Air pollution


As the Formula One racing circus visits Singapore for its latest race, air pollution and the haze created has been brought into sharper focus than for a long time. There are reports of the haze closing schools in Malaysia and fears for the visibility and wellbeing of the F1 teams and their drivers in Singapore. Suddenly, something that is a constant for those who live in the region becomes big news.

But what is Haze?

The definition is that it is an atmospheric phenomenon where suspension of extremely small dry particles in the air obscure the clarity of the sky.

Its components can be gases such as ozone, sulphur dioxide, nitrous oxide, nitrogen dioxide, carbon monoxide, and carbon dioxide. Particulate matter also in the air includes benzene sulphate, organic carbon, microbial components and pollen.

These particles can penetrate respiratory and circulatory systems and can cause damage to the health of an individual exposed to it for any length of time, or on a regular basis,

Haze and your health.

Air pollution can affect your health in all sorts of different ways from eye irritation and redness, headaches and dizziness, runny nose, sneezing as well as nasal congestion.

But it’s not just the head that is affected. By breathing in particulate matter, this can cause problems in the throat with irritation, dryness and soreness causing coughing.

Extreme cases can create chest discomfort and respiratory tract infection. Asthma attacks are often prevalent and even something as natural as drinking water can be an issue if the drinking water is contaminated by dense haze. This can lead to stomach upset and vomiting. The skin can also be irritated by constant exposure to Haze.

So what precautions can be taken to prevent all these outcomes?

Top of the list is wearing appropriate dust masks when going outdoors. Those of us who don’t live in such badly affected areas will have seen the sort of protection worn by people appearing on news items about air-pollution.

The advice is always to consult a doctor if there is any difficulty in breathing, coughing, chest pain and any of the symptoms detailed above.

Spend less time outdoors.

Sadly, at a time when we are encouraging our children to spend less time on their iPads and more time outdoors, the advice in areas of high air pollution is to reduce outdoor activities such as jogging and cycling amongst others.

Drink plenty of water as long as it does not fall into the contaminated category.

Wash your hands and face on a regular basis and especially after outdoor activities and finally, please make sure that if you are prescribed medicines by your doctor that you take them on a regular basis especially if you have an underlying respiratory or cardiovascular dilute disease.

We will be revisiting the subject of air pollution in future blogs but in the meantime stay safe.

Mayfair, we care.

Is the world falling out of love with bottled water?



For years now we have all loved bottled water and it has been the fastest growing area of drinks in the world with a forecast estimate of $215 billion by 2025.

Amazing isn’t it? A commodity that a lot of the world can have, freely available from our kitchen taps, is selling for around 2000 times the price in the supermarkets and we are buying it!

Why are we buying bottled water?


Well firstly, it is viewed as a healthier product than tap water and in a lot of countries this may be true. However, in those countries were tap water is perfectly drinkable, bottled water is still selling in vast numbers. Perhaps we would not be so enthusiastic to buy if it was more widely known that many bottled water brands are too acidic to pass the stringent tests that tap water has to undergo, and the quality of bottled water varies enormously.

Do you buy bottled water or spring water because of the minerals?

Once again testing has indicated to tap water has a relatively high concentration of beneficial minerals like calcium and magnesium – more than most bottled brands.

Plastic pollution.


Most bottled water brands are supplied in a single use plastic bottle and with the current publicity about plastic waste, and the millions of tons of landfill produced by bottled water bottles every year, it is easy to see how these single use plastic products will lose their appeal. They contribute to landfill and the vast majority are made from petroleum which is a non-renewable resource.

Health


Far from being the healthy option to tap water a recent study suggests that bottled water is one of the largest sources of plastic micro particles. Although the long-term effects are not yet known it is believed that bottled water is a significant contributor to micro plastic ingestion which could, in theory, cause internal damage.

Further studies are taking place to examine the effect on human health but such research and the publicity about plastics and the environment is likely to have a damaging effect on bottled water sales as those of us who can, turn back to tap water.

Improving the environment and your health; it’s a powerful argument to turn away from plastic bottles of water.

Mayfair, we care.

Carbohydrates – a good thing or a bad thing?



Carbohydrates get a bad press of these days for a variety of different reasons but a number of widely held beliefs do bear closer examination. 

Weight loss

We are often told that cutting carbohydrates will lead to weight loss and thousands, if not millions, of diet books have been sold explaining why.

 

However, not all research backs this up and whilst it may be true that some studies have found low-carb diets to be more effective for weight loss than low-fat diets in the short-term, in the longer term both approaches produce modest weight loss at best.

 

A 2015 review of the research on different types of diet found that low carb diets marginally outperformed the low-fat diet. However the difference in weight loss on the groups of dieters was tiny with the low-carb dieters losing about one girl kilogram more after 12 months.

One expert advised that the best way of losing weight was simply to eat less of everything in a way that can form a habit and be maintained over a long period. That sounds less complicated to us!

A low-carb diet is healthier?

This is what we are led to believe but as carbohydrates come from plants i.e. greens, fruit and vegetables, if we make the decision to restrict this type of food in our diet our overall health is likely to suffer. Many plant foods are rich in the vitamins, minerals and fibre that we need to stay healthy.

 

However, there is a big difference between unrefined and refined plant foods.

A diet high in unrefined whole grains protects against cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes, but swap these for refined grains like white flour, white bread, sugar and white rice and your risk of poor health will increase.

 

Wholegrains and carbohydrate rich foods such as legumes also encourage a healthy diversity of gut bacteria, something that is linked to reduced inflammation, better immunity and improved mental health.

One recent study found that switching to a high-fat, no carb diet lowered the number of beneficial bacteria residing in the gut.

Avoid fruit – really?

Fruit contains sugar so some people believe that fruit can be bad for you but this simply isn’t true. The sugars in fruit are absorbed slowly and steadily so making fruit your go to snack will mean that you will get essential nutrients fibre and antioxidants all wrapped up in a low kilojoule package.

Where fruit can be a problem however is when it’s juiced. Drinking fruit as juice makes it easier to ingest more kilojoules and also releases the fruit sugar (fructose) faster into your bloodstream. You will also reduce some of the benefits of the fibre by pulverising fruit so finely that it changes the physical structure. Some commercial juices will even remove the fibre altogether. On balance it is best to stick to whole fruit.

 

We hope that this clarifies some of the myths surrounding low-carb diets.

 

Mayfair, we care.

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