Monday, 19 December 2016

Mum bans son's iPhone and sees his behaviour transformed

No parenting topic is thornier than that of how much time our little ones should spend glued to little blue screens.

One mum who definitely knows where she stands on the whole to ban or not to ban discussion is Karly Tophill. After noticing her 13-year-old son, Dylan, was spending more and more time on his smartphone she decided to impose a dramatic year-long ban and within six weeks she had noticed a dramatic improvement in the teenager’s behaviour.

Her son seemed happier, more energetic, doing better with his homework and even offering to help with household chores.

Now the 41-year-old wants to encourage other parents to try out a phone or tablet-free day a week to see if they notice similar benefits in their own children.


Foreign Domestic Worker Association for Social Support and Training (Fast) clubhouse

Fast was started in 2005 with the aim of providing training that employers would be keen for domestic helpers to receive.

The clubhouse has computers, kitchen and karaoke rooms for the migrant workers to use or learn about cooking, crochet or financial literacy.

Fast has since launched more in-depth courses with training providers such as a 160-hour eldercare course run by the Care Academy and an 80-hour infant and maternal care course by Aria Training and Consultancy.


You may want to read Maid who left Singapore as a businesswoman with help from NGO Aidha

Fast website:
Aidha website:

Eating red-orange food helps to remove free radicals - updated

Free radicals are formed when oxygen interacts with certain molecules. Once formed these highly reactive radicals can start a chain reaction, like dominoes.

Free radicals may become a danger to our body if they react with important cellular components such as DNA, or the cell membrane. Cells may function poorly or die if this occurs. To prevent free radical damage the body has a defence system of antioxidants.

Antioxidants are molecules which can safely interact with free radicals and terminate the chain reaction before vital molecules are damaged.

Although there are several enzyme systems within the body that scavenge free radicals, the principle micronutrient (vitamin) antioxidants are vitamin E, beta-carotene, and vitamin C.

Additionally, selenium, a trace metal that is required for proper function of one of the body's antioxidant enzyme systems, is sometimes included in this category. The body cannot manufacture these micronutrients so they must be supplied in the diet.

β-Carotene is an organic, strongly colored red-orange pigment abundant in plants and fruits. In nature, β-carotene is a precursor to vitamin A, ie our body will convert β-carotene to vitamin A.

Eating a lot of red-orange food will help to fight free radicals from our body. Food like:

  • orange
  • carrot
  • apricot
  • egg yolk
  • mango
  • pumpkin
  • tomato
  • peaches

Vitamin A has no antioxidant properties but it is good for your skin.
Red-orange food also helps in collagen production in our body


Polyunsaturated fats PUFA (part 4 of 5)

Oils that contain polyunsaturated fats are typically liquid at room temperature but start to turn solid when chilled. This type of fat is found mostly in plant-based foods and oils.

Polyunsaturated fat is mainly made up of either omega-3 or omega-6 fatty acids. Linoleic acid is another polyunsaturated fat.

Benefits of polyunsaturated fats
  • Polyunsaturated fats can help reduce bad cholesterol levels in your blood.
  • They also provide nutrients to help develop and maintain your body’s cells.
  • Lowers triglycerides. High triglycerides may triglycerides may contribute to hardening of the arteries or thickening of the artery walls.
  • Reduces blood pressure (as above)
  • Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also contribute vitamin E to the diet.
  • Oils rich in polyunsaturated fats also provide essential fats that your body needs but cannot produce itself – such as omega-6 and omega-3 fatty acids. Alpha-linolenic acid (ALA) is another omega-3 fatty acid.

Is too much polyunsaturated fats harmful

Excess consumption of polyunsaturated oils has been shown to contribute to a large number of disease conditions including:
  • cancer and heart disease; 
  • immune system dysfunction; 
  • damage to the liver, 
  • reproductive organs and lungs; 
  • digestive disorders; 
  • depressed learning ability; 
  • impaired growth;
  • weight gain.

It is best not to eat too much PUFA but no research has been done yet to say how much we should or should not eat. It is estimated that we are consuming about 30% of PUFA in calorie total which is way too much.

One reason the polyunsaturates cause so many health problems is that they tend to become oxidized or rancid when subjected to heat, oxygen and moisture as in cooking and processing.

They may become free radicals which when react with our DNA or cell membrane will cause our cells to function poorly or die.

Other damages include wrinkles, premature ageing, damage to tissues and organs causing tumours.

Food that are high in polyunsaturated fats:
  • Olive oil
  • Soybean oil
  • Corn oil
  • Sunflower oil
  • Fatty fish such as salmon, mackerel, herring and trout
  • Walnuts, sesame seeds, almonds, peanuts
  • Chicken, dairy & eggs

Some recommended cooking oils that are better for our health:
  • Coconut oil - high heat threshold
  • Olive Oil - great in salad dressings or finished products, not for cooking though
  • Ghee or organic, pasture-raised butter - high heat threshold
  • Red palm oil - made from palm fruit and stable under high heat
  • Saturated animal fats are quite stable in high temperature.