Advice for health zealots: Add variety to menu

After the craze of following strict diet charts,‘functional food’ and ‘detoxification’ are the latest fads to catch up with the city residents.

Written by Express News Service | Chandigarh | Published:March 26, 2009 1:21 am

After the craze of following strict diet charts,‘functional food’ and ‘detoxification’ are the latest fads to catch up with the city residents. Dieticians,while vouching for healthy nutrition practices for all age groups,also throw in a word of caution — “take expert advice before embarking on a diet”.

“Functional food is a generic term and needs to be understood properly before starting a particular diet. The concept of functional food means adding those nutrients to the diet which are not commonly available in our daily menu. These may include fermented products and spices. Some brands of functional flour are available in the market,” says Sonia Gandhi,chief dietician at Fortis Hospital,Mohali. In simple terms,if one is using wheat flour in the form of chapattis,just mix the flour with three other cereals to enrich the dough with all those nutrients which wheat lacks.

If experts are to be believed,rising awareness among residents has led to a 3 per cent increase in patients opting for the concept of functional food. “Patients with a family history of diseases like diabetes and cardiovascular ailments generally enquire about functional foods available in markets. However,if such ‘nutritional food’ is taken in access,there is may be several side effects,” adds Gandhi.

At Government Medical College and Hospital,Sector 32,dieticians say curiosity is drawing people towards exploring the trend. “It is just about keeping one step ahead of a nutritional and balanced diet. Functional food means the inclusion of soya,oat and barley in our daily flour so that the diet is enriched without losing taste,” explained the dietician at the hospital.

All dieticians concur that it is the mixture,or rather the intermingling,of cereals that works the best for the human body rather than sticking to just one cereal. “The reason why functional food is gaining ground is because dietary habits are either becoming monotonous or we are simply relying on junk food. No one has the time to think about food or enriching it further,” said another dietician.

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