Tag: health

Functional Food and Beverages: Is it the future of Human Health?

The food and beverage industry is ever evolving. It is also an industry that is directly related to human health and wellbeing. The diversity of the industry has a new and growing trend these days and that is the concept of functional foods and beverages.

It is also a fact that people these days are more prone towards adopting natural and convenient ways to improve and maintain their health. While food industries and manufacturers are responding to this growing demand by bringing into the market, ever increasing numbers of new and unique functional food and drinks products.

What actually are functional foods and drinks?

In simple terms, functional foods and drinks are dietary components or foods that are manufactured to provide additional health benefits on consumption beyond the basic nutrition that is inherently there in foods. These food and beverages aids in taking better control of one’s health as each one is meant to provide specific health benefits.

dietary supplement, functional food
Image is for representational purpose only
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Dietary supplements or functional food and beverages have biologically active components that imparts health benefits or you may say desirable physiological effects. So, in short, a functional food or drink is a health food that claims to have health promoting or disease preventing properties in addition to the natural supply of nutrients.

The term which was first used in Japan in the 1980’s is now fast emerging and gaining wide recognition amongst all health conscious people around the globe.

So, to sum up we can say that functional foods are not eaten or drunk for the sake of taste or any emotional or traditional reasons but are consumed for their practical health and energy values.

What are the types of functional food and beverage products available in the market? What are their health claims?

In general, functional foods are the ones that included biologically and scientifically processed foods that are fortified with health promoting nutrients. Fermented products with live culture are termed as probiotics, example is yoghurt.

Functional beverages are ready to drink products that are non-alcoholic and may have non-traditional ingredients like herbs, amino acids and vitamins. These beverages are meant to promote energy, immunity and heart health.

Real fruit juices are functional foods.

Functional drinks are preferred more and in demand, as these are ready to drink, easy to carry and convenient in addition to them promoting health.

All functional food and drink products have labels pasted on them telling us about their health benefits and the reasons why we should have them. For example there are certain cereals that claim to have extra fiber and having food with extra fiber can help in reducing the risks of developing certain cancer types.

Also concurrent health issues keep on influencing the market. People these days are very inclined towards fat loss and weight management, heart diseases, gut health, cancers, diabetes and more. The possible means and ways to defend one-self from these health hazards leads to the use of more nutritious and functional foods and drinks.

Functional foods and drugs have been categorized in four types and these are: Whole Foods, Fortified Foods, Enhanced Foods and Enriched Foods.

The health benefit of each type is labelled on the product packaging along with its effects on our body. Say for example, calcium fortified juices is said to reduce the chances of osteoporosis and probiotic enriched foods and drinks are good for gut health and helps keeping it healthy and functional optimally at all times.

Understanding the current trend in India

In the modern era, there has been a growing attention on alternative ways to prevent and treat diseases. Neutaceuticals is one thing that is used extensively for the purpose. The term – Neutaceuticals refers to the link between the two domains – nutrition and pharmaceuticals. The human micro biota plays a vital role in maintaining health. Neutaceuticals have the ability to change the human micro biota for health benefits.

The global nutra-ceutical industry is one of the rapidly growing industries in the world today. Presently, United States, Japan and Europe accounts for almost 93% of the total industry and as these regions are approaching maturity, the current focus is one the emerging markets like China and India.

The growth and popularity of the industry in India is pretty fast and all can be attributed to health awareness and inclination towards nutrition. The Indian lifestyle is rapidly changing. With more preference of processed foods, sedentary lifestyle and unhealthy food choices, it has led to many lifestyle diseases like obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cardio vascular diseases and poor gut health. As a consequential result, Indian consumers, particularly the upper middle class and the high income group are preferring nutra-ceutical against prescribed drugs. They have slowly started to understand that food alone cannot fulfil their requirement of all vital nutrients and hence they are adopting to functional foods and supplements for disease prevention and healthy living.

To give consumers what they want, the food industry continues to innovate with new functional food and beverage products. The growing trend and the numerous benefits that we can reap out of these food and drink varieties makes us obviously think that functional food and beverage might be the future of human health.

Dr. Prakash Chandra Bhatt is the founder of Billion Cheers and Fermentis Life Sciences, a passionate research scientist with doctorate in pharmaceutical biotechnology from Jamia Hamdard University. His expertise lies in developing innovative products and processes by application of biotechnology, nanotechnology and fermentation technology. He is a proud recipient of Young Scientist Award and research grant from the Department of Science & Technology of Government of India.

He says, “Being a biotechnologist by profession I am convinced that microbiome is the most significant part of our body and plays a key role in our health. I believe that the focus of the future research for human health will revolve around microbiome.”

Mother’s Day Special: Health secrets you should know for your own well being

It is human nature to put the best foot forward to be successful and achieve what we have planned for ourselves and set as our tasks. We want to do everything possible to make it happen, no matter what we think or act like. And the best part – we feel very happy and highly motivated and encouraged when we see it happening with positive results.

But in the pursuit of all, almost all of us miss out on a very important aspect in our life – our health. If we see around, more than 90% of the people neglect this important aspect of life and it is especially women who neglect it the most. It is sad, but it is true that what we all say – Health is Wealth, but in actuality, we overlook it in reality the most. We have become so busy in achieving our targets and goals in life that we only look into our health when we fall sick or when it badly needs attention.

Discovering the secrets of total well being

Although called secrets, these are not actually secrets that we all know about. These are, in reality, lifestyle habits that we might have dropped some in between or have neglected midway. With the advancement in medical science and many breakthrough discoveries, almost all major diseases have been bought under control and perhaps many have been eradicated from the face of this planet. But, our modern day lifestyle has become the biggest health challenge for us. Sedentary lifestyle, high levels of stress, unhealthy eating and other lifestyle habits have propagated modern day diseases like heart ailments, stroke, obesity, hypertension, diabetes and many others. Women in particular face the biggest challenge as they not only get neglected, they neglect themselves as a mother by themselves also.

In this article, an effort has been made on the occasion of Mother’s Day to make people and mothers aware of the simple yet very effective secrets that we do know but hardly care to adopt in our daily lifestyle and live a life full of good health, happiness and wellness.

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Mothers of today need to be more wary of these secrets as the challenge is bigger for them. They have a more vivid and wider role to play in modern society – a mother, a wife, a house maker, a businesswoman, a colleague, a worker and what not.

Mother’s Day gives all of us a chance to salute the eternal blessing of nature to mankind – motherhood. To all the mothers around the globe, we feel proud of you all.

Let’s look into these secrets one by one:

  • Always try to maintain a healthy body weight
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Managing weight is one of the most crucial aspects of total wellbeing and mothers need to be more careful with the same. Being heavy or overweight can just be the start to a magnitude of health problems like diabetes, hypertension, heart problems, strokes, cancers and much more. More to it, maintaining a healthy weight ratio ensures that you never have issues with health problems like asthma and osteoporosis (more common in ageing women). And, for all of it, you need to have a healthy balanced diet and regular physical activities or exercises. A diet that is enriched with the goodness of all five core and essential food groups – proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fibres and vitamins and minerals.

  • Eat the food that you love
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When we say eating well, it actually means eating what we love to, what we enjoy eating. But, the secret here that needs to be discovered and understood is eating in moderation, because eating is good but eating excessive can actually make you feel terrible, even if it is your most favourite food/s. Mothers, in particular, have to ensure that you eat and the food that you like. The best way to moderate the intake of food is to focus on the food that you enjoy eating and eat at least three square meals in a day. By eating nutrient dense food make yourself feel good. This way you will enjoy your food more and stay away from overeating.

  • Always stay physically active

We don’t realize that physical activity is as important in keeping our brains healthy as it is for our body. Physical activities increases the protein, brain-derived neurotropic factor (BDNF that helps promoting the health of our nerve cells in areas of the brain that is linked to the memory, learning and higher-levels of thinking. Mothers in general avoid this as they are so involved with their baby and other chores.

Researchers say the people who are obese or overweight can still add years to their life by doing regular exercises. It does not matter how busy or how heavy you are. If you want to live healthy and live longer, you need to devote time daily towards some sort of physical activities.

  • Sleep and rest well

It is important to work and so is equally important to rest and sleep. It is during the sleep our body gets all the time to repair, maintain and recapitulate itself. It is important that we give all these valuable seven to eight hours to our body every day. When we get good and proper sleep and rest, we feel more energetic and rejuvenated. Our working and thinking abilities are highly enhanced and we become more productive.

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Mothers find it difficult to rest and sleep. It is always beret that they sleep with their baby. This might sound a little awful but if you do not do so, you will never get the amount of sleep your body needs.

  • Manage stress

Stress in today’s most dangerous and silent killer. It destroys us mentally as well as physically and we don’t even notice or realize the damage it can cause to our overall wellbeing. However, saying so, in the modern day lifestyle, stress is almost inevitable to be avoided, we must adopt to techniques to release and mange it. Yoga and meditation is perhaps the most effective ways out of stress, but simple adoptions like listening tom music, reading books or even playing with kids and socializing are good stress management techniques that we all should imply in our lives.

Managing stress for mothers is all the more important as it can impact the growth and development of the baby in a great way. Learning how to manage stress is an art that we all as humans should master.

In short, we all must learn to – eat well, move more, stress less, and love more. It is a simple yet very effective secret unfolded for a happy and healthy life.

The article is authored by famous Dietitian Sheela Seharawat. She is the founder and chief mentor of Diet Clinic Health Care Pvt. Ltd. Also, she is one of the youngest successful entrepreneurs of India.

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