Express News Service

HYDERABAD: Consuming nutraceuticals seems to be growing to become one of the latest fads. With influencers and celebrities sharing pictures of, and promoting these, many have picked up the trend. Nutritionists in the city help break it all down for us.

In simple terms, nutraceuticals refer to deriving medicinal benefits from the food we consume, says Zeenath Fatima, a dietician at Eat2Fit Nutrition & Diet Studio in Somajiguda. “It also refers to foods that are fortified with vitamins. Not all foods are complete in their nutritional value, so some come with these nutraceuticals. Food processing, too, results in the loss of some vital minerals and that is where these nutrients come into picture, ”Zeenath says.

Sridevi Jasti, a celebrity holistic nutritionist and founder of Vibrant Living, is one who believes in the power of food as a medicine. “It is something I follow myself, for my family and advise my clients as well. You don’t always need to pop in pills that your doctor has not even prescribed. You can be healthy, have good immunity and keep diseases at bay when you watch what you eat, ”she says.

Sridevi explains why nutraceuticals are growing to become popular. “Sometimes, our soil does not have enough nourishment to give sufficient nutrition to the food we grow. Vitamin C in tomatoes today is not of the same quality as the ones we had 30 years ago. Also, some vitamins do not occur a lot in foods naturally – for example, vitamin D, hence the need to look elsewhere. “

Amit Srivastava, chief catalyst at Nutrify Today in the city, says that most people consume these for reasons including weight loss, anti-aging and diabetes management, among others. “They are beneficial when used under guidance as these bioactives interact with the larger biochemistry of the body. Hence there is a healthy outcome and usually at multi-points. For example, curcumin has been evaluated as an active ingredient having antioxidant, anti-cancer properties and helps in managing arthritis, ”he says.

A quick Google search reveals that nutraceuticals are backed by clinical studies, making them potent preventives, while being recommended by experts, medical doctors or nutritionists. However, too much of anything can prove to be harmful. “These are potent bioactives. If used uncontrolled, they can lead to irreversible organ damage. A study published in the British Medical Journal recently highlighted that about 30,000 patients were admitted to the emergency ward of hospitals in a year because of abuse of nutraceuticals, ”warns Amit.

Sridevi advises cautious use of these too. “Knowing or being able to trace the origin of your food can be very helpful. I am wary of those, so I dry my own turmeric and neem, make little balls and consume them. But not everybody out there can or wants to do that, so one has to be mindful. ” She adds that a well-balanced food can do all the magic. “Do not stick to only one kind of fruit or selective vegetables or even the kind of rice you consume. Play around with white, brown and red rice. Keep your options open for a little of everything. “

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