Traditionally, Chinese women adhere to special dietary practices during the month following childbirth. This paper discusses the dietary practices and food taboos practised by Chinese women in Kuala Lumpur. A total of 134 Chinese mothers of children below one year were recruited from three Maternal and Child Health Clinics and Maternity Hospital, Kuala Lumpur. Questionnaires and in-depth interviews were used to obtain information on socioeconomic background, dietary practices, food taboos and cooking methods during the confinement period. Food intake was assessed by multiple 24-hour dietary recall among 34 mothers during their confinement month (zuo yuezi). Body weight and height were measured, and body mass index calculated. Majority of the respondents had secondary school education (77.6%), household income between RM1001 and RM3000 (64%), and were homemakers (48.5%). The women were aged 18 – 39 years, and 68% were of normal weight. Most women (82%) practised 30 days of confinement, during which they adhered to special dietary practices. The diet was directed at attaining yin-yang (cold-hot) balance, whereby “hot” foods were most commonly used and “cold” foods were avoided. Ginger, rice wine and sesame seed oil, considered “hot” foods, were used in large amounts in the cooking. Rice, chicken and pork were also consumed in large amounts. Most vegetables and fruits were considered “cold” and were prohibited during confinement. Most mothers drank specially-prepared teas boiled from Chinese herbs. Mean energy intake was 19% below RNI, while mean protein intake was 93% above RNI (NCCFN, 2005). Mean intakes of thiamin, riboflavin and niacin were above 75% of RNI, while vitamins A and C were at half of RNI or less. Mean iron and calcium intakes were at 222% and 67% of RNI, respectively. It is concluded that most Chinese women in Kuala Lumpur do conform to special dietary practices during zuo yuezi.
The study compared the growth and morbidity of infants who had received different feeding regimens throughout the first 3 months of their lives. Ninety-two healthy term infants were observed longitudinally in the Metropolitan area of Dhaka, Bangladesh. Postnatal growth was prospectively measured at monthly intervals from birth to 3 months. Weekly home surveillance was done to record feeding and illness symptoms. The infants were classified into ‘predominantly breastfed’ (DBF) and ‘partially breastfed’ (PBF) by their feeding mode. The mean birth weight of DBF infants was 2.83±0.48 kg and PBF infants was 2.93±0.56 kg. The mean group difference of weight increment between birth and the 3rd month was 2.42 kg (DBF) and 2.09 kg (PBF) respectively. DBF infants gained significantly more weight than the PBF infants (P=0.013). Morbidity from diarrhoea/ARI was lower among the DBF. Relative risk of exposure to infections was significantly higher among the PBF infants (P<0.05). The data showed higher rates of growth increments and less illness episodes among the predominantly breastfed infants than the partially breastfed infants in the early stage of extra-uterine life.
Dietary Fibre and Mineral Availability in Some Nigerian Fruit-Vegetable and Fruit-Legume Composite Diets Olumuyiwa Sunday Falade, Oladipo Ayo Olatunbosun, Abiodun Adewale Oladipo, Ayo Tubosun & Steve Adeniyi Adewusi
Soluble Dietary Fibre (SDF), Insoluble Dietary Fibre (IDF) and Total Dietary Fibre (TDF) were determined by the gravimetric method in some fruits (Banana, Grapefruit, Orange and Pineapple), amaranthus vegetable and a legume (Vigna unguiculata). The availability of some minerals (Fe, Zn, Mg and Cu) in the whole fruits was investigated using ICP – OES after enzymatic digestion as well as their possible effect in composite amaranthus-fruit and legume-fruit meals. The different types of fibres were low in all the fruit samples but relatively high in amaranthus and cowpea. Banana and orange enhanced Fe availability from amaranthus but grapefruit and pineapple impaired Fe availability. All the fruits impaired Fe availability from cowpea. There was a strong correlation between DF and Iron Availability. All the fruits enhanced Zn availability from amaranthus but only grapefruit and orange enhanced it from cowpea. There was no correlation between Mg and DF. All the fruits impaired Cu availability with the exception of orange with 100 % enhancement from amaranthus and pineapple with 25 % enhancement from cowpea.
Fruits are well known to have high nutritional values. However, the response in blood glucose level varies with different fruits. To date, data has not been compiled to rank local fruits according to their blood glucose response. Therefore, this randomised experimental study was carried out to determine the blood glucose response after consuming ten types of tropical fruits (mango, rambutan, longan, sapodilla, jackfruit, watermelon, papaya and banana of three varieties, brangan, rastali and mas) and four types of temperate fruits (red apple, orange, grape and green pear). A total of 72 healthy subjects randomly divided into groups of 12 to 20 subjects (mean age: 21.5±0.6 years, mean BMI: 21.13±1.49 kgm-2) were requested to consume test fruits or reference food (glucose) after an overnight fasting on separate occasions. Each test fruit and the glucose contained 50g of carbohydrates. Finger-prick blood samples were obtained at 0 (fasting), 15, 30 60, 90 and 120 min after consuming each fruit. The blood glucose response was obtained by calculating area under the curve (AUC). The AUC ranged between 57.59±10 mmol.min/L and 313.2 mmol.min/L, with glucose showing the highest AUC (p<0.05) compared to all fruits tested. Banana gives the highest blood glucose response while green pear showed the lowest. The fruits ranked in descending order based on the AUC values were longan, followed by rambutan, grapes, watermelon, orange, papaya, jackfruit, sapodilla, mango and red apple. Tropical fruits had significantly higher AUC than temperate fruits (p<0.05). Overall, bananas demonstrated the largest rise in postprandial blood glucose response (62%) when compared to glucose while green pear showed the lowest response (18%). This preliminary data could be used as a recommendation to diabetic patients for optimum blood glucose control.
Morinda citrifolia, popularly known as noni, has been reported to possess antidiabetic, antiseptic and antibiotic properties, as well as hypotensive and anticoagulant activities. M. citrifolia was also reported to possess immunomodulation characteristics, anticancer activity and may also be useful as an aphrodisiac. The effects of Morinda citrifolia fruit juice on serum testosterone concentration and body weight of twelve New Zealand White male rabbits were studied for 8 weeks. Three groups of rabbits (n = 3 each) were treated orally with dosages of 200 mg/kg, 400 mg/kg and 800 mg/kg of the fruit juice respectively. Another group of rabbits (n = 3) served as control. Body weights of rabbits were measured daily. Serum testosterone levels were determined every fifth day using enzyme immunoassay method. The results obtained showed that in all groups, serum testosterone level decreased as compared to the baseline values, but the changes were not statistically significant. Body weight gain was also not significantly different among all treatment groups. There was a negative association (r = - 0.365) between serum testosterone level and body weight of rabbits in the control group. However, the changes in serum testosterone level were not significantly correlated with the changes in body weight of rabbits in the treatment groups. The findings suggest that feeding Morinda citirolia juice to male rabbits for a short duration did not produce any significant changes to serum testosterone and body weight gain.
Micronutrients are immuno-active and some of the nutraceuticals have been reported to modify immune responses. An attempt was made to investigate the immuno-suppression effects by a nutraceutical- volatile oil of Nigella sativa (NSVO). To induce immuno-suppression, animals were challenged with a specific antigen, and then treated with NSVO intramuscularly for 30 days. Serum micronutrients (alpha-tocopherol, retinol, copper and zinc) of immune-suppressed rats were determined. The HPLC was employed to determine the serum concentrations of vitamin E and A, and atomic absorption flame spectrophotometry was used to estimate the concentrations of serum zinc and copper. The SPSS software package (version 10.0) was used to analyse the data. It was found that immuno-suppressed rats showed significant deceases in serum concentrations of retinol (P=0.005) and zinc (P=0.003), when compared with control rats. Serum concentrations of alpha-tocopherol and copper also increased but not significantly. This study revealed that immune suppression might bring about changes in the concentrations of certain serum micronutrients.
A Qualitative Study on Perceptions and Knowledge of Orang Asli Mothers on Child Health and Nutrition Ng WC, Zalilah MS, Khor GL, Wan Norlida WN, Haslinah A, Shashikala S, Mirnalini K, Nawalyah AG and Hejar AR
Focus group discussion is a qualitative method of data collection that has gained recognition in the health research field. A total of 8 focus group discussions were carried out with Orang Asli women of childbearing age (20-50 years old) to assess their perceptions and knowledge of child health and nutrition. Four of the groups were from 6 Temuan villages (n=40) in Sepang District, while four others were from 4 Mah Meri villages (n=31) on Carey Island. Most of the women had no formal education or had attended primary school only. The topics discussed were on the women's perceptions of a healthy child and contributory factors to child health; their perceptions of good (nutritious) and bad (less nutritious) foods; their knowledge on foods and nutrients in relation to general functions, and specifically to growth and brain development as well as diseases. All Mah Meri and Temuan groups defined ‘healthy’ and ‘unhealthy’ in terms of behaviours and body appearances. A healthy child is able to play, socialise, eat and sleep well and seems energetic and cheerful, while an unhealthy child does not exhibit these behaviours and appearances. All the groups cited personal hygiene of the child and cleanliness of food and home environment as important contributors to child health. Healthy and unhealthy foods were defined mostly in relation to disease outcomes. All groups considered fruits and vegetables as ‘good’ foods while sugar and snacks were ‘bad’ foods. Meat, eggs, milk and fish were also considered as ‘good’ foods by several groups. All Mah Meri and Temuan groups agreed that nutritious foods prevent children from illnesses as the foods would provide energy and improve blood circulation. Compared to the Temuan, most Mah Meri women were unable to identify food sources of nutrients. Both the Temuan and Mahmeri groups were not able to relate nutrients to their specific functions. While the women were able to relate the associations between foods and diseases, most of the women lack knowledge on the appropriate foods for growth and development. The focus group findings would contribute to better understanding of care-givers’ perceptions and knowledge regarding child health and nutrition, which could then be utilised in the development of appropriate health and nutrition strategies to address child health and nutrition problems in the Orang Asli community.
This study was conducted to investigate the dietary patterns of Thais living in different cultures. Ninety-eight healthy Thai men and women aged 18-55 years were recruited from several regions of Germany, and compared with 100 healthy Thai men and women aged 17-56 years living in Thailand. A food frequency questionnaire (FFQ) with 85 food items and 24-h recall was used to assess the amounts and frequency of energy and nutrient intake especially fat. Body weight and height were measured to assess weight changes in the subjects. Socio-economic and health status information was gathered through interviews. The “Nutrisurvey” dietary analysis software was used to analyse the nutrient intakes of the subjects. Statistical analysis was done using Strata version 5.0. The results showed higher intakes of energy, protein and fat by the Thais living in Germany than those in Thailand. Rice was the staple food of both groups. The average age-adjusted BMI for Thais in Germany was 27.8 ± 0.7 kg/m2 for men and 27.8 ± 1.1 kg/m2 for women. There were no statistically significant differences in the BMI between the Thais in Germany and in Thailand for men and women. A high consumption of fat is associated with weight increase among the Thais in Germany. Dietary lifestyles in the Thai population in Thailand are also shifting towards increasing fat consumption. Nutrition education is important to reduce the continued rise of obesity among Thai adults.
An intensive village study was conducted to determine the income and nutritional status among tribal households in rural West Bengal during 2001. The study population comprised 232 households with cultivation as the principal occupation and distributed over three agrarian class categories viz., owner cultivator, tenant cultivator, and landless labourer. The basic purpose of the study was to examine how different sources of income and occupational groups of tribal households operate in maintaining their nutritional status measured in terms of dietary intake (mainly calorie and protein intake) and BMI of the households. The results showed that owner cultivators were relatively better off in terms of their income and nutritional status as compared to those of tenant cultivators as well as landless labourers. Further, income and nutritional status of landless labourers was relatively better than that of the tenant cultivators. These findings were not in conformity with the findings of some earlier studies, in which it was shown that landless labourers remained always poor compared to cultivators and artisan groups due to their very poor or zero asset base. The present study however, revealed that the availability of work among the landless labourer households was the main criterion of ensuring stable income and in maintaining the better nutritional status of the households. Landless agricultural labourers in this region were able to do so particularly for the development of land-augmenting technology, which created employment throughout the year in the countryside of West Bengal.
Inadequate Intake of Calcium and Dairy Products Among Pregnant Women in Ahwaz City, Iran Majid Karandish, Behnoush Mohammadpour-Ahranjani, Arash Rashidi, Mohsen Maddah, Mohammad-Reza Vafa, Tirang-Reza Neyestani
Inadequate calcium intake is considered a public health problem in some vulnerable groups, especially pregnant women. The aim of this study was to determine the pattern of dietary calcium intake among urban pregnant women in Ahwaz City in south west Iran. Participants comprised 339 pregnant women (26±5.5 yrs) in the 28th-32nd week of gestation, who had attended selected urban health centres in Ahwaz City in 2004. Dietary calcium intake was estimated using a 43-item food frequency questionnaire (FFQ). Calcium intakes equivalent to, or more than, 1000 mg/d were considered as "adequate". Mean (±SD) daily intakes of dietary calcium and dairy products were 644±255 mg and 1.3±0.7 servings per day, respectively. On average, dairy products provided 49% of dietary calcium. About 43% of participants were consuming =1 serving of dairy products per day; and 89% of them did not meet adequate intake of calcium. A high proportion of pregnant women in Ahwaz City did not take enough calcium and dairy products. It is suggested that the consumption of enough calcium and dairy products should be emphasised in the nutrition education component of maternal health programmes. Further research at the country level should be undertaken in order to assess the need for fortification of food with calcium and/or to provide calcium supplements to vulnerable groups.
The investigation was undertaken to study the morbidity profile of preschool children in relation to the child and maternal factors. A total of 205 children between the ages of 1-5 years from rural areas near Mysore city, a district of southern India, were enrolled for the study. A baseline survey was conducted and background information was elicited in a pre-tested questionnaire. Information on the prevalence, incidence and duration of the illnesses were recorded on fortnightly basis for one year. Nutritional status was assessed using standard methodologies. Morbidity profile was associated with various child and maternal factors using appropriate statistical tests. Results revealed that acute respiratory infections, fever and gastro-intestinal disorders were the common infections prevalent. Prevalence, duration and incidence of infections were marginally lower among female children. Duration and incidence of ARI was significantly lower among children of literate mothers. "Age” among the child factors and “literacy status” and “living conditions” among the environmental factors were found to be critical factors that influenced the health status of preschool children.
Alterations in trace elements have been reported in a number of disease states. Deficiency of some trace elements has been correlated with the presence of diabetic complications. It is not known whether differences in trace elements status are a consequence of diabetes and hyperglycaemia or alternatively whether their deficiencies contribute to the expression of the disease. The study was aimed at determining the concentrations of essential elements chromium and magnesium in the serum and urine of diabetics and nondiabetics in Calabar, Southern Nigeria. Serum and urine chromium (Cr), magnesium (Mg) and creatinine, fasting plasma glucose (FPG) and serum urea levels were determined in sixty diabetic subjects (29 males and 31 females) and forty age-matched non-diabetic subjects (15 males and 25 females), using colorimetric methods and atomic absorption spectrophotometry. Body mass indices (BMI) of the subjects were also determined. Statistical analysis was done using t-test and correlational analysis. The BMI, FPG, and urine Mg were significantly (p<0.05) higher and urine creatinine lower in diabetics than nondiabetics studied. No significant (p>0.05) differences were observed in serum urea, creatinine, Mg, Cr, and urine Cr levels of both groups. A significant negative correlation (p<0.01, r = -0.441) was observed between serum Mg and urine Mg of diabetics. No association was seen between serum Mg and serum Cr levels and urine Cr and urine Mg of the diabetic population of the study. Diabetes enhances urinary magnesium loss but does not seem to affect serum and urine chromium levels. There is need for further study on the mechanism of urinary magnesium loss in diabetes.
Effects of Ramadan fasting on Waist Circumference, Blood Pressure, Lipid Profile, and Blood Sugar on a Sample of Healthy Kuwaiti Men and Women Salhamoud Abdelfatah Saleh, Salah Anies Elsharouni, Boby Cherian, and M. Mourou
The effects of Ramadan fasting on waist circumference, lipid profile, blood pressure and blood glucose was investigated in 60 healthy Kuwaiti volunteers consisting of 41 males and 19 females. Their ages ranged between 24 and 56 years in the male group, and from 23 to 33 years in the female group. Each volunteer had observed fasting for 12 hours a day for 21 days including menstruating women. There were no dietary restrictions in the study. Blood pressure, waist circumference and blood samples for total cholesterol, LDL cholesterol, HDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, serum triglycerides and blood glucose were determined on the 1st and 4th week of Ramadan. In male subjects, the waist circumference, total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol were significantly reduced at the end of the 21-day fast period (p<0.0001, p< 0.05, p<0.01 respectively). Serum triglycerides, VLDL cholesterol and HDL cholesterol were not significantly increased. There were no significant changes in mean blood pressure and blood glucose among the men. In the female group, waist circumference was significantly reduced (P<0.001), whereas total cholesterol, triglycerides, LDL cholesterol, VLDL cholesterol, mean blood pressure and blood glucose were not significantly decreased. The HDL cholesterol of the women was increased compared to pre-fasting, but the difference was not statistically significant. In the study population in general, the Atherogenic Index [(total cholesterol-HDL cholesterol)/HDL cholesterol] was significantly decreased (p<0.01). The reduction in waist circumference and Atherogenic Index were probably due to the beneficial effect of Ramadan fasting. We believe that fasting during Ramadan beneficially influences the waist circumference and lipid profiles of the subjects in this sample of Kuwaiti population. The benefits were more pronounced in the male compared to the female subjects.
This experimental study was carried out to investigate the effect of eight types of commercial rice in Malaysia on blood glucose response and to determine their glycaemic index (GI) values. Ten healthy Malay volunteers (7 males, 3 females, BMI=23.6kgm-2, age=25.1years) participated in this study. The eight types of rice tested were three high fibre rice (HFR A, HFR B & HFR C), three white rice (WR D, WR E and WR F) and two fragrant rice (FR G and FR H). The subjects were required to go through the study protocol on eleven separate occasions (eight tests for the test rice samples and three repeated tests for the reference food) after an overnight fasting. Capillary blood samples were taken immediately before (0min) and 15, 30, 45, 60, 90 and 120min after consumption of the test foods. The blood glucose response was obtained by calculating the incremental area under the curve (iAUC). The GI was determined according to the standardised methodology. This study showed that out of eight types of rice tested, three (HFR B, WR E and WR F) could be categorised as having intermediate GI while the remaining five were considered high GI foods (HFR A, HFR C, WR D, FR G and FR H). The GI of HFR B (60 ± 5.8) and WR E (61 ± 5.8) were significantly lower than the reference food (glucose; GI=100) (p<0.05). No significant difference of GI value was seen between the reference food and the rest of the test rice (p>0.05). The GI value of the rice tested in descending order were HFR C, 87 ± 9.0 followed by HFR A (81 ± 6.7), FR G (80 ± 5.5), FR H (79 ± 7.6), WR D (72 ± 8.5), WR F (69 ± 8.3), WR E (61 ± 5.8) and HFR B (60 ± 5.8). There was no relationship between the dietary fibre content of the rice with the iAUC (r= -0.05, p=0.63) and GI values (r= -0.08, p=0.46). This shows that the GI values of the test rice were independent of the dietary fibre content of the rice. Other factors that may influence the GI value of rice include amylose content, gelatinisation process and botanical sources. The results of this study will provide useful information for dietitians and nutritionists in selecting the appropriate type of rice for the daily diet of diabetics.
A study was undertaken to investigate the effects of processing on the nutritional and sensory qualities of beef burgers formulated with palm fats as animal fat analogues. After processing, a-tocopherol and a-tocotrienol levels were significantly decreased, ranging from 46-48% to 36-44% respectively, in beef burgers made with red palm fat (RPF35) and fat blend. The changes in the levels of g-tocotrienol and d-tocotrienol after processing in all beef burgers except for the control were not statistically significant (P>0.05). After processing, a-carotene and b-carotene levels were significantly decreased, ranging from 27-40% to 42-54% in beef burgers formulated with fat blend and RPF35. After cooking, a-tocopherol and a-tocotrienol in all cooked beef burgers, except the control, were significantly decreased with levels ranging from 18- 50% to 17-46% respectively. The changes in the levels of a-carotene and b- carotene after cooking were also statistically significant (36-47% and 48-62% loss, respectively). Substitution of animal fats with palm-based fats reduced the content of cholesterol in beef burgers. The taste panel was not able to differentiate the sensory attributes such as colour, juiciness and oiliness of beef burgers formulated with palm-based fats and beef fat. Overall levels of carotene and vitamin E were higher in palm fat burgers but losses occurred upon processing and cooking.
The Effect of Calcium, Ascorbic Acid and Tannic Acid on Iron Availability from Arthrospira Platensis by Caco-2 Cell Model Loh Su Peng, Hishamuddin Omar, Abdul Salam Abdullah, Rehir Dahalan and Maznah Ismail
There are several dietary factors that are known to affect the bioavailability of iron such as protein, calcium, ascorbic acid, polyphenol and phytate. The aim of this study was to determine iron bioavailability from spirulina (Arthrospira platensis) in the presence of calcium, ascorbic acid (AA) and tannic acid (TA). The experiments were conducted using in vitro digestion/Caco-2 cell culture system. Comparison was made with ferrous sulphate (FeSO4) as a reference. At low calcium concentrations (1:05, 1:10, 1:15, 1:20 Fe:Ca molar ratios), iron bioavailability from spirulina was significantly better than from FeSO4. However, at higher calcium concentrations (1:37, 1:75, 1:149 Fe:Ca molar ratios), iron bioavailability from spirulina was found to be similar to that from FeSO4. Addition of ascorbic acid of different concentrations (1:0.5, 1:1, 1:1.5 and 1:2 Fe:AA molar ratios) increased iron availability from FeSO4 more than from spirulina. The concentrations of tannic acid (1:1, 1:1.4 and 1:2 Fe:TA molar ratios) used in this study reduced iron availability from spirulina but not from FeSO4. Iron from spirulina by itself is highly bioavailable but consumers should be aware of factors that could inhibit its bioavailability.
Competition in a hot environment is not conducive for optimal sports performance as both dehydration and hyperthermia adversely affect mental and physical performance. In addition, the ability to train in heat is also impaired if the nutritional needs are inadequate. During prolonged bouts of exercise in a hot environment, an excess of 1 liter of body fluid per hour can be lost. Fluid intake strategies should be undertaken and should be of paramount concern to the athlete if the athlete has to perform more than one training or competition sessions in a single day. Fluid strategies, including hydration well prior to the exercise bout, drinking as much as is comfortable and practical during the exercise session, and rehydrating aggressively afterwards in preparation for the subsequent exercise bouts, are needed to ensure an adequate water intake to prevent chronic dehydration during competition in hot conditions as the body does not adapt to dehydration. Rapid recovery of fluid losses after an exercise bout is assisted by the replacement of some of the electrolytes losses. Carbohydrate is the main fuel used by the muscle during hard training and competition and its requirement for exercise in hot conditions is further increased due to the shift in substrate utilisation towards carbohydrate oxidation. Daily food intake should focus on replacing glycogen stores after exercise. Competition diet strategies such as enhancing carbohydrate availability (carbohydrate loading) prior to endurance competition, pre-event carbohydrate intake, intake of sports drinks in events lasting longer than 45 minutes should be undertaken in hot conditions and practised during training. Carbohydrate ingestion may not enhance performance for all events undertaken in hot environment, however, there is no disadvantage of consuming sports beverages containing the appropriate carbohydrates and electrolytes during competition and training. There is also no good evidence to suggest that specific supplementation is necessary or will improve performance in sports activities undertaken in a hot environment. In conclusion, the primary aim of athletes training in a hot environment must be to ingest a source of energy, usually carbohydrate and fluid for replacement of water lost as sweat.