Health and Nutrition During Pregnancy fruit healthTips

Pregnancy

Pregnancy is a nine month journey… It is a time in your life to feel happy, excited, serene and joyful. However it is also quite normal to experience anxieties about the birth and worrying about whether you are nourishing yourself properly, exercising, keeping, calm, positive, loving thoughts and emotions within your being.

Pregnancy lasts 39 weeks or nine months from conception and is looked at in three stages.

Health & Nutrition During Pregnancy

To ensure that your baby develops in a healthy environment, you should keep your body as fit and well nourished as you possibly can. Do not think in terms of devising a special diet for pregnancy, it is more to do with eating a good variety of the right foods which are those that are rich in the essential nutrients.

Weight Gain

The amount of weight put on by women in pregnancy varies between 9 – 16 kilograms, with the most rapid gain usually between weeks 24 and 32.

Don’t “eat for two”. Some 46 percent of women gain too much weight during pregnancy.

Diet During Pregnancy

You ARE What You Eat therefore Your Baby Is What You Eat!

What You Eat affects your baby’s future. What you eat in the following nine months can impact your baby’s health, as well as your own, for decades to come.

A good diet is vital to health during pregnancy, and to the normal development of the baby. The time to pay attention to diet, and if necessary change it for the better, is several months prior to conception and not when pregnancy is confirmed.

During the critical early weeks the normal, healthy development of the embryo depends on the mother’s state of nutritional health and also her toxic state.

Mineral and vitamin imbalances which would probably go unnoticed in a child or adult can have a disastrous effect on the developing baby.

This is because the cells in the embryo are growing at such a rapid rate, causing an exaggerated response to any harmful influences.

A natural, organic, whole food diet is the only one which will adequately serve during pregnancy.

A high quality diet is needed to maintain your own health and the best possible conditions for the baby to develop.

As our environment becomes more polluted and the soils more depleted of nutrients, going 100% organic, if possible, is the best thing you can do for oneself, and for a developing fetus, and last but not least; the environment.

Pesticides, herbicides, and other forms of pollution interfere with the metabolic pathways of many nutrients and thus indirectly interfere with the development of the immune, endocrine, and neurological systems.

Eating as many of our foods in their live, raw form preserves 70 to 80% more vitamins and minerals, 50% more bioactive protein, and up to 96% more bioavailable vitamin B12.

Grains, nuts and seeds are the most potent health-building foods of all. Eaten raw or sprouted if possible (some grains need to be cooked), they contain all the essential nutrients for human growth, sustenance, and ongoing optimal health.

A well balanced diet is based on whole cereals and grains (brown bread, rice, pasta, buckwheat, rye, oats), nuts and seeds, pulses and beans, fresh fruit and vegetables, pure unrefined oils such as cold pressed olive oil, with some fish and eggs if required.

Fruit and vegetables are all excellent sources of vitamins, minerals and trace elements provided they are eaten in the right way.

They should be fresh, either raw or quickly cooked, steamed or stir-fried, and preferably consumed immediately after they are harvested.

Salt is needed to maintain the extra volume of blood, to supply enough placental blood, and to guard against dehydration and shock from blood loss at birth, (except in cases of kidney and heart problems) Suggested form of salt is Himalayan Pink Salt.

Proteins

• Form the basic building blocks of all our body tissues, cells, hormones, and antibodies.

• Food must fuel the growth of the uterus, which can grow to 30 times its original size over the nine months gestation period Add the development of breasts, placenta, development of breast milk, the baby’s body.

Proteins are divided into complete and incomplete:

Complete proteins contain significant amounts of all the essential amino acids, you find them in meat, poultry, fish, eggs, milk and soya bean products.

Vegetable proteins are incomplete and contain only some of the essential amino acids. Some vegetarian sources of complete protein are: buckwheat, sesame seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, flaxseeds, and almonds.

Plant proteins are easier for our bodies to digest and produce less toxic waste than animal proteins. The fiber in plants also has a very beneficial effect on the bowel; it ensures healthy bowel movements and the correct bacterial population in the gut, and prevents the buildup of putrefactive bacteria produced by excess animal proteins.

Eating meat and meat products also carries the risk from chemical and hormonal residues found in intensively reared animals. Also soya beans or soy products are mostly genetically engineered, hence it is wise to stay clear of them.

Pregnant women need about 60 to 75 grams of protein a day.

The best and cleanest sources of protein are green vegetables, spirulina, seeds (hemp, flax, sesame, poppy, sunflower, chia, quinoa, amaranth ).

Real strength and building material comes from:

• green – leafy vegetables, seeds and superfoods. They contain all the amino acids we require.

Essential Fatty Acids are vital to :

• the development of the baby’s nervous and immune systems. They build the cell walls in all our tissues, and so that trace elements and fat-soluble vitamins (A,E,D, and K) can be absorbed.

• EFA’s are needed to make adrenal and sex hormones, and to maintain a healthy population of bacteria in the gut.

• They are also essential to the normal development of the fetus’s brain: 70 per cent of all EFAs go to the brain.

The Best Fatty Foods include:

Avocados, Borage Seed Oil, Raw Cacao Beans (Chocolate Nuts), Coconut oil/ butter, Flax seed and its oil, Grape seeds, Hemp seed and its oil (cold pressed), RAW Nuts of all types (cashews must be soft to be truly “raw”), Nut Butters (almond butter is excellent), Olives and their oil (stone pressed or cold pressed), Peanuts (must be certified aflatoxin free), Poppy seeds, pumpkin seeds and their oil (cold pressed), Sesame seeds, sunflower seeds, tahini (sesame butter), or even better if you can get hold of it at a health food store unhulled tahini (an alkaline fat, high in calcium), Young Coconuts (young Thai coconuts are available in the US at Asian markets), Coconut milk, coconuts (mature).

SUPERFOODS

Superfoods are foods with extraordinary properties. Usually they contain all essential amino acids, high levels of minerals, and a wide array of unique, even rare, nutrients. I have included the superfoods in the nutritional tips below.

Some prominent superfoods to include:

1) Himalayan Pink Salt – offers 84 minerals exactly identical to the elements in your body.

2) Spirulina (a spiral algae consumed for thousands of years by indigenous people in Mexico and Africa)

-It has the highest concentration of protein on Earth. 60%

-It is also very high in Iron, and many other vitamins and minerals.

-It is one of the highest sources of gamma-linolenic acid (GLA) on the planet. Only mother’s milk is higher.

-It is recommended to take more Spirulina during breastfeeding because of the GLA.

-Spirulina is very high in human-active B12.

3) Blue-Green Algae (Klamath lake algae wonderful brain food). It is high in protein, chlorophyll, vitamins, and minerals and enhances the immune system.

I value it in pre-pregnancy, pregnancy, and lactation for its enhancing effect on brain function.

4) Bee Pollen (wild pollen, not orchard pollen, should be used and should come from ethically harvested sources where bees are treated respectfully. Bee Pollen is nature’s most complete food) All amino acids, immune system, brain, eyes.

5) Flax, Sunflower, Chia, Sesame and pumpkin seeds are the best to use. Flaxseeds are excellent and the highest vegetarian source of omega-3-essential fatty acids, important for the immune system, nervous system, and brain development. I recommend one to two tablespoons daily of the uncooked and unheated oil or three to six tablespoons of freshly ground flaxseeds. (Use a coffee grinder). You may also grind the other above mentioned seeds and add them to salads, and fruit salads.

6) Wild young coconuts (not be confused with white Thai coconuts found in markets, wild coconuts are one of the greatest foods on earth. The coconut water and soft inner flesh are strength enhancing, electrolyte-rich, mineral-rich, youthening and invigorating. Great in smoothies.

NUTRITION TIPS

Here Are Some Nutrition Tips that will help you both:

1) Get Enough Folic Acid. 400 micrograms (mcg) daily. Folic Acid reduces chance of birth defects such as spina bifida. Especially in the first 6 weeks of pregnancy.

2) Best Food Sources of Folic Acid are: RAW Green leafy vegetables, including spinach, kale, beet greens, beet root, chard, asparagus, and broccoli. Starchy vegetables containing folic acid are corn, lima beans, green peas, sweet peas, sweet potatoes, artichokes, okra, and parsnips. Oats are high in folic acid as well as whole wheat brown bread. Many fruits have folic acid such as oranges, cantaloupe, pineapple, banana, and many berries including loganberries, boysenberries, and strawberries. Also fresh sprouts such as lentil, mung bean sprouts are excellent sources. REMINDER: Folic acid is available from fresh, unprocessed food, which is why it is so common a deficient in our culture’s processed, cooked food diet.

3) Eat Your Fish. Getting enough DHA (found in abundance in seafood and flaxseed) is one of the most important things you can do for you and your developing baby’s health. DHA is the omega-3 fatty acid that can boost baby’s brain development before birth, leading to better vision, memory, motor skills and language comprehension in early childhood. Eat at least 12 ounces a week of low-mercury fish, or take a DHA supplement such as Krill Oil.

• Avoid large, predatory fish such as shark, swordfish, king mackerel and tilefish. (As big fish eat smaller fish, the larger, longer-living ones accumulate more mercury).

• Seaweed and Cilantro remove heavy metals and radioactive isotopes from the tissues.

4) Avoid Alcohol – The main risk of consuming alcohol during pregnancy is the development of “fetal alcohol syndrome” (FAS). mother.. NO AMOUNT IS SAFE. AVOID TOTALLY.

5) Avoid Caffeine: In high amounts causes birth defects and still births, miscarriages and premature delivery.

6) Avoid Drugs – As far as possible all orthodox drugs should be avoided during pregnancy, especially in the first three months. Consider natural alternatives and visiting a medical herbalist or nutritionist prior to conception.

FOODS THAT MAY CAUSE INFECTIONS

Although the chance of contracting one of these rare infections is limited, you will reduce this likelihood even further if you follow the basic guidelines given here.

Listeriosis – caused by the bacterium Listeria monocytogenes, this is a very rare infection. Its symptoms are similar to flu and gastroenteritis and it can cause still birth.

Toxoplasmosis – usually symptomless (apart from mild flu symptoms), this can cause serious problems for the baby. Caused by direct contact with the organism Toxoplasma Gondi, it is found in cat faeces, raw meat, and unpasteurized goats’ milk. Soil on fruit and vegetables may be contaminated.

Salmonella – Contamination with Salmonella bacterium can cause bacterial food poisoning. This doesn’t usually harm the baby directly, but any illness involving a high temperature, vomiting, diarrhea, and dehydration could cause a miscarriage or preterm labour.

HERBS TO AVOID DURING PREGNANCY.

Herbal remedies are for the most part quite safe to be taken during pregnancy; some are useful alternatives to drugs both in chronic illness and acute minor problems such as may arise during pregnancy. It is still preferable to take NO MEDICATION whatsoever in the first three months, unless there is a specific problem that needs treatment.

There are many Herbs which should never be taken in pregnancy – their emmonagogue or oxytocic properties may, in large amounts, cause uterine contractions and thereby risk miscarriage: I will only mention a few as there at least twenty on the list.

Nutmeg Myristica Fragrans

Thuja Thuja occidentalis

Calendula Calendula officinalis

Sage Salvia officinalis

Thyme Thymus vulgaris

Marjoram Origanum vulgare

Lovage Levisticum officinale

Rosemary Rosmarinus Officinalis

Rhubarb Rheum sp.

Herbs that are safe to eat to take in culinary doses but not as a medicine during pregnancy include:

celery seed, cinnamon, fennel, fenugreek, oregano, parsley, rosemary, sage and saffron.

If you enjoyed reading this article and would like to read the full version of this e-book called ‘A Natural Approach To Pregnancy’, visit my website http://www.easyconsciousliving.com or e-mail me at: barbara@easyconsciousliving.com

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“The Doctor Of The Future Will Give No Medicines, But Will Interest His Patients In The Care Of The Human Frame, In Diet, And In The Causes Of Diseases.”

–Thomas Edison.

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Teff Flour and the Candida Diet cuisines

Have you ever heard of teff flour? I hadn’t either until I started experimenting with gluten free flours to use on the candida diet. Teff grass, botanical name Eragrostis tef, is an ancient grain that can thrive in a variety of extreme weather conditions, which makes it a very reliable grain choice. Teff grass is native to Ethiopia where it has been used for centuries as food for cattle and a component of building materials. Teff is the smallest grain in the world but despite its small size it is an extremely versatile grain. In Ethiopia today it is milled into flour and used to make a flat bread call injera, porridge and as an ingredient in alcoholic beverages. Although teff has proven to be a reliable grain it has gone pretty much unrecognized and unused in North America until now.

Increasing awareness of medical conditions such as celiac disease, autism, gluten allergies/sensitivities and candidiasis in which eliminating gluten from one’s diet is necessary or may be beneficial has brought non-glutinous flours such as teff to the forefront in North America. As we search for alternatives to our staple gluten filled grains, wheat, barley and rye, we are starting to search the globe far and wide for useful alternatives. Using teff flour as part of your diet to treat these conditions is of particular interest because teff flour has a very impressive nutritional profile when compared to that of other flours, both glutinous and non-glutinous. Teff flour contains a large amount of bran and germ which makes it an excellent source of dietary fiber, protein and iron. Teff is also a good source of calcium. Since teff flour does not contain gluten, is such a nutritional powerhouse and is slightly lower in carbohydrates than some other grains it is an ideal choice for the candida diet also known as the yeast free diet.

The candida diet is used to treat candidiasis, an overgrowth of yeast in the intestinal system. This is why it is often referred to as the yeast free diet, as the goal is to eliminate all foods and ingredients containing yeast and ingredients that feed yeast, in order to reduce the amount of yeast in the intestinal system. The biggest offenders tend to be sugar, processed foods, quick-acting carbohydrates, vinegar and fermented foods. Many candida diet resources also suggest giving up glutinous grains such as wheat, rye and barley because they are not only hard to digest, which puts an added burden on an already compromised digestive system, but gluten may also contribute directly to the yeast overgrowth problem by feeding the yeast. Symptoms of candidiasis include but are not limited to digestive problems, mental confusion, premenstrual syndrome, depression, eczema and acne.

The cornerstone of treatment for candidiasis is the candida diet. The candida diet is the most important part of the treatment but can be the most difficult part because of the amount of foods that are eliminated. Having options such as teff flour opens up new possibilities on the candida diet. Using teff flour along with other non-glutinous flours can help the candida dieter to create a variety of yeast free dishes. You can substitute teff flour for about one fourth of the flour called for in a recipe.

For more information on living yeast free by following the candida diet visit yeast free living.

Keemun Black Tea From China – Caffeine Content, Health Benefits, And Other Properties fruit healthTips

Keemun is a type of Chinese black tea, originating in Qimen county of Anhui Province, China. This article gives an overview of the caffeine content, health benefits, and other properties of Keemun.

Keemun is primarily produced in Anhui province, but teas in this style have also begun to be produced in nearby Hubei, as well as in Jiangxi, and even in Taiwan. Keemun is usually described as having an earthy aroma, and its overall character is quite different from Indian and Ceylon teas. My personal perspective is that Keemun has a richer, warmer quality, often reminiscent of dried fruit, and in higher grades, a pleasing hint of wood or wood smoke. These teas are rich and full-bodied, and are among my favorite black teas.

Caffeine content:

Although you may be looking for more concrete information, it is hard to generalize about the caffeine content of Keemun. Even though it originates primarily in one region and shares certain aspects of production, Keemun is fairly diverse, coming in different grades. As a general rule though, Keemun is often in the moderate to high end of caffeine content, among teas, which means that it still has considerably less caffeine than a typical cup of coffee. Keemun has historically been used in breakfast blends, where strongly caffeinated teas were desired

Health benefits:

Keemun has actually been the subject of direct scientific study., in association with weight loss in animal studies. There is only a small amount of research referring specifically to this variety of tea, however, so most of what can be said about Keemun must be inferred from general studies about black tea.

Although green tea has a stronger association with supposed “health benefits” in the public consciousness in the United States, this association may be skewed by historical factors. Much of the early research on tea and health was conducted in Japan, where tea is synonymous with green tea. Subsequent research has found substantial evidence that black tea is healthy as well. In the absence of more reserach specifically looking at Keemun, it seems reasonable to conclude that Keemun is likely to have a similar amonut of health benefits to black tea.

Locating high-quality Keemun:

My recommendation, if you want to buy the best Keemun, is to buy exclusively loose-leaf. My experience is that the best Keemun is usually sold by companies that specialize in Chinese tea. Because they store relatively well, Chinese black teas, even those of considerably high quality, tend to be relatively inexpensive, with all but the highest grades (Keemun Hao Ya A and B, and Keemun Mao Feng) costing well under $10 for about 1/4 pound or about 100-125 grams. A few companies, including Rishi Tea, Arbor Teas, and Little Red Cup, sell fair trade certified Keemun, produced in Hubei, Anhui, and Jiangxi provinces, respectively.

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Molecular Gastronomy in Thai Food cuisines

Molecular gastronomy is the process of using science and chemistry to prepare food. It’s a modern movement of cooking that often changes the physical makeup of cuisine by using ultra creativity to come up with completely new and often abstract dishes and flavors. I recently had the opportunity to enjoy a Thai fusion meal where a molecular gastronomy chef cooked up a series of fusion Thai dishes for us to sample. Our meal, which was served in courses dish by dish, was a creative modern take on Thai cuisine.

We started off with a tom yum shrimp cocktail. Now as you probably know, tom yum shrimp is one of Thailand’s most famous soups, but serving it as a cocktail beverage, laced with alcohol, is a completely different twist to the dish (now drink). Just like a normal bowl of tom yum soup, the cocktail was full of lime juice, but that’s where the similarities ended. The cocktail included a splash of gin, soup stock, and for the shrimp, rather than being added to the cocktail, it was grilled on a bamboo skewer and used as the mixing stick for the beverage. The chef instructed us to give the drink a whirling stir with the shrimp skewer, eat the shrimp in a single bite, and then sip down the cocktail as we pleased. While it indeed reminded me of any Thai tom yum soup, it was so contrastingly different at the same time.

After the cocktail, we had foie gras red curry. The foie gras, being typical of French cuisine, while the curry flavors and spices were influenced from Thai food. This was a fusion Thai dish, meaning ingredients were definitely not typical of traditional Thai food but a merger of two different cuisines. The creamy foie gras paired with the spicy flavors of typical Thai food, and a lovely hint of basil, made the dish rich and melt in your mouth. Again, it was an idea and mingling of flavors that I had never experienced before, and it was extremely delightful.

To round out the main courses we then had green curry. But instead of being served temperature hot as a normal Thai curry, the chef decided to completely change the makeup of the dish by serving it frozen. After the blend of green curry was cooked with coconut milk and reduced so the flavors were condensed, it was then flash frozen into a thin bowl like structure. The green curry had to be eaten quickly to maintain the modern molecular composition, so it would still be frozen solid when eating. The result was very interesting yet again. When I closed my eyes, I tasted all the normal components of a Thai green curry, yet there was a slight crunch from the frozenness, and the creamy cold sensation was more similar to a creamsicle than a plate of green curry and rice. It sort of reminded me of eating an Indian kulfi, an ice cream that’s made with thick cream and flavored with cardamom, but instead of cream it was coconut milk and instead of cardamom it was the range of spices in the green curry paste that created the attractive flavor.

Finally for dessert we ended things with mango sticky rice, which is one of Thailand’s most well known and loved sweets. But while a normal mango sticky rice is a pile of sweet coconut sticky rice paired with a slab of perfectly ripened mango, this was a foamy dessert that looked like a pile of soap suds. In this example of Thai molecular gastronomy, the chef completely changed the physical structure and appearance while maintaining a surprisingly similar flavor. Each bite of the light bubbles produced a mango and powerful rice flavor in my mouth.

While I wouldn’t want to eat Thai food that’s been altered molecularly too often, it was a really fun treat. I was amazed at both the creativity, the precise cooking, and the thought behind the display of all the dishes. Also, it was incredible how the dishes looked absolutely nothing like they normally do, yet after tasting them, I could undoubtedly detect the dish it represented or was inspired by.

What’s Lurking Under Your Fingernails? cuisines

In the spring of 1997, I spent a wonderful day with Dr Omar Amin in Phoenix, Arizona. Dr Amin is one of the most respected and sought-after parasitologists in the world and runs the Parasitology Center Inc in Scottsdale, Arizona.

He gave me a copy of his paper ‘Understanding Parasites’ in which there was a sentence that has always stuck in my mind: “A recent inspection of an expensive restaurant in Los Angeles showed that 100% of all employees (not just servers) had fecal matter under their nails”.

Fecal matter and disease (particularly parasites) generally go together. With our cities offering cuisine from increasingly exotic regions of the world, this carries a higher incidence of parasite-borne diseases, especially if these regional foods are undercooked or even raw: Dutch herring, steak tartar, ceviche, sashimi, sushi for example. Tapeworm is high on the list of ‘residents’ in these foods as is the Anisakid Worm.

A food-handler with poor personal hygiene will more than likely increase the exposure and risk of pathogenic organisms spreading. Years ago kitchen staff wore gloves and hairnets when handling food. They don’t seem to do this any longer although regular hand-washing habits may be mandatory nowadays.

University of Gondar, Ethiopia

In 2003, 127 food-handlers working in the cafeterias of the University of Gondar and the Teachers Training College there were fingernail-tested. These café’s were selected because the mass-provision of foods is a likely source of transmitting infections. Fingernail contents of both the hands and stool specimens were collected from all 127 food-handlers. In addition to fecal matter under the fingernails, the following was found:

– Coagulase-negative staphylococci (41.7%) by Staphylococcus aureus (16.5%), Klebisella species (5.5%), Escherichia coli (3.1%), Serratia species (1.58%), Citrobacter species (0.8%), and Enterobacter species (0.8%).

– Shigella species were isolated from stool samples of four food-handlers (3.1%). None of the food-handlers was positive for Salmonella species and Shigella species in respect of their fingernail contents.

Thankfully no intestinal parasites were detected from fingernail contents, but intestinal parasites were detected in their stools:

– Ascaris lumbricoides (18.11%), Strongyloides stercoralis (5.5%) Entamoeba histolytica/dispar (1.6%), Trichuris trichiura (1.6%), hookworm species (0.8%), Gardia lamblia (0.8%), and Schistosoma mansoni (0.8%); 1.6% of the study subjects were positive for each of A. lumbricoides, T. trichiura, hookworm, and Giardia lamblia.

It’s clear from this and many other studies that food-handlers are a potential source of infections. It’s not only food handlers though. To give you an idea of where and how contamination occurs, here are a couple of lists.

The 10 ‘dirtiest’ jobs:

1. Teacher/day-care worker

2. Cashier (bank, post office, supermarket, fast foods etc)

3. Policeman

4. Animal control officer

5. Janitor, plumber

6. Computer repair (using dirty keyboard/mouse)

7. Doctor or nurse

8. Laboratory scientist

9. Rubbish collector

10. Meat packer

Here are some of the dirtiest places you’ll touch in your day:

1. Supermarket trolley handle

2. Office keyboard (not yours) and mouse

3. The button on a public or office drinking fountain

4. Door handles – toilet, refrigerator and microwave at office and home

5. Vending machine buttons

6. The kitchen sink in your home

7. Your toothbrush, if left near to a flushed toilet (always close the toilet lid!) and the toothbrush holder

8. TV remote control (hotels and home)

9. Anywhere around household pets (including sandboxes)

10. Escalator handrails

11. The buttons on ATM’s, lifts, video game controllers

12. Petrol pumps

13. Car steering wheels, especially with multiple drivers

Next time you go out for a drink, think before you dip your fingers into the bowl of peanuts on the bar. Alongside the nuts will be fecal matter and urine residue. Then of course there’s that lemon wedge in your drink:

“I worked in restaurants for years and here is what I saw. The lemons and limes were delivered and put into the walk-in cooler. When the bartender needs a hand full of them he would go grab them by putting them in his apron. He would then slice them up on a cutting board and put them into cups and place them on the bar. Customer # 1 orders a beer and pays for the beer. The bartender stuffs the cash into the register. Customer # 2 orders a vodka and soda with a lemon. Bartender reaches into the ice bin and fills the cup, grabs a lemon and squeezes the lemon into the drink. At no time does any water touch the fruit or his hands and this goes on all day. Money, ice and fruit. Oh, and the occasional trip to the john.”

Men generally have more germs under their fingernails than women but there are more germs found under artificial nails than under real ones.

There is of course hope…

Viruses and bacteria are an integral part of our lives. There are billions of them in and around us. A strong, healthy immune system will generally take care of most of the daily threats we pick up from that dirty supermarket trolley or domestic pet but being conscious about this is also valuable.

Some Nail Facts:

— onychopathy is the study of fingernails and toenails.

— Fingernails are essentially dead cells that are made of a protein called keratin – the same stuff as our hair. We’d get along fine without them but they’re great at help us do fiddly things like gripping things better, text messaging and scratching ourselves. They also absorb some of the stress that the tip of the finger bones would otherwise have to bear.

— Fingernails grow quicker when you’re young, faster on your more active hand and more in summer than winter. They also grow faster on pregnant women.

— Dry nails? Just drink more water.

On a final health note…

Try not to drink straight from aluminium cans. If you buy canned drinks and bring them home, wash the tops as they may carried a virus called Leptospirosis.

There’s much scaremongering on the internet about people dying from drinking out of unwashed cans. I’m not sure about the accuracy of that but if there’s any truth here, it would be because the victim had such a depleted immune system, offering little if any resistance to the invading bacteria.

Tests have shown that some aluminium cans carry dried rat urine containing Leptospira i. Cans are usually stored in rat-infested warehouses and delivered direct to retail stores without cleaning! Just so you know.

Let’s keep the exposure to a minimum.