Made from the edible saliva of certain species of swiftlets, Bird’s Nest has been consumed and used as a health tonic since the Tang and Sung dynasties of ancient China. Traditional Chinese Medicine believes that the ingredient is a neutral-energy tonic that aids to reinforce energy, nourishes the lungs, spleen and improve the complexion.
So is that the tiny bottle of bird’s nest really the solution to all your skin problems? We’ve dug deep into medical studies and research papers to uncover the truth behind this delicacy.
Bird’s Nest is made out of mostly glycoprotein which are cells that have diverse functions in all areas of the body, it also contains 18 amino acids, some of which cannot be manufactured by the human body, carbohydrates, and mineral salts. Aficionados tell of it’s rejuvenating and healing properties with the highest grades of Bird’s Nest commanding up to $5,000USD.
And it seems that science agrees with tradition this time, several studies have found that Bird’s Nest consumption aids in the regeneration and differentiation (the process in which cells which are less specialised develops or grows into a more specialised one) of cells.
A joint study done by several Chinese universities tested the effects of common chemotherapy drug, cyclophosphamide which suppresses and slows the immune system, on mice and the effects of the consumption of Bird’s Nest with relation the slowdown of the immune system.
The study found that Bird’s Nest consumption, “effectively accelerates the proliferation of B-cells and the antibody secretion of cells.”
What does that mean?
B Cells, or B lymphocytes, are a type of white blood cell. They act as a clean-up crew of sorts by making antibodies to trap invading viruses and bacteria. Antibodies help your body neutralize viruses by coating and trapping viruses or bacteria in large clumps.
T-Cells releasing chemical signals to help a B-Cell divide to connect with invading viruses. The B-Cells then turn into Plasma cells to release antibodies.
The study concluded that the consumption of Bird’s Nest was most likely the cause of the “involved in the proliferation and activation of B-cells and the antibody secretion of cells.” Which indicate that consuming Bird’s Nest may help to relieve the immune suppressing effects caused by chemotherapy.
Other studies like this, suggest that Bird’s Nest consumption can help the prevention of certain influenza viruses and delay conditions such as Parkinson's Disease!
Bird’s Nest contains high levels of Epidermal Growth Factor (EGF), a low molecular weight, 53-amino acid polypeptide that stimulates cell growth, proliferation and differentiation.
It plays a part in the quest for great skin by promoting the growth of skin cells, namely - keratinocytes and fibroblasts. Keratinocytes are responsible for a healthy skin barrier and help your skin look supple and smooth while fibroblasts help with synthesizing extracellular matrix and collagen - the framework of the skin.
Lab tests done by Oryza Japan showed that the consumption of Bird’s Nest helped to reduce Trans Epidermal Water Loss (TEWL), a process where the outermost layer of our skin loses water to the surrounding air through evaporation, as much as by 30% Results showed tremendous improvement on skin moisture where transepidermal water loss is reduced by 30%
The test also used a DermaLab Ultrasound Imaging System done on test subjects also found that dermal collagen score of test subjects increased by 7% a month after the daily consumption of Bird’s Nest.
As amazing as Bird’s Nest might be for health, it is not a cure-all and does not replace the effects of medicine or a good diet. However, using it as a supplement or tonic would do wonders for your health and beauty. Does it deserve the reputation that it has? Science says yes.
We hate to say this, but did you know that your festive feasting might make you fat for life? You’ve read us right.
Studies have found that on average, we gain about 0.32kg over the course of the festive season (that’s about ½ of the average weight gain per year in a couple of months alone!). With average people consuming about more than double of their recommended daily calorie allowances in a day on Christmas alone, that number is not that surprising.
Because knowledge is power, find out what’s in your Christmas Dinner and beat the post-Christmas gym crowds.
No potatoes don’t count when you’re talking about your daily vegetable intake. But we sure love them. Soft and fluffy with crispy skin, drenched to high heavens with rich sour cream and liberally sprinkled with cheese, scallions, chives and bacon bits. Baked potatoes probably rank among in the tops of “foods that we’d like as our last meal.”
Each potato contains about 20.4g of carbs, and when you’re looking to avoid the weight gain, carbs are not your greatest friends. So it’s best to avoid them altogether or share them with a friend.
Calories: 278 kcal, 300g
Honey Glazed Ham
A Christmas staple, mouthwatering honey glazed ham is the defacto festive dish. They’re a pretty good source of protein but are still considered a processed food (ham is processed with nitrates, which adds the salty flavour and prevents the growth of harmful bacteria). It’s best to not overindulge in this festive treat.
Calories: 360 kcal, 3 slices
Turkey is low in fat and a great source of protein. It is an easily accessible source of vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. But stay clear of the sugar-laden sauces and fatty gravies!
Calories: 236 kcal, 3 slices
A great companion to roast turkey and ham. Cranberry sauces are delish paired with salty ham and turkey. The lowdown on it is that Cranberries are a great source of antioxidants, vitamin E, K, and C, and dietary fibre! But your typical cranberry sauce probably come from a can and the average canned cranberry sauce contains about 105 grams of sugar (that’s about 26 teaspoons of sugar!).
The best way to have your cake and eat it too would be to make your own sauce! Using fresh or frozen fruit and less sugar can make for a way healthier accompaniment. Mix it up with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg for a lil twist to your festive faves.
Nutrition facts: 110 calories, 25 g carbs, 3 g fibre, 0 g protein, 0 g fat
Sugar Cookies and Gingerbread men
Classic festive treats, sugar cookies and gingerbread men are what most of us look forward to among the array of Christmas treats available. But laden with sugar, butter and frosting, it’s best to keep the treats to a minimum.
Calories: 340 kcal, 4 slices
With the upcoming festive season, we all want to look our best. But from skincare to dieting to fashion, it takes a whole lot of effort to even think about looking good. That’s why we’re here to help, with 21 days to Christmas, we’ve got you covered with beauty tips to look and feel your absolute best for the festivities!
People in skincare circles will wax lyrical about the magic of oils (remember the craze for argan oil?), but beauty comes from within and there’s no better way to take care of your skin than through your diet.
A 2008 study by the Institute of Experimental Dermatology in Germany revealed the wonders of skin-loving oils on your diet. Researchers found that women who consumed 2.2g of flaxseed or borage oil supplements (why flaxseed oil? - it contains essential fatty acids that are great for skin!) a day experienced a significant increase in skin moisture and reduction in roughness.
Salmon, flax seeds, olive oil, walnuts and blueberries are great foods to eat when you're looking for improving your skin!
Nobody wants to go to a party with frizzy, lacklustre hair, follow these tips and step up on your haircare routine for soft, luscious locks - just in time for the season.
A happy scalp is the key to healthy hair, so go easy on the shampoo as it most often leaves your scalp parched while stripping the grime and dirt from your hair. Switch to sulphate and paraben free shampoos and treat your hair and your scalp with Coconut Oil!
Coconut Oil is rich in vitamin K and vitamin E along with fatty acids like lauric and capric acid which help to reduce dandruff, fight fungus and bacteria and make keep hair follicles happy and healthy.
Our favourite way of using Coconut Oil as a treatment would be to heat up a tablespoon or two of coconut oil with a couple drops of essential oils and massage it into the hair and scalp. For an intensive hydrating treatment, wrap your head with a towel and leave it on for a couple of hours or overnight.
Concoct your own potion for glossier hair! We absolutely love essential oils when mixed in with coconut. Sandalwood and Geranium oils are great for moisturizing and conditioning while oils like Rosemary help to boost hair growth!
Get your own glow this Christmas
Specially curated to help you look your best this festive season, Kinohimitsu's Get That Glow Kit is a quick inside-out beauty fix. A 10-day beauty regime, each set contains 5 bottles of UV Bright Drink to help you prevent and combat UV damage in the day and 10 sachets of Prowhite to repair and nourish your skin while you sleep. Step out of the shadows and unveil your glow this Christmas!
We're giving away a set of the Get That Glow Kit so that you'll get your glow just in time for the festive season!
Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) places an extremely high importance on liver health with a belief that medical practitioners who are able to treat the liver are skilful enough to treat a hundred ailments. TCM practitioners believe that the liver with helps to regulate qi or vital energy along with the flow of emotions, thus affecting the health of your entire body.
TCM Herbs, some of which are great for your liver!
Despite being hundreds of years old, those traditional beliefs are not unfounded! Your liver is one of the largest organs in your body and is the ultimate multitasker when it comes to your health. It does everything and anything from filtering your blood to lending aid in the digestion of your food and even helping you fight off nasty infections! It is also the only organ in your body that has the ability to regenerate itself by creating new tissue! Talk about amazing right?
With such a big workload being carried out by our liver, you can bet that you’ll feel the after effects when it’s not working well. TCM principles link liver health to acne and body odours while Western medical sciences have found that liver diseases could lead to problems in other areas of the body such as the heart, highlighting the importance of good liver health for overall wellness.
The scary thing is that you often don’t notice the signs when your liver starts falling sick. The symptoms start out small, fatigue sets in, maybe in the middle of the day, and you soon find yourself constantly tired.
So if you’re feeling bloated, sluggish or nauseated all the time and can’t seem to lose weight no matter what you try (just some symptoms of an unhealthy liver). Maybe it’s time to look at your liver health.
Alcohol consumption is the number one cause of liver damage. As your body cannot store alcohol, when you drink, your body focuses on processing and metabolising the alcohol ahead of other processes. Heavy drinking or drinking too fast will put a heavy burden on your liver cells and in the long run, could cause fatty liver disease and inflammation. This is because the liver gets diverted from its other functions and focuses mainly on converting alcohol to a less toxic form, and this causes fatty liver disease, inflammation and in the worse cases, permanent damage like cirrhosis (scarring of the liver) which leads to the loss of liver function.
It’s already common knowledge that smoking is among the unhealthiest habits out there. For smokers- both first and second hand - the inhalation of smoke and the chemicals in it reach the liver and cause oxidative stress, which produces damaging free radicals. In the liver, the stress can cause a condition known as fibrosis in which the excess scar tissue is developed inside the liver from attempts to repair itself.
2 am working on a project or a big presentation for the morning after, we’ve all been there. Acne and oily skin are just some of the consequences of late nights at the desk, but besides the obvious fact that being deprived of precious sleep is not great, the late nights can take a toll on your liver as well.
Studies have shown that sleep deprivation can, like smoking, cause oxidative stress to the liver. Even though the consequences of this oxidative stress is not as severe as smoking. Staying up can cause your body to inefficiently process fat, leading to weight gain and problems like diabetes, heart disease and more.
Let us help!
Inspired by the philosophy of Traditional Chinese Medicine, Kinohimitsu Be Liva is formulated with Cordyceps and Schisandra extract, scientifically proven, liver-loving ingredients that are rich in antioxidants to help combat oxidative stress, support your liver and improve your immunity!
With a month and a half left to the festive season, many of us are looking to shed the last few extra pounds to fit into that killer, party-ready outfit we’ve got lined up. For that diet inspo, check out of these strange diets from around the world?
Chew it to lose it: The Chewing Diet
After being denied health insurance due to his weight, Horace Fletcher set out to change his life, starting from the way he ate and invented the diet fad known as “Fletcherising”.Propagated on the belief that "Nature will castigate those who don't masticate”, the Fletcherising method entails the rigorous chewing (32 times to be exact) and spitting of the food remains, ensuring that one cuts down the calories consumed while getting the tasty flavours and juices from food.
While we don’t advocate the bad eating habits and waste that the diet promotes, a mastication habit could be useful for certain foods such as potato chips and the benefits of chewing have even been proven by science!
Science facts to chew on: A study done by the Harbin Medical University found that chewing can help to regulate the amount of food that we consume. Participants of the study who chewed more consumed up to 12% fewer calories compared to those that didn’t!
Magic Number 8: The 8 Hour Diet
photo credits: vibrantliving.ca
The 8-Hour Diet is a format of intermittent fasting where you keep your eating hours within an 8-hour window. (for example, between 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.)
So what’s the science behind it? The answer is in insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps your body metabolize sugar from the carbohydrates in your diet to store in muscle, fat and blood cells while aiding in stabilising your body sugar levels. When your insulin levels are up, fat burning processes in your body are halted due to the anabolic properties of insulin. So by fasting, you keep your eating hours shortened, which lowers your insulin levels to promote fat burning and weight loss.
photo credit: The Fit Housewife
Not gross, but good: The Bacteria Diet
In your digestive system, there lives a colony of bacteria, the kind that helps your body process the food that you eat. The most common strain being the Lactobacillus species that helps to break down dairy products - the most common source of food sensitivities.
The other strain, Bifidobacterium, is most commonly found in the large intestine and helps to break down carbohydrates, fat and protein for easier absorption. Unfortunately, the amount of naturally occurring Bifidobacterium in our bodies decline with age.
With the bacteria diet, calorie restriction is kept to a minimum. Followers are encouraged to stay away from fatty, sugary foods and refined carbohydrate that encourage the growth of bad bacteria. And instead, keep to probiotic-rich foods such as yoghurt and kimchi. Bacteria play a huge role in regulating your metabolism, appetite and bowel movement and followers of the method have lost an average of 21 pounds (9 kilograms) over 6 months!
photo credit: chowhound
Bonus tip: Drink your breakfast!
Possibly the simplest way to cut those calories, drinking your breakfast helps to flood your body with the good stuff by drinking high-quality, nutrient-dense smoothies or shakes in the morning. You break your fast (the period of time you don't eat when you're asleep), in the best way possible for your body by not overloading your digestive system but instead, helping it rebuild and restore.
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