How to Find the Right Probiotics for Your Tummy

Your digestive tract is home to a lot of bacteria and help in breaking down your food and synthesizing nutrients that your body needs but can’t produce on its own.

This large population of bacteria and yeasts that live inside you is called your gut flora, and when these different strains are all equally balanced, they can work together to help keep your body functioning normally.

Probiotics are also one of the many strains of good bacteria that help your body in breaking down food and providing nutrients, and many foods sold commercially often have them as a selling point.

Finding the Right Probiotics
Yogurt is the first thing that comes into people’s minds when they think of “probiotics”, but they are actually just one source where the good bacteria can be found.

When it comes to choosing yogurt as your source of probiotics, you may need to check the label to see if it’s pasteurized before commercially sold, as many dairy products are nowadays required to be, and the process often kills the probiotic bacteria.

Other sources of this good bacteria include fermented foods such as kombucha (a type of fermented tea), kimchi (a Korean side dish made from salted and fermented vegetables), and sauerkraut.

Keep in mind that not all probiotics are made equal. Here are the four different strains of probiotics to get you started:

• L. Casei – Studies have shown that this bacteria regulates bowel movements as well as reduces symptoms of anxiety of depression
• L. Rhamnosus – This strain is especially beneficial for treating cases of diarrhea and preventing eczema
• L. Plantarum – This strain is responsible for regulating inflammatory responses in the gut and provide relief from abdominal pain and even bloating
• L. Acidophilus – This strain has been known to reduce lactose intolerance symptoms and reduce the likelihood of colon cancer in certain patients

Should You Take Probiotic Supplements?
Probiotic bacteria also comes in supplements, which are great for taking a more concentrated source, though the exact strains of probiotics that you take aren’t the same as having a variety of different strains of probiotics in your system.

There are also gummy versions of probiotic supplements available as an alternative for children who don’t like taking capsules.

Probiotic supplements are best taken on an empty stomach (ideally, before breakfast) to allow them to enter your digestive system a lot more quickly. If you do happen to notice something wrong with your digestion, you can take supplements for a few weeks and wait to see if your problem subsides.

Be sure to consult your dietician before taking probiotic supplements, as they may not always be necessary for your system.

How to Save Time on Your Laundry in 3 Easy Steps

Doing your laundry can be a really difficult task, especially when your clothes could get dirty really easily and you need them again in a short span of time.

When you often find yourself taking hours just so you could separate clothes and wash them on different settings, it’s time to look for ways to save you more time on doing your laundry.

Here are a few easy steps you can take to do just that:

1. Set up a set schedule for when you do your laundry
Be sure to discuss with your family members or your flat-mates the exact day or time that you would be doing your laundry. This way, everyone will know when to place laundry in the basket and save you time running throughout your home collecting dirty clothes for washing.

2. Place different colored clothes on different baskets
One of the biggest reasons why laundry can take so long is because of having to sort the white clothes from the colored ones, and the different colors based on how dirty they are. You can solve this by keeping different baskets in your home to place different types of clothes in.

You can even label them to keep everyone from being confused as to which clothes go in which basket, and as soon as you see the baskets fill up, you will know that that’s the time to do your laundry.

3. Turn all clothes inside out
Because darker clothes can fade a lot more easily and prints on shirts can easily get damaged when washed, turning your clothes inside-out when placing them in the basket will save you a lot of time and will keep your clothes better-looking for a lot longer, even after multiple washings.

To make things a lot easier (and save more time), you can also ask everyone at home to tie their socks together before placing them in the laundry basket. This way, no sock gets lost and no one has to dig through piles of laundry just to look for that one missing pair, and your days of having to suffer mismatched socks are finally over.

Calling Your Laundry Service
Having a laundry service in Singapore do the work for you saves you a lot of time and frees you up to focus on more important tasks, and you can count on them for quality service and bring your laundry to your doorstep on time so that you’ll never have to run out of clothes to wear for your next meeting or event, or even uniforms for work.

5 Tips for Adapting to a New Environment

Whether for work or for school or just merely getting some new perspective, moving to a new place can really be a possibility. Getting away from all that’s familiar can be both an adventure and an anxiety. When you’re on your own, it can get both exciting and scary. And it’s just more than choosing how to feel. It’s reality speaking to you, and there’s no denying its tangibility.

So before your anxiety eats you all up, here are a few tips to get you going as you start a new chapter of your life in a new place:

1. Research as much as you can. Since we have online access to most things nowadays, getting ahold of all vital information for your move is a click of a button away. List down important details of the neighborhood you plan to reside in, the basic directions, the nearest grocery and the like. We have apps to help us get through all logistic-related hassle so you’re halfway to adjusting to your new home. List down important phone numbers you might need in your new place. Take note of the schedules you might need such as last trips of buses, operating hours of establishments near you, etc.

2. Be polite to those around you. One step important to letting you adjust to the new environment is to mingle with the people around you. Whether in the neighborhood, school or work, making yourself familiar with and to the people milling around these areas can be a great advantage. It assures them you aren’t a threat to their safety, and vice versa. It allows you to establish networks as early as you can. Who knows, the person you’ve been smiling politely to may be the President of the company you work for or the owner of the building where you reside at.

3. Stay healthy. Since you’re new to the place, you could always be busy with something else other than yourself. You might want to check yourself in the mirror every now and then and ask yourself whether you look more tired and thinner than you usually did. If yes, make time to take care of yourself. Make food a priority, as well as sleep. You can have all the time adjusting once you’ve gotten your health down pat.

4. Go out and explore. One way get to know unchartered territory is by doing ocular visits yourself. Navigate your way throughout the radius of your neighborhood and familiarize yourself with the route. Again, it’s handy to use map apps for this task as you may get lost at one point or another. It’s also a wise move to have someone with you, for safety and navigation purposes. But it’s sometimes good to go see the world in your own pace; it’s always great to tackle a complex task such as navigation all by yourself.

5. Don’t take things personally. Whether in the neighborhood, at school or at work, don’t take things too personally when practices don’t meet your expectations. Remember, you just came into the system, one that’s been established for a number of years before you even set foot in that place. So forgive easily and blend with the norm. Unless the fault is a hazard to your well-being and safety, it’s best to let things slide. Besides, you can always inform them if you can’t take it anymore; nothing can’t be settled over a decent conversation.

5 simple oral hygiene tips

People want whiter teeth but it isn’t always a good indication of oral health. Your mouth isn’t just composed of teeth, so there’s a lot more to consider to keep it healthy. Besides, healthy teeth has nothing to do with color. A sentiment experts don’t tire to emphasize.

So here’s a few tips to keep your oral hygiene in check:

1. Clean your mouth properly
Toothbrushes are our oral health’s bestfriends. They are the go-to cleaning tool and is a basic for anyone regardless of culture. But the catch is, your teeth aren’t the only ones needing good brushing. Along with your teeth, your gums, tongue and roof of the mouth need a good brushing from all the food particles lodging on them. Brush along these surfaces in a 45-degree angle to ensure good cleaning. Don’t attack your mouth with your toothbrush either; good brushing has nothing to do with force. Don’t try to bleed your mouth clean, as this only damages it. Twice a day brushing is good for your oral health.

2. Floss regularly
As regular and proper brushing keeps surfaces of your teeth clean, the spaces in between them sometimes get neglected. This is where floss conveniently comes in. They target those areas brushes can’t reach. Once a day flossing could do wonders to prevent cavity build up.

3. Refrain from sodas, alcohol and tobacco
Tobacco makes your gums unhealthy and it shows with its darker tinge. So stay well away from those and not only is your mouth happy, but your lungs as well. Sodas and alcohol don’t sit well with your oral health either. Even though phosphorous is somehow beneficial for your teeth, too much of anything is bad. Both sodas and alcohol contain too high levels of this substance, and may cause tooth decay and gum disease. If you must drink them, do it with a straw to lessen its contact with your teeth.

4. Stick to the good-for-the-teeth diet
If you aren’t aware yet, nuts, cheese, vegetables, fruits (such as apples) and chicken are good for the teeth. If you don’t have allergies for either of those, taking in a generous amount in your diet might do good for your teeth.

5. Regular check up
Even if you follow all the preceding tips religiously to the dot, nothing beats a regular check up with your dentist. Experts know what to look out for depending on your condition so keeping a regular check up with them could do you loads of good and will save you from a lot of pain in the future. They can detect problems way before you even feel them so make sure you have a trusted dentist to do the monitoring for you.

The State of Healthcare in Singapore

The quality of Singapore’s healthcare is among the most modern and secure. By international standards, it is considered as a leading example: according to The World Bank in 2009, Singapore’s life expectancy is at 79 years for men and 84 for women. The country’s population boasts of 4.7 million working citizens out of its entire population of 5.6 million.

For what has been called the most expensive city in the world, many countries look to Singapore with envy with regards to its efficient healthcare system. But how does it work?

Here are all the things you need to know about healthcare in the Lion City:

1. In the country, there are 10 public hospitals, 13 private, and a few other specialized clinics. Each facility has its own specialties and pricings. Public hospitals are open 24/7 and offer emergency services. Most Singaporean doctors are trained abroad in world-class medical facilities.

You can either choose to see a junior doctor or a senior doctor. Of course, rates are more expensive for the latter.

According to the Singapore Medical Council, more than 900 doctors are practicing in the city-state. This gives a ratio of 18 medical practitioners for every 10,000 citizens, which is more than most Asian countries.

2. Most Singaporeans buy medical insurance provided by the state-run National Health Plan. Singapore’s National Health Plan was set up in 1983 based on the 3M’s: Medisave, Medishield, and Medifund.

While Medisave is a personal health fund that levies 8-10% of a person’s salary to be deposited per month, and Medishield works as the state’s medical insurance for its citizens, Medifund serves as a form of social protection for citizens who cannot afford to pay their own medical expenses.

However, the 3M’s are only available to Singaporean citizens. Expatriates or foreigners usually purchase private insurance. This is why some healthcare facilities in Singapore have different rates for citizens and foreigners, with the latter’s of course being higher.

3. Singapore’s government emphasizes cleanliness and health awareness towards its citizens. Cultural notions of individual responsibility drive citizens not just to get healthcare, but also to keep their environment clean. This means that outbreaks of potentially life-threatening diseases such as influenza are minimized.

Singapore also benefits from strict laws and health codes with an emphasis on hygiene, and families are encouraged to follow precautions as well as to take vaccines.

Recently, Singapore’s Public Hygiene Council initiated the Keep Singapore Clean Movement, which aims to keep the general environment free from littering.

Top 4 Places Tourists Should Avoid While in Singapore

You land in Singapore, the multicultural financial hub of Southeast Asia and one of the most expensive cities in the world. As an attractive travel destination, it’s no surprise that it has hit a record of 15 million visitors as of 2013.

Tourists come year round to experience its magic, and many places have now become so packed with them that the magic has worn off. You want to avoid the tourist traps and have a true experience of being in Singapore.

Don’t worry – we’ve got you. Here are the top 4 places in Singapore to steer clear from:

1.) Newton Hawker Center/Newton Circus Food Center
Newton Circus was once a go-to to sample a plethora of cuisines, from barbecue, seafood, to satays (skewer meats), until there were too many stalls selling the same kind of food and drinks. This made competition stiff by stall owners where they are often criticized for overpricing food and compromising food quality.

Instead, consider going to Chinatown Food Center for a sample of local ethnic cuisine, or head over to Central Mall in Clarke Quay if you’re looking for eating on the cheap. You could even opt for the ice cream carts around the city instead of the more expensive ice cream parlors.

2.) Boat Quay
The boat cruise down Singapore River may seem pleasant until you realize that the whole trip is simply a haze of night lights.

Stroll down the riverside instead – not only will you get to marvel at the lights of Clarke Quay at your own pace and without the engine noise (or maybe the noise of a hundred other tourists), but the long walk and the cool evening air is guaranteed to make it romantic for you and your date.

3.) Sim Lim Square, People’s Park Complex, Lucky Plaza
Tourists should be careful when shopping in these places. While you are allowed to haggle for your electronics here, some vendors might use one-off tactics to scam customers. Some scams include charging extra for the warranty or leaving out price tags.

When shopping here, ensure that your items come with what it needs, such as power cords or batteries, before settling on a price.

Alternatively, you could shop at well-established stores, such as Funan IT Mall or Challenger, to get legitimate deals on your electronics.

4.) The Singapore Flyer
For a panorama of the glistening Singaporean city lights beneath your feet, you don’t have to shell out fifty odd dollars and share a gondola with other couples or families over a slow ride via the Singapore Flyer.
Instead, climb up to the roof of good old Esplanade. With your picnic basket and your loved one, and lay down alone under the night sky for hours.

Singapore is a beautiful place, with tourists flocking all year round. Use this guide to help you avoid the tourist traps and have a full experience of what the country has to offer.

3 Last Minute DIY Gift Ideas

The holiday season is a season of giving—but sometimes it can get a bit too hectic. With all the things that you need to keep track of, chances are you’re going to forget a gift for a friend of a friend. But don’t get your tinsel in a twist; here are four DIY gift ideas for your last-minute needs.

1. Personalized Mugs
Give your loved ones something that they can (and will) actually use, with the bonus of a creative, personal touch. Not only are personalized mugs cheap– requiring just an oven, a sharpie and, a mug– they are also very flexible.
To make your own personalized mugs, simply take an oil-based sharpie to a plain ceramic mug, and let sit for a few hours. Then place the mug in an oven at 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 25 minutes.

To make your mugs extra special, draw things that are special to the person you are giving the mugs to. If you’re not very confident with your illustration skills, you could write out a few lines of songs or poetry. You could even use their favorite book quotes, or lines from their favorite movies.

2. Teacup candles
Teacup candles are a bit more hands-on, but they’re cute and quite cheap. While they take a few hours to make, most of this is spent waiting for the wax to dry (which you can use to do other holiday stuff).

To make teacup candles, all you need to do is to melt candle wax in a pan over medium to high stove heat. Then add a bit of water, candle scent and dye. After the wax has melted, add a candle scent and color.

While the wax is melting, put a barbeque stick on top of the teacup. Tie a wick to the barbeque sticks, making sure that its end is flush with the bottom of the cup. When the wax dries, simply cut off the wax. Simply put your teacup in a box, and voila! You have the perfect holiday gift.

3. Potpourri
For particularly crafty givers, chances are you already have the materials you need to make potpourri. All you need are some dried flowers, an essential oil of your choice, herbs, and spices. Simply add all the dry materials inside a glass container, then add a few drops of essential oil.

For those who want to be extra crafty, try to create a theme to your container. You could make a rose-scented potpourri by using dried rose petals and rose essential oils. You could even make a lavender potpourri of lavender flowers and lavender oil. If it’s looking a little sparse, you could add other trinkets like stones or twine.

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