Beauty & Shopping, Food & Supplements, Hair, Health & Fitness, Skincare

The Multi-Functional Oil You Have To Try – Matthew Fam

We’ve all heard of oils that beautify your complexion and give you shiny locks of hair, but Matthew Fam has found one that you can actually eat for a nutrition boost while ticking all the beauty boxes for great skin and hair! Here’s why he’s going loco for the coco(nut oil).

o-BENEFITS-OF-COCONUT-OIL-facebookIt’s a nutrition must-have!

Uhm… Logically speaking, isn’t eating oil unhealthy? Well, not this one. Coconut oil is a rich source of saturated fat that aids in weight loss. What’s different is its chemical structure of medium-chain triglycerides that allows the body to digest it more rapidly, thus using up more energy.

In fact, 15 to 30 grams of such fat can increase 24-hour energy expenditure by 5% (that’s about an extra 120 calories burnt a day!) Its high lauric acid content also bolsters your immune system by fending off viruses such as the common flu, for instance.

You can cook it with rice, use it as dressing for salads, or just ingest it as it is. What I usually do is to add a tablespoon of the oil into my breakfast of soy milk, seeds and oats- and it totally ends up tasting like CHENDOL. Mind. Blown.

Plus, it’s easy to find a jar of this multi-functional oil from your local supermarket. You can even purchase a jar and have it home-delivered from health food websites like these.

2269941It gives you beautiful skin and hair!

Coconut oil works as a great moisturiser too. The luxuriously nourishing oil turns into a paste-like consistency below temperatures of 24 degrees celsius, so I leave a jar of it in the fridge. This way, it’s less messy for me to scoop the solidified, fluffy substance to spread on skin.

I have dry skin on my legs, so this beauty fix was perfect for an overnight moisturising treatment. The oil is absorbed well by skin, and you don’t have to worry about staining your bedsheets. I was surprised at how applying a dollop of coconut oil left a mild, fragrant scent that wasn’t overpowering at all. In addition, my legs definitely felt smoother the next morning!

If the thought of smearing food on your skin or scalp grosses you out, there are plenty of coconut oil-infused products out there for you to reap its benefits, without the potential ‘ick’ factor. Try Organix Weightless Hydration Coconut Water Shampoo. It’s non-SLS formula (Sodium Lauryl Sulphate, a drying detergent ingredient in most shampoos) gives you shiny, silky strands.

cdentistryIt’s a major oral hygiene booster!

You’d be surprised to find out that the benefits of coconut oil even extend to oral health! The next time you get your hands on a jar of this miracle oil, try out oil swishing- an ancient Indian practice that dates back thousands of years.

What you need to do is gargle a table-spoonful of oil in your mouth, as you would with regular mouthwash, for 10 to 20 minutes. It is said to reduce bacteria and plague from your mouth, and gradually whiten teeth. When you expel the solution, the naturally transparent oil should now have a milky colour.

Sure, it shouldn’t replace regular brushing and flossing; but who doesn’t want a gorgeous smile, right?

With these all-encompassing benefits that ensure a healthier, more beautiful you, I am officially hooked on coconut oil!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines. Follow him on Instagram @mattjfam.

 

If you liked this article, you might also like:

1. The Fat Singaporeans Don’t Eat Enough Of – Deborah Tan

2. Top Weight-Loss & Nutrition Myths, Debunked – Tan Lili

3. [Material Moms] Why This Fruit Holds The Kiwi To A Mother’s Heart – Delphine Tan

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Body News, Food & Supplements, Health & Fitness, Wellbeing

The 9 Secrets of Hollywood Diets Uncovered – Matthew Fam

Hollywood celebrities often tout novel dieting techniques for a fabulous bod – be it fasting or the exclusion of certain food groups. So what ARE the star-approved diets out there, and what are the health precautions you should be aware of when undertaking your quest for body beautiful? The 9 health facts of Hollywood diets, here.

Gwyneth's boldly chic outfit at the L.A. red carpet premiere of Iron Man 3.

Gwyneth’s gams are the REAL showstopper at the L.A. red carpet premiere of Iron Man 3!

1. The 5:2 Diet
Can’t stand the thought of dieting 24/7, but want slender stems like Gwyneth Paltrow? Behold the 5: 2 diet. The part-time regime works as such: you eat whatever you want during a 5-day period, then stick to a 500-calorie intake for each of the remaining two days.

The celebrity-backed fad (Gwenyth Paltrow and Jennifer Lopez among its devotees) keeps weight down while boasting long term benefits of preventing Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer.

2. Why should I fast?
The answer lies in IGF-1 (no, it’s not a strand of avian flu). Insulin Growth Factor-1 is a hormone that boosts the reproduction of cells. As we age, the production of this stimulant wanes, so less new cells in our body are made and the older, wearied ones work harder.

What fasting does is to kickstart the sensitivity of IGF-1, keeping cells youthful and pretty while fending off age-related diseases. Sweet.

3. So how much IS 500 calories?

Brace yourselves: a single portion of hawker centre-bought char kway teow alone is 742 calories. So imagine having less than that for an entire day! Your 500-calorie fast can either be broken up into bite-sized meals, or consumed in a single feeding at the start of the day. However, in order to reap maximum benefits of fasting, the latter option is advised. (Fat-burning perks of fasting reportedly commence only after 18 hours into a fast.)

"Give me my lemon cleanse or I ain't performing for no Super Bowl," we imagine  Beyoncé would say.

“Give me my lemon cleanse or I ain’t performing for no Super Bowl,” we imagine
Beyoncé would say.

4. The Lemon Water Diet
Think solid food diets are for scaredy cats? Beyoncé attests her regular bouts of lemon water cleanses to being absolutely bootylicious.

These intense lemon cleanses- each lasting for up to one week- reportedly wipe the health slate clean by allowing your body to completely remove any toxins within your system. Majority of your mass lost will be water weight, but it leaves your complexion surprisingly clearer. Fans of the lemon cleanse- now put your hands up!

5. The ‘No Dairy’ Diet
Get this: the ability to digest lactose past the age of three is actually considered a genetic mutation! (60% of adults cannot digest this naturally-occuring sugar found in cow’s milk.) Not only that, excess diary in your diet reportedly causes higher frequencies of adult acne. Cue screams of horror.

PS, Megan Fox says she doesn’t do dairy. Period.

6. So what alternatives are there to cow’s milk?
Soy, almond, and rice milk are par for the course, but keep an eye out out for carrageenan. According to this article, several of your USDA-approved organic foods contain- and don’t freak out- these cancer-causing nasties. So when in doubt, always check the ingredients list!

Uma Thurman's a total softie for desserts!

Uma Thurman’s a total softie for desserts!

7. The Ice Cream Diet
Uma Thurman once claimed she ate nothing but desserts and ice cream in order to slim down for her role in Kill Bill. Sounds crazy? The diet works on the basis that consuming less calories than what you need would result in weight loss. So technically, you can lose weight by eating small portions of Ben & Jerry’s throughout the day.

However, what this fad fails to alarm is the poor nutrition afforded by desserts alone. Good for a quick weight loss, maybe. But not for a long term healthy lifestyle.

Kim swears by Atkins to maintain her killer curves.

Kim swears by Atkins to maintain her killer curves.

8. The Atkins Diet
With a slimmed midsection, Kim Kardashian keeps her hourglass-figure in check with this famous diet. The grand old dame of weight loss techniques was popularised by a research paper titled “Weight Reduction” by Dr. Atkins himself in 1972. Essentially, all you need to know is that “carbs are the enemy” (Yes, Rihanna totally said this before!)

The Paleolithic (‘Paleo’) diet follows the same carb-banishing route: meals are characteristically free from any type of carbohydrate, focusing instead on intakes of protein, fruits and vegetables.

9. Protein Overkill
Now before you bite into that steamed chicken breast, STOP RIGHT THERE. Studies by Dr Valter Longo, Professor of Cancer Research at the University of Southern California support the no-protein camp. According to him, high protein consumption is as bad for your body as smoking!

 

The allure of Hollywood fad diets are undeniable. However, we can’t simply assume that they work just because a celebrity who endorses it looks fab on the red carpet. What we may not realise is how these calorie-crunchers were probably supplemented with a rigorous fitness regime in the first place.

Moreover, as with any diet, consistency is key. Sure, some of these diets can promise a reduction in dress size or a slimmer physique; but these may also come with a series of health setbacks. So shake off those rose-tinted lenses the next time you go gaga over a celebrity weight loss fad.

 

What other Hollywood diets do YOU know of? Share with us in the comments section below!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and Contributing Beauty Assistant. He writes, teaches, and performs for the stage. Matthew enjoys museum visits, Singaporean Theatre, and spends too much of his undergraduate allowance on magazines.

 

If you liked this post, you might also like:

1. 6 Ways To Lose Weight Without Stepping Into A Gym – Matthew Fam

2. Top Weight-Loss & Nutrition Myths, Debunked – Tan Lili

3. The Yummiest Salad Place In Town! – Denise Li

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Food & Supplements, Food News, Health & Fitness, Lifestyle

The Fat Singaporeans Don’t Eat Enough Of – Deborah Tan

According to studies done by the National Nutrition Survey 2010, the average Singaporean doesn’t consume enough Omega 3 fatty acid. Deborah Tan has a great recipe you can try here but first …

Latest findings show that the average population in developed countries gets less than 10% of their Omega 3 needs. As the human body is unable to synthesize (produce) its own Omega 3 fatty acid, the only way to get this fat into our body is through our diet. Omega 3, a form of polyunsaturated fat, plays an important role in decreasing our risk for cardiovascular diseases, brain disorders and age-related macular (eye) degeneration.

omega3eatmoreSo how can we get more Omega 3 into our diet?

First, you have to bear in mind that the recommended ratio for polyunsaturated (P), monounsaturated (M) and saturated (S) fat is 1:1:1. In Singapore, it has been found that P:M:S ratio for the average adult is 0.5:1:1. This means we need to find more ways to add Omega 3 rich foods into our diets.

Second, we need to look at the balance of Omega 6 and Omega 3 in our diet. Like the Americans, many of us tend to take in too much Omega 6 fatty acid in the form of corn oil, safflower oil, soybean oil, and palm oil. An excess of Omega 6 fatty acid from vegetable oils can interfere with the health benefits of Omega 3.

What can we do?

1. Smart Substitutions
By replacing some of the foods we eat with options rich in Omega 3. For example, substitute chicken with tuna, or make it a point to eat meat of grass-fed animals. For cooking oil, instead of peanut or soybean oil, use more canola or flaxseed oil.

2. Increase Intake 
We must love Japanese food, judging by the long queues outside Japanese restaurants at mealtimes. So, make it a point to eat more salmon, mackerel, tuna sashimi and sushi. According to dietitian Mah Wai Yee, Omega 3 remains in the food no matter the cooking method. But obviously, eating salmon cutlet deep fried in palm oil is just … how can I say this … missing the point.

3. Reduce Omega 6
In his findings, Professor Philippe Legrand (who is chairman of the French guideline committees for fatty acid dietary recommendation) has found that consuming more olive oil can help reduce Omega 6 in our food intake.

Rather than tuck into your usual luncheon meat sandwich or fried beehoon, make your own healthy, brain-boosting breakfast. Here’s a tuna roll recipe you can easily make. Total time: 45 minutes.

Tuna rolls that you can easily make for breakfast!

Tuna rolls that you can easily make for breakfast!

Ingredients:
– 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons warm water (60% hot + 40% room temperature should give you the right temperature)
– 1/2 cup of canola oil
– 2 tablespoons of yeast
– 1/4 cup sugar
– 1/2 teaspoon salt
– 1 egg
– 3 1/2 cups of flour
– 1 can of tuna in olive oil (I used Ayam Brand Tuna Omega 3)
– Salt and pepper to taste

I used this tuna - already chockfull of Omega 3!

I used this tuna – already chockfull of Omega 3!

Process:
1. In a small bowl, mix the tuna with some salt and pepper. Cover and set aside in your fridge.

2. In a second bowl, combine water, yeast, canola oil and sugar. Mix well and leave the mixture to stand for 15 minutes.

3. Mix in salt, egg and 2 cups of flour into the mixture. Add in remaining flour 1/2 a cup at a time. If your mixer comes with a dough hook, use that. If you don’t have a mixer, don’t fret. Grab a tablespoon and vigorously combine everything until you get a dough.

[Note: I like to give my bread dough a good knead. So lightly flour your work counter and pour the dough out and give it a quick knead until the dough is soft and stretchy. Remember to also flour your hands and the dough.]

4. Divide the dough into 12 balls. Flatten each ball and add just over half a tablespoon of tuna mix into the center. Wrap it and then gently roll into a ball, making sure all openings are sealed.

[Note: At Step 4, I like to oil my hands (wash them first!) with just a little bit of canola oil so the dough doesn’t stick to my hands.]

5. Once the tuna is packed into the rolls, leave the rolls to rest on a lightly greased tray for 10 minutes. Decorate with some coriander leaves, if you want.

6. Bake at 204 degrees Celsius for 10 minutes or until the rolls turn light brown.

If you want a bun with more flavor, substitute the tuna with sardines. Try Ayam Brand’s new Sardines in Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Green Peppercorn because you don’t need to flavor the fish, just mash it up!

Soft and fluffy on the inside!

Soft and fluffy on the inside!

Bon appetit!

This post is neither paid for nor advised by Ayam Brand. All opinions are the author’s own.

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, and Suits. Vanessa and Lili rated her tuna rolls a 7.5. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

[If you like this post, you’ll love]

1. DIY: Baked Spice Apple Chips

2. Ladies, You Need To Eat These

3. My 3-Day Vegetarian Challenge

 

 

 

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Food & Supplements, Health & Fitness, Workouts

6 Ways To Lose Weight Without Stepping Into A Gym – Matthew Fam

Not all of us can afford pricey gym memberships. And let’s face it: where do we even find the time? A fit bod may require discipline, diet and exercise – but fret not. The everyday woman can achieve a svelte figure with these six simple ways to lose weight the healthy way.

1. Stair Climbing
Works up a sweat and it’s absolutely free! All you need to do is find a high-rise building close to you (HDB flats are excellent; the higher the better.) Unlike heading out for a run, your exercise plans won’t be halted during a rainstorm. Plus, it’s a great way to suss out the cute guys in your neighbourhood!

Focus on tightening your core and gluteus as you lift your weight each stair. Once you reach the top of the block, take a lift to ground level and repeat. Avoid descending stairs, as the downward impact can strain your knees over time. Climb three times a week for 30 minutes per session, and you’re well on your way to a trimmer physique.

P.S your butt muscles are so going to thank you.

Do you have any idea how much sugar is in packaged fruit juices?

Do you have any idea how much sugar is in packaged fruit juices?

2. Forgo that Fruit Juice!
Here’s a secret that not many of us are aware of: contrary to its health-savvy promise of vitamins what-have-you, packaged fruit juices are a total calorie bomb. And it’s not good calories we’re talking about – these artificially sweetened nectars are packed with sugared syrup!

Go for the real deal (self-blended juices allow you to experiment with various flavours) or swap with regular drinking water. Can’t live without your fruit juice fix? Dilute half a glass with water instead.

3. Fast Food
Sometimes, a girl has got to have her cheeseburger- and that’s cool! You deserve an indulgence every now and then. Blotting oil from your fries may be a tad extreme for some people, so try this simple tip instead: replace your fries for a cup of corn or salad side. Better yet, ditch the carbonated drinks (a medium-sized cup of Cola contains 10 cubes of sugar!) for bottled water.

Just 1-2 teaspoons each day will do!

Just 1-2 teaspoons each day will do!

4. Psyllium Husk
This is the miracle health supplement to look out for. Psyllium Husk is known for its weight loss benefits due to the fibre’s filling nature. The powdered husk draws water in to become a thick, gel-like paste that fills your stomach up, so you’ll eat smaller portions and shed excess weight. It also functions like a scour to gently scrub away bad cholesterol within your intestinal tract, while giving you a hit of fibre in the process.

There are two ways to enjoy it: 1) mix 1 -2 teaspoons of the powdered husk into your breakfast cereal or oatmeal. Alternatively, you may also 2) stir it with water to form a paste. Consume 30 minutes before a meal, so you’ll feel fuller by the time you eat.

Sweet, but oh so dangerous.

Sweet, but oh so dangerous.

5. Caffeine Cravings
I’ll be expecting an angry mob if I ever dare suggest slashing out caffeinated beverages from your diet. But you should know that globs of condensed milk are used in food court or coffee shop varieties. This sabotages the calorie count of some of your favourite drinks.

Take a cup of kopi (black coffee with condensed milk) for example: a small serving racks up 113 calories. No big deal, you say? Have several cups a day, everyday, and your waistline will be paying the price. Try asking for less sugar. Or go sugarless altogether: a serving of Kopi O Kosong (black coffee without milk or sugar) rings in at just five calories.

Shake that booty!

Shake it!

6. Dance Dance Revolution
Okay, not that old school arcade game. I’m talking about you plugging in your amped up mp3 player. In the privacy of your room. Dancing like your life depends on whether you can squeeze in that two-sizes-smaller pair of jeans by tomorrow.

Seriously though, get moving and clock in some cardio with this easy weight-loss method. (I recommend Spotify’s custom playlists to groove to.) Thrash about and even flail your arms- no one’s watching! Just remember to lock your bedroom door when busting those moves: someone once walked in while I was in a bout of vigorous dancing. Awkwarrrd…

 

So, what methods do YOU use to stay fit and healthy? Share your tips in the comments section!

About the Author: Matthew Fam is a contributing writer of Material World, and has worked at Cosmopolitan Singapore as an intern and freelancer. He writes, performs for the stage, and teaches drama at secondary schools. Matthew enjoys museum visits, origami, and is passionate about Singaporean Theatre.

If you liked this post, you might also like:

1. How To Eat Clean in Singapore (If You Don’t Cook) – Denise Li

2. Let’s Get Moving! – Tan Lili

3. DIY: Baked Spiced Green Apple Chips – Deborah Tan

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Character & Soul, Denise Li, Health & Fitness, Opinions, Self-Improvement, Wellbeing

Why I’ve Stopped Looking at Fitspo – Denise Li

When I joined Pinterest about a year ago, I did it with just one intention: to motivate myself to stay on the health and fitness bandwagon. What better way to do so than by looking at boards full of fit-looking people (fitspo), accompanied by slogans such as “Strong is the new skinny”, right?

Well, I stopped being active on Pinterest roughly about two months after I signed up for my account. Partly because I wasn’t a big fan of the interface, but mostly because I’d decided that it was no longer, well, healthy, to gaze at perfect washboards abs and tight butts. Here are three reasons why fitspo pictures make me feel uncomfortable.

Images like these only serve to further objectify women.

Images like these only serve to further objectify women.

1. A lot of the pictures feature women wearing very little

Most of the fitness models in the pictures are wearing nothing but g-strings and tiny bikini tops and most disturbingly, the shots usually chop off her head, thus turning the attention to parts of the female anatomy. To me, this is nothing but yet another clear instance of the objectification of the female body, and I felt uncomfortable being complicit to that. The message seems to be “If I work out and get fit and toned, I will be more attractive to men.” You don’t need me to tell you how wrong that mentality is, do you? Fitspo pics merely elevate yet another unrealistic beauty ideal over others, taking us a huge step backwards in the fight for body acceptance.

2. Not all fit bodies look the same

There’s a theory that that are three body types: ectomorph, mesomorph and endomorphs. Ectomorphs are the naturally skinny types who find it hard to gain weight and muscle. Endomorphs tend to be rounder and stockier in body shape, while mesomorphs have naturally athletic figures that gain muscle and get toned very quickly. Because of the different fat percentage and muscle mass these three types of body have, the same workout will produce very different results in each of them. But just because the mesomorphs will probably be the first to see results among the three body types doesn’t mean that ectomorphs and endomorphs aren’t fit. My point: it’s not a good idea to use how a person looks as a measure of his or her fitness. And you should definitely not unnecessarily torture yourself by holding yourself to those standards. Fit bodies can take all shapes and forms and if you’re fit and active person, why beat yourself up over the fact that you don’t have a six-pack? Case in point: Sumo wrestlers. They may not look like Usain Bolt, but they are amazing athletes in their own right. This point kinda ties in with my last point, which is this …

3. Fitspo only highlight one benefit of fitness

Throughout the most part of my 20s, I tried and failed many times to maintain a consistent fitness regime. My motivation for starting again had always been: to lose a few kilos to look better. I did not enjoy running or going to the gym. So after a month or two, I simply lost the willpower and discipline to maintain my regime. But I’m happy to report that I’ve been exercising regularly for the past four years or so now. Why? Because for the first time in my life, I felt truly engaged and interested in the sports of my choice (muay thai and boxing). To say that I wasn’t at least partially motivated to look better would be a lie, but the desire to get better at what I did was definitely the bigger push factor in maintaining consistency. Because of that, I began to see improvement in other areas of my life; I could focus better at work, my self-esteem improved tremendously, I was happier knowing that I had something enjoyable to do at the end of each day, and I derived immense satisfaction from the other non-work related goal in my life.

Maintaining my fitness, in short, gave me a renewed passion for life. And that’s something no picture – rippling muscles and tight butt notwithstanding – will ever be able to convey.

About the Author: Denise Li is a founder of Material World and a freelance writer-editor. Before that, she spent a few years in the Features section of CLEO and Cosmopolitan Singapore. She considers Chiang Mai her spiritual home and makes it a point to head there for a yearly pilgrimage. She’s also a fitness buff and enjoys boxing, running and the occasional yoga session. The only person she aspires to be is a better version of herself. Follow her on Twitter @DeniseLiTweets.

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Friends, Relationships

A Toast To Female Friends – Deborah Tan

Friends who drink together ...

Friends who drink together …

Two weeks ago, I wrote a post about dying friendships. I would just like to make it clear here that I don’t have friendships dropping dead around me every other day. This unfortunate phenomenon happens … maybe … once every couple of years, where many of us experience a life-changing event like marriage, childbirth, relocation etc. Remember the saying, “Your friendship won’t change as long as you understand that friends change”? It is definitely true and something worth bearing in mind. But as and when a relationship does end, you just know it.

Today, I would like to talk about the importance of having female friends.

You are probably curious. Isn’t that like a, “Duh? You’re a woman, of course you have female friends.”

That’s not quite true for my case.

While I have some solid friendships with women, for a period of my life, I found myself more comfortable hanging out with the guys. It wasn’t until my first job in a women’s magazine that righted the male-female balance again. And I’m honestly happy when that happened.

Friendships with women are lauded often, much written about, and portrayed poignantly in mass media from books to movies.

Who else can give you the empathy you need when you just can’t pick yourself up cos it’s “that time of the month”?

And who else will willingly share their egg tart with you?

And who else will willingly share their egg tart with you?

Who else can nod understandingly along as you rant and rave about bitchy co-workers, AND not judge you for putting down your “fellow women”? Who better comprehend the strange dynamics we women have amongst ourselves – where one moment we are all “for the Sisterhood!”, one moment we go, “I wish her nice boyfriend dumps her!”?

Who else can display such indignation on your behalf when you bring up the topic of your exes, or announce that your crush has set his sights on someone else?

Women friends – they may not make sense all the time (like rationalising why it’s okay to spend $5,000 on a bag) but they always make it.

They know when you are ranting, you are not asking for a solution. You are just asking for a listener.

They know when you are feeling insecure about yourself, they should chime in with something positive like, “It’s his loss, you know you are going to find a much better man in 5 minutes!”

A friendship with a man is like possessing a toolbox – you know it’s got the ability to fix many things but you may not always need to take it out.

A friendship with a woman is like wearing a bra – only has one function but without it, everything points down.

Post-run picture! Join us if you can!!

Post-run picture! Join us if you can!!

Having strong ties with your female friends have health benefits too:

1. It’s been found that women with strong social female ties live longer than those without. Those without strong social ties with other women face health risks similar to overweight people or smokers.

2. Time spent with female friends is a great de-stressor. While men have a “fight or flight” response towards stressful situations, women are more likely to “tend and befriend”. Which is why when we are stressed, we tend to our young (and maybe bake some cookies), and seek some face-time with a female friend. When we spend time with our female friends, our bodies naturally produce the hormone oxytocin, which is a natural feel-good hormone that can help mitigate the effects stress has on us.

3. If your female friends have a healthy attitude towards their bodies, you are more likely to feel more attractive too. This shows the impact our girlfriends have on our self-esteem – if positive, this bond can be a powerful thing for our body-confidence. So be sure you are generous with your compliments! There’s nothing that quite makes a woman’s day when she receives something as simple (and genuine) as, “That dress looks great on you!”

The Material World team goes to a running track near the Botanic Gardens to run at least once a week. If you feel like you need some buddies to keep you on track for a fitness goal, why not just pop down and join us? Leave us your name and email address in the form below and we’ll send you a weekly note informing you of the time and place to meet up!

Material World Running Club

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and is really worried that she won’t make it past 12km of her half-marathon. Follow her on Twitter @DebTanTweets.

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Health & Fitness, Infographics, Wellbeing

[Infographic] Why You Should Be A Pet-Owner – Deborah Tan

Cuddling and playing with a pet can trigger your body’s ability to release a flood of feel-good hormones such as oxytocin (aka the ‘love’ hormone). Pet-owners have also been found to have lower levels of cholesterol and triglycerides, which translates to better heart health.

Word of caution: Pet ownership is a lifelong commitment. Please do not adopt a puppy because it’s “cute” and because your child or spouse wants it. A considerable amount of time, money and effort is involved in training a pet to live with your family so please do not adopt or buy a pet on impulse. But, if you have considered all factors and are ready to share your life and love with a pet, do contact an animal shelter to see if they have a suitable dog/cat for adoption. Please try to adopt rather than buy a pet.

petsandbody

Some channels where you can adopt a pet:
1. Lost Paws Singapore
2. Action For Singapore Dogs
3. Noah’s Ark Cares – On 4 and 5 May, 2013, it is going to hold an adoption drive. See brochure below.

904754_540790392652795_1805152447_o

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day. 

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Body News, Health & Fitness, Infographics

[Infographic] Health Risk Or Urban Legend? – Deborah Tan

With more and more health and household products boasting the benefits of nano particles, we wonder if it’s all good and no bad.

In 2009, two Chinese factory workers died and five others suffered permanent lung damage from inhaling nano particles used in their factories to produce paint.

While some scientists say there is cause for concern, some scientists are also putting forth the possibility of medicine that can be administered using nano technology.

The verdict is still out. But before you make any decision, here’s an infographic explaining how nano technology could impact you:

nano

About The Author: Deborah Tan is a founder of Material World. After 10 years of working in magazines Cleo and Cosmopolitan Singapore, she is now a freelance writer/editor who works on this website full-time. She likes liquid eyeliners, bright red lipsticks, tattoos, rock & roll, Mad Men, Suits, and hopes to meet Steven Tyler in person one day.

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Body News, Health & Fitness

The Breast Study That Will Shock Every Woman – Tan Lili

material-world-singapore-breast-study-shock-sag-bra

It’s only a matter of time, hon.

Sagging breasts – we all know we’ll get them someday. They’re part of a cruel process known as ageing. Of course, just as there are other factors that can speed up the rate at which our twins cave in to gravity, we can take certain measures to delay the inevitable. Wearing a bra is a popular one. The rationale: breasts are composed of soft, glandular tissue; if you let your girls hang loose most of the time, the tissue will stretch because of the lack of proper support. So, by constantly wearing a bra, you’ll be able to stave off sagging.

But what if I told you your whole life has been a lie? That all these years of wearing boob constraints – in the hope that your breasts remain perky for longer – are for naught? Even worse, that bras actually discourage the growth of supporting breast tissue, leaving your breasts to sag more quickly?

Pardon my theatrics, but this piece of news is pretty appalling to me. According to French sports medicine specialist Professor Jean-Denis Rouillon, who’s just spent the last 16 years getting up close and personal with the breasts of 330 volunteers, bras are “a false necessity”.

In his very thorough research, the participants who didn’t wear a bra reported a 7mm lift in the nipples each year. That’s not all; they also noticed a significant reduction in stretchmarks. “There are multiple benefits: I breathe more easily, I carry myself better and I have less back pain,” says one of the participants.

Not surprisingly, the professor adds that not every woman should go braless. As he so eloquently puts it: “It all depends on the structure of each breast. An overweight, 45-year-old woman with three kids has no business not wearing a bra.”

Ouch.

Regardless, I think practicality trumps vanity in this part of the world (read: hot weather = light clothing = thin material = yes-we-need-to-wear-a-bra).

Would you go braless? Share your thoughts in the Comments section below!

About The Author: A founder of Material World, Tan Lili has previously worked in magazines The Singapore Women’s Weekly and Cosmopolitan Singapore, as well as herworld.com (now herworldplus.com, the online counterpart of Her World). She is now a freelance writer who works on this website full-time. Lili hopes to travel the world, work with wild animals, and discover more awesome Twilight fan-fiction.

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