6 best Pinoy Fruits and Vegetables

18 11 2016

Filipinos are very fortunate to live in a tropical country where plenty of fruits and vegetables grow. These staple food crops can be easily grown in home gardens and are sold affordably in the markets. They also provide great health benefits.

“Fruits and vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, which help nourish your body and keep you protected from diseases. They are also low in fat and calories, which make them excellent for weight management,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president of MediCard Philippines, a leading health maintenance organization provider in the country.

Some of the most nutritious and inexpensive fruits and veggies that you can easily find around your locality include:



Avocado has a high monounsaturated fat content, which helps reduce bad cholesterol and lowers the risk of stroke and heart disease. It is also a high source of potassium (containing more than a banana) and phytochemicals, which help prevent certain types of cancer.


Buko (Young Coconut)

Buko contains edible flesh (coco meat) and water (buko juice). Its meat has tons of fatty acids, fiber, manganese, iron, calcium, potassium, and vitamins B, C and E. Its juice contains sugar (glucose) and electrolytes, which can rehydrate the body. Buko juice is popularly used in treating urinary tract infection and can also be a better choice for rehydration compared to most sports drinks because it is sterile and non-allergenic.



Aside from being a rich source of fiber, folate and vitamins A, C and E; papaya is notable for papain, an enzyme that aids in smooth digestion and fights free radicals to soften and brighten skin. Papain also helps heal wounds, supports the immune system, reduces joint irritation, and destroys intestinal parasites.



Eggplant or talong is considered one of the healthiest vegetables in the world. It is high in antioxidants, including chlorogenic acid, which fights free radicals and protects cells from mutating into cancer cells, and nasunin, which delays the growth of cancerous mass or tumor. It also has essential phyto nutrients which improve blood circulation and nourish the brain.


Malunggay (Moringa)

Malunggay is referred to as a miracle vegetable by health experts because of its ample nutritional and medicinal benefits. It is rich in beta-carotene, vitamins B and C, iron, and amino acids. It can treat malnutrition and a number of illnesses, including bacterial and fungal skin infections, anti-inflammatory gastric ulcers and diarrhea.


Sweet Potato

Kamote, the local name for sweet potato, is a versatile vegetable because its leaves (kamote tops) and roots are both edible. It has tons of fiber, iron, calcium, protein, magnesium, sodium, phosphorous, sulfur, and zinc. It is also high in polyphenolic compounds, which protect the body from oxidative stress (an imbalance in the production of free radicals that damage cells and organs).

While all of these fruits and veggies are jam-packed with nutrients that can nurture and clean your body, keep in mind that no single food crop contains all the nourishment you need. “When it comes to eating fruits and vegetables, variety is as important as quantity. If you need to be healthy, you need to eat plenty of different fruits and vegetables,” advises Dr. Montoya.



Tips to boost your brain and mental health

18 11 2016

A healthy mind is an essential component of a healthy lifestyle. It affects how you perceive the world and how you react to your environment and the people around you. In order to function normally and accomplish your daily tasks and goals in life, it’s important to keep your brain and mental well-being healthy.


“Healthy brain and mental functioning can be cultivated. In the same way that eating nutritious food and exercising can make your body stronger and more fit, certain habits and activities can also boost your brain power and mental well-being,” says Dr. Nicky Montoya, president and CEO of MediCard Philippines.


To improve brain and mental health, Dr. Montoya offers some tips:

Get enough sleep. Sleep helps your brain and body work properly. While you’re sleeping, your brain is forming new pathways to help you learn and remember information. Deep sleep also promotes normal growth in children and teens. It also boosts muscle mass and helps repair cells and tissues in children, teens and adults.


Drink plenty of water. It is important for the brain to be adequately hydrated to function properly. Your brain cells require a delicate balance of water and various elements to operate efficiently. When you’re dehydrated, your brain has to work a lot harder to perform at the same level. Drinking water also helps you feel refreshed, which may improve your state of mind. It can also prevent headaches and hangovers.

Get moving. Exercise releases endorphins, which are essential for producing good moods. Working out also keeps your brain and vital organs healthy. It also improves your body image and keeps you motivated to conquer challenges and pursue your goals.


Learn a new skill and play brainteasers. Learning a new skill and playing brainteasers can keep your brain sharp. When you learn a new skill, your brain creates new neural pathways that help you process and remember information better. Meanwhile, brainteasers and games that require you to decipher codes and pattern series, remember events and rationalize your answers can also enhance your problem-solving skills, logical reasoning, creativity, and imagination.


Communicate with other people. Regularly talking and socializing with other people can boost your communication skills and improve your decision-making and problem-solving abilities. It is also a way to avoid depression and negative thoughts, which can interfere with your daily activities.


Practice meditation. Meditation, which involves focusing your thoughts on the present moment, provides cognitive and psychological benefits. Aside from giving a sense of peacefulness and physical relaxation, it can also improve memory, empathy and sense of self. Harvard researchers discovered that practicing mindfulness increases the amount of grey matter in the hippocampus, which helps with self-awareness, compassion, and introspection, and lowers grey matter density in the amygdala, which helps manage anxiety and stress. Since meditation is a big component of Ashtanga yoga, attending yoga classes can also be good for your mental well-being.

“The best thing about the human brain is that it adapts and re-wires itself as a result of behavioral changes. There are a lot of ways you can do to get the best out of your brain cells. One of the most effective ways is, of course, letting go of unhealthy habits and embracing a healthy lifestyle,” says Dr. Montoya.



18 11 2016


Was released on 10.6.2016

145835173_xsCoffee has been both praised and mocked for centuries. It has been blamed to cause impotence and madness, other times a cure for laziness or “gift from heaven”. Heavy stuff. But what are the actual, scientifically proven pros and cons of coffee we know today?

Caffeine, the most widely consumed psychoactive substance in the world, is the best known ingredient of coffee. Its beneficial effects on the human body has been researched quite well, but coffee as a whole is a complex beverage with a thousand different substances. Some studies argue that decaf and caffeinated coffee may have the same health effects and suggest that it’s not the caffeine that is responsible for most of coffee’s health benefits.

Research on coffee and it’s pros and cons for humans is nowhere near finished, but here is a list of what we know at the moment:


  • Coffee boosts your physical performance. Have a cup of black coffee about an hour before workout and your performance can improve by 11-12%. Caffeine increases adrenaline levels in your blood. Adrenaline is your body’s “fight or flight” hormone which helps you to prepare for physical exertion.
  • Coffee may help you lose weight. Coffee contains magnesium and potassium, which helps the human body use insulin, regulating blood sugar levels and reducing your craving for sugary treats and snacks.
  • Coffee helps you burn fat. Caffeine helps fat cells break down body fat and use it as fuel for training.
  • Coffee helps you focus and stay alert. Moderate caffeine intake, 1-6 cups a day, helps you focus and improves your mental alertness.
  • Coffee lowers risk of death. Studies have shown that coffee drinker’s overall risk of premature death is 25% lower than of those who don’t drink coffee.
  • Coffee reduces risk of cancers. One study has shown that coffee may decrease the risk of developing prostate cancer in men by 20 %, and endometrial cancer in women by 25 %. People in the test group drank four cups of coffee a day. Caffeine may also prevent developing of basal cell carcinoma, the most common type of skin cancer
  • Coffee reduces risk of stroke. Reasonable consumption of coffee (2–4 cups a day) is associated with lower risk of stroke.
  • Coffee reduces risk of Parkinson’s disease. Studies have shown that regular coffee drinking decreases risk of Parkinson’s disease by 25 %. There’s evidence that coffee causes activity in the part of the brain affected by Parkinson’s.
  • Coffee protects your body. Coffee contains a lot of antioxidants, that work as little warriors fighting and protecting against free radicals within your body.
  • Coffee may lower risk of Type II diabetes. Caffeine decreases your insulin sensitivity and impairs glucose tolerance, therefore reduces your risk of type 2 diabetes.
  • Coffee brightens your mood, helps fight depression and lowers risk of suicide. Caffeine stimulates the central nervous system and boosts production of neurotransmitters like serotonin, dopamine, and noradrenaline, which elevate your mood. Two cups of coffee a day prevents risk of suicide by 50 %


  • Bad coffee can be toxic. Bad quality coffee can have a lot of impurities in it, which can cause sickness, headache or a general bad feeling. This can happen if your coffee is made from beans that have been over ripped or otherwise ruined. Even one ruined bean can make your cup toxic. If you invest and buy high quality, speciality coffee you don’t have to worry about this.
  • Coffee can kill you. Yes, if you drink 80-100 cups (23 litres) in a short session. This dose is lethal and will amount in 10-13 grams of caffeine within your body. Before you reach this point, however, you’ll be vomiting most of it out since 23 litres of any liquid is a lot. Even drinking 23 litres of water can kill you.
  • Coffee can cause insomnia and restlessness. Again, it’s the caffeine working here. Your recommended maximum amount of caffeine is 400 milligrams, roughly the amount that you’ll get from 4 cups of coffee. If you’re caffeine-sensitive, be careful with coffee. You are probably already aware what amount and what kind of coffee suits, or doesn’t suit you. The amount of caffeine that is safe for human consumption is actually written in our DNA.
  • Don’t drink more than one cup a day if you’re pregnant. Studies on coffee’s effect on a fetus have been controversial, but one thing is sure: if you drink coffee when pregnant, caffeine will also reach the fetus, and your baby is highly sensitive to caffeine. So, if you’re a heavyweight coffee drinker and can’t stop drinking it while pregnant, at least reduce your coffee intake to one cup a day.
  • If you have high cholesterol please choose filtered coffee. Coffee beans contain cafestol and kahweol, two ingredients that appear to raise LDL cholesterol levels. Filtering the coffee traps most of the LDL, but cafestol and kahweol are found in espresso, turkish coffee, french press and scandinavian style “cooked coffee”.
    • The intake of LDL from a cup of espresso is still so small, that for people with normal cholesterol levels, won’t be at risk. There are also some studies at preliminary stages of diagnosis that have found marks that cafestol and kahweol may have some beneficial anti-cancer effects, and be good for your liver.
  • Coffee for kids, may increase bedwetting. One survey reported that caffeine consumption of 5-7 year old kids may increase enuresis a.k.a. bedwetting.


If you have high cholesterol or you are caffeine sensitive, pregnant or a child (or a parent of one), you should pay attention to coffee drinking.

For others, reasonable amounts (1-6 cups a day) coffee can be good for you. It can prevent serious diseases, boost your mind and muscles, and even help you with weight loss. Remember, as long as you drink toxin free, speciality coffee and brew it with care, you can and should be enjoying it knowing it’s good for you. If you took the time to read this whole article (thank you!), please share it so your friends will get it right, too.


How to cook beef pares

18 11 2016





500 grm beef brisket sliced into 1-1/2 inch thick

4 cups water

½ pc onion, chopped

1 pc star anise

1 tsp cooking oil

1 tsp garlic, minced

1/3 cup light soy sauce

2 tbs sugar

2 cups beef broth

2 tbs cornstarch

¼ cup water




  1. Placed beef, chopped onion, star anise and water in a saucepot. Cover and let the mixture simmer until the beef is tender, about 1-1/2 to hours.

Add more water during this process if liquid dries up or if you like to dish to
have more sauce


  1. Separate beef cubes from the broth. Set aside the  beef broth.


  1. In a saucepan, heat the cooking oil and sauté garlic until light brown. Add chopped onion and sauté until onion are transparent in color. Add cooked beef cubes. Combine well with onion and garlic.


  1. Add soy sauce, beef broth and season with ground black pepper and a dash of salt. Let it simmer for 5 minutes.


  1. Disperse cornstarch in water and slowly add to beef mixture, stirring continuously until sauce thickens.