Alhamdulillah was-salatu was-salaamu 'ala rasoolillah. All thanks and praise is to ALLAH, Subhanahu wa ta'ala, and we ask that HIS blessings and peace be upon HIS Messenger, Muhammad, salla ALLAHu alaihi wa sallam.
By Mujahid Masood
The exponential increase in the knowledge of the functioning of the human body at the molecular level has lead to an increased interest in the foods we eat and their effects on our body. There appears to be a growing desire to control and play a greater role by individuals in their health and well-being rather than to be a passive player. There has been a shift in concept of nutrition to avoid the development of deficiencies to that of prevention or treatment of chronic diseases like cancer, diabetes, and heart disease, which have become the major killers in the place of infectious diseases. This shift has lead to an increased and sustained effort to increase the knowledge of nutrition in prevention of disease and overall wellness and health.
Carotenoids are the red, orange, and yellow pigments synthesized by plants and their presence gives color to the plant fruit, root, leaves etc. About 600 carotenoids have been isolated from various sources and their chemical structure identified. About 10% of these pigments have vitamin A activity. Lycopene is a red color carotenoid found in tomatoes, a red-orange pigment or carotenoid "canthaxanthin" is found in plants and seafood like trout and crustaceans. Carotenoids are also present in carrots, squash, lettuce, peppers, pumpkin, papaya, apricot, peach, nectarine, and orange. Green vegetables also have carotenoids such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and pea.
Vitamin A is produced from beta-carotene a carotenoid. Vitamin A is considered essential for vision, immune function and for prevention of retarded growth and night blindness. Diets rich in carotenoids are linked with a decreased risk of degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts. Carotenoids have been associated with a decreased risk of cancer, protection against skin and lung cancer and heart disease.
The Malay Chamber of Commerce will organize an exhibition of halal products in Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. The aim is to promote Malaysian halal food exports. At least 40 companies are expected to participate in the event.(Reported in Business Times on December 29, 2004.)
EU scientists have confirmed a case of mad cow disease in a French goat slaughtered in 2002. The goat and the herd it came from were taken out of the human food chain. Since then over 140,000 goats have been tested for mad cow disease.(Reported in www.just-food.com on January 31, 2005.)
Co-Op Islami has joined the Superbrand's council 'Elite' category. Congratulations.(Reported in www.ameinfo.com.)
Researchers from London's Imperial College believe drinking camomile tea can fight colds and menstrual cramps. (Reported in www.nutritionhorizon.com in January 20, 2005.)
Twenty first century medicine has provided the treatment of numerous diseases and yet we find that our health is deteriorating at an alarming rate. Health is gained and maintained by the intake of proper nutrition, exercise, sleep and attitude.
While twenty first century medicine is focused on eliminating disease, it becomes imperative that this focus be shifted back to prevention of disease, regaining health and maintaining health. With proper nutrition, we can develop strong immunity, and strong immunity in its turn will prevent disease. Hence, health could really be described in terms of a wellness model. A person could be well, unwell, or have disease.
Wellness is a state when physical and mental health is optimal. The onus for optimal health then lies in our hands.
Phytonurients are beneficial chemical compounds known as phytochemicals that are found naturally in plant foods. The word phyto means "plant" in Greek.
Phytonurients contain protective, disease-preventing compounds and support the body's immune system function as well as protect against cellular oxidative damage from free radical formation. The immune system is the first line of defense against disease mounted by the human body. Phytonutrients although not essential for life, appear to be essential for optimal health and longevity.
Phytosterols, saponins, phenols, pectins and soluble fibers are phytonutrients known for their cholesterol lowering abilities. Examples of phytosterols are flax, pumpkin and sesame seed. Algae and fungi also manufacture phytosterols; Saponins are fenugreek and ginseng; Phenols are fenugreek and ginseng, and grapes; Pectins are apples and prunes; and soluble fibers are oat, rice bran and beta glucan.
Carotenoids are fat-soluble naturally occurring plant pigments and function as potent antioxidants and immuno-potentiaters. Diets rich in carotenoids are linked to a decreased risk of heart disease, cancer, and degenerative eye diseases such as macular degeneration and cataracts.
Naturally found Isoflavins in soy products may reduce the risk of heart disease, several types of cancer, and osteoporosis. Certain types of flavonoids found in blueberries have been claimed to reverse nerve cell aging. Numerous compounds (phytonutrients) found in fruits and vegetables may protect cell components against oxidative damage. Phytonutrients have the potential to wade off various cancers, heart disease and Alzheimer's disease.