To curb mal­nu­tri­tion, govt banks on desi ‘su­per­foods’

Hindustan Times (Amritsar) - - Nation - Rhythma Kaul let­ters@hin­dus­tan­times.com ■

NEW DELHI : The min­istry of ayurveda, yoga and natur­opa­thy, unani, sid­dha and ho­moeopa­thy (Ayush) plans to lower mal­nu­tri­tion by pro­mot­ing the use of tra­di­tional plant-based su­per­foods such as ash­wa­gandha (In­dian gin­seng) and moringa (drum­stick) that are high in mi­cronu­tri­ents or have medic­i­nal prop­er­ties that im­prove ab­sorp­tion of nu­tri­ents.

The ini­tia­tive is a part of the Na­tional Nu­tri­tion Mis­sion (NNM) that re­ceived Cab­i­net ap­proval last year. The NNM, as the apex body, will mon­i­tor, su­per­vise, fix tar­gets and guide the nu­tri­tion-re­lated in­ter­ven­tions. “The Ayush min­istry is on board to cre­ate re­gion-spe­cific meal plans us­ing lo­cally avail­able in­gre­di­ents and med­i­cal plants to im­prove nu­tri­ent ab­sorp­tion, boost im­mu­nity and re­ju­ve­nate the body and mind,” says Vaidya Ra­jesh Kotecha, sec­re­tary, Ayush min­istry.

Among the plants and herbs that make it to the su­per­foods list are amla (In­dian goose­berry), sonth (dry gin­ger pow­der), kachchi haldi (fresh turmeric) and giloy (heart-leaved moon­seed), apart from and ash­wa­gandha and moringa. Ex­perts find it a work­able plan to meet lo­cal nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments. “It is best to pick up ba­sic lo­cal food and en­cour­age peo­ple to con­sume it for it won’t only meet the nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments, but also suit the lo­cal palate and re­duce the cost dras­ti­cally. Tak­ing food sup­ple­ments or pack­aged food items from out­side the state isn’t a good idea in the long run,” says Ri­tika Sa­mad­dar, re­gional head- di­etet­ics, Max Health­care.

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