A movement to make India eat safer, healthier food
India bears a terrible burden of non-communicable diseases (NCDs), with the lack of proper diet and safe food a major contributing factor. The country has seen an increase in the NCDs burden from 30 per cent in 1990 to 55 per cent in 2016.
 
The World Cancer Research Fund contends that 27 to 39 per cent of the main cancers can be prevented by improving diet, physical activity and body composition. The Global Status Report on NCDs-2010, has stated that salt consumption has direct implications for high blood pressure as well cardiovascular issues -- and that saturated and trans-fat consumption increases the risk of diabetes as well as coronary heart disease.
 
What one eats, and how one eats, is definitely a significant reason why NCDs have become one of the major issues in India, as well as across the globe. The way we eat cannot be directly regulated, but there are three major factors that can be controlled: What we eat, what we know about what we eat and awareness about what we should eat (quantity/choice).
 
The first aspect comes from the standardisation of food, the idea of safety of the food that is available for human consumption. In this context, The Food Safety and Standards Act 2006 has enabled amalgamation of all the laws and regulations, and has further led to the creation of the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).
 
The second task comes from the aspect of sharing the information about what we eat. How do I know what I am eating is right? For this, FSSAI has enabled labelling, especially the content and nutritional information.
 
The third and final task is the mammoth one of telling citizens what they should eat, the choice of food or its quantum. For this, a phenomenal wave of change has just taken flight -- the "Eat Right Movement" -- the main focus of which is to guide citizens across the nation. The movement is built on two broad pillars of "Eat Healthy" and "Eat Safe", which is engaging citizens to improve their health and well-being. It started off recently with the goal to reduce consumption of high fat sugar and salt (HFSS) foods, and to eat safe and nutritious food.
 
Any technique adopted to alter the way citizens think, behave and function in society has a long gestation period before a positive outcome can be expected. It should be understood that the premise for adopting a technique for social and behavioural change comes from the fact that it cannot be a discontinuous function, it cannot be a jump from A to B; instead, it has to be a transition with constant nudging.
 
The reason why the "Eat Right Movement" could be a huge success is that it taps that narrow space of potential between what consumers will ignore because it is unattainable, and what they won't consider important to begin with. Had the movement supported a dramatic reduction in HFSS foods, most consumers would not pay heed to it; but if the movement had just been a simplistic awareness programme, consumers would not consider it important enough to participate in the process. The "Eat Right Movement" not only nudges consumers to take the right step, but also involves them in the process of building a healthier India.
 
The second important aspect of the movement is that it involves collaboration, as well as voluntarily commitment from the major Food Business Operators, (FBOs) wherein it is not only the final consumer who is part of the movement, but the stakeholders such as FBOs who have the capacity to influence the way food is produced and made available to the people. The movement seeks improved behaviour in terms of food choices from the supply side as well as the demand side, thereby setting an example can be replicated for other issues within India, and by other nations as well.
 
The movement incorporates an "Eat Right Toolkit" which is a supportive engagement to be streamlined into the national nutrition and public health programmes. It also encompasses the Safe and Nutritious food (SNF) Initiative, which thrives on the philosophy of creating IEC (Information Education Communication) Material, to spread awareness and to be mindful of the concept of "safe and nutritious food". 
 
Clearly, there are quite effective methods in place to alter the way India eats; however, there is a need to throw caution to the wind. The issue is the inability to quantify the changes in habits of citizens in a short span. Therefore, a deflection from strategy should not be based on short-term outcomes. Instead, FSSAI needs to go all guns ablaze in these social and behavioural changes that they have given life to. Because health and competitiveness will follow if India begins to "Eat Right"!
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.

 

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Scientists Discover Why Type-2 Diabetes Can Be Cured by Dramatic Weight Loss
A recent clinical trial (Diabetes Remission Clinical Trial - DiRECT), discovered that nearly half of the participants with type-2 diabetes, who followed a weight-loss programme, experienced the remission of their condition within six years of their diagnosis. Now, a study published on 2nd August in the journal Cell Metabolism reveals that this successful response to weight loss is associated with the early and sustained improvement in the functioning of pancreatic beta cells. This contradicts the earlier belief that beta-cell function is irreversibly lost in patients with type-2 diabetes. 
 
Traditionally, specialists thought of diabetes as a condition to be managed rather than cured; so, these new findings offer fresh insight into how type-2 diabetes can be counteracted using a tool within anyone’s reach: diet and lifestyle choices. “At present, the early management of type-2 diabetes tends to involve a period of adjusting to the diagnosis plus pharmacotherapy with lifestyle changes, which, in practice, are modest. Our data suggests that substantial weight loss at the time of diagnosis is appropriate to rescue the beta cells,” said senior study author Roy Taylor of Newcastle University.
 
According to the World Health Organization, diabetes affects approximately 422 million people worldwide; approximately 90% of the cases are of type-2 diabetes. It is a condition in which the body does not produce enough insulin or respond properly to it. Insulin is a hormone produced by beta cells in the pancreas that helps glucose in the blood enter the cells in muscle, fat and liver, to be used for energy.  Type-2 diabetes was traditionally viewed as a lifelong condition that worsens over time.
 
The results of the trials from DiRECT challenge this traditional view. The volunteers were randomly split into two groups: some were assigned best-practice care, acting as the control group; others joined an intensive weight-management programme while still receiving appropriate care for diabetes. A year later, 46% of the individuals assigned to the weight-loss programme had managed to recover and maintain normal blood sugar levels. According to the researchers, the participants in the second group, who did not achieve these results, had not lost enough weight to do so; but still, it remained unclear why their metabolism had not responded to the regimen in the same way.
 
To address this question, Roy Taylor and his team examined potentially relevant metabolic factors, such as liver fat content, pancreatic fat content, blood concentrations of fats called triglycerides, and beta-cell function, in a subset of DiRECT participants, including 64 individuals in the second group. They concluded that responders to the weight-loss programme were similar to non-responders. Both groups had lost comparable amounts of weight, leading to similar reductions in liver fat content, pancreatic fat content and blood concentrations of triglycerides.
 
The one difference between responders and non-responders was that people who regained normal blood glucose levels after the intervention exhibited early and constant improvement in the function of pancreatic beta cells. When beta cells secrete insulin, they do so in two phases, the first of which amounts to a brief spike in insulin levels and takes about 10 minutes. People with type-2 diabetes, typically, do not experience it.
 
In DiRECT, the beta cells of those who responded to the weight-management programme did go through the first phase of insulin secretion, while the beta cells of non-responders did not. The findings indicate that weight loss can help redress fat metabolism in people with type-2 diabetes. However, those who experience a more precipitated loss of pancreatic beta cell function may not respond.
 
"The knowledge of reversibility of type-2 diabetes, ultimately due to redifferentiation of pancreatic beta cells, will lead to further targeted work to improve understanding of this process," explains Roy Taylor. Nevertheless, the researchers admit that DiRECT should not remain the only source of evidence, as its results were seen in a particular cohort—of which 98% of the participants were white—which was only evaluated for a year. Further studies should aim to be more long-term and more diverse.
 
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5 amazing healing benefits of Neem to beat your monsoon woes (Health Tips)
Neem has been referred to as a "wonder herb" for the many beneficial properties it possesses. It has as many as 130 different biologically-active compounds that enhance the well-being of several bodyparts such as skin, hair and blood, among others.
 
This wonder herb is a cornerstone in preventive health remedies to achieve holistic wellness. During monsoon, there is an increased risk of infections, and your skin and hair also require extra care, all of which neem can help you with.
 
Dr Hariprasad, Ayurveda expert at The Himalaya Drug Company, elaborates on how neem has properties that can benefit various parts of our body. 
 
Skin: In Ayurveda, it's commonly known that neem is an incredibly effective acne combatant and is often associated with naturally beautiful, glowing skin. During the monsoon, the sebaceous glands that are responsible for producing body oils and regulating perspiration, go into overdrive due to the increased humidity. This can lead to breakouts and oily skin. The anti-bacterial properties of neem have a positive impact on any pimples or black/whiteheads. The harmful effects of bacteria that cause these breakouts are nullified by the anti-inflammatory properties of neem. Mild skin problems like rashes, irritation, burns and infections can also be healed with this herb. 
 
Hair: Dandruff and dry scalp can also be treated with neem. The change in weather can affect your scalp's pH balance, making your hair oily, frizzy or dandruff-prone, depending on your skin type. Because of the antibacterial properties of neem, a dry scalp and dandruff can be tackled. Dandruff, much like acne, can be significantly reduced with the purifying properties of neem. It can also be used to strengthen hair and prevent hair fall. 
 
Blood Purification: The changing seasons are said to have a huge impact on the body and, compounded with unfavorable diet and lifestyle, leads to a build-up of toxins in the body. Ayurveda recommends cleansing of blood as a healthy measure against the toxin build-up, to boost immunity, prevent infections and promote overall well-being. Neem, which is rich in natural antioxidants, and has other medicinal properties, is traditionally known to be a very effective blood purifier. It is also known to support key organs - the liver and kidney -- that assist in taking out waste and toxins from the body. Neem also helps to promote blood circulation by supporting healthy dilatation of blood vessels. Regular intake has also been useful in controlling high blood sugar and regulating blood pressure. 
 
Intestinal health/Digestive wellness: A healthy digestive system is extremely important for one's overall health. Prevention is always better than cure, and neem is very beneficial in maintaining and supporting a healthy digestive system. During monsoon, the integrity of your food, especially leafy vegetables, is compromised. This often leads to stomach issues and infections or parasites. The herb can be used to treat intestinal worms, nausea, belching and phlegm. The anti-inflammatory properties of neem make it incredibly useful for intestinal health as it soothes the entire digestive system. It is a great immunity booster and its regular use can help one feel naturally energised. 
 
Oral health: Neem is used as an active ingredient in many toothpastes and mouthwashes and can also be used to treat toothaches. During monsoon, complaints about sensitive teeth increase due to the cold air and changing weather. Neem helps stave off gingivitis and suppress swelling and inflammation of the gums. In many places, neem twigs are chewed as a natural substitute for brushing teeth; this is because it is a natural oral deodorant with antibacterial properties. The antimicrobial and antifungal properties present help minimise plaque build-up and reduce the presence of bacteria associated with tartar and gum diseases. 
 
There are multiple reasons to incorporate neem into your life, but these are some areas where it is known to have incredibly positive effects. This monsoon, take that extra step to prevent seasonal health issues. A natural road to health and wellness can start with bringing neem into your life in a significant way.
 
Disclaimer: Information, facts or opinions expressed in this news article are presented as sourced from IANS and do not reflect views of Moneylife and hence Moneylife is not responsible or liable for the same. As a source and news provider, IANS is responsible for accuracy, completeness, suitability and validity of any information in this article.
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COMMENTS

Ramesh Poapt

4 months ago

neem tablets available in the mkt(himalaya is one of good co).
one can gulp 1 (or 2 tab) daily. neem oil is also available in mkt.

V.Krishnamoorthy

4 months ago

Many of us know the benefits. But the article does not mention how to use and which part of the neem tree is to be used. Usually, I take daily a small quantity young leaves, chew it and swallow. Please give details of use. now is the season for beautiful small fruits which I like.

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