Eat right for a life filled with optimal health and wellbeing, says DR MUKESH BATRA, homeopath extraordinary…a few useful tips for those seeking better health during our coronavirus times. As always what you put in your mouth makes a difference for the better or the worse….
The Lancet, the noted medical journal, once reported a case of a 32-year-old woman with progressive muscular weakness and pain. She went through high-tech tests and medical examination. Yet, there was no diagnosis made. After two years, she was confined to a wheelchair. It’s at this point that a thoughtful physician figured out a “possible” underlying cause. It turned out that the woman had chronic Crohn’s syndrome – an inflammatory disease of the digestive system – which was conventionally treated by removing a part of her colon.
As a result, she wasn’t absorbing vitamin D – the deficiency “trigger” for her muscular fatigue and pain. Following vitamin D replacement therapy, for just three weeks, she was able to walk without assistance!
Certain foods – for instance, fortified vitamins and minerals in food – when taken in appropriate amounts, and on a regular basis provide health benefits beyond basic nutrition. Most importantly, they are evidenced to promote vibrant health and reduce the risk of disease. They also help us in the management of major health problems, such as heart disease, cancer, diabetes, gastrointestinal disorders, menopausal distresses, osteoarthritis osteoporosis and also relatively less serious condition like sinus infections.
Nature has provided us with a rich variety of fruit, vegetables, grains, fish, dairy and meat products. They are all endowed with innumerable natural components, or nutrients. They convey health benefits far beyond fundamental diet. Some examples are lycopene, the functional food component in tomatoes; omega-3 fatty acids in fish and flaxseeds, and saponin in soybeans.
There is of course no single “functional” food “potion”
that can cure, or prevent health problems. The best and easiest thing for us to do is simple: Eat a balanced and varied diet. This should include at least 4 to 5 servings of fruit and vegetables a day as well as food with added beneficial components. For example,
- Fortified foods. Examples include breakfast cereals, with added vitamins and minerals like iron, zinc, vitamin B12 and folic acid. Or, iodine in table salt.
- Vitamin and mineral supplements. These are available as separate supplements, or as a combination product with varied amounts of different compounds.
- Additional supplements. These are supplements other than vitamins and minerals. They are suggested to have a beneficial effect on health. Examples are fish oil, garlic, chromium picolinate, Echinacea, primrose oil, ginkgo biloba, quercetin and co-enzyme Q10
- Probiotics. These are foods that contain good bacteria to improve health. One example is yogurt (dahi) which contains lactobacillus – the bacteria that improves gut health and also reduce the incidence of heart disease and certain forms of cancer.
- Foods to reduce cholesterol. One good example is spirulina. Another is licorice – both are evidenced to lower cholesterol.
- Dietary wonders are tomatoes which are evidenced to cut the threat of deadly prostate cancer by nearly half; a small dose of the vitamin folic acid can prevent dreadful and common birth effects; fish oil capsules taken for just 12 to 14 weeks notably slow down the growth of colon tumors; olive oil lowers the risk of breast cancer and also heart disease; green tea can cut the risk of heart attacks; and a study in the British Journal of Nutrition found that those consuming flaxseeds for four weeks not only increased their levels of omega-3 fatty acids, but also reduced their cholesterol by 9 percent and their blood glucose by 27 per cent!