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Entrepreneurship is key to financial stability and freedom

With the proper support, from her family and friend, from her workplace, from the government, and from financial institutions, the Filipina entrepreneur is truly poised and ready to show the world that she indeed rules.

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Financial stability and freedom are desirable and achievable goals for the modern Filipina, both in the city and the countryside.

During the recently concluded media roundtable #SHERules: Filipinas Who Change The Way We Do Business, hosted by online financial marketplace eCompareMo.com, female experts in the fields of financial literacy, entrepreneurship, and government programs expressed confidence that success isn’t just achievable for the Filipina entrepreneur but desirable for her, her loved ones, and even the country’s economy.

Financial literacy advocate Dr. Daniela Laurel, PhD.; Camille Villar, managing director of Vista Land and Lifescapes; and Assistant Secretary Blesila A. Lantayona of the Department of Trade and Industry Regional Operations Group (DTI-ROG), expressed confidence that success isn’t just achievable for the Filipina entrepreneur but desirable for her, her loved ones, and even the country’s economy.

According to Dr. Laurel, women need to move from having financial freedom—having a source of active income and no debt—to financial stability, where they have active and passive income, and are also able to invest in the future. This is a benefit that many women recognize that they can achieve by going into business.

“Women are better money managers than men, especially in tough times,” shared Dr. Laurel, who is also a news anchor and segment producer at One News Network Philippines. “We know how to sacrifice for the long haul, we know how to work hard and to reap the benefits and stability. In the long term, managing our finances empowers us, but it’s not just a money thing. The difference between us and men is that we also use money to nurture and mother.”

Villar, also the daughter of business tycoon Manny Villar, spoke on the benefit of having a supportive environment and role models, to changing the mindset of Filipina’s from “can’t do to can do.”

According to Villar, it was being immersed in the world of business at a young age, with both her parents working on building the family business that influenced her own thinking. She believes that businesses that nurture and support women can help change the workplace culture and allow women to have more confidence and excel.

“I’ve had the experience of being in a table with male CEOs and they look at me like I should be in the table of the wives. Or they ask me question like, ‘What’s your favorite store?’ or ‘Where do you like to shop?’, like I don’t manage my company,” shared Villar.

“It’s something you have to overcome, and you just have to tell yourself that, ‘I’m going to prove them wrong. I belong here. I know just as much as all of them. I work hard and I know what I’m talking about’ and not to be intimidated and not allow preconceived notions or gender bias to hinder you from making your way to the top brass and managing your own company,” she said.

According to Assistant Secretary Lantayona, getting more women owning and running successful small and medium enterprises is key to the country’s economic growth.

“Women pay an important role in the Filipino economy. They make up 50% of the labor force,” she said.

“Entrepreneurship is the key to empowering women and making women contribute to a more inclusive and stable growth. As such, the Philippine government has developed measures to support women entering into business,” she added.

The Asec shared some of the government initiatives that women seeking to get into business can take advantage of are: the Great Women Project, where the DTI works with women run businesses to help them enter the global market; the Shared Services Facilities program, wherein small and medium enterprises in the countryside can get access to free equipment; and the Pondo sa Pagbabago at Pagasenso (P3) Microfinancing Program.

She also emphasized two projects in which countryside entrepreneurs—many who are women—can get the help they need to scale up their businesses and move beyond their localities. The Go Local program with major retailers, where products from countryside SMEs are displayed and sold in local stores. The products are thus exposed to a wider market, and the SMEs can benefit from the retailer’s feedback on how to make the products more marketable.

There is also the Kapatid Mentoring Program, a 10-module course where countryside entrepreneurs can learn more about running a business—including marketing and financial literacy. The lecturers in this program are actual established entrepreneurs who mentor the participants and provide practical advice on growing one’s business.

“As we have seen and heard today, the three big barriers to female entrepreneurship are the mindset, access to financial information, and access to financing,” said Ched Limson, Chief Operating Officer of eCompareMo.com.

According to Limson, while these barriers may be real, the stories and the lives lived by the guests at #SHERules prove they are not insurmountable.

“eCompareMo.com believes in the power of women and we are determined to do everything in our power to help the Filipina entrepreneur get access to not just the financial services they need, but also help improve financial literacy through events like SHE Rules,” concluded Limson.

With the proper support, from her family and friend, from her workplace, from the government, and from financial institutions, the Filipina entrepreneur is truly poised and ready to show the world that she indeed rules.

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Eating too much protein is bad for your arteries, and this amino acid is to blame

Consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk.

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University of Pittsburgh School of Medicine researchers discovered a molecular mechanism by which excessive dietary protein could increase atherosclerosis risk. The findings were published in Nature Metabolism.

The study, which combined small human trials with experiments in mice and cells in a Petri dish, showed that consuming over 22% of dietary calories from protein can lead to increased activation of immune cells that play a role in atherosclerotic plaque formation, driving the disease risk. Furthermore, the scientists showed that one amino acid – leucine – seems to have a disproportionate role in driving the pathological pathways linked to atherosclerosis, or stiff, hardened arteries.

“Our study shows that dialing up your protein intake in pursuit of better metabolic health is not a panacea. You could be doing real damage to your arteries,” said senior and co-corresponding author Babak Razani, M.D., Ph.D., professor of cardiology at Pitt. “Our hope is that this research starts a conversation about ways of modifying diets in a precise manner that can influence body function at a molecular level and dampen disease risks.”

According to a survey of an average American diet over the last decade, Americans generally consume a lot of protein, mostly from animal sources. Further, nearly a quarter of the population receives over 22% of all daily calories from protein alone.

That trend is likely driven by the popular idea that dietary protein is essential to healthy living, says Razani. But his and other groups have shown that overreliance on protein may not be such a good thing for long-term health.

Following their 2020 research, in which Razani’s laboratory first showed that excess dietary protein increases atherosclerosis risk in mice, his next study in collaboration with Bettina Mittendorfer, Ph.D., a metabolism expert at the University of Missouri, Columbia, delved deeper into the potential mechanism and its relevance to the human body.

To arrive at the answer, Razani’s laboratory, led by first-authors Xiangyu Zhang, Ph.D., and Divya Kapoor, M.D., teamed up with Mittendorfer’s group to combine their expertise in cellular biology and metabolism and perform a series of experiments across various models – from cells to mice to humans.

“We have shown in our mechanistic studies that amino acids, which are really the building blocks of the protein, can trigger disease through specific signaling mechanisms and then also alter the metabolism of these cells,” Mittendorfer said. “For instance, small immune cells in the vasculature called macrophages can trigger the development of atherosclerosis.”

Based on initial experiments in healthy human subjects to determine the timeline of immune cell activation following ingestion of protein-enriched meals, the researchers simulated similar conditions in mice and in human macrophages, immune cells that are shown to be particularly sensitive to amino acids derived from protein.

Their work showed that consuming more than 22% of daily dietary calories through protein can negatively affect macrophages that are responsible for clearing out cellular debris, leading to the accumulation of a “graveyard” of those cells inside the vessel walls and worsening of atherosclerotic plaques overtime. Interestingly, the analysis of circulating amino acids showed that leucine – an amino acid enriched in animal-derived foods like beef, eggs and milk – is primarily responsible for abnormal macrophage activation and atherosclerosis risk, suggesting a potential avenue for further research on personalized diet modification, or “precision nutrition.”

Razani is careful to note that many questions remain to be answered, mainly: What happens when a person consumes between 15% of daily calories from protein as recommended by the USDA and 22% of daily calories from protein, and if there is a ‘sweet spot’ for maximizing the benefits of protein – such as muscle gain – while avoiding kick-starting a molecular cascade of damaging events leading to cardiovascular disease.

The findings are particularly relevant in hospital settings, where nutritionists often recommend protein-rich foods for the sickest patients to preserve muscle mass and strength.

“Perhaps blindly increasing protein load is wrong,” Razani said. “Instead, it’s important to look at the diet as a whole and suggest balanced meals that won’t inadvertently exacerbate cardiovascular conditions, especially in people at risk of heart disease and vessel disorders.”

Razani also notes that these findings suggest differences in leucine levels between diets enriched in plant and animal protein might explain the differences in their effect on cardiovascular and metabolic health. “The potential for this type of mechanistic research to inform future dietary guidelines is quite exciting,” he said.

Additional authors of the study are Yu-Sheng Yeh, Ph.D., also from Pitt; Alan Fappi, Ph.D. and Vasavi Shabrish, Ph.D., both of the University of Missouri, Columbia; Se-Jin Jeong, Ph.D., Jeremiah Stitham, M.D., Ph.D., Ismail Sergin, Ph.D., Eman Yousif, M.D., Astrid Rodriguez-Velez, Ph.D., Arick Park, M.D., Ph.D., Joel Schilling, M.D., Ph.D., Marco Sardiello, Ph.D., Abhinav Diwan, M.D., Nathan Stitziel, M.D., Ph.D., Ali Javaheri, M.D., Ph.D., Irfan Lodhi, Ph.D., and Jaehyung Cho, Ph.D., all of Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Arif Yurdagul Jr, Ph.D., and Oren Rom, Ph.D., both of the Louisiana State University Health Sciences Center; and Slava Epelman, M.D., Ph.D., of the University of Toronto.

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IRONKIDS Cebu in Lapu-Lapu partners with RLC Residences

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes. The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

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The IRONMAN Group Philippines and RLC Residences have announced in 2023 a new partnership—as the residential brand of Robinsons Land Corporation, RLC Residences becomes the title sponsor for IRONKIDS Lapu-Lapu and IRONKIDS Davao for 2024.

This April will be the first event of the partnership as the brand extends their support for the budding young athletes.  The aquathlon will see participants from ages 6 to 15 years old complete the race happening at The Reef Island Resort in Mactan.

RLC Residences Head of Brand Management Mr. Dan Carlo Torres shares his enthusiasm towards the event. “We are very excited to see this partnership unfold. We’ve been very supportive of IRONMAN, especially IRONKIDS because we also believe in the importance of promoting an active and purposeful lifestyle at such a young age and we hope to continuously be part of IRONMAN as we create more vibrant opportunities for our future triathletes,” he added.

“As we aspire to live our best lives, we work to inspire the wider community,” said Ms Princess Galura, Regional Director of the IRONMAN Group Philippines.  “For 10 years, the IRONKIDS has been a part of the Cebuano youth’s stepping stone to either a future in sports, representing the Philippines in international events, as well as planting the seeds of a healthy, sporty lifestyle.  Our partnership with RLC Residences allows us to do so and we are excited to hold the festivities for our youth once again in Lapu-Lapu this April,” she added.

The IRONKIDS event in Lapu-Lapu will feature age group categories for the 6 to 8 years old, 9 to 10 years old, 11 to 12 years old and 13 to 15 years old.  Relay categories are also available for mixed team relay for 6-10 year-olds and 11-15 year-olds. 

Swim and run courses, the transition area and finish line will be at The Reef Island Resort, which is conveniently located in a gated community.  Families who are checked in during race weekend can enjoy amenities of the resort –  including the beach, lap pool and game room.  The resort’s restaurant is operated by Cebu-based top tier chain, Abaca.

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OMRON Healthcare initiates the ‘Heart Reacts Only’ campaign

OMRON Healthcare, a global leader in the field of clinically proven, innovative medical equipment, initiates the ‘Heart Reacts Only’ campaign, encouraging Filipinos to love and take care of their heart with five easy steps.

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The heart is the core of a person’s life. With every beat, the heart pumps blood to the body, carrying oxygen and nutrients to the cells and removing metabolic waste from the body’s tissues. It’s no secret the heart is essential to life. Unfortunately, it is the organ that is often neglected.

Cardiovascular diseases (CVC) continue to be a pressing concern among Filipinos. Ischemic heart diseases were the leading cause of death in the Philippines in 2022, accounting for 114,557 cases or 18.4 percent of total deaths recorded during said report, according to 2023 data from the Philippine Statistics Authority (PSA).[1] The rising incidence of heart risks in the country was pointed by one study about cardiovascular diseases in the Philippines make heart diseases a public health emergency.[2]

This February, officially proclaimed as Philippine Heart Month, Filipinos are reminded to make their heart’s health a priority not only this month but every day thereafter. OMRON Healthcare, a global leader in the field of clinically proven, innovative medical equipment, initiates the ‘Heart Reacts Only’ campaign, encouraging Filipinos to love and take care of their heart with five easy steps.

Regularly check your blood pressure

A simple habit, but it can save lives. Having regular blood pressure checkups gives you an overview of your heart’s health. Knowing your blood pressure levels provides a clue if you are at risk of having heart diseases.

Recognizing the value of having reliable, accurate and quality blood pressure monitoring tools, OMRON Healthcare offers and recommends the OMRON Complete and the Stroke Risk Calculator.

The OMRON Complete is an upper arm blood pressure monitor that provides a more comprehensive view of your blood pressure and measures your EKG at the same time. Like most digital blood pressure monitors, the Complete shows the systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings and pulse rate. But unlike other monitors, the Complete can connect to your mobile phone, which then lets you access the OMRON app to get more information about your heart’s health such as the pattern of your heartbeat or sinus rhythm. This information can help you track any irregularities in your heartbeat. 

The OMRON Complete uses ECG technology to enable early detection of atrial fibrillation (AFib), a condition that is commonly associated with heart failure and stroke. The Complete is also able to detect other conditions such as tachycardia or a faster heart rate and bradycardia or a slower heart rate.

OMRON’s Stroke Risk Calculator is an online tool that helps users assess their risk of having a stroke in the next five to 10 years. All you need to do is visit the OMRON webpage and tap on the “Calculate Now” button. This will bring you to an assessment form that covers general personal information, daily habits and diet, and any other significant information from your recent checkups.

The Stroke Risk Calculator analyzes your stroke risk based on your answers and immediately shows the results. It will also show you the possible and specific factors that may lead to a stroke. The Stroke Risk Calculator is free and can be easily accessed by anyone.

Hydrate!

Just like you, your heart works extra hard every day. It also needs to feel refreshed to be able to do its job better.

Ever notice that when you’re dehydrated, your heart starts beating faster? That’s because the blood volume throughout your body decreases, which means your heart has to beat faster to “catch up.” This then increases your heart rate and your blood pressure. This can overwork and strain one’s heart.[3]

Drinking enough water daily is a surefire way to support the heart in doing its job. By hydrating properly and regularly, you not only enable your heart to function properly but you contribute to making it healthy. 

Laugh more

It’s true what they say. Laughter is indeed the best medicine. For one, laughter relaxes you and counters stress, which when isn’t managed well can hurt your heart.

Laughing brings a plethora of advantages for your heart. It enables oxygenated blood to circulate around your body, helps your heart work at a steadier pace and lowers blood pressure.[4] It can even decrease artery inflammation and increase good cholesterol.[5] All of these contribute to reducing the risk of heart diseases.

So the next time you see or hear something that splits your sides, go and laugh your heart out! It’s good for you in so many ways.


Do some cardio

Exercise strengthens your muscles, including your heart. Doing some spirited cardio regularly helps improve your heart’s ability to pump blood throughout your body, resulting in improved blood flow and higher oxygen levels.[6]

The American Heart Association advises at least 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity — or a combination of both — every week.[7] You don’t need to do all 75 or 150 minutes in one go. Spread the workouts throughout the week to remain active. Get off that couch and move around. One option is to do 13 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise or 25 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a day for six days and leave one day for rest.

Your workouts don’t necessarily need to be intense all the time, especially if you’re just beginning. If you can’t sneak a full-on workout in your hectic day, try indoor walking or brisk walking around the neighborhood. Other moderate-intensity workouts can be biking, gardening or, to make exercising more fun, dancing! Then push your body further with more vigorous activities like running, jumping rope or cycling.

Some people refuse to exercise because they think it’s too much work or it can feel pressuring. The suggestions above will not only make exercising fun and manageable but may even help you sustain the workouts and eventually make them part of your routine.

Get adequate quality sleep

It’s no secret what sleeping can do. It allows your body to repair and recharge after a long day. But it also plays a major role in keeping your heart healthy.

Achieving quality sleep regularly helps lower your blood pressure. Often, we disregard getting enough quality sleep because we’re too caught up in our daily work or just like to stay up late. Sleep deprivation has long-lasting effects, particularly on your heart. Poor-quality and lack of sleep raises your blood pressure, and it can stay high for a longer period of time. This can increase your risk for a heart disease, heart attacks, diabetes and stroke.

If you’re guilty of bedtime procrastination because you tend to put work first or can’t seem to let go of your phone at night, now’s the time to start fixing your sleep schedule. Doing so will not only give you the rest that you need and deserve but will also keep your heart healthy.

Caring for your heart doesn’t necessarily have to involve big and complicated efforts. In fact, it’s the simple daily habits — like the ones listed above — that can make all the difference. The next time you’re thinking about brushing aside these little steps, think of your heart. It does so much for you, and these small efforts can be your way of saying thank you.

To further promote proactive heart health management this Heart Month, OMRON is teaming up with Southstar Drug and other participating drug stores to offer a discount of less Php250 for every purchase of the HEM-7120. This promo will run from February 15, 2024 to March 31, 2024.

In addition, OMRON is proud to partner with Watsons for its ‘Let’s Talk Wellness,’ a series dedicated to promoting various aspects of health and wellness, including heart health. Tune in and join the conversion to learn more about how you can prioritize your heart health and take proactive steps towards a happier and healthier heart.

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