Honey: The Elixir of life

Few interesting facts

  • Honey is the only insect produced food consumed by humans. Beekeeping, or apiculture, has been practised by humans since 700 B.C. World’s oldest edible honey, approximately 3000 years old, was found during pyramid excavation in Egypt. 
  • A honeybee visits 50–100 flowers on a single trip out of the hive. A single honeybee produces approximately only 1/12 teaspoon of honey during her lifetime. Bees have two separate stomachs, one for food and another specifically for nectar.  
  • Honey is a superfood exhibiting anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant properties. Hydrogen peroxide, acidity, and lack of water make pure honey last forever.
  • Declining bee population is posing threat to global food security and nutrition. However, there have been no beehive losses in Cuba — unable to import pesticides due to the embargo, the island country now exports valuable organic honey. 
  • Up to 5000 sensors, measuring 2.5mm x 2.5 mm were fitted to the backs of the bees in Tasmania, Australia before they were released into the wild. This was done to monitor and improve honey bee pollination and productivity on farms as well as help understand the drivers of bee Colony Collapse Disorder (CCD), a condition decimating honey bee populations worldwide.

What is honey?

Honey is produced from the nectar of flowering plants and the efforts put in by the honeybees to convert nectar into honey. Flower nectar is a sweet, liquid substance produced by flower glands, an adaptation that attracts insects to the flowers by offering them nutrition. In exchange, the insects help fertilize the flowers by transmitting pollen particles clinging to their bodies from flower to flower during the foraging. Both parties benefit in this relationship — bees gain food while transmitting the pollen required for fertilization and seed production in the flowering plants. 

In its natural state, nectar contains nearly 80 percent water along with complex sugars. If left unattended, nectar eventually can ferment and would become useless as a food source for the bees.  Therefore, by transforming the nectar into honey, the bees create an efficient and usable carbohydrate with only 14 to 18 percent water and can be stored almost indefinitely without fermenting or spoiling. Honey offers bees energy source capable of sustaining them through the cold winter months. Therefore, honey is a natural product formed from flower nectar possessing nutritional, cosmetic, therapeutic, and industrial values. 

Honey varies in its nutritional composition based on the origin of the nectar used in its creation i.e. botanical as well as geographical origin. It primarily contains fructose (40%) and glucose (30%), while the remainder is water, traces of local pollen, as well as other substances, such as:

  • Amino acids  
  • Enzymes
  • Minerals
  • Vitamins

The trace elements primarily make honey a superfood exhibiting medicinal properties finding application as anti-inflammatory, antiviral, anti-fungal, antibacterial, antimicrobial and antioxidant.

Apart from honey, beehives are sources of:

  1. Pollens: It is believed that pollens when consumed may lower cholesterol, improve metabolism, and improve stamina. However, some people may be allergic to pollens therefore consumption should be accompanied with caution.
  2. Royal jelly: An excellent dietary supplement, the jelly is the bees’ secretion used as food by the queen and all bee larvae; the worker honeybee secretes royal jelly through its hypo-pharynx glands situated in its head. When consumed by humans, it may provide relief from menopause symptoms. Some researches claim that royal jelly local application speeds up the process of wound healing.
  3. Propolis: Also known as bee glue, it is created by bee workers from resins, balsam and tree saps, and used as a defence mechanism to seal cracks in the hive thus safeguarding any external intrusion. Propolis helps in cold sores and mouth surgery. More scientific research is being carried to establish its effectiveness in cancer sores, tuberculosis, and overall improvement in immune response.   
  4. Wax: It is produced by worker bee’s glands, which they then use to build the honeycomb, and to seal the top of honey-filled cells; Wax is very popular in the cosmetic industry for making products like lip balms, creams, hair care products. It is also used in furniture polish, crayons, anti rust coats etc.
  5. Bee venom: It is this defence mechanism of bees which help to protect against any danger. Bee venom is a colourless liquid containing proteins that can lead to localised inflammation. It finds application in naturopathy for treatment of chronic injuries, gout, and burns.   

References:

  1. https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2015/Honey-Bee-Health
  2. https://www.winchesterhospital.org/health-library/article?id=13504
  3. https://www.purewow.com/home/uses-for-beeswax
  4. https://www.rxlist.com/propolis/supplements.htm
  5. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6893770/
  6. https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/324152#wound-healing
  7. https://www.urmc.rochester.edu/encyclopedia/content.aspx?contenttypeid=19&contentid=BeePollen
  8. https://www.nationalgeographic.com.au/history/honey-in-the-pyramids.aspx
  9. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5424551/
  10. https://saveourbees.com.au/bee-products/
  11. https://www.worldbeeday.org/en/did-you-know/92-honey-and-other-bee-products.html

 [SB(C1]Source – https://www.csiro.au/en/News/News-releases/2015/Honey-Bee-Health

Add more visuals to blog..intersting pictures, videos etc..one video is the article above

 [SB(C2]Dark honey…explain in a line before you dive in its properties

 [SB(C3]Too many comparisons …Dark Vs Light…honey Vs Sugar…what is your key message?

 [SB(C4]Is this relevant for humans? Be clear how..if its not usable by humans delete.

For each of the below listed items, outline what the human use is.

5 Most Common Adulterated Foods in India

What is food adulteration?

Motivated by economic profitability or malicious intent, adding or mixing substandard or harmful substances to food items that may have adverse effect on health is known as food adulteration. Most common of adulterated foods in India include:

  • Milk – India is world’s largest producer and consumer of milk and related products. Unfortunately, it has become notoriously infamous for being the country to produce synthetic/artificial milk. Driven by increased urbanisation, high demand and unethical profit motives, adulteration and contamination of milk has become a serious problem. Contaminants range from water to chemicals such as caustic soda, white paint, refined oil, urea, starch, glucose and formalin. Detergent is often detected due to lack of hygiene in handling and packaging. Either way the health risks of the resulting mixture is very high. The World Health Organisation (WHO) recently issued an advisory to the Government of India. It states that if milk and related products adulteration was not checked immediately, then by 2025, 87 per cent of its citizens may suffer from serious diseases like cancer.
  • Milk products – Just as gloomy is the situation with milk products such as paneer, ghee, yoghurt, butter and cream. Paneer is a staple for vegetarians in the country. In the market, it is often replaced with synthetic paneer which is made from mixture of maida, palm oil, baking powder, detergent, bicarbonate soda, skimmed milk and sulphuric acid. Similarly, synthetic butter, yoghurt and cream replacements are manufactured from combination of chemical and oils. The ‘real’ ghee has been replaced by butter oil. A wide variety of Indian sweets available are made from adulterated milk and milk products posing risk human health.
  • Tea/Coffee: Tea and coffee are the most consumed beverages in India. If your idea of a perfect evening is enjoying a hot cup of tea, then you need to know that adulteration of tea has taken place since the early 1800s. To enhance the aroma and taste, the tea leaves are mixed with artificial food colour, flavours and synthetic dye such as tartrazine, indigo, gypsum, graphite, Prussian blue. Coffee is ubiquitous food product of considerable economic value. It is often mixed with cheaper materials like clay powder, corn powder, chicory, woody tissues etc to increase profitability.
  • Honey: In ancient times, honey was considered to be ‘elixir of life’. However, in 2020 this definition for commercially available honey does not hold much ground.  In the year 2010 and 2016, CSE and Consumer Voice respectively conducted tests on popular honey brands available in India. On both instances, they detected rampant use of adulterants and antibiotics. Artificial honey is manufactured in illegal factories using sugar, corn or rice syrup to cater to rising demand. Artificial honey is devoid of trace minerals presents in natural honey and therefore does worse than good to human health. Additionally, at an alarming rate honeybees are being given antibiotics to keep them disease free. Besides, farmers often spray chemical pesticides on crops and flora in order to protect their yield. The Bees while foraging on nectar consume the deadly spray. Bee’s exposure to antibiotics and pesticides ultimately adulterates honey.
  • ‘Masala’ Powders: Spices and herbs are labour-intensive to produce, which keeps their prices high compared to other crops. Indian kitchen uses a variety of spices such as cardamom, clove, nutmeg, peppercorns and cumin.  Growing demand, production challenges and high prices make spices particularly tempting targets for food adulterators. To enhance the aroma, colour and texture of spices, different types of cheap chemicals are used. For instance, ‘Sudan 1’ a red dye also a known carcinogen, is used to cater red colour to chilli powders. Similarly, adulterant like lead chromate is used to impart bright yellow colour to turmeric. Also, to increase the weight of the spice packaging cheap fillers are used. For example, a packaged garam masala may contain saw dust or powdered bran while a pack of saffron may contain coloured maize thread.

With fair understanding about most common adulterated foods, in next blog, I will deep dive into various aspects of honey.

References:

1. https://www.firstpost.com/india/appetising-in-taste-adulterated-in-content-your-paneer-may-be-gourmets-delight-but-it-might-just-be-spurious-5423131.html#:~:text=A%20report%20by%20the%20food,cheese%20to%20increase%20its%20quantity.

2. https://www.dailypioneer.com/2020/state-editions/district-admin-seizes-huge-quantity-of-adulterated-paneer.html

3. https://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/city/coimbatore/712kg-adulterated-tea-seized-from-palakkad-rd-godown/articleshow/71414135.cms

4. https://www.whatshot.in/pune/punes-famous-yewale-tea-c-19653

5. https://tea.fandom.com/wiki/Adulteration_of_tea6. https://www.cnbctv18.com/economy/how-safe-is-food-in-india-fssai-says-one-thing-data-says-another-4300401.htm

Food Traceability: An Introduction

The What, Why and How of it

Food traceability stands at the cusp of many a contemporary buzz word. It also somehow seems to figure in the lexicon of generally opposing forces: ethics and business, profits and environmental sustainability, disruptive technology and sustaining innovation. Let us glance through the what, why, and how of it, prior to arriving at the way it is making its presence felt across the globe, and the opportunity that it presents in the relatively nascent market that is India.

The What

Term ‘Traceability’ holds different definition in international standards, dictionaries, legislation, and scientific community. Following are few examples of the same:

International standards:

ISO 8402 – “The ability to trace the history, application or location of an entity by means of recorded identifications”; ISO 9000 – “The ability to trace the history, application or location of that which is under consideration”;

Dictionary:

Dictionary.com and The Free Dictionary – “the ability to trace”; Cambridge Dictionaries Online – “the ability to discover information about where and how a product was made”;

Legislations

The EU GFL (General Food Law) (Regulation 178/2002) – “The ability to trace and follow a food, feed, food-producing animal or substance intended to be, or expected to be incorporated into a food or feed, through all stages of production, processing and distribution”;

Thus, in general, Food Traceability can be defined as the ability of tracking food and related products through various stages of production, processing and distribution, including that of importation and retail. Food traceability inherently suggests that each of the food’s movements is able to be traced a step backward or forward, as the case may be, at any point in the supply chain.

The Why

The why has plenty of anchors it can latch on to, the most obvious being that it provides visibility to quality, freshness, and authenticity. Besides, traceability allows food products and their ingredients to be tracked and verified, helping establish foundations for robust compliance and stringent safety requirements. At the same instant, it also helps in augmenting consumer belief, retain trust, loyalty and recall. Another logical pivot to the why is the hyper globalised food supply market where traceability goes a long way in assuaging the fears that arise with such complex market systems. The more one can vouch for the antecedents of the product, the greater sway it can have, as also bring in multiple ingredients to the table. Quite importantly, traceability provides scope for corrective actions to be implemented quickly and effectively when something goes wrong. An effective traceability system can also help isolate and prevent contaminated products from proliferating widely in the market, thereby minimising disruption to trade and at the same time avoiding any potential public health risk. Such improved data governance by way of traceability can also help companies constantly improve food safety.

The How

Traceability needs to extend its efficacy to identify the source of all food inputs, including raw materials, additives and packaging. The how of it comprises technology of various genres. These include blockchain, software applications which are currently being developed with the help of java, drupal ,etc. Their capabilities would be able to identify the food source, quality, transit temperature, and freshness of the produce, as well as can be further used to ensure that the data is accurate so as to provide confidence to both consumers and retailers.

In much of the modern West, traceability is now indelibly incorporated in their food supply management systems, with ever growing customer consumption patterns, burgeoning demand, and a legal framework which makes it mandatory for all food and feed business to incorporate it within their businesses. The European Union also has special traceability rules for genetically modified organisms (GMOs), which ensure that the GM content of a product can be traced and require accurate labelling so that consumers can make an informed choice. The EU also has made it compulsory for producers to tag animals with details of their origin, and when animals are taken for slaughter, stamp them with the traceability code of the abattoir. Stakeholders such as Producers and Food companies that welcome more stringent environmental and social standards, organic-certification requirements, and traceability standards would be able to create niche brand value for themselves particularly in the face of evolving regulation and would continue to grow to take advantage of food traceability trend. For example, in 2010 Unilever announced plans to source 100 percent of its agricultural raw materials sustainably by 2020, and, as of the end of 2014, had reached 55 percent. Traceability in West, is a well evolved system, with clarity of roles and responsibilities with respect to technology there by making already entrenched systems qualitatively better.

The India Connection

In India, the farm to fork industry is yet to takeoff in right earnestness, more so when it comes to incorporating traceability in the root of things. India is also largely infamous for recurrent habits of adulteration, chemical-intensive produce rampant with pesticides and possible carcinogens, with little accountability. Rampant use of preservatives, and malpractices like antibiotics in animal food products also further exacerbate the equation. The systems here still have to rely on local produce to guarantee authenticity. Globally, India is the second largest producer of fruit and vegetables. Fruit production in India has increased nearly 90 percent in the last decade, but we are traditionally wary of ‘unseasonal’ varieties of food, or those that arrive from far shores. With all its shortcomings in the food production systems, India also happens to be one of the most aspirational countries in the contemporary world, with the human potential to fulfill its flight. Food being responsible for a sizeable number of its employment, traceability may be the perfect antidote to a lot of its food-related systemic issues. The Indian food industry is well aware of the necessity for a proper traceability regime, what is lagging is the mass awareness with respect to food traceability. A food traceability system is not only an important tool to manage food quality and safety risks, but also to promote the development of effective and efficient supply chain management in India. Demand also is rising for healthier functional foods, that are certified and traceable, those that offer benefits beyond basic nutrition, such as lowering cholesterol, regulating blood sugar, managing arthritis etc. This is the right time for us to up the ante, and inculcate traceability in our food mechanisms.

What also needs remembering is that the human world is going through a pandemic the parallel of which it has not witnessed in living memory. Within such uncertain times, a simultaneous fear arises of the unknown. This can easily spill on to food supplies where trust is of solitary importance, and food-borne illnesses would be of particular concern to consumers. India has pledged a doubling of the farm economy, as well as has spelt plainly that it is aiming for the top 5 global economies. Within that context, it becomes all the more incumbent on us to let go of our constant lag in incorporating viable mechanisms like traceability. India is willing to pay more for food that knows its journey from the root to the plate, and that should be a welcome signal for businesses to put their best foot forward.

References:

1. https://www.foodsafetymagazine.com/enewsletter/the-importance-of-food-traceability/

2. https://globalfoodsafetyresource.com/food-traceability/

3. https://www.mckinsey.com/industries/chemicals/our-insights/pursuing-the-global-opportunity-in-food-and-agribusiness

4. https://www.accenture.com/us-en/_acnmedia/pdf-70/accenture-future-of-food-new-realities-for-the-industry.pdf

5. https://digital.hbs.edu/platform-rctom/submission/lets-talk-turkey-cargills-blockchain-supply-chain-of-the-future/

6. https://www.gartner.com/en/newsroom/press-releases/2019-04-30-gartner-predicts-20-percent-of-top-global-grocers-wil

7. https://www.gartner.com/en/documents/3723421/supply-chain-brief-employ-data-governance-to-enhance-foo

8. http://fishwise.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/081314_OlsenBorit_HowToDefineTraceability.pdf

‘Plantmade’ at The Future of Protein Summit, 2019

Plantmade was selected among the few alternate protein companies in India to present their, product, mission and business plan in front of various who’s and who from the industry.

The agenda of the summit was to discuss and highlight the growing demand for food and protein and challenges in fulfilling them the conventional way. Various stakeholders like entrepreneurs, academicians, bureaucrats, investors, students, media people and many others visited the summit and contributed to the discussion. The major topic of discussions were around plant-based meat and cultivated meat from animal cells.

The presentation by ‘Plantmade’ was appreciated by all. Kindly take a look at the video to know more about us, our product and our vision.

What Do We Mean By “Fitness”?

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page.

We all have different definitions of Fitness and wellness. In this blog, I share my insights, experiences and journey of holistic fitness while acknowledging that I have a much longer way to go and that you might not even be interested in knowing what I have to say. But if what I have learnt can help anyone become a better version of themselves or reach somewhat closer to where they want to be, I would consider it MISSION ACCOMPLISHED.

In a way the growing awareness about one’s wellness and fitness is good and it is even better that people are now embracing the idea of keeping themselves well and putting in time, energy and money into it.

But the problem is a lot of people are following their pursuit of fitness mindlessly, just to look good, or under peer pressure or just to fit in a certain dress, or to put a sexy DP on Instagram.

Because the motives are ulterior and incomplete and hence the results are also incomplete.

My Love-Hate Relationship with Fitness

For the major part of my school life, I was the skinny, seemingly malnourished kid who was pathetic at all kinds of sports and came last in all races.

But as a person, I was extremely competitive. Having been best in academics and social activities, I could not take being absolutely pathetic at sports and games. This need for ego gratification and winning the praise of my teachers in sports also made me suddenly pick sports, practice rigorously, eat well. And hence, I eventually started performing.

I remember in 9th class I threw Javelin for the first time in my life and I won third prize at Zonal level competition. It was a pure stroke of luck though because I never won anything in Javeline again but it gave me a lot of confidence. From not being able to do basic Yoga asanas I went to win gold in Yoga Zonals and district twice.

To Read Full Article, Click Here.

My Own Rulebook of Holistic Fitness

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page.

In my previous blog, I had discussed how logical pursuit of happiness is fitness and it is extremely personal. One has to make their fitness regime according to their desires, resources and responsibilities. Some misunderstand fitness here to be physical fitness. When I say fitness, I mean, holistic fitness (Physical, mental and spiritual ).

In this blog, I would discuss what I do keep myself holistically fit and strive towards being fitter every moment. The rules that I follow, the diet that I follow to keep myself in good shape physically, mentally, and spiritually.

All though there is no real segregation. What I do for physical fitness, improves my mental and spiritual fitness too. But it’s like strengthening Maths would improve your Physics too but if you really want to improve your Physics then you have to understand its concept well before applying Mathematics to it. Hence, I make direct efforts at my physical, mental and spiritual well being.

Let’s start with physical fitness.

Physical Fitness

I am very fond of travel. And I travel extensively over the weekends. And hence, my week is physically very demanding. Because over the weekdays I work and almost all the weekends I travel to distant locations with Bae. And these travels are really hectic trust me. And hence, it is very important for me to keep myself physically fit so that I meet the requirements of my personal, and professional life. The key to it is a very strict discipline that I follow.

Following are the rules that I follow with almost 95% of the times (A little bit of flexibility as per need is essential too):

To Read Full Article, Click Here.

Logical Pursuits of Happiness=Fitness

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page

In My last blog, I had talked about holistic fitness and discussed in detail physical, mental and spiritual fitness. They are nothing but the fitness of body, mind and soul. In this blog, I would talk about our innate desires, our pursuit of happiness and how it related to fitness.

Before I build on the premise relating pursuit of happiness is fitness, first of all, I would like to mention that, all human beings (in fact, I feel all life forms but here I would restrict myself to humans) at every given point of time are trying to maximise their happiness quotient or minimise their sadness quotient.

What I am trying to say is that we all to best of our ability, knowledge and resource are continuously trying to make choices so that we attain as much happiness (contentment, संतोष) as possible with our constraints.

All our actions are driven by our innate desire to be happy, peaceful, contented without tension or conflict as much as possible.

Hence, all humans are programmed to be intrinsically selfish.

Don’t get me wrong here. I don’t mean to say anything bad here but only the truth. Even when we are doing something for the people we love, or for a social cause, for the environment, it is driven by our desire to be happier. The root of all my desires is in my existence and hence if all my desires are for making me happy there should not be any surprise in this.

If we stop deriving any pleasure from helping our mothers in the kitchen, or by sacrificing buying a car for paying college fee of your younger sibling, or by giving donations for Flood victims, then we won’t do it.

The underlying motivation behind any of our actions is our own happiness or contentment. All other things are secondary and just means to an end, not the end.

You bought an expensive gift for your girlfriend because that’s gonna make her happy and it would make you happy. So the root is not her happiness but your happiness.

You sacrificed, your career for your children. Because spending time with them, taking care of them, seeing them grow up makes you happy.

If you’re so concerned with Amazon fire, it is because you understand it’s the effect on the environment and on your life too. That piece of news is bothering your peace of mind and hurting your idea of sustainable development in alignment with nature.

If somehow, you stop getting any sense of pleasure from these activities or become completely indifferent to them, you will not do these activities for the sake of others.

Before we move on, we all first need to accept that we are selfish people, always trying to maximise our happiness quotient in our relentless pursuit of happiness.

On thought level, this is probably the only unifying principle for all humans or maybe all life forms.

So, stop feeding yourself and others lies that you’re doing it for the society, or for your old parents. You’re doing it for yourself. And we don’t need to be ashamed about it. This is how we are programmed.

Now, even though all of us are driven by our innate desire to happy, still we all make different choices in the same situation because the difference lies in what would make us happy. And here I bring you the concept of desires.

We all have some physical desires, some mental desires and spiritual desires.

NOTE (For Atheists and Non-Believers):

And let’s assume, we don’t know if God exists or not. Neither confirm nor deny. But you do exist, right?

You can’t deny your own existence, you wake up, you see, you eat, you breathe. But can you say you know yourself completely? Can you say, I have 100% control on my body and mind? Can you stop all thoughts in your mind for as long as you like? Can you stop your heart from beating at will and then start it again? Can you have conscious control over all voluntary and non-voluntary actions of your body? Can you feel all the trillions of cells and microbes in your body? Can you tell why do you get certain dreams? Can you tell why do you feel fearful of certain things? Why we click with certain people and with some we simply don’t? Why do we suddenly fall for someone? For most of you reading this, the answer would be NO!!

Most of us can’t even control our anger, our temptation for eating delicious, unhealthy food, smoking another cigarette, drinking a few extra shots, and watching Netflix during exams. Let alone having full control on our voluntary and involuntary actions and thoughts.

Now, consider spiritual goals to be the ultimate goal of knowing your self completely, getting to know your true innate nature, after purification of all vices (like need to be superior, fear, jealousy, attachments etc), impurities, ignorances and eventually abiding in it, effortlessly and having 100% control of your being, be it physical, mental, or spiritual.

So, you don’t need to know God, you need to know yourself. When you know yourself completely, you will end up realising, that you are yourself nothing but GOD.

Since we all have different desires, our way of pursuing happiness is different from each other. And your desires will determine your own unique fitness regime and lifestyle. Hence, you should make your own fitness lifestyle after clearly stating your dreams and desires in your own head.

Let me elucidate it more. All desires can be broadly categorised into two categories:

  1. Worldly Desires: Desires like earning material wealth, fame, having family, serving the society, travelling, achieving something in a particular field etc are forms of worldly desires. Because all these desires need you to be external and outward moving. You have to deal with the world to fulfil these desires.
  2. Non Worldy Desire: Non-worldly desires are where the world as such has no place. You innate desire to know the all-pervading consciousness that is the underlying principle of all creation completely. Your desire to know the fabric of creation and underlying cause of all creation. This is equivalent to knowing your own self. Basically, your desire to know the SELF/GOD is non-worldly desire. In non-worldly desire our outlook is inward and internal not external.

We all are pursuing our spiritual desire knowingly or unknowingly. Even the pursuit of worldly desires is actually making you progress spiritually.

How? I will tell you, HOW…

With every action, inaction, association and event, we either learn something or unlearn something about ourselves. In fact, all the associations and relationships that come in our life, come to teach us about our own self, not about something external to us. So, even if we are not consciously doing it, we are making progress on our journey to know ourselves better which is what spirituality is all about.

This process is always forward-looking, even if you seem to be going down, you are actually not. This process of evolution and quest to know the self is irreversible. We all are making progress every moment. Just that the speed varies.

Those, who start pursuing their pursuit of happiness with logic and structure, make progress much faster. In fact, their progress is evident to the people around them also.

Hence, I have written the logical pursuit of happiness is fitness.

Now, for finding your own fitness lifestyle, you need to ask yourself, what are your innate desires. Because your innate desires will determine how much time and focus you give to physical, mental and spiritual fitness respectively. Other factors would be your current responsibilities, your resources, and your existing thirst for your desires.

Didn’t understand? I will explain:

Suppose there are three friends Ram, Krishna and Mahesh.

  1. Ram wants to be a Mathematician (Extreme Mental Fitness)
  2. Krishna wants to represent India in the Long jump (Extreme Physical Fitness)
  3. And Mahesh wants to devote himself completely to his spiritual goals (Extreme Spiritual Fitness)

Now, all three need to work on their well being so that they can pursue their dreams without much hindrance but their lifestyle and fitness regimes would be different.

Let’s discuss the case of Ram:

Wanting to be a Mathematician, relates to our intellectual hunger and desire to be superior over others in terms of logic and solve the problems which no Mathematician has ever done. This is a form of worldly desire.

What Ram wants to do requires him to have a sharp logic, patience to stick with problems, determination and a fit body so that he can continue to do his work without getting bothered by bouts of unwellness.

So, Ram would mostly focus his time, resources and energy so that he can sharpen his logic, calm his mind and do some basic physical activity daily to keep his body in good condition. For him, 15 mins of doing Surya Namaskar, 15 mins of sitting in meditation and 30 mins of pranayama is enough to keep him fit for the pursuits of his dreams.

Rest of the time, he can devote to studying maths, solving problems, taking meals, and sleeping etc.

Now, Let’s discuss the case of Krishna

Wanting to be a successful athlete and represent India also is a form of worldly desire, where the sense of “I” of person wants him or her to be better than others. This relates to the physical hunger of a person to attain more and more stamina and beat others.

Krishna wants to represent India in the Long jump. This kind of desire needs extreme focus and devotion of time, resources and emotion to one’s physical fitness. He would have to train for hours daily, along with it he should do some 15–20 mins of meditation and 15–20 mins of pranayama daily to keep his mind and soul calm so that he can perform even in adverse conditions. His diet would be focused on his performance.

Let’s discuss the case of Mahesh, now:

The desire of Mukesh to find himself is a non-worldy desire because the world does not have much role to play in it. In fact, it can be a deterrent. Mukesh’s desire can not be fulfilled by other people. He would have to work to go inside his own being.

Mahesh wants to pursue his spiritual goals full time and hence he starts living in an ashram. Because his focus is on his spiritual goals, he would dedicate his most time to activities related to his spiritual goals like meditation, chanting, breath control, reading scriptures etc but at the same time he would give some time daily to his physical and mental fitness so that his physical and mental unwellness do not drag him down on his spiritual journey. He eats accordingly too. Only as per the need of his body not for the gratification of his tongue.

Hence, he would do yogic asanas, Pranayam, and other exercises for say 1 hour daily and spend hours on meditation.

So, all three of them Ram, Mahesh, and Krishna are trying to remain fit in life but their way of achieving it is different because their desires are different.

CONCLUSION

I tried to take 3 extreme cases, now a person can be a combination of all three or many different desires. You have to find out your fitness regime in the alignment of your desires. Your priority list, your resources, your current location etc would also play some role in it.

One important thing to notice is that your fitness regime would keep evolving too with your desires. Be sure of that.

So, some of you would spend 2 hours in the gym and some only 30 mins in the park. Some would be very strict about their diet, whereas some would want to eat freely but burn the calories.

Some would only go for a morning walk and some would go for long runs. Some would sit silently for only 15 mins, whereas some people sit for hours in meditation daily.

Some would spend hours reading and learning and some would never open a book. And everyone is right in their own way.

I for myself have a very peculiar fitness regime and lifestyle which is very much aligned with my desires, my resources, and my responsibilities. I am very clear about my leftover desires in the world and plan my life accordingly. It includes my workout, my professional life, my personal life, my diet, my personal alone time etc.

Not discussing it here in detail but if people want me to discuss that then I write about it in my next upcoming blog. As to how different factors shaped my fitness regime, lifestyle, diet etc and how it keeps evolving and changes almost every three months.

There are as many fitness regimes, as many people on earth because each Individual is a completely unique set of impressions, desires, preferences and will power. You would have to find your regime depending upon different factors in your life, most important being your own desires.

But you have to keep in find that no matter what your desires are, we all should give 30 mins to our body mind and soul daily. Because having a fit mind, body and soul would help you perform much better in everything with the lesser quotient of conflict and problems.

May all of us find the reserve of infinite energy in our own being.

Thanks for reading. Do share your feedback and let me know if you would like to read more on similar subjects.

Gaumutra: The Scientific Desi Dawa

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page.

The Ancient, Ayurvedic Applications And Scientific Study of Gaumutra

Cow urine since ancient times has been used to treat various ailments. Cow urine has got a special in Ayurveda and in fact other traditional medical sciences as well.

But these days, even the idea that an animal’s urine can be therapeutic makes a lot of us puke. Because urine has a connotation of disgust attached to it since it is considered a toxic waste from animals.

The objective of this blog is to summarize the Ayurvedic knowledge about cow urine applications and explore its scientific research and studies.

Not just cow urine (Gaumutra), Ayurveda has talked about urine from eight animals to be of medical use. In fact, in Ayurveda, drinking the urine of oneself has also been proclaimed to cure numerous diseases.

Ancient Ayurvedic texts like Shushrut Samhita, Charak Samhita, Atharva Veda,Astanga Hridaya, Vridhabhagabhatt, Amritasagar, Bhavprakash which are rich Hindu scriptures with medical knowledge, hold gaumutra in high regards due to its wide range of medicinal properties and applications.

Not just Indian but ancient Chinese, Egyptian and Aztec civilisations were also using urine therapy.

Texts like Shushrut Samhita talks in detail about surgical instruments and procedures. Shushrut mentions detailed surgical and plastic surgery process in his book written almost 2700 years ago.

These texts also talk about urine therapy and hail cow urine as equivalent to nectar.

Ayurveda is the oldest medical system from almost 5000 BC (The Vedic Period).

Ayurveda’s way of looking at health and healing is very different from most contemporary systems. It incorporates standard medical practices, with spiritual healing, mantra chanting, herbal remedies for holistic well being (physical, emotional and spiritual).

As Ayurveda talks about not just gross (स्थूल) body but also subtle (सूक्ष्म) body, its layers, the influence of subtle forces like vibrations, energy and aura on ones well being. It becomes nearly impossible for modern science to study it and validate it accurately.

Nevertheless, in this blog, we would attempt to summarize the Ayurvedic assessment and application of cow urine in the modern era and its assessment by the scientific communities.

Gaumtura: The Ayurveda Way

Cow urine is part of “PANCHGAVYA CHIKITSA”.

Panchagavya is a combination of five items that we get from Cow, cow urine (Gomutra), cow milk (Godugdha), its curd (Godadhi), ghee (Goghrit) and dung (Gomaya).

And “PANCHGAVYA CHIKITSA” is the medical science where diseases are cured using a combination of these five.

In Sushruta Samhita, Gaumutra (Cow urine) has been described as the most effective substance of animal origin with innumerable therapeutic importance. It has been mentioned that it can cure diseases like Kushtha (leprosy), Kandu, Udarrog, Colic, Abdominal tumour, Enlargement of the abdomen and Flatulence.

Panchagavya is not just used in the treatment of humans but also animal and plant health.

Holy texts like Charak Samhita, Ashtanga Hridya and Shushrut Samhita has mentioned that Panchagavya can treat curable and incurable diseases.

They provide various formulations of gaumutra mixed with various herbs panchgavya for treatment of a wide range of ailments.

In recent times, modern science had started acknowledging the power of Ayurveda and other ancient Indian texts.

Hence, for decades even western scientists have been conducting research on Ayurvedic principles, formulations and medicines.

The acceptance of Ayurveda has increased widely in the west.

As modern science is gaining the capacity to understand and study them, they are becoming widespread.

Just like Einstein’s theory of gravitational waves was proved experimentally almost 100 years after it was proposed.

Modern science is now gaining some capability to decipher these thousands of years old texts.

Even now, we can’t understand, decipher and authenticate them completely due to our limited knowledge and technical ability.

Biochemical Composition

Let’s first see the chemical composition of a healthy cow before we move on to its medicinal properties and scientific evidence to support it.

Healthy cow urine has a volume of 17–45 ml/Kg/day with a specific gravity ranging from 1.025- 1.045. Its pH ranges between 7.4 to
8.4
with seasonal variations.

Cow urine’s biochemical studies have shown it contains sodium, silicon, chlorine, magnesium, citric, succinic, sulphur, Vitamin A, B, C, D, E, minerals, manganese,phosphate, lactose, carbolic acid, iron, different types of enzymes, creatinine, 24 types of salt and various hormones.

Deficiency or excess of any of these micronutrients, enzymes and hormones inside the body causes various kinds of disorders.

Consumption of urine from a healthy cow in regular doses has been reported to restore the balance of all these critical substances in the body.

Hence, plays a direct or indirect role in the curing of a wide range of curable and seemingly incurable diseases.

Urea is a strong antimicrobial agent which ends protein metabolism. Uric acid has also been found to provide antimicrobial activity and fight infections. Iron produces red blood cells, whereas Copper controls fat deposition. Sodium and potassium act as key body electrolyte.

Popular Applications of Cow Urine

Although, as per Ayurveda there are numerous uses of cow urine. But we would discuss here the popular usage of cow urine which are supported by research.

Antiseptic: Cow urine is a good alternative to stringent antiseptic lotions. Cow urine is equally if not more adept to aiding wound healing. Applying gaumutra externally on the wound has shown significant healing. Healing time has observed to be lesser compared to antiseptic creams.

Preventing Antibiotic Resistance: Antibiotic resistance is one of the major problems that the current medical science is facing. A lot of bacteria have become adept at fighting these antibiotic due to their escalating use by the medical industry. This rampant use of antibiotics has made them become resistant to it. They aren’t as effective as they used to be. Research has found that gaumutra especially post photoactivation and purification it is capable of countering antibiotic resistance.

Cow urine is found to be effective against drug-resistant bacteria strains.

Antimicrobial Agent: Owing to the presence of aurum hydroxide, urea, creatinine, calcium, carbolic acid, various phenols, and manganese gaumutra posses various antimicrobial properties.

Cow urine as an antimicrobial agent has the power to work against pathogens like E. coli, Salmonella typhi, Proteus vulgaris, Bacillus cereus and Staphylococcus epidermidis etc.

It has been found in different studies that gaumutra is comparable with ofloxacin, ciprofloxacin, ampicillin, chloramphenicol, nalidixic acid, rifampicin, tetracycline, streptomycin, cefpodoxime and gentamycin in terms of its antimicrobial activity.

Bioenhancer
Substances that have the property of
improving the bioavailability (The proportion of drug which enters circulation and is absorbed by the body) of another substance are known as Bioenhancers. Ayurveda calls this phenomenon as ‘yogvahi’. In yogavahi medicines with poor bioavailability are introduced with a bioenhancer to increase its effectiveness and decrease side effects.

Cow urine is the only product of animal origin which can act as a bioenhancer, as an antimicrobial agent and as an anti-cancer agent as well.

CUD increases the activity of rifampicin by about 5–7 folds against E. coli and 3–11 folds against Gram-positive bacteria. Cow urine has been granted US Patents (6896907, 6410059) for its medicinal properties, particularly as a bioenhancer along with antibiotics, antifungal and anticancer drugs.

Fungicide Agent
Gaumutra has been found to be
more effective, stable and efficient than neem and lemon juice, for topping the growth of Malassezia fungi that cause dandruff. Gaumutra has been reported to keep this pathogen at bay for almost 4–5 days. Cow urine has also been reported to remarkably inhibited other fungi such as Aspergillus, Rhizopus, and A. niger.

Anthelmintic Properties

Cow urine has found to be more effective than piperazine citrate as an anthelmintic (Substances that work against parasitic worms and parasites in the body) agent.

Research has shown that various disease-causing parasites can be effectively dealt with a regular dose of cow urine. Different parasites in different parts of the body like intestine can cause various health-related problems like dysentery, abdominal pain and loss of nutrients in the body. Cow urine helps in fighting such diseases by fighting the parasites that cause them. In fact different compsitions of panchgavya have found to be effective as anthelmintic agent.

Anticancer properties
Cow urine owing to its composition and antioxidant properties point towards potential anti-cancer powers of cow urine.

Cow urine possesses anti-cancer properties. Research works carried out by Go-Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra (Cow Science Research Center) at Nagpur revealed the beneficial properties of cow urine in the treatment of cancers.

Further extensive research on cow urine therapy against fighting cancer carried out by Scientists of Central Institute of Medicinal and Aromatic Plants (CIMAP), CSIR Center at Lucknow, along with collaboration with Go-Vigyan Anusandhan Kendra, Nagpur.

Studies highlight the role of cow urine in curing cancers and that cow urine enhances the efficacy and potency of anti-cancer drugs.

Various well documented cases, case studies are there in which patients who were terminally ill were cured using cow urine based therapy.

For example a 63 year old woman from Kasargod district of Kerala state in November 2003 was presented to Kasargod Institute of Medical Sciences, Kasragod, Kerala, with stage IV squamous cell carcinoma of tonsil. Conventional methods were not helping. She was treated completely in 10 months with cow urine therapy.

Mr Kamlesh kumar Agarwal, a native of Kareli Dist. Narsinghpur (MP) suffered from a cancer near the kidney. His kidney became dysfunctional and inspite of different known cancer- therapies. He was then treated with Kamdhenu ark (Ark made of urine of kamdhenu).

An Indian American, Amit Vaidya, who was a terminally ill last stage cancer patient was also treated with the help of panchgavya chikitsa in India. He has even written a best selling book about it, Holy Cancer: How a Cow Saved My Life.

A pharmaceutical composition comprising an effective amount of bioactive fraction from cow urine distillate (CUD) as a pharmaceutically acceptable additive was tested and applied for a US patent. The invention relates to an absolutely novel use of CUD as an activation enhancer and availability facilitator for bioactive molecules such as anti-infective and anti-cancer drugs. It was found that the urine distillate effectively reduced the dosage of drug needed for the therapies.

Gaumutra has been found to repair the damaged DNA. Hence, it can be very effective for the cancer prevention and therapy.

It can reduce the spread of malignant cancers and help fighting tumors.

Scientists have found that pesticides even at very low doses cause apoptosis of lymphocytes and tissues through fragmentation of DNA.

Gaumtura helps the lymphocytes in surviving by inhibiting their apoptosis and by repairing the damaged DNA and is, therefore, effective as anti-cancer therapy.

Antidiabetic Properties

The antidiabetic effects of Cow urine have also been studied in comparison to a standard diabetes drug, glibenclamide.

Cow urine Distillate was found to significantly reduce the elevated blood glucose, serum cholesterol and serum triglycerides levels compared to the drug.

Immunostimulant

Cow urine has also been found to shown immune booster properties. It shows immunostimulant activity in both plants and animal.

Cow urine has been found to exhibit better effect on immune system compaired to methanol, ethyl acetate, aqueous and acetone fractions of cow-urine.

Antioxidant Properties

Cow urine, its distillate, re-distillate and residues, all exhibit antioxidant properties.

Gaumutra is the source of natural antioxidant.

It can be used as for preventing or slowing oxidative stress-related degenerative diseases.

Miscellaneous

Cow urine is also taken regularly without having any illness. It helps in maintaining the homeostasis of the body. It lowers cholesterol level, relieves tension, enhancing the functioning of the liver, and slows down the ageing process. Cow urine is also taken regularly without having any illness. It strengthens the brain, heart and also destroys the toxic effects of medicinal residues in the body. It boosts immunity by fighting and removing toxic substances as it has antioxidant properties, and scavenges free radicals.

Conclusions

Cow urine has been used for curing various diseases in Ayurveda, Chinese, Nigerian and various other folk and ancient medical sciences.

Now as the western scientists are embracing Ayurveda more and more products based on Ayurvedic principles and formulations are coming into global the market.

Various researches in and outside India are going on to validate the medicinal properties and formulations of cow urine as suggested by Ayurveda.

There are well-documented cases and researches where cow urine has been found of immense therapeutic help and even has been reported to cure seemingly incurable diseases. We have discussed some of these cases in the blog.

There is evidence to support antiseptic, antimicrobial, anti-fungus, antioxidant, anthelmintic, disinfectant and antidiabetic properties of cow urine.

Anticancer properties of cow urine have also been demonstrated. Whether it may cure cancer completely on its own or not needs more research and data. But it can definitely be helpful as a supportive therapy owing to its antioxidant, antimicrobial and bioenchancing and other properties.

Ayurveda and modern medical sciences if work together in alignment, might come close to a solution that might serve a well major proportion of cancer patients well.

Because, cancer is a complicated disease and everyone’s body is different and hence, how one’s body may react to one treatment, no one can guess.

Hence, having alternative paths and supportive therapies is helpful.

But we need to have a more open outlook towards the possibilities of modern science and Ayurveda both.

It is understandable that we don’t accept something without enough evidence but it is not right to dismiss even the possibility of something.

Because numerous technologies and discoveries which are now a reality were laughed off at one point by different intellectuals.

It is not a thumb rule that anything that seems more modern, technically complicated has to be better than simple and ancient solutions.

With time the advancement of technology and continuous research, we would have more data to prove or disprove the role of cow urine in curing incurable diseases on a wider set of audiences.

But till then, we can’t dismiss the stories, ancient texts anecdotes and well-documented case studies of patients who have been treated using cow urine therapy. As they say, half knowledge is a dangerous thing.

Our knowledge about the human body, cow urine and cancer is not even half.

Before, making very strong claims in either the direction we need to sure.

Hopefully, in years to come, we would see more researches, evidence and acceptance of panchgavya chikitsa as mainstream medical science.

Till then, be open, explore and find out yourself what suits your body.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4566776/ https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229596973_Anti-Cancer_Activity_of_Cow_Urine_Current_Status_and_Future_Directions

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5701391/

https://www.auajournals.org/doi/full/10.1016/j.juro.2016.02.100

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/286375487_Diversified_uses_of_cow_urine

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/229596973_Anti-Cancer_Activity_of_Cow_Urine_Current_Status_and_Future_Directions

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/238737023_Antioxidant_and_Antimicrobial_Activities_of_Cow_Urine

Rich Plant Sources of B12: Busting The Myths

Contrary to The Popular Belief There are Numerous Plant Sources Rich in B12 and B complex

Source: – Four Pursuits Medium Page

In our previous blog on B complex, we shared that B12 is not found in plant-based sources. Hence vegetarians, need to resort to dairy products, fortified cereals or supplements that provide B12.

But in our recent studies, after talking to people belonging to the relevant field we have found out that all of this is not true.

This is a myth being propagated against veg, plant-based diet and is absolutely false. There is a lot of content on YouTube and Google about B12 and other nutrients which is completely false.

There are various tribes ( Hunza people, from Hunza Valley in Pakistan) which survive on an organic plant-based diet and they seem to be completely healthy.

Generations in India some parts of the world have survived on a plant-based diet without showing such symptoms of lack of any nutrient.

There are a lot of families in the world, who grow and consume their own organic produce and are completely healthy. They don’t show any signs of deficiency of so-called animal source-based nutrients. can’t say as to why and how these myths are being propagated.

Some people say it is a hidden agenda of the animal-based food and supplements industry so that people start embracing, animal-based diet, supplements, in the name of “Necessity for Being Healthy”.

If plants don’t have B12 then how these vegans are keeping themselves healthy for generations?

In this blog, I would explain, how it is absolutely necessary for a plant to have B12 in certain growth stages and what are the rich sources of B12 from plants.

Do Plants Really Contain B12?

Well, yes they do. A lot of plants contain B12. In fact, the fact of the matter is no animals make B 12. It is made by bacteria in the soil and absorbed by the plants for their growth purpose.

Animals like a cow, buffalo, and sheep etc contain B 12 because they eat all kinds of grass every day.

Hence, it’s counterintuitive to say that plants do not contain B 12. In fact, the truth is all the seeds contain B12. And here is the science behind it.

The seeds don’t have chlorophyll and hence, can’t rely on sunlight for growth. They have B 12 along with other B Vitamins because until it becomes a mature plant and the existence of seed vanishes, it is dependent on B Complex for its growth.

Hence, all seeds contain not just B 12 but the entire B complex.

All the dicotyledon seeds (the ones which have two leaves ) have relatively higher B 12 concentration compared to monocotyledons. Hence, in the early growth stage, they contain B complex. The content of B12 decreases as plant matures.

As the plant matures, it starts relying on the chlorophyll in leaves and sunlight for food.

Eventually, it becomes autonomous and derives all its necessary food from the canopy using photosynthesis.

Few plants like millets which grow in relatively harsh conditions contain B 12 even after they have matured completely. It is an alternate survival mechanism that nature has given them to survive in harsh condition.

For example, all legumes contain B12. Bacteria in legumes absorb Nitrogen from the soil and then transforms into nitrates, which is then turned into various amino acids and proteins.

Bacteria and plant both need B12 to achieve this. Without B12 bacteria can’t transform Nitrogen into Nitrates. Hence, all the legume crops, a significant concentration of B12.

Many algae-based food items like Chlorella also contain B12.

The bottom line is there is a myriad of plant-based sources of B 12 and the entire B complex. Just that the form and cooking style of consumption is important.

In fact, there are researches and people who claim that our gut can produce all the B 12 that we need if it’s clean.

But most of us don’t have a clean gut due to various reasons.

Our lumen in the small intestine is also damaged due to intake of several drugs, acid, preservatives and other chemicals etc, our body is not able to produce and absorb vitamins properly.

The natural diet would keep your gut clean and healthy. And most of the health and nutrition related issues would be sorted.

Plant-Based Sources of B12

There are many plant-based sources that are rich in B 12 and B complex in general. You can choose, as per your taste, availability and choice. It’s not required that you take them daily.

Legumes Sprouts: Legumes are dicotyledon plants and hence they have high content of B 12 in their seeds. All dals are legumes and can be sprouted. But moong, peas and lentil (masoor) sprouts are more common but you can use sunflower seeds and any other legume of your choice as well.

Moong Sprouts Salad

Two to three days old sprouts are a great of B 12 and other nutrients. They are a nutrient powerhouse. Eating a bowl of sprouted moong or some other legume three times in a week or even daily, it will boost your health.

Change the water daily.

You can prepare a chat or salad like dish by adding more raw fruits and vegetable with these sprouts. It would be insanely healthy and tasty. I also eat moong and chana sprouts daily.

Wheatgrass Juice: Wheatgrass, as the names suggests the common wheat plant is called wheatgrass, when it has got freshly sprouted leaves.

Fresh wheatgrass juice contains 80µg/100ml.

This can fulfil your quota of B 12 for a month. You can consume it once in a while. Take it once or twice a month and you’re good. But even if you take it more frequently than this, it won’t create any harm.

Wheatgrass Juice Extraction

Root Vegetables: B 12 is also found in root vegetables like carrot, raddish, turnip etc. It is absored by the bacteria in the soil. Hence, root vegetables can be another good source of B 12.

You are advised to eat them raw. Prolonged heating damages the B 12 molecule.

Buckwheat: Buckwheat is low maintenance and short-season crop. It does better on low fertility soils. And the yield is reduced if too much fertilizers are used.

It is an excellent source of protein,minerals, dietary fibre, B vitamins including B 12 and it is gluten free.

So people who are allergic to gluten can also eat it. It is consumed in India during navratri and other fasting days as “kuttu ka atta”, since, it is not a cereal. It’s noodles are consumed in Tibet and China.

Nori And a Dish Made of Nori

Purple Nori (Lavers): Nori or Lavers is a kind of seaweed. Dried nori is known as purple nori. It is very prevalent in Japan and is used for wrapping sushi. It is one of the richest sources of B 12.

Chlorella: Chlorella is an algae as we have discussed in this blog earlier. It is packed with nutrients. It is a great source of antioxidants, protein, fiber, minerals and vitamins including B 12. You can consume it’s powder.

Chlorella Powder

Some of the best plant-based food sources of B vitamins include:

Avocados, leafy greens, nuts, legumes, grains, milk, cheese, yoghurt, 
enriched and fortified bread and cereals, mushrooms.

Fruiting bodies of several edible mushrooms have vitamin B 12.

Varieties like a Black trumpet mushroom (Craterellus cornucopioides) and golden chanterelle mushroom (Cantharellus cibarius) have been reported to have maximum Vit B 12

Conclusions:

  1. All seeds contain B 12 since it’s necessary for their survival.
  2. B 12 is made by bacteria in soil and absorbed by plants. Hence, all plants at a certain growth stage have it.
  3. In fact, animals like cows and sheep have B 12 because they eat plants.
  4. There are numerous plant-based sources of B 12 and B complex, including moong sprouts, wheatgrass juice, pea sprouts, buckwheat, root vegetables like radish, turnip, some varieties of edible mushrooms etc.
  5. There is research that suggests if you have a clean and healthy gut, your body itself can produce enough B 12.

I would like to mention it’s not important to measure your intake of different vitamins and minerals.

It’s practically not possible to see if you have managed your daily need. But this doesn’t mean, you keep eating anything and everything. Just be cautious because extreme of anything is bad.

Our body functions as per our body clock and hence, the timing of taking food also plays a crucial role. Taking food on odd times interferes with your gut and digestive system.

Hence, try to follow a routine in terms of your diet.

In most cases, following a balanced diet, full of seasonal fruits, vegetables, legumes, oilseeds, cereals, and grains etc is enough to keep you healthy unless you have some particular medical condition. Incorporating some kind of physical activity and sunlight would be even more helpful.

Don’t throw tantrums, when your mom gives you pumpkin or green veggies to eat. Because, if you do it now when you’re young, you are likely to regret it later.

Taking care of your body while you’re still young, saves you from various unwated body related issues in later stages of your life. 🙂

Next blog is going to be on thyroid related issues in women.

Happy, and healthy eating to all.

Please let’s know your feedback and if there is anything you would like us to write about.

References:

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7354869

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17434786

https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/BF00007957

https://www.researchgate.net/publication/262108696_Vitamin_B12-Containing_Plant_Food_Sources_for_Vegetarians

Bone Health: Keeping Your Bones Healthy and Strong

One of The Keys to a Healthy, Happy and Happening Life is Strong and Healthy Bones

Did you know that your entire skeleton is completely replaced every 10 years?

Although, the rate varies at different stages in life and gets slowed with old age. Our body makes new bone tissues and it keeps absorbing old bone tissues.

Our body needs supplies of calcium and phosphate for healthy and strong bones. This enables the body to make bone tissues at a rate at par or higher than the rate of absorption of bones tissues in the body.

If the rate of absorption is lower than the rate of bone tissue creation, we have healthy and strong bones. But under certain circumstances, the rate of absorption becomes higher the rate at which the body makes bones tissues.

This results in bone loss.

Bone loss is a normal occurrence in old age but in certain cases, it might be caused by some inherited disease.

There is a medical condition called Osteoporosis, in which the body starts absorbing calcium and phosphate from the bones, instead of keeping this in the body. After a certain point, this condition is called, Osteoporosis.

There are certain lifestyle patterns that also inhibit the creation of new bones to make up for the loss of bone tissues in bone absorption:

  1. Excessive Alcohol Intake: Excessive intake of alcohol frequently can damage your bones and interfere with bone making and replacement.
  2. Physical Inactivity: Physical workout is associated with high bone density and healthier bones. People, who don’t indulge in any kind of physical workout are more likely to have bones with relatively lower bone density.And they are likely to have a bone loss at a higher rate. Hence, regular physical activity is encouraged for having strong and healthy bones.
  3. Smoking: People who smoke habitually are more likely to have weaker. bones and risk of fracture.
  4. Poor Diet: Poor diet with insufficient calcium, Vit D, phosphate, the protein will also result in low bone density. In fact, a balanced diet is needed for keeping your bones healthy because other vitamins and minerals also play an important role in bone tissue creation. Vit D, Vit K, magnesium and over 15 such nutrients are needed for healthy and structurally strong bones. Diet with dark green vegetables, sprouts, legumes, seasonal fruits, milk, cheese and the occasional intake of oilseeds will help you ensure healthy bones.
  5. Gender: Women generally have low bones tissues, hence they are at higher risk of Osteoporosis. Especially post menopause, the risk increases. Hence, women, in particular, have to be careful about their diet.
  6. No or less exposure to Sunlight: These days most people try to avoid sunlight. And that is why our body is not able to produce an adequate amount of Vit D. This leads to weaker bones as Vit D is needed for absorption of calcium in the body. While it is understandable that one doesn’t want to bear the wrath of the sun especially during intense summer, it is advised that some exposure of bare skin (No sunscreen) to the sun is ensured every day. Sunlight (Ultra Violet rays) are the most natural and easy source of Vit D. In absence of Vit D, your body might be able to 10–15% of dietary Calcium it takes.

7. Others: There can be some other reasons for bone loss like genetic disorders, eating disorders (anorexia), certain medicines, hormone levels (Estrogen drop in women and testosterone in men can cause bone loss), weight and size etc.

Diet & Supplements: What to Do and What Not to Do

If you can’t get required doses from your diet then there are supplements of Calcium and Vit D available in the market. There are a few things you need to keep in mind while taking them.

Try ensuring a significant dose from your diet but if that’s not possible then there are different types of calcium supplements in the market that you can use depending upon your need and body.

Calcium Carbonates/Ascorbates: This is the supplement which has highest percentage of elemental calcium available (almost 40% ). But it can’t be digested well if there is not sufficient HCL in the stomach. It is absorbed well, if taken with food. Older people and people with digestion issues are not advised to take this form of calcium.

Calcium Citrate: Citrates have relatively lesser percentage of elemental calcium but it is easily absorbed. They don’t require HCl in stomach. They are readily digested and made bioavailable.

Although, if your body is deficient in Vit D and any other key nutrients, calcium might not be absorbed and utilised. Hence, most people take Vit D3 supplements along with Calcium supplements. Although, as I mentioned earlier, the best source of Vit D is sunlight. Unless you absolutely can’t expose yourself to sunlight, or there is a medical condition that requires it, one doesn’t need Vit D supplements.

Take these supplements, only if prescribed by a doctor.

For the people, who are healthy, have strong bones, and want to keep them healthy, no such supplements are needed. They can manage with diet, sunlight and physical workout.

Having these high doses of Calcium won’t help if you don’t put our lifestyle and diet in order. Because, even if we have sufficient Calcium in the absence of other nutrients, our body won’t be able to make use of it.

Conclusions:

  1. It’s just a myth that drinking a glass of milk will put things in order for you. You need other nutrients from veggies, fruits, grains etc.
  2. You need sunlight exposure to the bare skin as well.
  3. You need some kind of physical workout. Do something to sweat, daily. Doing weights helps absorb and incorporate calcium in bones.
  4. Take proper sleep so that your bones/muscles get enough rest.
  5. Distant yourself from frequent and overuse of alcohol and tobacco.
  6. Try to keep your lifestyle, in lines with your natural body clock.
  7. Taking high doses of calcium supplements also won’t help because the body absorbs less and excretes more. You need a regulated dose.

Tomorrow, I would publish a blog on plan based sources of B12. Yes, you read it right, plant sources of Vit B12 (cobalamin).

Happy, and healthy eating to all.

Please let’s know your feedback and if there is anything you would like us to write about.

References:

Click to access 190.pdf

https://medlineplus.gov/ency/patientinstructions/000506.htm

https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/how-much-calcium-do-you-really-need