Five Important Things You Need to Know About Sunscreen

Sunny days in Singapore may come and go, but UV damage can stick around and leave its mark on your skin for a long time, and that’s why picking the right sunscreen matters a lot. However, you don’t always get the sun protection you wanted even if you do apply it, and there are many reasons why: it could be that you’re not applying enough, or that it’s not actually good sunscreen.

Here are five things you need to know before choosing one for the next time you need or want to spend time outdoors:

Expired sunscreen does nothing

You might still believe that that bottle might still be good even though you haven’t used it in a long time, but that’s really not the case. In fact, keeping it in your car or in areas with high temperatures can make it clump faster, which makes it less effective.

Watch out for Vitamin A

Some sunscreens have added vitamin A, which does have its benefits – it’s a moisturizing antioxidant with great anti-aging properties – but it increases the risk of skin lesions when it interacts with sunlight.

Another think you should be looking out for is the SPF rating. While higher numbers give better coverage, keep in mind that the best rating is actually 50, which is all that anyone could ever need. SPF ratings higher than 50 do nothing against sunburn.

Not all sunscreen is water-resistant

Swimmers are especially prone to getting a bad case of sunburn, so if you love to take a dip to cool down in the summer heat, be warned that there is a limit to how long sunscreen can stay “water-resistant”. To be safe, be sure to re-apply your sunscreen as soon you get out of the water and dry off, or after every two hours.

Good sunscreen protects you from TWO types of radiation

Ultraviolet light from the sun comes in two types: UVA, which penetrates even the thickest layer of your skin, and UVB, which only stops at the skin. The latter is responsible for sunburns, but it’s the former that can do much more damage.

And because most sunscreen only protects against UVB, you want to look for sunscreens that contain ingredients like zinc oxide and titanium dioxide, which help protect againt UVA.

Sunscreen can’t prevent skin cancer

There’s simply no proof that sunscreen is guaranteed protection against sunscreen, so it wouldn’t be a smart move to count on that alone. Taking other steps like staying in the shade, and wearing a wide-brimmed hat along with applying sunscreen is the best way to stay protected against the sun.

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Get to Know the Good Bacteria in Your Food

You might have heard of the name good bacteria in advertisements of probiotic or super food, but do you know which microorganisms are considered beneficial and what they can do for our health?

Not all the germs we come in contact with or live in our body can cause diseases. In fact, a lot of bacteria help keep our bodies function properly, particularly by breaking down our food.

Probiotics

The word probiotic refers to both the method of preparation of a food or ingredient and the act of introducing good microorganisms into the body. Probiotic food often comes from fermented food, but fermentation has been overtaken by other methods of food preparation, that is why most of us don’t get the good bacteria in our food.

By adding probiotic food in your diet, you will improve not just your digestion, but your overall health because of the efficiency in nutrient absorption and conversion. The best probiotic food are yogurt, fermented milk like kefir, fermented soy like miso, fermented tea like kombucha, green pickle, and pickled sauerkraut like kimchi.

The Good Bacteria

These are the good bacteria you might find in your probiotic food.

Bacillus coagulans

This good bacterium is used to treat various gastrointestinal problems, such as diarrhea, irritable bowel syndrome, and inflammatory bowel disease. It’s even useful while recovering from respiratory diseases and immune response diseases. Bacillus coagulans is recommended as a dietary supplement besides the medication for treatment of these diseases.

Lactobacillus acidophilus

The most well-known good bacterium is the Lactobacillus acidophilus, but other lactobacilli (more than 80 species to date are considered probiotic) are also used in probiotic food and supplements to help in the digestion of food. L. acidophilus is naturally found in our intestines and is responsible for the production of hydrogen peroxide and lactic acid, which can create an unsafe environment for possibly harmful bacteria in our body. It’s not that hard to repopulate your L. acidophilus because they’re quite common in yogurt.

Streptoccocus thermophilus and S. salivarius

S. thermophilus is also used to treat diarrhea, nausea, abdominal cramps, other digestion problems, and most importantly, lactose intolerance problems. They’re quite common in probiotic products such as mozzarella cheese, yogurt, and other fermented dairy food. Meanwhile, S. salivarius has been found to help improve the symptoms of bad breath, which is probably why its genus refers to the saliva.

Bifidobacterium bifidum and B. breve

Bifidobacterium bifidum is known to help people with stomach ulcers, because they can repair the damage caused by a harmful bacterium called Helicobacter pylori. On the other hand, Bifidobacterium breve is known to help improve the symptoms of childhood constipation according to several studies.

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These 6 Foods Could be Causing Your Body Odor

You know how sometimes you can just tell that the friend you’re hanging out with had garlic rice for lunch? That is because some food items can leave odors that can make you stink from a distance. Since these foods can cause you unpleasant body odor, it is best to avoid them based on your schedule. For instance, you may want to avoid going to Chipotle on a first date.

1. Cake
Actually, not just cakes, but anything high in sugar can cause you smelling unpleasant down there. Avoid smelling bad in your nether regions by swapping sweet treats with healthier food options, like veggies and low-sugar content fruits.

2. French Fries
Yes, your favorite side dish can cause body odor. French fries and any deep-fried foods stay in your stomach for longer time before they are totally digested. The oil will stay in your body for quite some time, turn rancid and can make you feel gassy—and worse, make you sweat out the scent. If you must eat anything deep-fried, pair it with green veggies to help with the digestion.

3. Asparagus
Have you experienced having asparagus for dinner and then noticed that your pee smells funky afterwards? It’s real and can be really gross. When going out on a dinner date, ditch the asparagus and have a mix of green leafy instead. The smell caused by asparagus isn’t just in your urine, but could also be found on other parts of your body.

4. Spicy Food
Skip the hot peppers: spicy food can make you stink. While it’s great for your metabolism and squashing your cravings, it can also lead to body odor due to the gases release through your skin’s pores. Plus, the stink can last for hours.

5. Red Meat
Slowing down on your red meat consumption isn’t just excellent for your health, but also for your scent. Red meat is naturally more difficult to digest, meaning it linger in your digestive system longer. When it does, it will interact with your body’s natural bacteria, causing your sweat to stink. No need to skip meat altogether, though. Just lessen your consumption and go for healthier alternatives like chicken and white meat.

6. Alcohol
Ever wonder why you smell weird after a night of booze with friends? That is because alcohol easily slips into the bloodstream, releasing a weird tangy smell wafting from you when you’ve had too much alcohol. During a night out, make sure to drink lots of water while also pacing your liquor intake to dilute the alcohol.

There’s no need to completely cut off any of these foods—moderation is key; or at least, avoid them on days that smelling fresh matters a lot.

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Tips to Maintain an Excellent Eyesight

Because of the importance and widespread use of smartphones and computers today, many of us fail to notice their effects on our eyesight. The importance of seeing well is already obvious. But if we take our eyesight for granted, it can lead to a lot of problems later in our life. So, here are some of the things you can do to keep your eyes sharp and clear.

The concern with electronic devices…
As mentioned early, electronic devices have become a staple in our everyday lives. But they can have negative effects on our eyesight.

Take regular breaks
If you have to look at your computer for long periods of time at work, make it a habit to take regular breaks. Take your eyes off the screen for just a minute or two to avoid strain. It will also help if you look at objects that are colored differently from your computer screen. If you keep staring at your phone or computer screens, it might eventually cause headaches and blurry vision.

Adjust your phone’s brightness
Adjust the screens brightness to match with the environment. If you’re in a dark or dimly lit room, don’t turn the brightness up. A lot of people like to do this for some reason but it really does your eyes more harm than good. The same case if you’re outdoors. If your screen brightness is too low, you’ll have to squint and you might strain your eyes from all the effort.

Everyday things you can do…

Drink a lot of water
Being well-hydrated has a lot of benefits. It has positive effects on our skin, organs, and even our eyes. One way having enough water can benefit our eyesight is that it allows our eyes to clean itself better when we are blinking. It can also help us avoid having dry eyes which can be annoying to deal with.

Have the right amount of sleep
Sleep is important simply because it gives the eyes much needed rest. You’re awake for most of the day and your everyday activities might affect your eyesight if they are not allowed to rest. Sleep also allows the blood vessels to replenish and flow to the eyes more efficiently. That way, we become less prone to any eye problems in the future.

Go exercise
Though it doesn’t look like it, having regular exercise can also benefit our eyesight. It doesn’t affect our eyesight directly though. Instead, it has something to do with blood pressure and the like. High blood pressure, for example, can negatively affect our eyes indirectly. High cholesterol could also contribute to certain eye problems. By exercising, we can lower the risk of such diseases which will also help us to protect our eyes.

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The Importance of Warming Up and Doing It Correctly

Whether you go to ActiveSG, The Pit, or any gym for this matter, there will always be that one guy who heads to the weight rack directly and skips out on his warm-up. People like to do this, for some reason, but the importance of warming up cannot be stressed enough. From reducing muscles soreness, injury prevention, muscle and mind preparation, and etc., you simply should not skip your warm-ups.

Better blood circulation and oxygenation
Having a proper warm-up translates to better blood circulation all around the body. This also promotes better blood flow in and out of muscle tissues, particularly for the ones that will be active during a workout. Warming up also improves the delivery of oxygen through the blood, especially if you’re doing light cardio exercises. This facilitates better blood flow and the cleaning out of toxins left in the muscles.

You won’t gain muscles if you’re injured
This probably summarizes it all. The biggest reason why warming up is always recommended is because of injury prevention. When you’re all warmed up, it reduces the risk of you pulling a muscle. Imagine a situation where you skipped your warm up. On that day is your arm day, but because you didn’t warm up you suddenly tear your bicep mid-workout. As a result, you won’t be able to return to the gym for a while. You’ve now wasted time recovering instead of making gains.

Warming up properly
• Avoid static stretching
A common mistake people make is that they assume that stretching in place can be considered a warm-up. This is actually bad because stretching a “cold” muscle will cause its microfibers to tear, hindering your performance and weakening the muscle in the long run. Static stretching is better as a post-workout routine to reduce muscle soreness.

• Start slow
Essentially, it’s called a warm-up because you’re “warming up” the muscles before putting pressure on them. So if your lifting weights, of course you’re not going to lift heavy during your warm-up set. Start slowly from a lighter weight and gradually increase it during your warm up. By the time you get to your workout sets, your muscles will be ready.

• Work on mobility
The warm-up is also a time to practice your form and work on your mobility. As far as muscles are concerned, you can only get a good flex and stretch if your joints are able to hit the maximum range of motion. You won’t be able to achieve that if your joints are still stiff. Not only will this help you with flexible joints and limbs, but it also reduces the risk of injury, which really is the objective here.

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Food Allergy Vs. Food Intolerance

Food allergy and food intolerance is more common than you think. However, not as many know the difference of the two, or at least know which of the two conditions they are suffering from. On one hand, you may be allergic to, say, dairy; but it could also be that you’re lactose-intolerant. If you want to find out what that bloated feeling really means, start by knowing what sets food allergy and intolerances apart.

Food Allergy
This condition is an immune system reaction; when the body mistakes the food—usually a protein—as harmful and tries to fight it. Usually, symptoms of food allergy show up within minutes up to a couple of house and can range from mild reaction to life-threatening cases. Such symptoms include difficulty in breathing, hives, nausea, and in worst cases, anaphylaxis or a total-body shock.

Food Intolerance
Conversely, food intolerance is more of a digestive condition, which can be caused by one of these two things: the body’s lack of enzymes to digest the food and your sensitivity to a particular food additive such as gluten and lactose. Unlike food allergy, the reaction of food intolerance isn’t as severe and appears within 48 years. Surely, the symptoms are not pleasant, but it’s easier to remedy than allergic reaction.

Tips to Minimize Onset of Symptoms
If food allergies and intolerances have something in common, it is that they are both preventable and manageable. Here are some tips to keep in mind.

1. Read the Label
Nowadays, pre-packed foods contain a lot of ingredients. Take the time to go through the labels and read the ingredients. For someone with food allergies and intolerances, make it a habit to be aware of what you are putting into your body to save yourself from unpleasant reactions.

2. Keep track of the food you eat
This is very helpful for those with food intolerances. Keeping a food diary will help determine which food(s) could be causing the problem.

3. Look for substitutes
Whether you have allergy or intolerance, you really need to avoid those food that causes the reaction. Gluten, for example—should be part of your diet as it is a great source of fiber. However, if your body reacts to gluten, you have to avoid. Instead, eat more quinoa to make up for the nutrient you need.

4. Always have on-hand medicine
Always have antihistamines ready at home, and make sure to bring some wherever you go. Because, really, you may not always know what ingredient in your food may trigger your allergic or intolerance reactions.
The bottom line is, talk to your healthcare professional ASAP if you think you have either of the two. They will not only treat your reactions, but will also tell you exactly what to do to help manage your condition.

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