Visakhapatnam: Once considered poor man’s food -- ragi malt, millet kichdi and jowar roti -- are in high demand now as they are considered highly nutritious.
With rise in lifestyle diseases, urban dwellers are more conscious about their food intake. The number of people with inflammatory bowel diseases has increased due to consumption of preservatives, additives, highly processed foods and mineral water.
According to Heart Care Foundation of India president Dr K.K. Aggarwal, people must opt for natural organic foods which are healthier. This will also help in avoiding complications in the intestine. Making better food choices will ensure that the gut has a combination of different good bacteria which help the body systems function smoothly.
These days, organic foods are mostly preferred as regular food grains, fruits and vegetables are exposed to chemicals and fertilisers. However, millets don't need to be organic because they have their own protection and no chemicals are used to grow them. Basically, millets were one of the oldest foods known to humans but urbanisation has led to a shift towards rice and wheat. Till recent times, the consumption remained minimal in both urban and rural areas. With diabetes, hypertension and cardiovascular diseases being more prevalent, millets have again returned as a viable option in cities.
The improved awareness has led the people to choose organic food products. However, organic food industry is still in a nascent stage. The organic food manufacturers are facing several challenges, including underpenetrated market and competition from unbranded sellers. Sai Krishna Popuri, founder of Hyderabad-based health food startup, Health Sutra, said, “People started buying whatever is sold in the name of organic food without verifying its authenticity. They need to check for the certification of India Organic logo issued by the National Standards for Organic Products.”
Recently, the central government launched the Food Safety and Standards (Organic Foods) Regulations 2017 to certify all organic food products with the logo of Jaivik Bharat. Meanwhile, doctors also suggest that mere eating habits may not prevent diseases. T. Ravi Raju, senior nephrologist at Apollo Hospital-Vizag, said that food habits are other reasons while genetic background remains the primary factor for lifestyle diseases. It is beneficial to consume organic foods but the genes carrying heart disease and diabetes cannot be modified by these foods.