Native Nutrition 

India alone has more than 200 varieties of green leafy vegetables. Calibrate this against the 600 odd districts of India populated by thousands of ethnic groups with home grown traditions, recipes and indigenous knowledge, and you get an idea of the potency of such horticulture diversity  

Spinach soup is a time tested native nutrition  medicine for insomnia; it is safe from side effects of sleeping pills and has multiple sources of fibre, vitamins and minerals. 

Apricots are so rich in vitamin C that they help in curing unyielding foot corns for diabetics and has been found to be an effective prevention of relapse of certain types of cancer like prostate cancer, breast cancer.  

Almonds are a rich source of Vitamin B 17 and B 12 helping vegetarians absorb badly needed Folic acid. 

Ayurveda prescribes the juice of the red hibiscus for menstrual problems for women

The sheer list of green leafy vegetables is so exhaustive that it challenges all attempts at documentation as you can see on this Wikipedia link.  

The traditional meal on a banana leaf in India is considered a balanced meal which not just pleases the palette but balances nutrition with warm vegetable and lentil salads, carbohydrates, proteins, fibre, minerals, vitamins, good bacteria, to nourish all parts of the body. 

For those suffering from irritable bowel syndrome ... the ultimate relief  comes from the humble simple fenugreek seeds! Yes! Just one spoon of it after a ny or all your meals and you dont have to run...!   

Depression is a big problem among so many, both adults and teens. Dill weed may actually work as a natural remedy for depression. A study published in the American Journal of Therapeutics aimed to investigate the antidepressant and analgesic properties of the aqueous extract of dill from the South of Morocco. Extract of the dill plant was administered to subjects and showed a significant antidepressant and analgesic effect when compared with the drug references. Dill is also a good remedy for breast cancer. Molecular evidence suggests that trace elements and antioxidant molecules found in Green Leafy Vegetables lower risk of cancer and Cardio Vascular Diseases through mechanisms that modulate free radical attack on nucleic acids, proteins, and polyunsaturated fatty acids.26,25 Lutein is a member of the carotenoid family, a group of powerful antioxidants, and is a non-provitamin-A carotenoid found in dark Green Leafy Vegetables. The mechanism by which lutein is involved in the prevention of cardiovascular heart disease may also be related to its role as an antioxidant


The medicinal properties of lemon grass extend to anti bacterial and antiseptic characteristics beat toilet sanitisers effectively. 

... with inputs from Dr. Kalavathi Omkumar, Ayurvedic practitioner, and K. V. Sunitha Khatokar, MSc. Biotechnology, - formerly a senior scientific officer in a MNC, ... currently nutrition and wellness advisor, both are based in Bangalore, India.


Native Nutrition

After Cyclone Phailin struck Orissa on 11th October 2013 it left a trail of destruction in the path of the cyclone… thousands of trees, electricity poles, crop loss floods and so on. However loss of lives and livestock had been meticulously limited thanks to the mitigation efforts like evacuation and planning for Disaster Risk Reduction. In disaster struck landscapes women, children and indigenous people, differently abled persons etc are particularly vulnerable. They are the ones most affected by deficit water and sanitation, decreased nutrition etc. To meet one such minority section for my article I went to a tribal village in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha which was inundated by floods triggered by the tail end of the cyclone. Tribal women I met told me of how crop loss will affect the nutrition of children below five years. But one middle aged tribal woman told me that alternate sources of nutrition from mixed cropping is the solution to disaster prone Odisha. “Finger millets” can be an effective substitute to paddy which was washed out by the cyclone, she told me. I was completely taken aback by her ready wit and wisdom. The best of nutrition research scientists cannot easily come up with such ready responses!  

In other cyclone affected parts of Odisha, various types of millet soups complemented by varieties of rice and tubers ideally suited for different seasons are part of traditional nutrition plan of the indigenous people of disaster prone Odisha. In other parts of the subcontinent weaning infants from mother’s milk is effectively transcended through barley and millet soups, fruit mixtures and flavoured milk options.  

Not just in disaster struck landscapes, take diabetes for instance. It has assumed epidemic proportions in large parts of the world, particularly in South Asia. Type 2 Diabetes is largely associated with sedentary lifestyles and unhealthy eating. Ironically India has answers to the epidemic proportion of Diabetes in her agro diversity and in her ancient legacy of yoga. If a diabetic patient in India opts for agro diverse diet comprising of millets, pulses, lentils, vegetables, fruits and spinach the nutrition balance can easily be stabilised by disciplined practise of yoga and it will be possible to say bye to both tablets and insulin aver practitioners of Ayurveda. Traditional and ancient Indian medicine Ayurveda propagates both indigenous nutrition and indigenous medicine. But trouble is there is not enough propaganda about both agro diversity and yoga to counter the might of the pharmaceutical industry. Here is our channel dedicated to propagating traditional nutrition through traditional medicine!  

Sure it is no mean task for Prime Minister Modi to get the UN to anoint 21st June as International Yoga Day, but getting the affected people to practise yoga for their own benefit is the key task ahead. We sincerely hope that people will benefit by adhering to traditional nutrition and traditional medicine. 

Expert Interview 

Ms. Sunitha Khatokar nutritionist in conversation with Malini Shankar 

1.                  Being an advocate for traditional medicines to prevent drug resistance please share with us your successful experiments in treating hypertension with home foods / home remedies. 

Hi, thank you for giving me an opportunity to share my beliefs on traditional medicines for managing hypertension. To answer your first question, along with helping people who already have hypertension, I have been working with people who want to prevent hypertension and people who may be susceptible to hypertension (family history with hypertension, stressful job, diabetic) and want to take proper care to avoid this condition to occur in their life. 

2.                  Isn’t there a scare of BP related complications like stroke or chronic kidney disease in avoiding tested allopathic pharmaceuticals for hyper tense patients?

 Many natural remedies like the easily available garlic which has a potent carotene, the bioactive components of ginger, omega 3 of flax seeds have helped many in maintaining their blood pressure fluctuations. Including these naturally and easily available food in daily diet has helped a lot for people with hypertension and who are at risk. The side-effects of hypertension drugs majorly includes cough, depression, anxiety, fast heart rate, headache, heart burn etc. 

3.                  Please give us an insight into the magic potions that offer a sustainable alternative to drug resistance. Where are such traditional home remedies available? Is it relevant only for South Asia / Africa? What are the sources for such remedies in the temperate zones like Europe and North America? 

“Most of the herbs used to treat hypertension dates back its history Asian and African origins, but due to advancement in farming technologies few of these medicinal herbs can be grown in any part of the world”. 

4.                  Are there such remedies / healing properties in animal based products too? 

“Healing properties of animal based products include majorly the Omega 3 fatty acids found in some varieties of fishes. I have suggested this remedy to many of my family and friends and monitored their Blood pressure, and seen a lot of improvement. Omega-3 fish oil contains both docosahexaenoic acid (DHA) and eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA). Omega-3 fatty acids are essential nutrients that are important in preventing and managing heart diseases”. 

5.                  Do you use turmeric gooseberry, garlic, ginger, neem, etc for other ailments too? How would you like to patent such traditional wisdom? 

“Turmeric, gooseberry, neem, ginger, garlic, have immense antioxidant properties, and anti-inflammatory properties which shows their importance in fighting cancer, diabetes, hypertension and many other lifestyle related disorders”.

Expert Interview Dr. Kala Omkumar


Interview with Ayurvedic practitioner Dr. Kala Omkumar in discussion with Malini Shankar 

1. What are the merits of traditional nutrition in today's age if lifestyle induced diseases that can help humanity save itself? 

Traditional food or native nutrition has all the medicines used in Ayurveda – in the form of food itself. It includes all the seasonal fruits and vegetables which has all the right balance to complement the season, hence the nutrition is in its fullest form. Unseasonal fruits and vegetables thus is augmented by chemicals and can be deleterious to overall health. This danger is not there in Ayurvedic school of medicine. 

2. What are the medicinal value of our daily foods to keep disease at bay? 

Native nutrition has medicinal value for almost all lifestyle disorders largely because there is no need for preservatives in native nutrition. Food is not processed per se. Traditional wisdom of mixing herbs and spices and preserving them through either herbal supplements or storing them in a traditional way or “organic – nature produced pesticides” – makes native nutrition failsafe. For example in traditional wisdom we advocate for pesticides such as stem or sticks full of neem leaves to protect the grain basked from pests. A poltis of garlic cloves and cinnamon is a very effective insect repellent for the tropics. Cooked food stored in the hollow of Bamboo stems has proven refrigeration properties… ideal sustainable solutions. 

3. Are they really effective in combating disease without doctors intervention or allopathic treatment?  

Gooseberry powder, seeds of the Jamoon fruit / Jambo (Syzigium cuminii) fruit have proven insulin content and are very, very effective in combatting Diabetes Miletus. Yes they are effective to some extent provided the disease are treated properly and correctly at the correct time. For example these plant based remedies help before onset of diabetes related complications. Not all diseases can be treated without allopathic intervention or medicines. But yes quite a few chronic cases can be treated by food and nutrition alone. Similarly, bitter gourd, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds, turmeric, ginger … they are all native foods and their medicinal properties are proven in the mitigation of lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension, asthma, migraine, prevention of hair loss, arthritis, insomnia Poly cystic ovarian disorder, etc. While fish is a proven remedy for Asthmatics, in some people fish consumption spawns the allergins blocking the bronchial tissues worsening asthma.  We have data to show that those who regularly consume gooseberry fruit, its powder, Brussel sprouts and green vegetables face no ill health whatsoever. Garlic has proven to be an effective remedy for prostate gland inflammation and cholesterol too. What Ayurvedic school of medicine urgently needs is robust testing and vigorous documentation … it will help propagate this failsafe means of treatment, for at present without research and documentation Ayurvedic remedies are not able to compete with allopathic medicines. One of my patients consciously avoided allopathic medicines for prostate gland inflammation opting instead for gooseberries garlic turmeric powder and 1 TBsp of Brussel sprouts daily… coupled with daily walking and breathing exercises. To everyone’s surprise his prostate gland inflammation reduced over a period of 18 months. However I must clarify here that ayurvedic remedies are not capable to drastic correction of emergency medical situations. On a long term basis Ayurveda helps mitigate or prevent onset of medical complications. That is why it is often referred to as wellness therapy. The wholesome attention to digestion gives this school of medicine an edge over allopathy in that there are no side effects and no drug resistance or complications thereof. Many diseases can be thwarted by food intake itself especially during the preliminary stages of the onset of the disease. Cold, cough, even flu can be treated by simple kitchen remedies like herbal concoctions including ginger, basil leaves, pepper corns, turmeric, honey etc. Cinnamon, cumin seeds, dates have infinite curative properties as they address malnutrition and its deleterious impact on health at various levels. Other diseases like Osteoporosis, needs calcium rich foods like green vegetables, (broccoli, kale, turnips, spinach, raw beetroots and beet leaves, leek and spring onion, okra, cabbage),  dairy products like cottage cheese, plain fat free yoghurt is very good for the tropics, …native nutrition infact can address every single disease… as it has a cure for everything  from Diabetes to diahorrea.   IBS or irritable bowel syndrome is increasing in incidence today because of stress torn lifestyle. For people suffering from IBS they must avoid spicy foods like brinjals, chilies, coffee and tea, instead they must opt for vegetable soups, boiled vegetables, buttermilk instead of curds / yoghurt, and pomegranate or ferrous containing fruits. Fruits with rich iron content include citrus fruits, strawberries, water melon, papaya, guava, mangoes, tomatoes, kiwis, musk melon, grapes, dry fruits, grape fruit, avocado etc. 

4. What are the nutritive elements in our native nutrition that will help in battle against health issues like IBS, BP, diabetes, hypertension, insomnia, arthritis, migraine  indigestion bloated feeling constipation obesity asthma cholesterol  thyroidism  etc? 

For IBS, we recommend beaten yoghurt or buttermilk flavoured with onions, curry leaves and ginger juice. Stimulants like coffee and tea, and spicy food have to be avoided. 

For Hypertension, gooseberry powder or whole fruit with a clove of garlic everyday on an empty stomach is a tested method.  Fenugreek seeds powder, drumstick leaves powder, pounded curry leaves help in inducing sleep. Hypertense people at early stage / recent detection are also prescribed a concoction made of coriander seeds powder, cumin seeds, and they are advised to avoid potassium rich foods like millets beetroot and brinjals for dinner or after sunset. They are also forbidden from eating salty friend foods after sunset. 

For early stage diabetics bitter gourd juice, fenugreek seeds powder, cinnamon powder cut okra juice gooseberry fruit seed and powder, and Jamoon seed powder, Jamoon fruits are effective in mitigating blood sugar rise. These do not have any side effects. Besides these natural home grown remedies mitigate rise in blood sugar levels, these native nutrition elements will eliminate at one go complications that may arise from drug resistance or side effects. 

People suffering from insomnia are advised to exercise … because exhaustion induces sleep. They are also advised to undertake breathing exercises before bed time. Stimulants like coffee and tea should be avoided after sunset by people suffering from insomnia. 

Migraine indigestion, bloated feeling, constipation are all inter related hence we advise that all the fibrous foods that aid digestion instead of slowing the metabolism.  Migraine is usually caused by congestion of blood circulation in the brain. Deep breathing exercises help decongest this stress from the brain. The craving to eat food during an attack of migraine should be exercised with caution – to eat only fibrous foods and avoidance of fatty carbs like cheese, breads etc have to be avoided. Healthy fibrous snacking is advised. 

Asthma treatment calls for increased in food intake of fibrous foods and avoidance of fatty refined flour based foods for they contribute to phlegm formation. Food options for asthmetics include ginger pepper, curry leaves cinnamon gooseberry, Glycirrhyza glabra is also incidentally an ayurvedic steroid / cortisone helping extreme cases of congestion caused by asthma. Breathing exercises like Pranayama and walking are recommended too.  

5. Can native nutrition actually mitigate complications that arise from diabetes? 

Native nutrition like prescribed amount of sprouts, fruits, vegetables, herbs, green vegetables will balance the nutrition taking care not to stress the digestion system and the metabolic rate. Diabetes related complications usually arise from uncontrolled diabetes – be it retinopathy, neuropathy, nephropathy or heart disease. Diabetes unlike any other disorder demands the most disciplined exercise and diet regimen, which by itself should be able to mitigate complications. It is best to prevent diabetes related complications like nephropathy; however there are indications that a pad of ginger juice placed on the waist near the affected kidney can stimulate kidney function from degeneracy. But no proven studies are there to quantify this as yet.  

6. What are the foods to be consumed to prevent diabetes or cholesterol or BP? Please dwell on the specific foods? 

Like already stated, all forms of bittergourd, Jamoon seeds and fruit, coriander, curry leaves, fenugreek seeds and leaves, gooseberry fruit seeds and leaves, turmeric, are good for mitigation of blood sugar rise in diabetics. For hypertension we prescribe garlic gooseberry and turmeric on an empty stomach, besides fibrous foods rich in natural source of vitamins, fibre, and complex carbohydrates like peas, red rice, green leafy vegetables, etc. 

I must clarify that these native nutrition foods can help mitigate uncontrolled hypertension or diabetes it cannot guarantee fall in blood sugar or blood pressure if it is already very high and the patient has got used to a medicinal treatment. These native nutrition remedies work best in early stages of the disorder manifesting in people. Patients are alo advised to adhere to a strict exercise and diet regimen besides regular monitoring of the disease, weight loss, and avoidance of sedentary lifestyle. If despite consumption of such native nutrition remedies lifestyle disorders like diabetes, hypertension and cholesterol are uncontrolled stronger allopathic medication maybe expedient. 

Expert Interview:  Dr. H. B. Shivaleela, Nutritionist, and retired Head of the Department of Food and Nutrition, University of Agricultural sciences, Bangalore 

“Right food, in right quantity, Right form at Right time

Management of Diabetes through Right Food.

Dr.H.B.Shivaleela . Registered Dietician.Bengaluru.

Dr. H.B. Shivaleela, retired HOD Food and Nutrition University of Agricultural Sciences, Bangalore.

1) Is there any solution or Mitigating factors in food & nutrition to fight against diabetes for Indians?

 “Food is not just for Energy or Calories, It is also a communicator of message to different parts of the human body including brain. Food talks to the body DNA and directs what timely action be initiated. This “Talk & Tell” interaction is controlled by “Integrated Food Groups” that an individual consumes in every meal. If there is no balance in integration, it is sure to alleviate only specific action & ignore others, stay detached from talking to maintain sustained actions. For ex: If an individual is continuously on high fat junk foods, it will concentrate on messaging towards action of specific organ to digest it. If the pressure continues, even that action gets stagnated. This over all disturbs action message to organs involved in Carbohydrate, Protein and Micronutrients metabolism to release necessary digesters. This indicates that “Food has control over action of our genes” which in turn signals timely action of digestion, transport, assimilation to “Build, maintain, and live”. Whole human body is the product of the food one consumes. “Let Food be Thy Medicine, not The Medicine Be Your Food” statement by Hippocrates is rightly said.

 Diabetes at this juncture is one “Disorder“ which can be managed by Food & Life style. If not managed, it enforces economic burden not only to a family, but also to the nation as it reduces the productivity of the individuals. The largest age group currently affected by diabetes is between 40-59 years.  The World Health Organisation of the United Nations reports that 70% of the current cases of diabetes occur in low - and middle income countries. 422 Million people world over suffer from diabetes. 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. 1 in 3 adults aged over 18 years is overweight and 1 in 10 is obese. ( With an estimated 50.8 million people living with diabetes, India has the world's largest diabetes population.  About 80 % of Type 2 diabetes is preventable by changing diet, increasing physical activity.

 Considering these factors, World Health Organisation of the United Nations initiated a NPCDSS action (National Program for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardio Vascular Disease (CVD and Stroke) in 2010 to mitigate the problem which affects the productivity of individual and the national economy. The action covered: 

i)                    Prevention of premature death, 

ii)                  Alcohol consumption effect 

iii)                Obesity & Diabetes, 

iv)                Physical activity  & health, 

v)                  B.P, 

vi)                Bad effect of Tobacco, 

vii)              Preventing air pollution, 

viii)            Medicine provision for CVD and NCDS. In spite of the action by WHO program, Diabetes is occupying the top ranking disorder affecting all age groups and leading to complications of stroke, heart attack and kidney disorders.

At this juncture the solution is to initiate cluster / community (Healthy & Diabetics) awareness on selected issues related namely;

i) Importance of “Right food, in right quantity, Right form at Right time (RFQFT).

ii) Awareness should reach by Individual contacts; Community level – inclusive of Children, Adolescents (Male & Female together), Family (Both Parents), Education Institutions, Workplaces, Health workers.

iii) Food business should not be limited to “High end Production Crops” it should be integrated with promotion of regional farm produces like vegetables, greens, fruits required for preventing & combating diabetes. This will enhance health of the producer; thereby making it accessible to consumers.

2.  Please spell out the options available in Food and Nutrition to fight against diabetes?

Food is not just an option to fight against diabetes, it is the right mode granted by “Nature” to practice to prevent rise of any digestive discomforts / disorders / diseases. Diabetes is mainly a disorder; becomes disease if “lifestyle” is not taken care of appropriately; it leads to cardiac arrest, stroke, kidney dysfunction, etc. which will call for treatment like “Option of Medicine”.

Prevention & Management are the best solutions to Diabetes:-

Fundamental to managing diabetes are a few precepts:   

 i) Develop clear concept of a balanced meal for diabetes that enhances dietary fibre content which initiates slow and steady release of activated insulin for CHO (carbohydrates) metabolism & control of blood sugar level.

   ii) There is need for RDA (Recommended Dietary Allowance) to be specifically identified based on blood glucose levels (Low/Medium/High) with & without other complications.

   iii) Cover-up meals with colour:  “Rain bow colour foods should comprise each meal.

    iv) Promote right organic enrichment of basic flours /mixes blended with local foods  namely cereals / millets, legumes, oilseeds, greens, vegetables, fruits, herbs or spices  in suitable form and proportion to meet the requirement of  Dietary fibre, Omega fatty acids, quality protein, prebiotics & probiotics, micronutrients, curative or nutraceutical elements –antioxidants & polyphenols. This mode of food fortification in bio-available form is effective in communicating ‘action message’ to body parts for timely release of digesters including Insulin, and also reduces the workload on “Brain Neurotransmitter and also kidney”.

   iv) A diabetic should consume ample amount of water (6-8 litres per day) frequently. Do not use cold or refrigerated water/cool drinks/eatables, as they first draw the body energy/heat towards them to bring to body temperature before being absorbed. This will reduce the water ratio in brain, slowly leading to stress & disturbance. This will gradually reduce body’s communication link to initiate timely digestive & utilization action while accumulation increases - rise in blood sugar.

    v) Major portion of the meal plate should be raw vegetables + Fruits + Cooked Greens; and 1/5th of the plate should be filled up with legumes inclusive of cooked dhal and also raw sprouts. Include traditional practice of herbs & spices such as curry leaves, coriander, ginger, garlic, onion, turmeric in judicial quantity in meal preparation. While eating, do not throw the herbs out of plate.

    v) Do not munch on fried foods and junk foods between meals. Instead munch a fistful of raw sprouts or groundnut (Not roasted), or almonds. They activate insulin production & action steadily.

    vi) Drink a glass of water 20-30 minutes before meal; not in-between meal unless it is an emergency; 2-3 cups of water must be consumed after a meal. Do not sit but keep walking slowly for 20 minutes after major meal, at night sleep 2 hours after meal.

    vii) Consciously aim at consuming complex carbohydrates inclusive of insoluble fibre, dietary fibre, soluble starch in the decreasing order. It will promote steady mobility of food in the intestine, steady message to enzyme production to digest sugar, protein and fats and due absorption of minerals and vitamins.

    viii) A diabetic with in a family or a group should not be isolated during meal time. Isolation continues to identify themselves as diseased, which gradually affects food habits & life style with further deterioration in desire to adopt healthy food practice, end up with dependency on medicine .Which further moves towards complications.

3. Do herbal concoctions help in mitigating complications in diabetics? 

 The history of usage spices in India dates back to 5000 B.C. In those times the usage was limited only to food and medicines. In Vedic times, a normal diet of an Indian consisted of fruit, vegetables, meat, grain, dairy products and honey. It also included beverages along with special kind of spices that was used by the Vedic people. Spices are in the form of seeds, fruits, roots, barks, berry or buds used for colouring, flavouring and preserving foods. Many spices used in Indian traditional practice have medicinal properties apart from religious significance. 

Today Indian traditional foods are also recognized as functional foods because of the presence of functional components such as body-healing chemicals, antioxidants, dietary fibres, and probiotics. These functional molecules help in weight management and blood sugar level balance and support immunity of the body. The functional properties of foods are further enhanced because of unique processing techniques such as sprouting, malting, and fermentation for specific product preparation. Today they are marketed as concentrates, powders, pellets, pastes, juices with registered logo under natural healing therapy, all over the world, but can be accessed under prescription. Herbs are often advised to be consumed at specific time i.e; early morning, before sleeping, 1-3 times a day. 

 When it is with regard to diabetic, such herbal plant materials should move on the same pedal of meal to stabilize action on control of digestion, absorption and utilization of sugar, fat protein & prevent un-necessary accumulation & load on excretion which may lead to health complication. Option is use herbal health sources in food preparation to add color, flavour and taste along with healthy polyphenols, antioxidants.

4. Do major & minor millets help in mitigating rise in blood sugar levels for diabetes?

Millets were the early grain crops consumed by aborigines, especially in whole grain forms either roasted, boiled, steamed, fermented and eaten as thava-roti (whole wheat baked breads). They could meet the need for energy as well as soluble & insoluble starch, which helped maintaining health. Millets in general are with complex carbohydrates, rich in omega-3 & 6, rich in vitamin-e, Micronutrients and dietary fibre. The carbohydrate binds ample amount of water, on exposing to heat it gets converted to resistant starch. This gives the feeling of fullness when eaten and immediately fatty acids promote production of neurotransmitter Serotonin in brain. This continuously activates – that is - sends message to release/activate insulin to steadily metabolize sugar – there-by converting sugar to glucose for meeting the body’s energy requirements & prevent accumulation of and rise in blood sugar levels.

Millets are both Probiotic and Prebiotic. Probiotics assist the existing flora to repopulate the colon when antibiotics, chemotherapy or disease reduces bacteria levels. Fermented millet products act as a natural probiotic treatment for diarrhoea.  

Millet’s whole grain has prebiotic activity, which helps to increase the population of friendly bacteria that plays a key role to promote digestion. 

Millets are rich in Phenolic compounds both soluble as well as insoluble. Both hydroxybenzoic and hydroxycinnamic acids and their derivatives are present in millet grains in varying proportion. Meanwhile, flavonoids exist mainly in the free form. The  phenolic  elements of millet grains are bio accessible and possess bioactivities against several pathophysiological conditions;t herefore studies have confirmed them as potential natural sources of antioxidants in food and biological systems.

    Various studies on millets’ nutrition have confirmed their health benefits such as:

Ø  --Magnesium in millet helps reduce the effects of migraines and heart attacks.

Ø  --Niacin (vitamin B3) present in millet lowers cholesterol.

Ø  --Phosphorus in millet assist in fat metabolism, body tissue repair and acts as: 

     Energizer -  by forming a component of  ATP (Adenosine triphosphate ‘it is a coenzyme that acts as an immediate between energy yielding and energy  expenditure metabolism’ explains Dr. Shivaleela), a precursor to energy metabolism in our body.

5.  Another myth pertains to avoiding millets for dinner…

Millets were the traditional crops, traditional staple grains, consumed in various forms by our ancestors. They are made up of complex carbohydrates which are digested slowly and steadily - facilitating regulated release of sugar and there by energy. One more factor is: they bind ample amount of water, and give the feeling of fullness in small quantity, which is beneficial to maintaining health. Since they have the property of both pre and probiotic action they maintain gut health and prevent inflammation. 

Civilization & change in life style has switched our food habits to finer grains, refined grains & foods which has lead to change in Gut microbiota. It has led to dependency on outsourcing dose based pre & probiotics. Life style has also diverted towards inclusion of inorganic sources for colour, flavour, tastes, enrichment, fortification, preservation, etc. All through the day is not comfortable for any age group weather healthy or sick. It should be introduced at the rate of 1/3rd of RDA (recommended dietary allowance) of cereals, … gradually as one meal a day once a week, followed by twice a week & further on  alternate days preferably during the day time. Reason is, it is digested slowly not as fast as rice. Gradually Gut biota builds up, and then it can be used in any meal of the day, in the quantity desired. But this biotic action is facilitated when whole grain component is used, not when refined form is used. The effective health achievement is possible when used in a product up to minimum of 60%. Its function & use would instead help a diabetic recover faster. Only requirement is not to sleep immediately after dinner.  Dinner should be digested before one gets into bed. This precept helps the body absorb the nutrition from dinner and helps one sleep soundly once the nutrition has entered the bloodstream.

Irrespective of diabetic or not, this precept is applicable to healthy people also.

      One doubt that is often raised is about silica in millets. Silica present in millets are in bio-form that is: dietary source not in crystalline form. Silica consumed through dietary sources is converted to Silicic acid which is water soluble. This dietary silicon will promote assimilation of connective tissues & thereby improve higher bone-mineral density as proved by human studies. FDA (Food and Drug Administration ( has approved this bio-form silica as a food-safe substance; not a contaminant. Bio-form silica in millets initiates cross-linking collagen strands which contributes to the strength, integrity, and flexibility of connective tissues such as those found in skin, bones, nails, and arteries. Silicon is also important for the growth of hair, skin and fingernails. This mode of meeting the requirement of silica would prevent often-reported ill health problems such as soft or brittle nails, premature wrinkles, thinning or loss of hair, poor bone development and osteoporosis.

      Over all, everybody can eat millets in right form, in any meal the only caution suggested by nutritionists is to adapt gradually as system needs to build the suitable microbiota, which takes place naturally with introduction of millets in your food. Do not forget to adapt rainbow colours in natural food incorporation.

6) Ideal source of protein for Diabetics ?

Ideal source of protein is definitely from plant sources that is pulses/legumes as whole grains cooked, dhal cooked, sprouts cooked as well as raw, oilseeds. Of course milk as culturally stated is “AMRUTHA” or divine nectar meaning that which gives life & keeps alive. It (protein) could be a source in hot plain milk form even for diabetics.  Bio-form silica present in millets would rather promote assimilation of calcium in bones & strengthen the bone structure & prevent osteoporosis. The protein source could be as mentioned above, is not restricted to non-vegetarian foods / animal products only. Nutritionists suggest inclusion of sprouted raw legumes that one feels comfortable by taste & handling.

 Daily Physical activity of minimum 30 minutes’ walk in fresh air & sunlight should not be forgotten. Diabetics are counselled to remain active and not to become lethargic or sedentary at any cost.

The Theme of The year 2018 - 2019 identified by WHO & IDF  is  Diabetes management & Treatment to be  dealt in integrated mode as a FAMILY not as Allopathy, treatment, Ayurveda, Naturopathy, Diet. It should be integrated to meet both health & life style. It is mainly a disorder which can be brought to stability & not get into line of diseases.

Interviewed by Malini Shankar


Native nutrition for insomnia

“A magnesium deficiency can be a contributor to poor or troubled sleep,” says Courtney Bancroft, a licensed clinical psychologist and insomnia specialist. That’s because, according to medical nutritionist Sarah Brewer, “magnesium is needed for over 300 body enzymes to work properly, including the production of many brain chemicals such as melatonin, which controls the quality of your sleep.” Plus, magnesium has a natural relaxing effect on the body. It binds to GABA (gamma-aminobutyric acid) receptors in your brain to aid in calming activity and quieting the nervous system, explains Bancroft.

Along with less than stellar sleep, a magnesium deficiency can also suck the energy out of you (literally) when you’re awake. “Low magnesium intakes are linked with reduced cell energy production and chronic fatigue as well as serotonin levels, which helps maintain a balanced mood,” says Brewer.

While you may be able to get ample magnesium from your diet (kale and avocados for the #win), up to 80 percent of people are coming up short, says Frank Lipman, MD, a Well+Good Council member. “Alcohol can deplete magnesium levels because it increases excretion of the mineral via urine, while coffee has a similar effect as it exits the kidneys,” he explains. According to Dr. Lipman, stress can also contribute to lower-than-recommended magnesium supplies.

Enter: the supplement. Studies have shown that taking a daily dose of magnesium can improve your likelihood of falling and staying asleep by helping to chill out your parasympathetic nervous system and relax your muscles. “As with most minerals and nutrients, food sources are always best, but because many people are deficient in magnesium, it can be really beneficial to supplement with it in the right dosages,” says Dr. Lipman. Keep in mind that the more magnesium you get from your diet, the less you’ll need from a supplement, which is why experts advise you get blood work to check your magnesium levels so you know if you’re deficient in the first place.

Links for further reading:

Name: Digital Discourse Foundation


Address: # 1 / 1 Police Station Road,



Karnataka, India

Pin: 560004

Tel: +91 80 26677090

Cellphone (s): +919448055645 / +919900604440 / +919844253935