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5 Caffeine Benefits for Coffee Lovers

Singapore has the 7th most number of branches of Starbucks per capita, according to telegraph.co.uk. And it makes sense, for a country with people who like to be productive. But not everyone is a fan of coffee; there are many people who avoid caffeine, on the grounds that it is unhealthy and addicting. But is caffeine all bad? No, according to science. Studies have shown that caffeine has a lot of benefits for the body and the brain. Here are a few of those benefits.

1. Burn fat
Aside from being a stimulant (and the reason why it keeps you awake) caffeine has also been proven to aid in burning fat. This means that caffeine can boost your metabolic rate by 3% to 11%. However, this effect may diminish with constant coffee consumption; the longer you have been drinking coffee, the less it would have an effect on your metabolism.

2. Improve physical performance
Coffee can improve your physical performance as it can increase adrenaline in the blood. This is what people usually refer to as a ‘caffeine’ buzz when people feel like they’re more alert and can respond faster to stimulus. Adrenaline is the flight or fight hormone, which readies the body for intense physical exertion. Additionally, the breakdown of fat cells also frees fat and allows the body to use it as fuel, giving more energy to the body. On average, caffeine can improve physical performance by 11% to 12%.

3. Lowers the risk of diabetes
According to studies, coffee drinkers are at less risk for developing type 2 diabetes, by about 23% to 50%. These studies conclude that a daily cup of coffee is recommended to avoid type 2 diabetes, with each daily cup reducing your risk by about 7%.

4. Protect from Alzheimer’s
There is not much we know about Alzheimer’s. What we do know is that caused almost 2 million deaths in 2015 and that until now there is no known cure. However, there are things that you could do to avoid contracting Alzheimer’s, and consuming coffee just might be one of them. According to some studies, those who drink caffeine lower their risk of getting Alzheimer’s by up to 65% compared to those who do not.

5. Reduce the risk of suicide and depression
There are many studies that show the benefits of drinking caffeine for those suffering from depression. According to a ten-year study with 86,000 participants, the risk of suicide is reduced in those who drink coffee, compared to those who don’t. According to another study (this time created by the Harvard School of Public Health) women who drank at least four cups of coffee were less likely to suffer from depression by about 20% than non-coffee drinkers.

3 DIY Upcycled Planters

Singapore has the perfect weather for growing your own plants. If you want to add a bit of nature to your indoor space (whether it’s your bedroom, office, or kitchen) you don’t have to shell out money to buy a new flower pot or planter. Chances are, you already have the perfect planter lying around, and all you need is just a bit of DIY magic. Here are a few ideas to help you find your next planter.

1. Colanders
Planters are basically just containers with holes. And what’s a colander if not a container with holes? If you have a colander that’s just lying around the house, unused, it may be a good idea to upcycle it and turn it into a planter. Spruce up your colander planters by painting them with bright colors, add soil and seeds, then let the plant do its magic. If you find yourself falling in love with the ideas of colanders as planters, you can include other appliances in your garden. Other kitchen items you could use as planters include kettles, pitchers, and even old rice cookers.

2. Tea Tins
Tea Tins make the perfect planters for that vintage, rustic look. Chances are, you already have a few of them lying around the house. Simply drill a few holes at the bottom, add some soil, then some seeds, and you’re good to go. You can also use other tin cans you have lying around your house, like cans of sardines, peas, and soup. Just make sure to check for any sharp edges that your tin may have, and sand them off if there are any.

3. Baby Jars
Baby Jars are already perfect for planters just as they are, but you could spruce them up with a bit of DIY to create a mini-garden. You can use jars of any size, and using clamps and screws, secure them on a piece of wood. Then, you can hang the wood on a wall or any flat surface for a rustic and charming wall décor. You can even opt to do away with drainage holes and use plants that don’t need soil (simply fill the jars with water) or plants that don’t need a lot of water (like succulents). Just remember to use the right kind of soil mix to avoid flooding the bottom of the jar.

To create this project, mark where the food jars would go on the wood. Then place a clamp, and drill the clamp into the wood with screws. Then place the jars into each clamp, and tighten the clamps around the jars. Then with a hook and a piece of string (that is strong enough to hold the wood and jars) hand the wooden board onto a hook.

5 Foods That Shouldn’t Be Eaten Raw

Some foods can be consumed raw, while others require to be cooked. Meat, for the most part, should always be thoroughly cooked to reduce risks of salmonella. On the contrary, fruits and veggies can be consumed raw—as long as you wash them thoroughly.

When you eat certain foods—which require cooking—raw, your body will have a hard time breaking it down, causing diarrhea and constipation.

To avoid these unpleasant digestive problems, here are five foods that should never be eaten raw.

Bean Sprouts
Uncooked or undercooked bean sprouts are beaming with harmful bacteria, causing anyone who consumes the uncooked sprouts to get sick. Some nutritionists would even suggest that pregnant women, senior and children should steer clear from consuming dishes with sprouts. If you don’t have any complicated health condition and are not pregnant, you can consume sprouts as long as you wash and cook them properly.

Yes, this meal staple should never be eaten uncooked—or even half-cooked. Eating them raw can lead to bloating and gastrointestinal effects, because the starch in it is resistant to digestion. The only way to break down the starches is by cooking them thoroughly.

Kidney Beans
If you are to take a couple of few of these beans straight off the vine and consume them, not only will they taste gross but within a few hours, you will feel be nauseous and vomiting. The culprit? The kidney beans’ naturally toxic property called lectin. But if you cook them, they are as nutritious as your standard veggies.

Bitter Almonds
We always hear about ‘sweet almonds,’ and they are popular for great health reasons. Bitter almonds, on the other hand, are sweet almond’s evil counterpart. Though they are a variety of our favourite sweet almonds, they contain hydrocyanic acid—a hazardous combination of water and hydrogen cyanide. In fact, it only takes 70 pieces of this raw fruit to poison a full grown adult. Fortunately, they are safe to eat when cooked.

Perhaps, you’re thinking how can there be raw milk. It doesn’t make sense since you don’t cook milk. Surprisingly, there’s such thing as raw milk, and they can be poisonous to consume. Milk straight out of an animal, without undergoing pasteurization, contains harmful bacteria like salmonella and e.coli. According to FDA, raw milk is much more likely to cause foodborne diseases compared to other dairy foods.

Some raw foods naturally contain sugars and toxins that can be hard to digest, which can lead to gastrointestinal problems. Others host harmful bacteria that can lead to the development of diseases.

While you might think that you are able to preserve most of your veggies’ nutrients if you consume them raw or half-cooked, it is still best to follow your doctor’s advices for your diet and food intake, especially if you are someone with a complicated health condition.

5 Important Things to Know Before Adopting a Siberian Husky

Siberian huskies are beautiful dogs. With their captivating brown and blue eyes, fluffy fur and wolf-like appearance, it’s hard not to fall in love with these mammals. If you are thinking of adopting a Siberian husky as a pet, know that they need a bit more attention compared to other breeds of dogs. Before getting one, make sure you have thought of these important matters to ensure you are worthy to become a parent of these beautiful creatures.

1. They need a lot of exercise
Siberian huskies are naturally active. They have a ton of energy, so they need everyday exercise to discharge them, which make them great workout buddies. If you do not have enough yard space to let your pup run and play, go jogging or walking with him every morning.

2. They need cool environment
Siberian huskies can cope effortlessly in cool climate, but can be uncomfortable or even get ill in the heat. With Singapore’s climate, you will likely need to have a fully air-conditioned home to keep your husky comfortable at all times. Take them on a walk early in the morning or late in the afternoon, so they won’t get bushed under the heat of the sun.

3. They shed a lot
Due to their thick fur, huskies tend to shed a lot, especially when they are in warm environment. Twice every year, they spend more than a week shedding heavily. Plan on vacuuming the house more often, brushing your dog’s fur at least twice a day and be ready to share your home with fur everywhere.

4. They need someone to lead them
Siberian huskies have that natural instinct to follow a leader. And you need to be that leader, or else your dog will take the call. Training classes will help you establish that hierarchy between you and your dog. If you cannot provide clarity and consistency on your leadership, then a husky may not be the right dog to have.

5. They need more attention
Huskies are friendly, smart and playful doge, but they easily get bored. If you are often out of the house eight hours a day, perhaps another breed will suit the kind of lifestyle you have. Know that Siberian huskies are hyper and can become destructive when they do not get much activity. They also tend to howl very loudly when they are ignored. Because they make so much noise and have the tendency to rip off everything in your house, they are not meant to be always left alone in the house.

Now that you know the important points about Siberian huskies, be ready to enjoy a wonderful companion with these animals. These dogs are fun, loyal, playful and exasperating all at the same time.

Common Misconceptions About Chocolate

The history of chocolate isn’t as sweet as its taste. For a long time, it wasn’t even accessible to the masses. The ancient Mesoamericans who first brewed the chocolate drink called xocoatl believed that only the nobles should drink it. When it was introduced to Europe only the aristocrats could afford it because making chocolate was expensive.

There are a lot of misconceptions about chocolate especially its effect on health. These are some of the most popular.

Chocolate isn’t for diabetics
People with diabetes can still eat chocolate because it has a low glycemic index. Care should be taken, however, when choosing the type of chocolate. Ideally, dark chocolate is the best choice because it can improve your sensitivity to insulin. Eat in moderation and ask your doctor about adding chocolate to your diet.

Chocolate will ruin your teeth
Sugar alone isn’t the only culprit. The bacteria from any metabolized food can be a source of cavities. The product forms acid that can damage the enamel. Chocolate, however, doesn’t stay in the mouth because it’s made from natural fats. That means it comes into contact with your teeth for a short time. Even if you avoid chocolate, you will still have cavities if you don’t brush regularly.

Chocolate is junk food
Most chocolate bars are classified as candies. A lot of people think that eating chocolate is bad for the health. Chocolate, however, comes from the cacao plant. Most of the ingredients are considered healthy too such as milk and nuts. Dark chocolate is as beneficial as a glass of red wine because it has antioxidants, flavonoids, iron, magnesium, copper and zinc.

Chocolate can cause acne
Several studies show that this isn’t true. Acne is caused by an over-active sebum and bacteria. The cause is usually genetic, so even if you watch your diet carefully, that will not lessen your acne. Your meals will not affect the condition.

Chocolate has cholesterol
Your bad cholesterol level will not be affected by the stearic acid found in chocolate. Several studies show that this type of saturated fat can raise your good cholesterol levels instead. Just remember to eat in moderation. Doctors recommend not more than 3 ounces of chocolate, particularly, milk chocolate, everyday.

Chocolate has a lot of caffeine
Chocolate does have caffeine but not as much as coffee. If you eat less than an ounce and a half of chocolate, you will get as much caffeine as that found in a cup of decaffeinated coffee. Even dark chocolate with not more than 70% cocoa has less caffeine than coffee.

What to Look for in Gold Jewelry

Gold has never gone out of fashion even with the rise in popularity of the much cheaper silver jewelry. Gold is not as expensive as other gems like diamonds, so it’s a compromise between the two.

So how do you know you’re buying quality gold jewelry?

Gold Purity
Any piece of gold jewelry is measured in carats or karats. The highest quality gold is pure gold at 24 carats. It’s not used in jewelry because it’s not tough or hard. Most of the gold used in the earrings, rings, bracelets and necklaces are gold alloys. The most commonly used metals used to make gold harder are zinc, silver, and nickel.

Take note of the following values:
24 carats is 100% gold
22 carats has 91.67% gold
18 carats has 75% gold
14 carats has 58.5% gold
12 carats has 50% gold
10 carats has 41.7% gold

European Markings
Sometimes you will also find numbers on the gold jewelry. These are also percentages indicating the how much gold was used to create the piece.

You will often find the following markings:
18 carats has a marking 750
15 carats has a marking 625
14 carats has a marking 585
10 carats has a marking 417

You might find a 9-carat or 375 gold in the market. This has a gold content of 37.5% and 62.5% of other metals. Some countries, however, don’t consider this a gold jewelry.

Hallmark or Trademark
Besides the markings mentioned above, an authentic piece must have an image of the maker’s trademark. It could be the place of origin or the name or logo of the company. Some countries require jewelers to hallmark their pieces so you should be aware of where the piece was made before buying. Some older pieces, however, like vintage jewelry don’t have markings. You will need to have the gold piece examined to make sure you’re buying authentic jewelry.

Some jewelers will tell you that gold jewelry is an investment because their value increases over time. This is only true, however for 18-carat and 22-carat gold pieces. Remember that whenever you purchase a new jewelry, the higher the carat is the more valuable the gold. The prices could vary depending on the demand in the market. Make sure that before purchasing, you must weigh the piece and examine the markings.

Other Labels
Some stores will sell you gold jewelry that are labeled “gold-plated,’ “gold-painted,” “bonded gold,” “gold filled,” “rolled gold,” or “gold-colored.” Remember that these are not the same as the gold and alloy jewelry with a carat and hallmark labels. Others will also sell you vermeil or gilded silver. This is sterling silver jewelry coated with gold. If you find the label “HGE” it means that the gold was joined to another metal by electroplating. “GF” stands for gold filled, which means the item has a gold layer on top of the base. “RGP” stands for rolled gold plate.