Health is Where Home-made Food is

Wednesday, February 23, 2022


               

The well-known philanthropist, scientist and polymath John Lubbock says, “Health is much more dependent on our habits and nutrition than on medicine.” In today’s so-called fast life of city dwellers in particular, it is found that they are by and large getting habituated with eating fast foods like pizza, burger, and noodles together with other street and junk foods for one reason or the other. The traditional home-made foods of different varieties and tastes are not the favourites now especially for the younger generation. Fortunately, our village population is still practising the traditional dietary habits and hence they are better placed so far as their immunity and metabolism are concerned despite poor financial condition and infrastructure facilities.

There is no denying the fact that what we eat, when we eat and how we eat, all have great bearing on our healthy living. Multiple benefits of eating local, traditional and seasonal foods are time and again stressed by health and medical experts. But are we really aware of these benefits and accordingly following this in our day-to-day life? Anyways, let us discuss this issue to improve our awareness level.

The traditional foods that we have been eating for decades are based on the climatic condition, the local availability of food items at affordable prices, the prevailing season and its nutritional value. To say, the food habits of the common people of a particular region are different in some ways from that of other regions. Whether it is Idli-Dosa-Sambar or Dahi-Chura or Litti-Chokha or Sattu for Roti-Dal-Sabji or Bhaat-Daal-Saag-Sabji or Dhokla-Khandvi to name a few, these items are easily available in that region. Interestingly, all these eatables are known as popular healthy foods in that part of the country because of their easy availability, affordability, taste and nutritional value.       

In fact, when we consume products which are ripened artificially, stored longer in cold stores, transported hundreds of kilometres using preservative and refrigeration, we actually end up eating less nutritional, more costly and sometimes unhealthy items. On the contrary, by choosing ingredients like grains, vegetables and fruits that are naturally found locally in a particular season, we prefer to have fresher, sweeter and naturally ripe produce that tastes better and has the highest amount of nutrition, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and phytonutrients.

In our ancient system of health and medical care called Ayurveda, Ritucharya is a term known to describe the habit of eating seasonal foods to keep fit and fine. To say, the concept of Ritucharya is very important as it defines what to eat during that particular season to maintain our health and prevent diseases. Interestingly, in winter season nature provides us with a variety of citrus food items – orange, grapes, guava, strawberries etc. which are vitamin-c rich that help our body to fight various seasonal ailments including cough and cold. The vegetables we get in good quantities in this season are perfect for making warm and nourishing items like soups, stews and other healthy dishes. On the other hand in the summer season we easily get stone fruits besides seasonal vegetables which provide us with extra beta-carotenes and other carotenoids that help protect us against a number of diseases. Actually, stone fruits are a classification of fruits having a thin skin and a stone in the center, which contains the seed. Delicious fruits like dates, mangoes, lychees, peaches, plums, apricots and cherries fall into the stone fruit category. 

Precisely speaking, we can’t control everything in life, but we can control what we put in our body to keep our immune system and metabolic function strong enough in order to remain healthy, disease free and consequently happy.

As always, I'm keen to know what you think on this subject. Hence, request you to post comments to share your views and experiences.   

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