Get Rid of the Gas Mask!

Do you have any trouble in farting? Or has farting ever made you in trouble?

If you are a man who loves to eat broccoli, onion, eggs, and eat fast, and don’t exercise regularly, you are more likely to have experience the embarrassing torment—in a meeting, in an elevator or in your boss’s office!

Kids might think pop-stars or celebrities don’t fart, but that’s just something adorable innocence. Everybody farts, and healthy people fart every day. The gas is produced by bacteria in intestine with undigested foods and swallowed air; it is a combination of gases: nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, methane, and hydrogen sulfide. Most people produce about 1 to 4 pints gas from the gut per day and pass them 10 to 25 times a day (female farts less than man).

What causes excessive gas?

In general, certain foods, eating habits, and physical activity are the major causes for more gas. Some kinds of sugars (Raffinose, Fructose, and Lactose) can’t be digested if you lack of those enzymes in your small intestine. For example, people with lactose intolerance experience bloating and large amount of gas since the undigested lactose is produced (fermented) by bacteria. Most starches, including pasta, corn, wheat, which can’t be broken down thoroughly in small intestine, cause fermentation in large intestine with the help of gut bacteria.

 

 

 

 

Eating fast also causes excessive gas. Because you don’t chew the foods thoroughly, they couldn’t be digested easily; also, when eating fast you gulp a lot of air in your digest tract, which will exhale from your butt. Besides, physical inactivity also contributes to the gas indirectly. When the waste can’t expel regularly as you are sitting a lot, the gut bacteria have more time to ferment the undigested residues, which produces more gas.

Why sometimes the gas smells so bad?

Healthy fart doesn’t have much odor, which won’t cause too much problem since you can silently leak the gas out without anyone notice. What matters a lot is the stinky smell from the unusual fart. That is super embarrassing; trust me if you haven’t experience it ever, because I, uh, yeah, you know it.

The stinky smell comes from the sulfur of the foods you eat. The richer sulfur in the foods, the more stinky your gas likely to be. After fermented by the bacteria, sulfur is converted into hydrogen sulfide and that is the culprit of the smell.

 

What can come to rescue?

Since farting is a common problem, though there is no single panacea, physicians and scientists have developed lots of ways based on different causes (foods, eating habit, and exercise) to help you.

  • Cut portion or avoid foods that make you fart: look back to the foods when you experience extra gas, then try to eat less next time. For those who have intolerance for specific foods, for example those who are lactose intolerance, you have to avoid the foods;
  • Eat slowly and try smaller meals: chew thoroughly and swallow slowly can help you stomach and small intestine digest foods;
  • Let’s move: keep regular exercise in your calendar. It not only can increase your gut health and avoid excess gas, it also enhance help regulate body weight and prevent many diseases.

 

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Rescue my Appetite–“Old Sichuan Cuisine”

For about 24 years, I was in a place surrounding by diverse wonderful Chinese foods, but I didn’t realize this fact until I started to live without them–literally, I am craving for the Chinese flavor! Though Boston Chinatown is close and has a lot of restaurants, their cuisines can hardly satisfy my stomach. During the spring break last week, I went to New York City; hopefully I could discover a restaurant.

It was 10 pm on Friday night, I arrived Manhattan with my empty belly. My girl friend picked me up at the bus terminal and she knew her gourmet was craving for some good foods. Good restaurants are always within her radar. She took me to a small restaurant located in 65 Bayard Street named “Old Sichuan Cuisine.”

Soon I found out this is a hybrid restaurant of Sichuan and Shanghai flavor. Usually hybrid is acceptable for me but it is not ideal—I always thought a restaurant can only be great if it just stick on a single style. But my girl friend was confident: she fleetly ordered 3 dishes on the top of her recommended list—Chicken with Spicy Sauce, House Special Noodles, and Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun.

First we got the spicy chicken. The chicken was well chopped and immersed in the very palatable spicy sauce. It was a cold dishes, served with sesame and scallion on the top; its flavor was full-bodied and trigger my appetite very quickly. The chicken was juicy from the first bite; the special spicy sauce was not that spicy as it looked like. It was sweet and a little bit sour, which is from mature Chinese vinegar. After several bites, a strong pungent flavor from xanthoxylum seeds came up, which made this dishes more attractive!

The House Special Noodle came second. With shrimp, chicken, pork and cabbage, this noodle soup was simple and tasted like home made. It used fine dried noodles, so it was soft and well absorbed the flavor in the soup. But compared with the chicken, the noodle was inferior.

Finally the Pan Fried Chicken Tiny Bun Came. As it is called, the buns are fried in a pan, so it usually takes more than 10 minute to make. It had a crisp and slightly scorched bottom because it was actually fried in a pan. The chicken inside is well-mashed and juicy; also with sesame and scallion, it tasted refresh even though the chef used a lot of oil to fried it. The pan-fry process made it distinctive from other bun, which usually uses streaming to cook.

This restaurant has its own way of hybrid; it well mixs the flavor of two style–Shanghai flavor makes Sichuan spicy more acceptable and Sichuan flavor makes Shanghai flavor more exciting. I start to believe my girl friend is an expert looking for great foods! Also, the portion sizes are big and the price is very reasonable. The whole dinner only cost $23, including tax and tips. Only one thing I thought they can improve—brightening the interior of the restaurant, and that will make the foods more appealing!

Should We Recommend Organic?

–though you may talk a lot about organic, you may not actually know what it means.

Organic foods are commonly view as eco-friendly, more costly, and probably better quality foods. Annual sale of organic foods are growing indicates more and more health and eco concerned consumers are switching to organic foods. However, in terms of nutrient content, current research found no major difference between organic and conventionally grown foods (Magkos et al 2003). As the diet watcher of general public, how can you whether you should recommend organic foods?

What “organic” is for?

To have a clear concept of organic in mind is important. According to USDA Agriculture Marketing Service, Organic is “a labeling term that indicates that the food or other agricultural product has been produced through approved methods that integrate cultural, biological, and mechanical practices that foster cycling of resources, promote ecological balance, and conserve biodiversity. Synthetic fertilizers, sewage sludge, irradiation, and genetic engineering may not be used.” All the organic products are strictly regulated under the standards of National Organic Program. Different organic labels are used to determine the degree of product ingredients is organic. See labeling and marketing information on USDA website: http://www.ams.usda.gov/AMSv1.0/getfile?dDocName=STELDEV3004446&acct=nopgeninfo

Price difference

Though the nutritious vantage of organic foods is small, we all know the extra cost to buy organic product is considerable. Wealthy people can eat all the organic foods despite of high price, while other people make consider their budget to decide the amount to buy. When you consult people of different social economic status, keeping the actual price differences in your mind is important. According to the data from USDA Economic Research Service, the whole sale price of organic foods is 50%-100% higher than conventionally grown foods; for retails, due to the more fluctuant supply-demand relation, there is a 40%-150% higher in organic foods.

Produces

% higher in organic

Conventionally grown (dollars per pound)

Organic(dollars per pound)

Milk

100%

2.50

5.00

Egg

150%

1.50

3.80

Rice

150%

1.00

2.50

Carrot

40%

1.60

2.20

Salad mix

120%

3.80

8.20

Spinach

100%

4.50

9.00

Strawberry

50%

3.20

5.00

 Major health concern

One of the major factors for the high price of organic is because it doesn’t use chemical fertilizer and pesticide in the production process. So that the level of pesticide residue in foods is the major health concern at present (nutrient content is not the main concern since no significant difference was found).

The health effects of pesticides are considerable. Different types of pesticides will affect the nervous system, arouse skin and eye irritation, change hormone level, or cause cancers, respectively. Children are more susceptible to pesticides. Though washing the foods can lower the amount of pesticide, some new ones are developed to be waterproof now.

Due to the nature of differences in production, different conventionally grown foods have different. Tell people to buy those are necessary to buy organic can both benefit their health and help save their money. According to a 2010 report from Environmental Working Group (www.ewg.org), 12 foods had been identified having the most residual pesticide and 15 foods had been suggested to be the cleanest:

Buy Organic:

  • celery
  • peaches
  • strawberries
  • apples
  • domestic blueberries
  • nectarines
  • sweet bell peppers
  • spinach, kale and collard greens
  • cherries
  • potatoes
  • imported grapes
  • lettuce

 Buy Conventional:

  • onions
  • avocados
  • sweet corn
  • pineapples
  • mango
  • sweet peas
  • asparagus
  • kiwi fruit
  • cabbage
  • eggplant
  • cantaloupe
  • watermelon
  • grapefruit
  • sweet potatoes
  • sweet onion

Recommend people to buy organic according to their food consumption is a wise choice. When you find a patient loves apple eats 4 per day, you may consider telling him or her to buy organic to avoid the pesticide harm.

To achieve

Since we all know organic foods may not precede conventionally grown foods in nutrient content, what we can focus on at present are the pesticide level and the cost. Therefore helping people to choose the right type of organic food is beneficial. Also, organic foods can also be a tool to motivate people to eat more fruits and vegetables for their eco-friendly nature.

Reference:

Magkos, F., Arvaniti, F., & Zampelas, A. (2003, September). Organic food: nutritious food or food for thought? A review of the evidence. nt J Food Sci Nutr, 54(4), 357-371.

Color Your Life with Colorful Plate—For the National Nutrition Month

March has been the National Nutrition Month since 1980, and it is a annul campaign for nutrition education and intervention. Stemmed from the “My plate”, a healthy eating reminder released by USDA last year, the theme for March 2012 is “Get your plate in shape.” For more information of NNM, please visit http://www.eatright.org/nnm/

A great family, a great school, a great job, and a great beloved give you a happy life. Have you ever think your diet can also color your life, make you healthier and protect you from diseases? Let’s get acquainted a colorful diet and see its magic.

Air pollution, smoking, and unhealthy diet generate free radicals in body that can cause severe diseases. Antioxidants protect body against free radicals, which can damage cell membrane, DNA, and molecules; many studies of antioxidants proved their common function in preventing heart disease, certain cancer, and premature aging. Fruits and vegetables are colorful since many of them are packed with abundant antioxidant substances of diverse colors—to be specific, these antioxidants are called phytochemicals. Different phytochemicals display different colors—orange, red, purple, white and green. Other than their common functions, they actually undertake specific tasks for your body.

Orange: sharpen your eyesight

Phytochemical: Carotenoid—food sources: carrot, kiwi, corn, pumpkin

Color orange has powerful antioxidant activities fighting against free radicals in our body. Besides, lutein, a kind of thousands different carotenoid, come help maintain your eye health. Macula is a special area responsible for central vision in retina; studies have found high concentration of lutein in this area and they can prevent damage of free radicals, thus decrease the chance of eye disease such as macular degeneration and cataract.

Red: protect your prostate

Phytochemical: Lycopene—food source: tomato

Lycopene is only found in tomato and its protection on prostate is also unique. Lycopene concentrates in prostate and help prevent free radicals damage on DNA of prostate cells. It is proven to be helpful in prostatitis and prominently prevent prostatoplasia and prostate cancer. But don’t think it just works for men; lycopene can prevent premature aging then also help women maintain their young face.

 Purple: guard your heart

Phytochemical: anthocyanin—food sources: grape, prune, eggplant

Anthocyanin majorly acts on cardiovascular system through relaxing blood vessels and improving blood circulations. It can also inhibit blood clotting thereby preventing stroke and heart failure. Interestingly, red wine has a high concentration of anthocyanin; however, the benefits of drinking red wine for a healthier heart still need further research.

White: soothe your belly

Phytochemicals: allicin—food source: garlic

The strong flavor of garlic is from allicin. Its prominent function on human is antibiotic and antifungal within the digestive system. Allicin can prolong the time of vitamins in our body and increase their absorptions. Though not proven in human, research suggests potential effect of allicin in reduing fat deposition and fat balance as a possible substance used in weight control in the future.

Green: save you liver

phytochemical: sulforahpane—food sources: broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage

Sulforahpane is suggested of liver detoxication stimulant that helps the liver degrade toxic substances generated in the body. It is also prominent for cancer prevention.

Though you could have your favorite color in your childhood painting class, as to a healthy diet, don’t eat exclusively on specific color since different kind of fruits and vegetables can collaborate and achieve the best benefits. The best way to dining is to make your plate with at least 3 colors each meal with a combination of different veggies and fruits; of course, eat at less 5 portions a day!

Backup Force for “LINSANITY”

“Jeremy———–Lin!” Shouting echoed all night in the Madison Square Garden.

New York City, a city never lack of superstars, welcomes an Asian hero of its basketball team. One month ago, perhaps 99% Americans didn’t know who this guy was; today, if you don’t know this basketball marvel from Harvard, you definitely need to update your social network.

What makes a nobody sitting on the bench becomes a shining star in metropolitan? Hardworking, faith, support from family and friends play an important role. But besides these, what helps an Asian guy stand in the basketball court with other muscular Western players? The backup force is his paranormal diet.

Jeremy is 6’3”, 200 pounds, which is not outstanding amount basketball player. But when you look at his parents you know how “abnormal” he is—his parents are close to 5’6”. Jeremy was only 5’5” in high school; though he played so well, many college teams freezed him out due to his height. With his father’s support, he got consultation from dietitian, which maybe the turning point of his basketball career.

Time to uncover his diet and workout plan (disclosed by Lin in last year’s interview):

This diet sounds scary to Asian people, whose diet doesn’t contain so much meat. Yet, this diet pattern should sound very familiar to body-builders and professional trainer. With abundant lean meat, vitamins and minerals, and water, this diet pattern is designed for people exercise in high strength. Though the diet above might not be precise, it shows the core of sports nutrition.

Why do they need so much protein? In training and game time, human body is in stress state; they not only expend 50% more calories than average people, their protein catabolism also accelerate—even to the extent of negative nitrogen balance. A diet high in protein will not only compensate their energy loss, but also increase muscle strength, stimulate synthesis of hemoglobin, and finally increase retrieval. Besides, abundant micronutrients in the meal help to reduce oxidative stress, which keeps the body in equilibrium.

Though this diet looks attractive, it is not recommended to average people because overdose of protein places great burden on the kidneys, and large amount of metabolite accumulate ammonia and urea in body that may cause a series of adverse outcomes. So if you want to try out high protein diet, make sure to consult your doctor or dietitian.

Rome wasn’t built in a day. Linsanity is not a mystery; it is narrative about super hardworking, endless family love, and precise science. Check out this video, you will love this guy:

Going to have a baby, but have to lose your “children”?

“When we decided to have a baby, I have to leave my Suzy and Rocky since my friends told me keeping pets during pregnancy is harmful for the baby,” my cousin Kat told me about her pregnant plan, staring at her cat and dog with tear in her eyes. Well, even though having a baby is really exciting, but for those who treat their pets like sons and daughters, leaving them is also heart breaking.

“I love my pets, but I am more concerned about my baby.” Kat, like many child-bearing age women, is very concerned about whether having pets during pregnancy will be harmful for the baby. Looking at their dilemma, I feel I should do something—to find out the truth behind this pending mystery.

Q1: What are the actual health concerns of keeping pets during pregnancy?

One of the major threats is contracting Toxoplasmosis, which is caused by parasite Toxoplasma and transmitted buy animals, especially cats. It might be surprised to know that according to CDC’s data, more than 60 million men, women, and children in the U.S. carry this parasite; however, very few have symptoms and actual health problem because the normally the immune system can keep the parasite from causing harm. However, women got infected during their pregnancy might suffer from severe outcomes. Potential harms can be miscarriage, stillborn, and baby congenital defects of the brain and eyes.

The parasite can exist in different animals. Eating raw beef, mutton, or drinking contaminated cow or goat’s milk might contract the disease. Cat is the only animal that can transmit toxoplasma spore through their feces and cat is proven to be the major vector of infection.

Q2: Can we take some prevention instead of just leaving the pets? Yes, we can—our lives should not have too many dilemma–you don’t need to let your pets go. Here are the things women before pregnency can do:

1. To have body check both for the women and the pets before pregnancy is the first thing can be done. Preconception women should have blood test about the toxoplasma antibody; if the result is positive, it will be wise to consult to your doctor for treatment before getting pregnant. For the pets, also give them a check; if the result is positive, try to cure them before getting pregnant.

2. Other than seeking out medical support, it is more important to create a hygiene and safe environment at home. Since cat feces are major factor in dissemination, pregnant women should not contact with cat excretion; all the sweeping works should be leaved to the husband or other family members. Also pregnant women should pay more attention on food preparation. Dishes should be cleaned by sterilant if they are contracted to a pet; also make sure that the chopping board is cleaned before you use it to cut cooked food.

3. Food choices will be another concern. Because raw egg or raw meat can contain parasite, you should make sure they are absolute sanitary; otherwise, cook the food exhaustively instead.

4. Try not to be too close to your pet will be another wise move. Since your cats and dogs might play around outside in the yard, they might carry some parasite with them even they are not infected. So clean your hand thoroughly after holding them; try to avoid kissing your pets or let them kiss you, and don’t let them come on your bed—I know they will be considerate for you for the nine months!

Hoo! Lack of some knowledge can often cause fear; after knowing the truth, many women now can heave a sigh of relief, getting ready to enjoy the moment of having a baby with their intimate pets!

To further explore about pregnancy and pets, here are some good websites:

American Pregnancy Associaton: http://www.americanpregnancy.org/pregnancyhealth/pets.html

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention : http://www.cdc.gov/parasites/toxoplasmosis/

New Program, New Future

After undergoing tough debates and laborious negotiation, the new school lunch program, which attracts thousands of eyes, was announced last week by the First Lady Michelle Obama, along with Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack in an upbeat atmosphere.

School lunch was urgent to be changed. From the war time to present, 60 years ago to now, US government has been endeavoring to help children stay healthy. But the focus of those advocacies has got an about-face: the nutrition epidemic has changed to obesity problem. According to the statistics from National CDC, approximately 17% of children and adolescents between 2 to19 are obese. Moreover, significant racial and ethnical disparities can be seen in obese prevalence. Black and Hispanic children are much more suspected to obesity, even more for those in low income families. The new rules, which are strictly updated evidence-based, nicely address the above problems and make a great breakthrough of school meals for almost 15 years.

From the start, the new school lunch program is successful because it raised attentions from many aspects. Before the announcement, USDA had received 132,000 public comments on the initiate plan. High number showed the high enthusiasm of participation from the public, at the same time the professionals got a chance to read through public ideas and made realistic changes.

While general public were giving out advices in a peaceful and hopeful way, another main participant, National Potato Council, came out tensely to the debate. Considering the over consumption of potatoes is one of the major downside in the school lunch, the U.S.D.A. kept trying to cut down the potatoes in school lunch. Though this request finally wasn’t approved by the Congress, it could be harmful for the potato industry since it sent out a message displaying the wicked look of potato. Though I think potato shouldn’t be blamed as the noxious witch causing children obesity, its sacrifice did contribute to addressing the industry and public concern while let people know how much determination and effort did the government pay to help the children eat well.

The new program will cost $3.2 billion in government budget and plan to provide healthful lunches for 32 million children who participate. Though it already cut down more than half from the previous 6.8 billion budgets, the cost still looks huge and some governors are unsatisfied. Is it worthy? Well, let’s do the simple math again! According to CDC’s most updated data, 27.5% of total population in US is obese; Annual $147 billion had spent on the Medicare due to obesity, while some analysts said the cost will rise to $344 billion per year in 2018. It is well established that childhood obesity is closely related to adult obesity and chronic disease, so spending $3.2 billion to prevent the onset of the future super costly problems is making a good deal.

“When we send our kids to schools, we have a right to expect that they won’t be eating the kind of fatty, salty, sugary foods that we’re trying to keep from them when they’re at home,” Mrs. Obama said in the announcement. “We have a right to expect that the food they get at school is the same kind of food that we want to serve at our own kitchen tables.” Yes, the new school lunch program is on the right track; hopefully it can make a great contribution to the obese era.

pics source: 1. http://www.bet.com/news/national/2012/01/25/michelle-obama-announces-new-school-lunch-nutrition-guidelines.html 2. http://www.cdc.gov/obesity/data/trends.html