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Pray, eat well

THE ASIAN AGE. | GRAEME SAIT
Published : Jan 4, 2018, 12:31 am IST
Updated : Jan 4, 2018, 12:34 am IST

We need to replenish our soil, and that in turn is interconnected with our health.

The hottest food medicine is curcumin, found in tumeric.
 The hottest food medicine is curcumin, found in tumeric.

We need to replenish our soil, and that in turn is interconnected with our health. A soil expert and crusader of humus speaks about informed nutrition and how we can reclaim responsibility for our own health with the endemic rise of diabetes and other lifestyle diseases in the country.

In my travels around the world (over 30 countries each year), it is always interesting to observe the inherent wisdom in traditional dietary practices. The Father of modern medicine, Hippocrates, offered a famous wellness equation. He suggested, “Let your food be your medicine and your medicine be your food.” We are increasingly discovering the profound nature of those wise words, as nutrition science unravels the remarkable protective biochemistry found in food. In the Indian context, the need for an informed nutrition is evident, given the huge rise of lifestyle diseases, immune disorders, etc. The hottest food medicine is curcumin, found in tumeric. There are now over 600 published studies highlighting its multiple benefits — countering inflammation associated with diabetes, Alzheimer’s, heart disease and cancer. We now understand that curcumin is very poorly absorbed. We can counter it by combining piperine, from black pepper, and a source of fat (curcumin is fat soluble). While Indian cuisine has been dramatically ahead of the game, however, there are other areas where India needs to lift it's game and they are often linked to the need to compensate for declining nutrition in our food due to demineralisation of farming soils and the extractive nature of food processing. We explore a huge health issue in India and across the globe, the root causes of insulin resistance and type 2 diabetes.

Countering the coming plague
There are suggestions that it may not be a pandemic of infectious disease that claims huge numbers. Instead, it may well be the “sugar sickness” that becomes our largest killer. It is estimated that one in three people are now pre-diabetic. India is rightly regarded as the diabetes capital of the world with more than 50 million souls suffering from this preventable, lifestyle disease. Here are four tips to avoid or even overcome insulin resistance and diabetes.

Chromium is a critically important trace mineral required in the management of insulin and it is seriously depleted (via increased excretion) when sugar and refined carbohydrates are over consumed. There is a compelling theory that stroke, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s (often called type 3 diabetes) are actually all on one continuum. Research suggests that chromium can help prevent these diseases.

Your Action plan
The solution is to supplement with 500 mcgs of chromium picolinate each day and to consume foods rich in chromium. The best options include brewers yeast, brown rice, broccoli and grape juice.

Improve your critical Omega 6 to Omega 3 ratio
The healthy ratio of these essential fatty acids should be two parts of Omega 6 to one part of omega 3 (2:1). The ratio in India is as high as 40:1 in urban areas and 10:1 in rural regions. What can we expect when we have 20 times more omega 6 than what is desirable? A plague of type 2 diabetes is the outcome, but much more is involved.

Inflammation is powerfully linked to every degenerative disease and the omega 6 to omega 3 ratio is directly linked to this destructive condition. Our body features a two-stage inflammatory cascade. The first stage is driven by protein messengers. The second stage involves eicosanoids. These substances drive the anti-inflammatory healing process. So, effectively you have created fire with no means to dowse the flames. This inflammation of tiny blood vessels is an integral component of type 2 diabetes.

Your Action Plan
Supplement with fish oil. Cod liver oil with vitamin A, Vitamin D3. Embrace omega 3-rich foods. Dump omega 6 excesses.

— The Australia-based writer is a soil expert.
He has been spreadingthe word about healthy humus through his sold-out workshops across the world. The Ted X speaker has written Nutrition Rules and has three new books out soon.

As told to
Suruchi Kapur-Gomes

Tags: curcumin, diabetes, alzheimer, heart disease, tumeric