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Jamaica’s Decade of Taxation

Taxes by Category

Jamaica has recovered from the precipice of recession and stagnation and has seen several consecutive quarters of economic expansion. This has come with the assistance of the IMF, the close monitoring associated with that assistance and other loans and grants from multilateral agencies and friendly nations from around the world.

Unfortunately, this has also come with a mighty tax burden, and the usual tightening of belts. This additional taxation has enabled Jamaica to pay down its loan obligation and free up space for capital works and investments which in turn has led to further economic expansion. It is a tough cycle that ultimately benefits all Jamaicans over the long run.

The Government of Jamaica has borrowed significantly less while increasing taxation dramatically. The chart below shows GoJ receipts over the period:

GOJ Receipts 2008-9 to 2019-20

Whereas taxation once accounted for 50% of GOJ revenues, by 2018-19, it now accounts for at least 70%.

Taxation and GDP

Taxation amounted to approximately 25% of 2018 GDP.

For comparison:

  • the USA collects 25.7% of GDP in taxation
  • Australia – 27.9% of GDP in taxation
  • Brazil – 33.9% of GDP in taxation
  • Norway – 39.9% of GDP in taxation
  • Canada – 31.2% of GDP in taxation
  • Barbados – 24.7% of GDP in taxation
  • India – 16.4% of GDP in taxation
  • China – 24.4% of GDP in taxation

Taxation and Debt Servicing

In fact, we can finally use our taxes alone to maintain our debt servicing (interest payments), which was unthinkable until recently.

Taxation vs Public Debt Servicing 2008-9 to 2019-20

How significantly have taxes grown in 10 years? From 2008-9 to 2018-9 taxes grew from J$244.4bln to J$518.4bln, that’s an increase of 112%. This has a compound annual growth rate of 8%, meaning that if the government put that starting money of $244.4bln in an investment that paid 8% per year, they would end up with $518.4bln. That’s a lot of taxes.

Breakdown of Taxation

But how did these taxes increase so significantly. Didn’t the government cut taxes at some point?

The simple answer is that the government raised taxes on things like gasoline, telephone calls and international travel. At the same time, the economy grew, and indirect taxes are paying the bills. More people are spending and more companies are paying over their general consumption tax (GCT). GCT or VAT (value added tax as it’s known in other countries) is now the largest contributor to taxation revenues. Customs duties is another form of indirect tax which is reaping major benefits for the government.

Taxes by Category 2008-9 to 2019-20

Direct taxation has gone from 43% of all taxation in 2008-9 to only 32% of all taxation in 2018-19. This 32% figure is more in line with world averages.

Taxation and the Budget

As a result of increased revenues, the GoJ’s annual budget has grown. This has allowed Public Debt Servicing, also known as, loan repayments, to fall as a percentage of the overall budget, while remaining relatively steady in overall value over the last decade. Loan repayments peaked at 60% of the total budget in 2009-10, but has steadily fallen to a much more manageable 36% by 2018-19. This means that, at the start of the decade Jamaica had less than half of its annual budget to pay for schools, teachers, nurses, police, much less any new initiatives. Now it has significantly more money to pay for all these vital services, over J$300bln more!

Public Debt Servicing as a % of Total Budget 2008-9 to 2020-21

*All charts extracted from data available at the Ministry of Finance and the Debt Management Unit

 

 

 

6 Things To Know About The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange

In early 2019, the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) launched an initiative called the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE).  We’ve got the basics about what it is, why it was launched, who is it for, how to participate and more.

What is the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE)?

The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) is a special exchange of the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE)  It is for entities that operate to provide a benefit to society. These include non-profit organizations and businesses operating as social enterprises.

Why is there a Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE)?

The Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) was set up to leverage the Jamaica Stock Exchange’s (JSE) record of global excellence to help mobilize social capital.

The objective is to efficiently connect entities engaged in executing economic, socio-cultural and/or environmentally responsible projects and programs, to parties interested in participating in economic, socio-cultural and/or environmentally responsible activities in the start -up, implementation, maintenance and expansion of social projects and programs.

Does a person donate or invest via the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE)?

Both.

In the current phase of Phase 1, the JSSE is a platform for donations.

In the future phase of Phase 2, the JSSE will provide a platform for impact investing.

  • CURRENT: Phase 1 – Donation – is augmented crowd-funding. You can donate as you would to any other site, except for a key benefit – the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) carefully selects the organizations and projects that can seek funding via its platform and then the JSSE will monitor, evaluate and report on the projects once successfully funded, i.e. “listed”. In Phase 1, organizations and projects are seeking donations by donors who contribute to a social benefit. There are no stock prices to follow nor will a financial return provided to the donor.
  • FUTURE: Phase 2 – Impact Investing – will function more like the Jamaica Stock Exchange (JSE) Main and Junior Markets but will be limited to companies that operate for social benefit. In Phase 2, the entities are seeking investment by social investors who not only contribute to a social benefit but are also expected receive a financial benefit through increase in stock value and/or dividend.

Which organizations are now raising funds through the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE)?

At present, five (5) organizations and their projects have been selected by the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE) for funding via the platform.

The selected organizations provide significant social benefits through education, empowerment and employment for a wide cross-section of Jamaicans – across the island and for varying age groups and abilities – through their projects.

The organizations are:

How can a person or entity donate to these organizations?

Here are the ways that you can donate to these organizations via the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE):

Can my organization raise funds through the Jamaica Social Stock Exchange (JSSE)?

When this pilot phase has been successfully completed, any social enterprise or locally registered entity in civil society – with a technically and financially viable project/program with a social mission that will solve a social or environmental need – can apply.

For more information, visit this link on the Jamaica Stock Exchange website

 

Jamaican Folklore

Folklore is the traditional stories and beliefs that are passed down in a society from generation to generation, mostly through word of mouth. Jamaican folklore involves many spirits or mythical creatures that haunt people for various reasons.

Folklore is extremely important to our society, because of the diverse functions that these tales serve. Folk tales offer an exciting escape from reality and allow new generations to learn and adapt to the beliefs and culture of those before them. Another function of some Jamaican folklore, is to discipline children, and the secret enjoyment that is gained from scaring them with exciting creatures.

Folklore like the Anansi stories, originated in Ghana, West Africa, and were brought to Jamaica by the Ashanti slaves. From these early beginnings, various stories have been passed down from generation to generation and have established themselves as an integral part of Jamaican culture. Children learn about them in schools and families continue to pass them down through oral traditions.

Believe it or not however, Jamaican folktales are slowly becoming forgotten in today’s society. This is as a result of the rise in multitudes of new entertainment, including television and the internet. In the past, folktales were used by our ancestors for entertainment and a leader or “storyteller”, often the eldest in the village, would describe these interesting legends to his listeners.

Jamaica has a culture rich with folktales that you might or might not know about. Very prominent figures include:

  • The Rolling Calf – A story about a menacing bull haunting the countryside at nights.
  • Ol’ Higue – The story of an old witch that feeds on the blood of children.
  • Duppies – Restless spirits that were once alive like you and me.
  • The River Mumma – A female spirit lurking at the source of Jamaican rivers.
  • The Golden Table – The mesmerizing golden table that lures innocent victims to the bottom of the river.
  • Anansi stories – Stories surrounding Jamaica’s resident man or rather spider of mischief.
  • Annie Palmer (The White Witch of Rose Hall) – The woman haunting the Rose Hall Great house – that can still be visited to this day – she was accused of murdering her black slave lovers among many other heinous crimes.

There are many Jamaican writers that use their craft and talent to preserve these Jamaican legends including:

  • Martha Warren Beckwith – Who wrote a book entitled “Jamaica Anansi Stories”.
  • Louise Simone Bennett-Coverley affectionately known as ‘Miss Lou’ – A Jamaican folklorist, writer, and educator who was also Jamaica’s Cultural Ambassador. She appeared in the pantomime production of “The Witch” surrounding the legend Annie Palmer and wrote “Anancy & Pandora” in 1949.
  • Joan Andrea Hutchinson – Also wrote Anancy stories like ‘Anancy and Aunty Joan (Anancy stories)’

Now that you have a background knowledge on Jamaica and its folklore, there will be more articles with specific focus on each folktale listed above. The next article in fact, will be featuring the raging, roaming, Rolling Calf.

Written by Nyameche Jones, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

CSEC & CAPE Study Tips

The exam period can be a nerve wracking time for Jamaican students, as everyone aims to do their best in their CSEC and CAPE exams. Too often students aren’t even sure where or how to begin studying, and the experience can be a nightmare.

Don’t fret. To reduce the stress and anxiety caused by exams, here are 6 study tips to help get you through the exam season:

Past Papers Are Your Best Friend

Sometimes, students know all the information but are not sure how to go about applying
it. The best way to master this is through using past papers. Doing previously written
exam questions can help you familiarize yourself with the structure of the exam and can
give insight into what the examiner is looking for.

Start Early

“Procrastination is the thief of time.”
One of the most common mistakes made by students is starting (to study) too late.
Almost every student has had the experience of not starting studying on time, and
the later realizing that they’ve missed an entire topic, having waited until it’s too close to
the exam date. Combat this by starting to study as early as possible. This way it is easier to break the work into sections and take it step by step, and if you haven’t started studying, START NOW.

Figure Out How YOU Study

When asking other persons for study tips, students often hear ideas like “work in groups”
or “rewrite your notes”. Studying styles vary, and are unique to the student; it is therefore
a student’s responsibility to figure out their studying style reading, writing, listening,
viewing) in order to retain information and to maximize their marks.

Use Every Resource At Your Disposal

During exam season, it’s very easy for students to get frazzled when they are unsure of
where to look for information. One way to combat this is to use every resource that you
have. We live in a world where information is always accessible: – thanks to the internet –
Students can find online reports, watch YouTube videos and use a myriad of other of
online resources. Offline resources can include teachers, textbooks and even attending
subject marathons.

Ask For Help

Being unsure of a concept can be frustrating and disheartening. This is why it is
important to ask for help when you need it. If you’re having trouble grasping a concept,
do not be afraid to ask your teachers, classmates, or even family members to help you
understand it.

Relax / Take A Break

While your grades are important, your health takes priority. During the exam period, students can become extremely stressed, and go to great lengths to achieve high marks, often to the detriment of their own physical and mental health. It is perfectly acceptable to relax and take a break from studying if the work becomes too overwhelming. In addition to this, Psychology Today notes that taking breaks from long periods of work, can increase a person’s levels of productivity, and therefore, can directly contribute to the effectiveness of a study session.

Make sure to use these tips to ensure that your study sessions are successful. Good Luck!

Check out our CSEC and CAPE resources on diG.

Written by Morgan-Leigh Miller, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

Filmed in Jamaica

Sports, food, music and language are some of the many aspects of Jamaican culture that have made the little Caribbean island an international juggernaut. However, how many people think of movies when they think about Jamaica? Probably not a lot, as countries such as Nigeria, India and the United States, are known to produce the most movies annually. Jamaica doesn’t only show blockbuster movies but rather maintains a presence in the film making industry.

Often referred to as the heart of the Caribbean, with its picturesque views, lush landscapes and beautiful beaches, Jamaica provides a beautiful site for any picture loving individual or the perfect setting for a movie. This marks one aspect of Jamaica’s involvement in the film industry, loaning its shores to several movie productions such as: critically acclaimed Dr. No, a James Bond movie, starring Sean Connery, parts of which were filmed in Oracabessa, St. Mary and Port Royal. The James Bond film franchise returned for Bond 25, currently in production.

The Blue Lagoon, 20,000 Leagues Under the Sea and the film adaptation of the Nobel Prize winning book, ‘The Lord of the Flies’ are a few other notable mentions. Television shows such as Like Father, The Intent 2 and Marvel’s Luke Cage, have also been shot on the island.

Jamaica has produced many movies over the years; the very first film produced in Jamaica by the Jamaican film industry came in the year 1972 with the “The Harder They Come”, starring Jamaican-born Reggae icon Jimmy Cliff. This film received much international attention and placed the little island on the international film radar. Interestingly, to celebrate the 40th year since the film’s production, a Gleaner article entitled “From Rhygin to the Harder They Come” stated that the film was shown across the UK, USA and Canada. This highlighted that Jamaican produced films held an international audience.

Other films produced in Jamaica include: Yardie, Smile Orange and Shottas. Life and Debt, the infamous documentary filmed in Jamaica, focused on the impact of the World Bank, I.M.F. and globalization on developing countries such as Jamaica. In a gleaner article entitled “The Reel | Jamaica’s Growing Billion-Dollar Film Industry”, it was stated: “Large-scale productions like Storm Saulter’s Sprinter and Idris Elba’s Yardie have generated a lot of local film activity. Thus…Jamaica’s film industry is slowly becoming more recognized on both a local and international level”.

It is obvious that Jamaica has its place in the film industry, both locally and internationally. However, while film productions attract more international recognition, what can be said about live-action productions in the country? Next time the theatres of Jamaica will be taking the centre stage.

Written by Devinn Weller, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

Celebrities With Jamaican Roots

We are well acquainted with our local superstars who have magnified Jamaica on the map, such as Bob Marley, Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce and Usain Bolt among others. However, there are other Jamaicans or persons with Jamaican roots that are making our country proud abroad in their respective fields. Here are 5 celebrities who have Jamaican roots:

Sheryl Lee Ralph

Daughter of the Jamaican fashion pioneer, Ivy Ralph, Sheryl-Lee Ralph is a multi-talented actress who has contributed greatly to the Global Arts. She is mostly known for her acting roles in popular films and television shows such as: Sister Act 2, It’s a Living, Designing Women, and Moesha, for which she has won many NAACP awards. Ralph has also directed screen productions including her own screenplay for Racecard, released in 2000, and has started her own screen production company: Island Girl Productions, under which she produced her award-winning film, Secrets. She is also the founding Creator of the International Jamerican Film and Music Festival. An AIDS activist, Sheryl founded the Diva Foundation in memory of all the friends she has lost to the disease.

Harry Belafonte

Harry Belafonte was born in 1927 to Caribbean emigrants in Harlem, New York. Belafonte is not only a talented actor, but also a recording artiste and activist, receiving a myriad of awards during his lifetime. Notably, he has collaborated with other black actors and actresses such as Dorothy Dandridge, in the Oscar nominated “George’s Bizet” and even appeared in The Muppets television show in the 1970s and 1980s. Dubbed the “King of Calypso”, Harry played a significant role in introducing the genre to the USA, with popular hit songs such as “The Banana Boat Song (Day-O)”. He has also supported many civil rights causes such as the 1963 March in Washington, where Martin Luther King Jr. delivered the, “I Have a Dream” speech. Some of his other momentous achievements include receiving the Kennedy Centers Honours in 1989 as well as the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.

Alicia Keys

Alicia Keys was born in Manhattan, New York, to an Italian mother and a Jamaican father in 1981. Growing up in New York, her talent as a musician was indisputable and attracted the attention of producers in her teen years. She released her first Album, Songs in a Mirror (2001), for which she won five Grammy awards, including Song of the Year. Her following albums: The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003), As I am (2007) and Girl on Fire (2009) also won multiple Grammy awards. Keys hosted the 2019 Grammy Awards. In addition to her musical talents, she has explored acting through her roles in: The Backyardigans (2004), The Nanny Diaries (2007) and The Secret Life of Bees (2008) to name a few.

Patrick Ewing

Patrick Ewing was born in Jamaica in 1962 but migrated to the United States at the age of 11. Through hard work and dedication, he went on to become a successful basketball player for popular teams such as the New York Knicks and played alongside famous players such as Michael Jordan. Ewing created a name for himself as he led the U.S.A to two Olympic gold medals in 1984 and 1992, when he was a part of the legendary “Dream Team.” Retiring in 2002, Ewing has been named an NBA all-star 11 times and has been inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.

Sanya Richards-Ross

Sanya Richards-Ross was born in Jamaica in 1985 but moved to the United States in her teen years in order to hone her burgeoning athletic skills. Sanya has since become a great success in her field, serving as a multi-Olympic medalist in the 4×400 and 400m events. Aside from her outstanding performances on the track, Richards-Ross started the Sanya Richards Fast Track Program in aid of upcoming athletes in Jamaica.

There are a great number of individuals who represent Jamaica without many of us knowing. Do you know any others? You might be one of them.

Read more in our series Famous Faces Jamaican Roots – Part 1 and Part 2

Written by Atassia Tyrell, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

How Carnival Started In Jamaica

If you’re not familiar with Caribbean culture, it can be confusing seeing persons walking around in shimmering tights or fishnet stockings, with feathers strapped to their backs, as music blares from every direction. If you’ve found yourself in this situation, chances are, you’re in the middle of a carnival.

Carnival is a multimillion-dollar festival in the Caribbean, which attracts persons from every corner of the globe, to take part in a cultural celebration of music, dance and national pride.

In the Caribbean, the idea of carnival: which closely mirrors what we know today, began as a celebration amongst the enslaved Africans. While the European settlers held their own balls and celebrations (from which the Africans were excluded), slaves created their own means of celebrations, which included various cultural rituals, music and dances. The rapid growth of Carnival spread across Eastern Caribbean islands such as Trinidad, as a celebration of the end of slavery.

In Jamaica, Carnival began at the University of the West Indies Mona campus in the 1950s, as local students – having been influenced by their Eastern Caribbean classmates – engaged in the festivities. This engagement became known as the “UWI Carnival”, an annual event which still exists today. Carnival, however, was not seriously established on the island, until Byron Lee, a Jamaican musician, decided to establish it as a formal event in 1990. Since then, it has continued to grow exponentially.

Carnival in Jamaica has become a huge annual celebration that sees numerous artists and tourists travelling from across the Caribbean and elsewhere to take part.  Carefully timed, the events are orchestrated in such a way that they do not conflict with Trinidad’s carnival celebrations, which take place before Ash Wednesday. Though its development in Jamaica is fairly recent, Carnival continues to grow, and has gradually become an important part of Jamaican culture.

Sources

Written by Morgan-Leigh Miller, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

How To Find And Follow Your Passion

If you are reading this, there is a high chance that you are pursuing an education or pursuing a career. Or, if you’re capable, are doing both!

The fact of the matter is that we venture onto these paths to make money – to sustain ourselves, our families, and to plan for the future. Most of us were programmed at an early age to operate with our end goal to “land a six-figure job, raise a family, buy a fancy car and live in a large home.” Unfortunately, we oftentimes chase these goals that society wants us to achieve, at the expense of what we as individuals take interest in.

We are told to be practical, to choose a sensible route, and to “go where the money is”. 50 years ago, this may have been sound advice, but today, people have the option to channel their energy into developing their talents and hobbies into viable careers. It is obviously easier said than done, it takes a lot of work to find your passion, and even more to develop it and make it work for you.

To start out, here are 5 steps to find your passion, then live it.

Forget everything you know

Well, not everything. Instead, try to forget the dominant themes that you were taught about the path you should take in life. If you are a Jamaican teen, chances are you were programmed to embark on a ‘traditional’ path – something like law, medicine, teaching, or nursing. Maybe you hail from a family of engineers, and it is an unspoken rule that you will become one too. Pause for a second and introspect: is this what I really want? Try to detach yourself from the expectations of your loved ones and think about which direction you would lean to if your opinion was the only one that mattered.

Open the Pandora’s box

Picking your own brain is never an easy job. When you think about it, everything you know is a combination of the opinions of the persons you interact with the most. When you start to question all that you are used to, it is definitely going to open a ‘Pandora’s box’ of more questions. Do not expect to find all the answers at once, though. Think of all your experiences thus far as an enormous puzzle with millions of pieces. Rather than attempting to figure it all out in one sitting, try to focus on solving one section at a time, in order to get the full picture. You’ll start to notice the patterns soon enough.

“Check Yourself Before You Wreck Yourself”

After doing some deep self-searching, you must have found a variety of results. You might have realized that you really enjoy the things that you currently spend most of your time doing. On the other hand, you might have discovered that the classes you are taking, the sport you are playing, or the job you are working just isn’t satisfying you. Perhaps you saw someone – a celebrity, a relative, a friend – doing something a bit unconventional, and it ignited a spark of curiosity and excitement in you. This epiphany is crucial in your process of finding what you are truly passionate about. By discovering your true feelings early on, you have a better chance to either forge forward on your fulfilling journey or jump ship before it’s too late.

Walk by Faith

If the previous step led to you finding a new interest, then, this is where the fun starts. In order to see how deeply passionate you are about this newfound interest, immerse yourself and learn all that you can about the activity or field. If you think you are interested in art, search for beginner’s art lessons in your area, research artistic styles, or look up painting techniques on YouTube. Do not become overly concerned with your lack of knowledge or expertise – everyone (literally, everyone) had to start from somewhere. If you know of someone that is experienced in the field, don’t be afraid to reach out to them to seek advice, chances are, they were probably in the same place as you at one point, so, you may end up finding a lifelong mentor and friend.

Make it Work for You

So, you have found something that makes you excited to get up in the mornings – fantastic! It is highly unlikely that you will be able to make your entire life revolve around it (not at first, at least). This is where many people tend to falter – they find it virtually impossible to factor it into the hustle and bustle of their daily lives, and eventually spend less time honing their craft, until they stop altogether. The reality is that in today’s world, the road less travelled is unpopular because it is not conventional, and the “real world” oftentimes neglects those who take that road. However, the millions of success stories of people who have chased their dreams and came out on top are solid proof that a different direction does not mean that it is the wrong direction, and that something being a rarity does not mean that it is impossible. If you don’t see an opportunity to chase your dream, then create one for yourself. Create a roadmap for your destiny, and let it inspire those who will come after you.

“Every great dream begins with a dreamer. Always remember, you have within you the strength, the patience, and the passion to reach for the stars to change the world.”
– Harriet Tubman

Written by Trevonae Williams, student of Manchester High School. Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

What Is Lactose Intolerance?

Lactose intolerance is a medical issue that affects persons of all ages and sizes. It is often referred to as an allergy to milk, but in fact, is the body’s inability to digest lactose.

What is lactose?

Lactose is the sugar that is found in milk and dairy. It is comprised of two simple sugars known as glucose and galactose.

How is lactose broken down by the body?

The human body typically produces an enzyme known as lactase, which breaks down lactose into simpler sugars (glucose and galactose). It lines the cells of the small intestine and allows absorption of these sugars.

For persons who are lactose intolerant, their body lacks the lactase enzyme, therefore; it is difficult for the body to break down lactose into glucose and galactose for absorption. Instead, lactose is broken down by bacteria in the colon, which results in various gastric issues.

Symptoms of Lactose Intolerance include:

  • Cramps
  • Gas
  • Bloating
  • Diarrhea (When water is drawn into the colon)

There are different foods which are high in lactose, that when ingested, produce the aforementioned symptoms. Some of these foods are:

  • Milk
  • Cheese
  • Yogurt
  • Ice-Cream
  • Butter
  • Some breads and baked goods

How To Handle Being Lactose Intolerant

Being lactose intolerant is far from easy, there are varying levels, and persons whose intolerance are very severe, may have to give up dairy entirely. On the other hand, if the intolerance is not as acute, relinquishing pleasures such as Devon House Ice-Cream may not be necessary.

  • Taking lactose enzyme supplements before consuming foods high in lactose, a person can take the supplement in order to have the enzyme present during digestion. This allows for the breaking down of the sugar for absorption.
  • Consuming small portions of foods high in lactose, reduces the amount of lactose that needs to be broken down. In addition, accompanying these foods with food that are high in fat will slow down digestion, further allowing the lactase more time to break down the lactose.
  • Having lactose free foods such as soy or almond beverages, prevents the symptoms all together.
  • Having foods low in lactose such as yogurt or hard cheeses (Swiss, Parmesan) will also reduce the chances of these symptoms.

So, fear not; Lactose Intolerance is not the end of the world. It solely suggests a change in diet, in order to prevent these digestive issues. For more information, speak to a medical professional about the best way forward, living with a lactose intolerance.

For more information, see:

Written by Rhea Braithwaite, student of Campion College.  Edited by Kaeonna Walters.  This post appears courtesy of the Do Good Jamaica Professional Pathways high school internship program. 

Sweet Potatoes – Health Benefits and Recipes

Did you know that sweet potatoes have twice the fibre, twice the calcium, and over 1300 times more vitamin A than white potatoes? Sweet potatoes are filled with health benefits which when consumed regularly can improve your life.  Here are the top 5 benefits of sweet potato:

  1. Supports Healthy Vision. Sweet potatoes are incredibly rick in beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for the vegetable’s bright orange colour
  2. May Enhance Brain Function. Animal studies have found that the anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes can protect the brain by reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage.
  3. Boosts Immune System. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are one of the richest natural sources of beta-carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body.
  4. Promotes Gut Health. The fibre and antioxidants in sweet potatoes are advantageous to gut health.
  5. May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties. Sweet potatoes are starchy root vegetables that are rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals.  They’re also high in antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage and chronic diseases.

Source: The Gleaner

For more information and ways to prepare:

“The sweet potato is probably the most widely used ground provision because of its taste, versatility and nutritional value. Sweet potatoes are of the Morning Glory convolvulaceae family. The sweet potato is known as batata, the Indian word for sweet potato.

The origin of sweet potatoes is South America (Peru and Ecuador). In the 17th century, potatoes became popular in Europe as a crop during famine. Today, sweet potato is a popular food in the southern United States, where they have been cultivated since the 16th century. Sweet potato is part of the staple diet …..”. Read more here in this article “Sweet Sweet Potato”.

Recipes:

 

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