01 October 2014 | Column | By Dr. V. Prakash, FRSC; Distinguished Scientist of CSIR-India, Chairman, Advisory Board, NuFFooDS Spectrum
The role of Food is not only that of satisfying hunger but also to give the holistic approach to the health of the body and mind. But of late science has shown that it is not only the food that makes the difference in Nutrition and Dietetics in all ages, but also the preparation of different types of dishes and the pre-processing, the combination of food factors and the sequence of eating food has a lot more to do with Wellness! At the outset a modern scientist would disqualify this as he/she would say that ultimately everything reaches the blood as molecules and is absorbed and therefore it does not matter! However, if we look at the Dhanvanthari documents as an authentic perspective and the classification and synonyms the picture that emerges is different. For example, the enumeration of the general qualities of all types of rice including the qualities of rice sown in plough fields and in the wild and uncultivated soil has a major role to play in our health and wellness. This is also true of many foods, which means the processing does not start after it enters our palate but the bioactives and nutraceuticals obviously ayurceuticals starts from the seed of the plant and the place it is grown, the micronutri- tion it gets and the level of sunlight as well as other parameters of surrounding plants. Hence the ecosystem has a role to play in the holistic and eco approach of Food as it relates to Wellness.
Hence the word wellness is a very holistic word which includes not only the ingredients and food factors but perhaps even fragrance of foods apart from its colour and flavour. It is this property that brings in the happiness factor when one eats the food and therefore it is not just the aromatic substances and spices in the culinary but also the taste, the flavour and the history of the food perhaps embeds the combination of all of it. But today’s food processing has a different contour all together with milk being no more white, rice is no more brown, ragi (finger millet) is no more black and so on and so forth! So how does one elute the wellness from these processed foods when it comes to Health and Wellness from a Food based approach?
It is this examination of going deep into the concept food such as say honey wherein one looks at the co- lour, the flow properties, the different flavours, the type of honey and also whether it is coming from a fully formed honeycomb or partially formed honeycomb and what are the flowers involved in the production of honey, what is the species of bee that produces it and is it from a single species or a combination of many species and so on and so forth. Therefore as we term many a times organic for some foods, we need to probably introduce the word Wellness Food?
Perhaps the answer lies in the microbiome in one’s gut also. Therefore it is this holistic approach from the mouth all the way to the absorption level and its excretion how much is bioavailable and that depends upon how much we can see the Food from a holistic point of view which is mentally accepted and cherished and en- joyed before it even gets absorbed. Therefore when we talk about Wellness Foods, it is not just Nutraceuticals, Ayurceuticals and Bioactives but it is the feeling one gets right from the time the food is grown all the way to the time it is seen, enjoyed and eaten (well masticated) and ultimately the feeling of fullness of that particular Food perhaps is the one that jettisons a trajectory of Wellness for the human being. This is where the first year accomplishment of this magazine on NuFFooDS tries to drive in the coming year for ensuring the role of Nutritionals and Nutraceuticals in NuFFooDS with a special food factor called as Wellness!
- Dr V Prakash, FRSC
Distinguished Scientist of CSIR-India, Chairman, Advisory Board, NuFFooDS Spectrum