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April - May 2005


Health

Let Food Be Your Pharmacy

by Veena Verma


Thousands of people visit their local pharmacy to cure minor ailments. The pharmacist has remedies that assist most people. There are remedies right there in your kitchen that will help to ease some of your ailments. Here are some tried and tested tips, which have been passed to us.

Ayurveda (science of life) around 5000 years ago, and the Greek philosopher and doctor of modern medicine Hippocrates (400 BC) have the similar opinion. Hippocrates emphasised on food and said "Let food be your medicine and medicine be your food." In a modern version of complementary diet therapy, the emphasis is on ‘you are what you eat’. The type of food you prepare in your kitchen, the way you prepare it, is responsible for not only physical health, but also food and mood are correlated. It does affect mental health (memory and emotions), and spiritual health.

Preparing and consuming food hygienically and unadulterated is important to maintaining good health and a healthy lifestyle. To avoid food borne illnesses such as diarrhoea, vomiting, stomachaches, nausea and other food borne diseases, careful attention must be paid to personal hygiene and strict hygienic conditions in the kitchen.

Look inside your kitchen and explore the world of food pharmacy. Eating food as near to nature as possible will benefit your metabolism, digestive system and could save you a trip to the GP. Eating fresh food and vegetables, especially green and coloured skins are antioxidants and assist in longevity and youthfulness.

Wholegrain cereals and pulses are full of fibre, protein and goodness to help repair body tissues growth and maintenance of regulating body processes. Food is also a major source of disease-causing chemicals and micro-organisms, with food scares appearing almost weekly in news headlines. Understand the nature of food is essential to maximising nutritional and beneficial values to human health.

Remember: Using unsaturated fat as your cooking medium will prevent heart disease, obesity and blood pressure. Eating fresh vegetables, salads and fresh fruit provides raw energy vital to good health. Drink plenty of water, at least six to eight glasses each day. Avoid drinking too much coffee or tea as it contains caffeine, which can deplete the absorption of certain nutrients from the food you consume, for instance zinc and iron.

• Try to avoid too much fried food, which produces free radicals in your body, leading to premature ageing and some types of cancer. Fried food is loaded with extra calories, which can lead to coronary heart disease and some digestive tract problems.

• Try to avoid too much sugar in your diet. Sugar contains mostly calories, has no nutrients, and should be used in moderation.

• Try to avoid too much salt in your culinary practice. Too much salt can lead to hypertension (high blood pressure) and water retention. Cooking with salt is sufficient to give taste and adding salt to your meals is unnecessary. Adding lemon juice and black pepper or spices zests up a plain and simple dish like salad.

• Try to avoid drinking too much alcohol. If you smoke it is better to cut down or give up smoking. Smoking depletes essential vitamins of the body.
The abovementioned tips are the main guidelines to general health. Next issue will deal with the medicinal properties contained in herbs and spices in your kitchen pharmacy.

Recipe: Low Fat Nourishing Paratha
A) Ingredients
1 cup of wholemeal flour
_ cup porridge oats ground into flour
_ cup gram floor
_ cup oat bran
1 teaspoon ajwain seeds
One and a half teaspoon cumin seeds

B) Two to 3 finely chopped chillies
3 to 4 spring onions chopped finely
Half a cup of freshly chopped methi
One tablespoon ground pomegranate seed
Salt to taste

Method
Mix all ingredients in List A with cold water into pliable dough
Leave to rest for ten minutes
Add rest of the ingredients from list B
Knead for five to six minutes
Take a piece of dough about the size of a tennis ball
Press it flat and roll in into a circular disk 6 inches in dieter
Cook on a griddle pan or tawa like chapattis
Brush with butter or oil on one side
Serve hot with low fat yoghurt
These chapattis are good for diabetics, very nourishing and very low in fat.

More Health

More articles by Veena Verma

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