The Battle Between Antioxidants & Free Radicals – Make Sure the Antioxidants WIN!

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I’ve been doing some research about antioxidants of late. You see it everywhere: in health supplements, in beauty products, in anti-aging products…

Why are antioxidants all the rage? How do they work?

I asked my kids, “What happens when we leave apple slices out on the counter for some time?” They replied, “They go bad.”

Yes, indeed they do. They turn brown, get softer, then turn bad and rotten.

That’s exactly what the oxidizing process does to your body. When our body processes or metabolises oxygen, it creates free radicals. Cells in our body exposed to external factors (like pollution, radiation, cigarette smoke, natural aging, to name a few…) get oxidized. The process of oxidation is sped up by stress, alcohol, sunlight and other external factors too.  It’s a natural and unavoidable process.

Now when cells get oxidized, they become free radicals. If you remember your chemistry, free radicals are atoms or molecules with an unpaired electron. What this means is that free radicals are highly unstable and will go on a rampage to steal another electron from a nearby cell, in order to pair off its unpaired electron. If it steals from a healthy cell, that healthy cell in turn will become another free radical. This process will continue on and hence as time goes on, there will be an avalanche of free radicals in your body. During the process of free radical creation, some cells will be damaged and transform and mutate to become abnormal and diseased cells. As the process continues on, a chain reaction is created very quickly and if not treated, dangerous illnesses will affect the body, such as cancer, diabetes, skin diseases, heart and liver diseases and so on.

“The problem is, free radicals often injure the cell, damaging the DNA, which creates the seed for disease.”
(Source)

Here’s where antioxidants come in. From the name, “antioxidants” mean they “cancel out oxidants” or prevent oxidizing. Antioxidants will stop this “stealing electron” process explained above by providing an electron for the free radical, hence creating a stable atom or molecule. The process stops there because antioxidants are stable whether or not they gain or lose an electron.

“We have clear science about antioxidants, that our bodies need a Natural Antioxidant Defense Network, for lack of a better term,” Blumberg says. “Just like a country needs a military system, the human body needs defense workers at all levels — lieutenants, corporals, generals, staff sergeants – in the form of antioxidants.”
(Source)

So it follows that the more antioxidants you take in, the healthier you become and the less free radicals there will be in your body. The body creates antioxidants on its own too, but sometimes it is just not enough to fight all the free radicals that are generated especially if there is a severe illness.

Fresh fruits and vegetables contain loads of antioxidants essential for our body. Processed foods contain fewer antioxidants than fresh and uncooked foods, because preparation exposes food to oxygen.

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Some of the antioxidants found in food are:

  • Vitamin A: carrots, squash, broccoli, sweet potatoes, tomatoes (which gain their color from the compound lycopene), kale, mangoes, oranges, seabuckthorn berries, wolfberries (goji), collards, cantaloupe, peaches and apricots are particularly rich sources of beta-carotene, the major provitamin A carotenoid.
  • Vitamin C: citrus fruits (such as oranges, sweet lime, etc.), green peppers, broccoli, green leafy vegetables, black currants, strawberries, blueberries, seabuckthorn, raw cabbage and tomatoes.
  • Vitamin E: wheat germ, seabuckthorn, nuts, seeds, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, kiwifruit, vegetable oil, and fish-liver oil.
  • Alpha-carotene – carrots, winter squash, tomatoes, green beans, cilantro, Swiss chard
  • Beta-carotene – found in high concentrations in butternut squash, carrots, orange bell peppers, pumpkins, kale, peaches, apricots, mango, turnip greens, broccoli, spinach, and sweet potatoes.
  • Lutein – found in high concentration in spinach, kale, Swiss chard, collard greens, beet and mustard greens, endive, red pepper and okra
  • Lycopene – found in high concentration in cooked red tomato products like canned tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato juice and garden cocktails, guava and watermelons.
  • Zeaxanthin – best sources are kale, collard greens, spinach, turnip greens, Swiss chard, mustard and beet greens, corn, and broccoli
  • Astaxanthin – found naturally in red algae and animals higher in the marine food chain. It is a red pigment familiarly recognized in crustacean shells and salmon flesh/roe.

(Source)

In conclusion, antioxidants aren’t important only for people with illnesses. If you are healthy (or at least if you think you are), antioxidants are necessary to help PREVENT the free radicals chain reaction and thus prevent diseases from forming in the first place.

After all, the old adage of “Prevention is Better Than Cure” can’t be closer to the truth.

Arming ourselves and supplementing our bodies with a diet filled with antioxidants could be the best thing we could do for our health and our future.  Make this your goal this New Year.
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Breakfast of Champions: Overnight Oats

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Can I have a show of hands as to how many of you have succumbed to the latest fad that is Overnight Oats?

Me? I’m guilty as charged!

I was never a fan of oatmeal before this because I don’t really like it warm, but overnight oats presents oats in a chilled, almost dessert-like fashion….and I find that hard to resist!  It’s healthy, it’s nutritious, it’s tasty, and best of all, it saves me time preparing breakfast in the morning!

The concept of this healthy breakfast (or even tea-time snack) is downright simple.  Soak oats in milk or yogurt for at least 5 hours, thereafter the oats will be soft and mushy and ready to eat!  It’s a wholesome and nutritious meal too, if you ask me.

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The beauty of this is that we can add almost anything to Overnight Oats to suit our taste.  Dried fruit, fresh fruit, nuts, syrup, marmalade…anything goes!  Well, of course, if you add unhealthy stuff, you just reduce the overall healthiness factor of it.  A caveat though is that if you are going to add fresh fruit to your overnight oats, you need to add it in right before you eat it, and NOT leave it overnight.  This is also the reason why I hardly ever put fresh fruits in it…I’m too lazy to cut them up in the morning!

My current go-to Overnight Oats recipe is incredibly simple, and it’s all I ever make these days.

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What I put in my Overnight Oats:

  • Kefir (yes!  I found another yummy way to consume my homemade kefir, and this is definitely the healthier option.  It’s especially suitable for those who are lactose-intolerant and those who want to cut down on sugar from store-bought yogurt)
  • Rolled Oatmeal (I use the baby-size ones, so when they mush up, it’s really smooth)
  • Dried Cranberries
  • Flaxseed meal
  • Cinnamon powder

Yes!  It’s that easy!  I just mix these ingredients into a glass jar (like a recycled jam jar), give it a good stir, and leave it in the fridge before I go to bed.

The next morning, I have a sumptuous, nutritious breakfast ready!

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Note: to make these kid-friendly, you could substitute the kefir for yogurt or milk, and add some chopped bananas in the morning.

My kids don’t take this on a regular basis, but they have, on occasion, tried it.  Something is better than nothing, no?

So what’s YOUR favorite Overnight Oats concoction? :)

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Shhh!! It’s an Applecrumby & Fish Closed Door Event!

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…and you heard it first here on Giddy Tigers!  Don’t say I didn’t tell you!

Applecrumby & Fish, the online store renowned for providing luxurious and fine baby and kid products is having a very exciting event lined up!

Here are the deets:

There will be an Applecrumby & Fish VIP Spring Festival Closed Door Event on Saturday, Feb 7th 2015 from 10am – 3pm, for 300 invited VIP guests.   The venue of this event is at the Applecrumby & Fish showroom:

No 3, Lorong Teknologi C
OMNI/01 PJU 5
Taman Sains Selangor 1
Kota Damansara
47810 Petaling Jaya
Malaysia

This event will only be for 300 VIP guests on a first come first served basis.  As a VIP guest, you will be entitled to lucky draws to win premium giveaways from Applecrumby & Fish and also attend the closed door preview sales.

1) Lucky Draw wins – out of 300, 100 will walk away with gifts from RM45 to RM560. That would be a 33% chance of winning a premium gift from Applecrumby & Fish.

2) The balance 200 invited guests will still be entitled to care packs, CNY giveaways, as well as refreshments.

3) An exclusive CNY pre-view sale at Applecrumby & Fish showroom for these 300 guests. Discounts will be greater during the preview sale.

I would definitely want to go if I am based in KL, but since I’m not, there’s one less person to contend for a spot in the VIP list.

If you’re interested to get an exclusive ticket and invite to this exclusive closed door eventplease click on over to Applecrumby & Fish VIP Spring Festival Event to register yourself.

Closing date for registration is January 25th 2015, but hurry though, as tickets are given out on a first come first served basis.  Enjoy!!

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A Toast To 2014, and a Welcome To 2015!

Over the past 12 months, so many things have happened.  So many ups and downs, so many learning experiences and so many moments to cherish.  There were also “less than happy” moments, but the optimist in me chooses to brush those aside.

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Here’s a customary quick rundown before we herald in the new year of 2015.

  • I made a firm friendship with a fellow stay-at-home-mom, with whom I found I had so many things in common.  Our kids get along so well together and our interests are so similar, it almost feels like we are sister soulmates.  You know who you are, and I cherish our friendship to no end.  Thank you for being there for me this year. *hugs*
  • I have learnt to manage taking care of 3 kids throughout the day.  Taking baby with me in and out of the house several times a day for school runs and other errands is a skill on its own.
  • This year, “life began for me”, or so that’s what most people have been led to believe.  I don’t yet know what the future holds, but I pray that it will be a launchpad for a successful future ahead.
  • I found a little hobby that I churned into my little home business.  With Petit Gems, I now can make accessories for my little girls and myself, while selling some of them off too.  Makes me so happy when friends tell me how much they love my creations.
  • I started on my little garden this year.  I have some plants in my roof garden, and a few more in the balcony.  I have only been successful thus far harvesting spring onions, screwpine leaves (daun pandan) and really really tiny carrots, but it’s a good start for a non-green-finger person like me.  My flowering plants have been doing well though.  Throughout the process of greening my fingers, I have learnt so many things from germinating seeds to making my own natural fertilisers to making my own natural insect repellents.  Awesome stuff.
  • I’d like to think that I have been making a conscious effort to eat more healthily.  Not necessarily organic produce though, because who knows how “organic” they are when you purchase them from the stores, yes?  I’ve been taking more fresh fruit (whole or in juices), more vegetables and cutting down on dairy and red meat when I can.
  • In the last quarter of the year, I found the cure for my eczema.  The products I took (and am still taking) are natural, healthy and safe, and rejuvenates and nourishes my body from within.  Expelling the toxins that are the root cause of my eczema problems in the first place, and thereafter regenerating fresh new cells to replace the old damaged ones.  The solution is so simple, and yet it took me so many years to discover it.  All I can say is I wished I had found these products sooner.
  • I’ve been making good use of my kitchen.  Wish I had more opportunities to do so, but perhaps in the coming year. I was deprived on some occasions by my painful eczema hands, but since that is a problem of the past, I hope to bake and cook more.
  • I learnt to look past failures and disappointments and use them as learning examples.
  • I learnt that not everyone I thought I could trust would return that same trust, and that sometimes even the mere stranger can be more responsible than someone I have known for years.
  • I learnt to live, love and sometimes to just let go.

For the coming year, my immediate goal and resolution is to cultivate more patience and tolerance, and try to make some time for myself.  And also, a bonus goal to be more frugal and save more.

Happy New Year 2015, folks!  Here’s to a fantastic year ahead!

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I’ve Finally Found a Cure for My Eczema! … And it’s Natural & Safe!

Every eczema sufferer has a story to tell.  I’m sure each one of us has, at one point or another, met someone who has some degree of eczema.

An adult who has severe eczema on the toes. A child who suffers from the plague of eczema on the body.  The homemaker who has to resist washing her hands too often lest the eczema attacks her yet again.  Or a helpless little baby who can only attempt to scratch and scratch at the eczema itch.

Eczema is a condition that most people would be ashamed to disclose to everyone.  Although it is not contagious, it’s rather “scary” looking, and this condition is getting more prevalent nowadays, due to the increased pollution and allergents around us.  I am personally very self-conscious when my hand eczema is at its worst.  I shy away from shaking people’s hands and am embarrassed when I need to sign on the credit card slip.

And the general consensus is that there is NO real cure for eczema.  Even skin doctors tell you that.  Eczema sufferers are told that they can, at best, control the symptoms and just moisturise as often as they can, and then HOPE the attacks will stop or become less severe.  More often than not, steroidal creams are used to control eczema symptoms.  I’ve heard it all before.  And I might have possibly even tried everything before too.

If you have followed me long enough on my blog, you will know that I have really bad hand eczema (or atopic dermatitis). My severe hand eczema has been exacerbated since I had to do lots of washing regularly as a stay-at-home-mom.  Dry, scaly, itchy skin has been made worse by the constant skin cracking and bleeding.  Even opening up my palms fully hurt a whole lot.  Sometimes I have had to bear the pain, wear plastic gloves and continue doing what I have been doing.  I have also had to put off a great deal of baking and cooking on days when the pain was simply unbearable.

Creams and lotions have helped temporarily, but the eczema always returns with a vengeance.  It was like one step forward and then two steps back.

Because of the use of steroidal creams too, the skin on my hands have become extremely thin and fragile.  The slightest knock and it will tear.  Sometimes when I have cracks on my hands, even the water from the shower hurts me when I take my bath.

Such was my suffering in silence.

I tried a host of products from creams, ointments, oils, lotions, special soaps and watched my diet diligently.  These were all temporay reliefs at best.  I was looking for a permanent cure.

However, about two months ago, I was introduced to two products, touted to heal eczema from within.  Instead of topical application, these products nourish the body from within, providing the body with the supplements needed for moisture and rejuvenation.

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I was skeptical of course, because I was convinced I had tried everything out there.  Despite that, I told myself that I owed it to myself to give these products a chance.  After all, I’ve tried everything there is, so if these work, it would be a bonus.

Taking these were a breeze.  Hydrogenated water tastes exactly like water, so there was no big deal there.  And the capsules, I just swallowed them.  These were capsules loaded with the 6 most important carotenoids and 5 most important nutrients needed for the body.  It was like taking your fruits and veggies for the day, except that you were taking them sufficiently and in adequate amounts.

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During the first week of taking these supplements, I experienced the detoxification process, which is expected but varies from individual to individual depending on what ailments you are trying to cure.  The detoxification process is an inevitable stage where the body expels the toxins that cause the ailing condition, in this case, eczema.  My hands became drier and scalier, and there were even fresh cuts in between my fingers.  I was ready to throw in the towel.  Really.

But persevered I did.

And after the 6th day, I was rewarded with results, as the condition of my hands became better.  The dry skin slowly disappeared and the cuts and cracks closed up overnight.  I even discovered that I could get by without oils and creams on my hands for several hours without them drying up.  Previously, I had to make sure they were moisturised all the time so that they don’t crack.  Now it was as though my skin is being moisturised and hydrated from within.

It has been a little more than two weeks now that I have been faithfully taking these supplements and they are certainly my best decision yet.  These are rather painful pictures for me to share, but I just wanted to show how my skin has improved in a span of slightly more than 2 weeks!

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For the first time in such a long while, I can see the lines on my palm clearly and it looks like my skin has a healthy GLOW to it!  True, my skin still has room for improvement but they have definitely never felt better.  They also feel more resilient towards external factors and don’t crack or bleed as easily as before.

Just last week too, I discovered that now my hands don’t even itch when I eat shellfish!  Before this, I had been abstaining from shellfish because they made me itch, but I accidentally ate some in a bowl of soup last week, and I was pleased that my hands weren’t itchy at all!  Unbelievable but 100% true!  I could be on my way to diminishing my allergies for good!

My baby, who has been suffering for 17 months, is also taking these supplements to cure her eczema and I’m glad to say that she has never looked better.  She looks happier, more contented and is sleeping way better than before.

I’m so happy to have found these products, and I’m even more happy that this is extremely good news and a major breakthrough for all eczema sufferers out there.

THERE IS A CURE FOR ECZEMA.

Most importantly, it’s safe, natural and good for you.  And it’s steroid-free.

I’m living testament of that.

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