As part of its 'Illness to Wellness' campaign, ASSOCHAM had recently released India's largest primary healthcare survey report on the rising burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs) in the country.
The report titled "Non-Communicable Diseases in India" covered 2,33,672 people and 673 public health offices across 21 states. It concluded that imbalanced diet is amongst the top three causes for the high rate of NCDs in India.
The study found that people were increasingly consuming diets low in legumes, milk, omega-3 fatty acids, vegetables, fruits, calcium etc, and were opting for foods rich in sugar and trans-fats.
The most common NCDs due to consumption of unhealthy diet included hypertension, digestive diseases, and diabetes. The prevalence of NCDs in India was found to be 116 per 1000 population.
ASSOCHAM has organized an Illness to Wellness webinar on 'Healthy Diet for Healthy Tomorrow' With the paramount objectives to cascade awareness and disseminate wisdom about healthy diets which can reduce risk factors and lead us to a healthier, happier, and prosperous life.
"In today's times, optimum nutrition is truly medicinal," said Dr Zubeda Tumbi (PhD Nutrition), Founder, HealthWatch Nutrition, Senior Clinical Nutritionist, Expertise in Weight Management & Metabolic Diseases, Certified Diabetes Educator, IBS FOD map certified in her special address.
She went on to say that switching to functional foods for therapy to protect, reverse, or remove an ongoing condition can assist relieve mental, economic, and financial stress.
Anil Rajput, Chairperson, ASSOCHAM CSR Council shared that issues related to our diet, weight and physical activity are the biggest public health challenges we are facing in current times.
Even though our policy makers are taking significant steps to inculcate a healthy food culture through interventions such as 'The Eat Right Movement', 'Task Force on Balanced and Healthy Diets', 'Poshan Abhiyan' among other, sustained action from all stakeholders will be critical to identify strategies for promotion of wholesome and healthful diet across all sections of the society.
Rajesh Kesari, Founder and Director, Total Care Control, Delhi-NCR moderated the session.
A balanced diet is a means to keep yourself fit and active, according to Dr Shabana Parveen, Group Team Leader, Clinical Nutritionist Clinical Nutrition & Dietetics Department Artemis Hospitals, Gurugram.
Healthy diet enhances the body performance, strengthens your immune system, and protects you from diseases like diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease, stroke, and others.
Eat a variety of meals, such as whole grain cereals, ragi, bajra, jwar, entire legumes, beans, whole pulses, healthy fats, fruits, and vegetables, to get a wide range of nutrients. It's vital to eat a varied diet rather than relying on a single nutrient, she added.
She went on to say that all nutrients are necessary for performing bodily functions effectively. She advised to stay hydrated and active at all times.
Vinita Aran, Senior Nutritionist, Wellness Coach at Apollo Clinic, Andheri (E) Founder of Diet Clinic 'Eat your way to good health' shared her insights saying that people are forgetting about traditional and seasonal foods available in India which are a great source of nutrients. She said to include foods that are whole and nutrient dense in our diet for extra benefits. (agency)
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Whether we want to accept it or not, biologically men and women are very different. One of the important differences is in the way men and women use and store fat. Men on average have about 3 per cent essential fat as part of their composition - women have 12 per cent.
Essential fat is a percentage of total body fat mass that is necessary for insulation, protection of our vital organs, vitamin storage and building key cell messengers like steroids that are necessary for effective cell communication. Without this fat, the body does not function properly and our immune and neurological systems get affected.
Women have four times as much essential fat. Stored fat in women is actually beneficial to overall health. A baseline of 12 per cent of essential fat protects women from type two diabetes and even heart disease. This is important to understand because:
It helps with expectations and goal setting when you choose weight loss programmes:
Striving for 20 per cent body fat is unhealthy
There are three popular diets in the world: Keto Diet, Intermittent Fasting, and GM Diet. Unfortunately, these diets are not helpful especially for women who are thinking of significant weight loss (more than 15-20 kgs) and maintaining it permanently.
Let's look at these diet plans in detail:
The ketogenic diet is a low carb, high-fat diet. Restricting carbs and increasing fat intake can lead to ketosis, a metabolic state in which your body relies primarily on fat for energy instead of carbs. "Women's bodies always resist losing fat as it is essential for pregnancy and lactation, and it's essential."
Carb intake in the keto diet is typically limited to fewer than 50 grams per day, which can cause shock to women's bodies. When the carb quotient depletes, it switches to ketones and fat for fuel at the start of this eating pattern, women's brain and metabolism starts resisting fat loss.
It results in a complete imbalance leading to hormonal and metabolic changes. Also, Keto-type diets usually work only for a short term and can have side effects such as headaches, dizziness, fatigue, nausea, and constipation.
Further, most of the initial weight loss is water weight. Once the body enters ketosis, we begin to lose muscle, become extremely fatigued, and eventually enter starvation mode which actually makes it even harder to lose weight.
A keto diet does more harm than good to the majority of women especially if they have any underlying medical conditions like PCOS, Irregular menses or Infertility.
Fasting is a practice that involves completely abstaining from eating or avoiding certain foods for a fixed period. In recent years, intermittent fasting has become increasingly popular with people looking to lose weight.
During studies, it was found that although intermittent fasting produced favourable results in people who were overweight or obese, women who tried it, had the following negative effects:
Severe mood swings
Obsessive thoughts about food
Overeating on days without restricted calories
Most women exhibit such behaviours in the first few weeks of intermittent fasting. It is also observed that by restricting calorie intake in this manner, it may interfere with their menstrual cycles.
The GM diet aims to help people lose weight by focusing on a specific food or food group each day for a week. The GM diet consists of a 7-day meal plan. Each day focuses on a specific food or food group.
Although the idea of substantial weight loss within a short period may seem attractive, the GM diet does come with risks which are:
Lacks Vital Nutrients
Women following the GM diet may not get enough of certain important food groups, such as healthy fats and protein. This diet may also lack essential vitamins and minerals that come with eating a wide variety of healthful foods.
Short-term Weight Loss
The GM diet is not a sustainable long-term weight-loss strategy. A woman may regain weight once they stop following the diet. One reason for this is that the diet does not necessarily teach techniques for healthy cooking or eating which is essential for long-term weight maintenance.
Other risks which are very common and can be aggravated in women in a few weeks include dehydration, headaches, fatigue, muscle weakness and inability to concentrate, In a nutshell, balanced calorie intake - macronutrients like carbs, proteins, fats, and micronutrients like vitamins and minerals which are essential for pregnancy, lactation and overall health of the women. Hence, eating a balanced meal during weight loss is advised. (Dr. Kiran Rukadikar, a renowned Obesity Physician and Weight Loss Specialist)
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Let's pause to understand what healthy eating looks like for a woman. Literally. What should we be feeding our bodies so that we can enjoy good health throughout the changing stages of our lives?
Whether you're a student attending online classes or a corporate honcho working from home these days a homemaker who never gets a moment's rest or maybe you're none of the above but as a woman, you need to know what nutrition is right for you and more importantly, when.
Starting from the stage of a teenager, what you eat will define who you are in the years to come as nutrient needs are higher now than at any other time in your lifecycle. "As teenage years are a time of rapid growth and development, eating a well-balanced diet is key, as healthy food is essential for proper hormonal balance.
One must stay fit by consuming good fat from fish, avocado, nuts, olive oil etc. The onset of menstruation at this stage often causes low haemoglobin so load up on food rich in iron, protein and avoid junk food containing refined sugar, saturated and trans-fat." said Dr Ganesh Kadhe, Associate Director, Nutrition Medical and Scientific Affairs, Abbott
She added, "If you're under 30, it's a good time to start increasing your calcium intake. In case the pandemic continues to play a spoilsport of how much sunshine vitamin you can absorb, add vitamin D into your diet to enable the absorption of calcium.
If you're pregnant or breastfeeding then lean proteins, iron, and vitamin C (to absorb the iron) are all must-haves for you. In case you are planning a pregnancy, intake of supplements comprising of vitamin D, B12, iron, calcium and folic acid are essential.
A well-balanced diet for all women this age should include some meat and dairy, seafood, green leafy veggies, pulses and grains, dry fruits, and citrus-rich fruit."
Make the transition into menopause a smooth one by limiting foods high in salt, preservatives, and saturated fats. "Women in their 40s and 50s must say hello to more calcium and iron, food rich in antioxidants like berries, cocoa, green tea and more fibrous food like whole grains, veggies, and fruit.
In addition to vitamins D and C, another one that cannot be ignored as we age is B12 which is responsible for neurological function and is usually deficient in vegetarians so consciously supplement your diet with vitamin b12 fortified food if you don't get it naturally.
As the onset of metabolic disorders and vitamin deficiencies are seen often in this age group, following a low glycaemic, low-fat high protein diet topped with regular exercise is essential." says Dr Ganesh.
"Age may only be a number but if you want to stay fit and active even over 60 then the number of nutrients in your food needs to increase in proportion. As a woman in her senior years, your diet should already include all that is recommended above.
So that means foods rich in calcium, iron, protein get a big yes and processed foods, saturated fats and excess salt get a big no. The other red flags at this age are spicy foods that can trigger acidity issues, too many sweets that can lead to sugar imbalance and eventually diabetes.
One should be conscious that avoidance of dairy due to lactose intolerance is not a solution and they should rather consume dairy products rich in calcium and proteins."
No matter what age you are, drink plenty of water to keep your body well hydrated, add a nutritional drink to your diet for a healthy balance of nutrients, get enough sleep so that you feel fresh and rejuvenated stay active with age-appropriate exercise and pay equal importance to your mental wellbeing.
A lifestyle that combines all of this with a healthy, well-balanced diet will ensure that you relish womanhood at any stage in your life. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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Ghee has been an intrinsic part of the Indian diet for ages, but now the importance of Ghee as a part of our daily nutrition is on a decline. Ghee or Ghrita, a form of clarified butter, is often considered to be harmful for health. It somehow has become unpopular and unpreferred for people following a ‘modern’ lifestyle.
But, before one adds or removes something from their diet, especially something that has been used for centuries by our ancestors, it is important to ask if it is really that bad for you? Is Ghee (Gharita) is really that bad for your health and the concerns about its effects on the body true?
This is how Ayurveda answers these questions:
Ghee is Not Bad for Health
While the mainstream health industry argues against the use of Ghee (Ghrita) and touts it as unnecessary fat. Ayurveda healthcare advocates that it is a very good source of nutrition for the body.
Yes, it is a form of fat but if you trust the traditional wisdom of Ayurveda, one can rest assured that having Ghee will not result in gain of inches around your waist. This is not a claim without validation, the underlying science is that Ghee (Gharita) has short-chain fatty acids and a very high boiling point.
Thus these fatty acids do not break down into free radicals even if you use them for deep frying food. Plus, when it enters your system it nourishes your body as well as contributes to the wellness of your mind. The fact is that many Ayurvedic medicines are prepared with Ghee as the primary ingredient.
It All Starts in The Gut
If you face problems with your digestive system like constipation, pain, acidity, etc., Ghee could be your best ally. When one consumes Ghee, it acts as suitable lubrication to help the movement of stools. Having Ghee leads to more butyric acid in your system, which not only keeps your digestion strong but also helps in building immunity.
Ghee (Ghrita) is considered a Satvic food as per Ayurveda and Cow’s Ghee has been given special importance in traditional Ayurveda medicine.
Can Lactose Intolerant have Ghee?
A growing number of people around the world are being found to be lactose intolerant. However, this condition has nothing to do with Ghee. During the process of making ghee, the milk solids or Lactose parts of the milk are removed. This makes the final product fit for consumption for those whose guts do not react well to dairy products.
Weight Loss and Ghee
Ghee is undoubtedly good fat. It not only provides nourishment to your body but, also helps you burn the stored fat in the body. Ghrita enema is a common practice amongst Ayurveda practitioners, as this process leads to detoxification in the body. So get rid of the misconception that having Ghee would derail weight loss.
It is suggested that one can safely consume about 3 teaspoons or 1 tablespoon of Ghee in a day. Trust Ayurveda science of healthcare and start including at least 1 teaspoon of Ghee in your diet from today and see the change in your health.
Ayurveda brings thousands of years of knowledge and wisdom its ancient yet effective methods are very relevant even in the changing lifestyle. Used right, it could be very helpful in healing as well as preventing diseases. So, trust the ancient science of Ayurveda for a healthier and happier life.
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Kolkata: Extract from the bark of the neem tree, indigenous to India, may help treat and reduce the spread of coronavirus, a team of international researchers found.
Neem, used for over thousands of years, is known for its pesticidal, insecticidal, and medicinal properties.
The bark extract has helped treat malaria, stomach and intestinal ulcers, skin diseases and many other diseases. People also use it in hair and dental products.
The study, led by a team from Indian Institute of Science Education and Research, Kolkata, shows that components of neem bark may target a wide range of viral proteins, suggesting its potential as an antiviral agent against emerging variants of coronaviruses including SARS-CoV-2.
The Indian researchers tested it in animal models and showed that it had antiviral properties against coronavirus.
Using computer modeling, the researchers predicted that Neem bark extract will bind to the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein at various locations, preventing virus entry to host cells.
Further, a team at University of Colorado, US, tested the Neem bark extract in SARS-CoV-2 human lung cells. It proved as effective as a preventive drug for infection and also decreased virus replication and spread after infection. The findings are reported in the journal Virology.
"The goal of this research is to develop a Neem-based medication that can reduce the risk of serious illness when someone is infected with coronaviruses," said study co-author Maria Nagel, research professor in the department of neurology and ophthalmology at the varsity's School of Medicine.
"We hope that scientists won't have to continuously develop new therapies every time a new SARS-CoV-2 variant emerges.
"Just like how we take penicillin for strep throat, we envision taking the Neem-based drug for Covid, allowing us to resume our normal lives without fear of hospitalisation and death," Nagel said.
The scientists believe this research could guide new antiviral therapeutic efforts to combat the ongoing pandemic, while holding out the promise for treating new coronavirus strains. (agency)
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Women across the country are aware of how nutrition is closely associated with skin health. The food we eat is as important as the products for our skin, as healthy glowing skin is hard to achieve on a poor diet even with the strictest skincare regime.
It is evident in the survey that highlights a shift in consumers' preferences towards a healthy lifestyle and natural alternatives for daily diet.
According to a recent survey conducted between 7th to 22nd December by YouGov, a research consulting firm, 72 per cent of women in India find healthy dietary changes as an important step for beautiful looking skin.
Overall, the results indicate that majority of the females prefer to snack on healthy and nutritious food items such as almonds and fruits as they recognize the beauty benefits of fruits and almonds in particular.
Talking specifically in terms of maintaining a healthy diet, most women see a consequent benefit of achieving beautiful looking skin with home meals, a fibre-rich diet and snacking on nuts like almonds.
Almonds have emerged as a top choice amongst Indian women as they associate Vitamin E with better skin health. Besides, the survey highlights the fact that 59 percent of women consume almonds on a daily basis, mostly soaked or raw. This makes almonds the most regularly consumed nut.
Females of the age group 30-39 and Millennials rate almonds highly on aspects such as wrinkle reduction, skin glow and skin protection. Whereas Gen X highly associates the consumption of almonds with the reduction of wrinkles.
This assessment is reinforced by their personal experience as they report having observed positive effects on skin after eating almonds.
In fact, those who have been consuming almonds for over 6 months report positive impacts such as skin glow and younger-looking skin more than those who started consuming almonds lately.
Commenting on the results of the survey, Sheela Krishnaswamy, Nutrition and Wellness Consultant, said, "It is great to see survey results indicating stronger adoption of the idea that a healthy lifestyle, including healthy snacking, can elevate one's skin health.
For years now, I have been recommending almonds as a natural healthy snack for better skin health. Almonds are known to be a rich source of antioxidant vitamin E and deliver essential fatty acids and polyphenols, which make them a great choice.
A recent study suggests that almonds can help improve facial wrinkles and skin tone, a finding that supports the belief that almonds promote skin health among survey participants. I urge women to include them into their daily diet, to support healthier skin."
The quantitative survey by YouGov aimed to assess the correlation between beauty and snacking, and understand women's snacking patterns for beauty benefits.
The survey was conducted amongst a sample size of 3,959 women in cities like Delhi, Lucknow, Ludhiana, Jaipur, Indore, Kolkata, Bhubaneshwar, Mumbai, Ahmedabad, Pune, Bangalore, Coimbatore, Hyderabad and Chennai. (N. Lothungbeni Humtsoe)
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