A basic principle of health states that traditional food habits are good for digestion and assimilation of essential nutrients. However, because of increased availability of variety of foods, food consumption patterns have changed all over the world. This can lead to imbalanced diets and nutritional deficiencies. On the other hand, recent advances in nutrition science have offered the medicinal properties of nutrients; especially micronutrients and phytochemicals in foods. Scientific information about amounts of micronutrients in our daily diet, cooking losses, factors influencing their absorption is scarcely available in simple language. Therefore, there is a need to take quality nutrition research to common people so as to create awareness among them regarding daily nutrient needs, micronutrient contents in cooked foods and links of diet and health.
Ample amount of research is published every year through scientific journals on important topics such as health benefits of micronutrients and phytochemicals, role of gut microbiome in maintaining good health, personalized nutrition and so on. However, this research is published only in scientific journals with limited specific objectives, and also in varied populations. It is therefore difficult to collectively draw conclusions from these studies. The present book”Micronutrients: The Key to Good Health” Attempts to review relevant evidence about metabolic functions and health benefits of micronutrients, phytochemicals and present the findings in a useful and easy to practice manner in daily life.
Salient features of the book on “Micronutrients: The Key to Good Health” are;
1) Overview of physiological functions, rich food sources, daily requirements of macro and micronutrients for all age-sex groups,
2) Specific body functions of 16 vitamins and 14 minerals in a precise form,
3) Nutrient interactions, compatibility of foods, enhancers and inhibitors for micronutrient absorption, losses of vitamins in cooking and storage methods
4) Laboratory-tested diet supplements giving high amounts of bioavailable micronutrients for specific vulnerable groups such as adolescents, type 1 diabetics and lactating mothers. Many authentic recipes are presented with photos and scientific information about their laboratory-estimated nutrient contents,
5) Causes, signs, and symptoms of micronutrient deficiencies. Ready-to-eat food supplements for each micronutrient as a preventive measure and diet therapy. The approach of yoga towards healthy diet and the relation between diet and psychological health.
6) Antioxidative, anti-inflammatory and anti-microbial properties of phytochemicals and their synergistic effect with micronutrients in improving health.
7) The multifaceted interactions among gut microbiome, dietary phytochemicals and micronutrients.
8) Information about the latest dietary guidelines, nutrient requirements, ready reckoner for diet assessment and some common myths versus scientific facts.
Micronutrients, antioxidants, immunity boosters have become popular terms in everyday life. Especially during Covid pandemic, increasing immunity had become the main agenda in media and people. However, immunity is not a single entity, like haemoglobin, take iron tablet and Hb will improve. It’s not the case with immunity. Immunity is a network of special cells, tissues and organs which are specialized in defending against foreign substances like bacteria and viruses. To function well, the immune system requires balance and harmony among these cells and organs. The idea of boosting immunity is very tempting, but ability to do so is illusive. Nutrition research in the past few decades and mostly in the past few years has identified important metabolic functions of micronutrients; eg, antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, immunity-boosting and so on.
Specifically, micronutrients like vitamin C, A, D, E, folate, B12, B6, zinc, selenium, copper, iron play a special role in proper functioning of immune system. One can find many foods listed under immunity boosters, but one should be aware of micronutrient contents in them and also their interactions. Because only consuming such foods is not enough, nutrients and non-nutrients in these foods should be better absorbed by the body. Then only their health benefits can be obtained.
About the Author:
Dr Shashi Chiplonkar (PhD in Biostatistics), is working as a senior research scientist in nutrition and health sciences for past 3 decades. His main forte is bioavailability studies and interrelationships of macro and micronutrients in health and disease. He had developed computerized diet analysis software (CDiet) based upon actual laboratory data on nutrient contents and energy expenditure in physical activities. He had published over 200 research articles in International journals, 3 chapters on Biostatistics, one chapter on ”Zinc in Child health”. His nine research articles on micronutrient bioavailability, interactions of micronutrients in anemia, diabetes, osteoporosis have been cited in latest ICMR report on RDA 2020. Recently he is working as a free-lancer consultant in health research and conducting classes for research methodology and nutrition for university students.
Macronutrients, Micronutrient-rich food products, Essential fatty acids, Health, Vitamins, Therapeutic use, Essential minerals, Diet therapy, Carotenoids, Micronutrient deficiency, Antioxidants, Oxidative stress, Metabolic functions, Immune deficiency, Micronutrient bioavailability, Cooking losses, Daily nutrient requirement , Phytochemicals, Nutrient contents, Gut microbiota
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