent skin dryness

8) Fatty acids (Omega 3)

Source: Salmon, olive oil, flaxseed, walnut, chia seed, and, sacha inchi oil

  • Promotes skin regeneration
  • Prevent serious skin diseases

9) Co-enzyme Q 10

Source: Meat, fish, broccoli, pistachios, lentils, soybean, cabbage, and, organ meat

  • Promote skin cells to repair
  • Reduce sun damage


Factors trigger skin aging

  • High trans-fat intake
  • High sugar and baked goods intake
  • Processed food
  • Alcohol intake
  • Smoking
  • Poor sleeping habit




By Nutritionist

Moga
Anna Hoo Clinic

 

References

Cao.C, Xiao.Z, Wu.Y and Ge.C. 2020. Diet and Skin Aging—From the Perspective of Food Nutrition. Nutrients. 2020 Mar; 12(3): 870.

Zhang. S and Duan. E. 2018. Fighting against Skin Aging. Cell Transplant. 2018 May; 27(5): 729–738.

Cho. S. 2014. The Role of Functional Foods in Cutaneous Anti-aging. J Lifestyle Med. 2014 Mar; 4(1): 8–16.