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  • AH SAPOTA !

    In Health Tips On 13 February 2015

    It was very heartening to see some young people enjoying sapotas or “chikoos” as this fruit is commonly known. It was much after I finished my studies that I came to know that this unassuming looking fruit, chickoo is called sapota ! Certainly this fruit is nothing much to look at in comparison to bright apples and oranges, but even then anyone who has enjoyed its sweet, soft, grainy unusual flavour will appreciate that its taste is as wonderful as its appearance is discouraging. Children who often go by appearances may be put off due to its dull brown colour. In India sapota came to be cultivated only a few centuries ago. It originally grew in South America and West Indies and the wild tree grew in China. The tree thrives best in moist, tropical seaside regions and in India, it is cultivated in Maharashtra TamilNadu, Andhra Pradesh and Bengal. There are many varieties. “Pala Sapota” which is common in Andhra Pradesh is considered best although the fruit is small. There are some large sized varieties from Maharashtra which are also very popular. Some of the other commercially important varieties are Dwarapudi, Vavivalasa, Bharani etc. Surprisingly sapota trees are ornamental as well as good fruit yielders.   Nutritive Value Edible sapota is prized when it has firm, good pulp of rich flavour and few seeds. Each sapota weighs about 60 gms.   One average sapota provides : Nutrient Amount Calories 60 Calcium 20 mg. Iron 1.6 mg. Vitamin C 4 mgs. Carotene 60 Micrograms Phosphorous 13 mgs. Considering the cost and the size, the amount of nutrition is remarkable. For people who have a sweet tooth and always crave something sweet after a meal, this fruit can be a wonderful filler. Its unusual flavour and grainy texture can take the place of any other cooked sweet. Other uses : In UP and Bihar, some of its more yielding varieties are becoming very popular due to its commercial uses in the confectionery industry. This is because the unripe fruit secrets a milky latex or resin which forms the base for making chiklets and chewing gum. Its pulp is widely used for making sweets and halwa. It can be used in salads and milk shakes. It also has a bitter principle found in unripe fruit called “sapotonin” which has many pharmaceutical uses. So, never ignore this wonderful fruit.

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  • A CASE FOR DIETETICS

    In Health Tips On 13 February 2015

    A CASE FOR DIETETICS Thirty four years into my profession, I still find it amazing that people do not understand the real importance of diet-therapy. This, despite the fact that the media and doctors are crying, themselves hoarse about the importance of nutrition in our lives. You might ask - why is it so important to know more about it now? And why is it so important to consult a dietician now? It was earlier not considered necessary. Very true. In fact when I started this work in Bhopal for the first time, it was extremely tough, because almost everybody including doctors thought that the only thing I would be doing is helping people reduce. No one could think of the importance of diet-therapy in cancers metabolic disorders, renal diseases jaundice, coma patients, post operative people etc. Doctors know that it is important to give proper nutrition to patients in certain diseases, but quite often they are handicapped by lack of time. To be very frank, and with all due respect to doctors, nutrition is a speciality in itself and a good dietitian can often make important and, difficult changes in a patient\'s diet much more easily and more compatible to a patient’s life style, so that the changes are not all that difficult.   There are three major ways in which diet therapy is helpful : Preventive aspect: Quite a few diseases could be prevented by following a balanced diet. This is most important in people with family histories of diabetes, heart disease etc. If right from adolescence the children of families with strong histories of these disease were counselled on proper nutrition, they would have an excellent chance of preventing or delaying the onset of these diseases. Preventing obesity in itself leads to prevention of a host of diseases like arthritis, cardiac diseases hypertension, gall stones, and certain cancers as well. Often children of well to do families may be malnourished not due to lack of food but ignorance and poor eating habits leading to anemia obesity etc. Clinical aspect: In certain \'diseases like jaundice, renal failure, diabetes post operative patients, coma patients a proper diet management can contribute significantly to recovery help in the delayed onset of complications and help in the medical treatment of patients. Do remember that a well nourished patient the always have ha better chance of recovery and better outcomes than a malnourished individual. Here we must understand that obesity, anemia etc are also a sign of malnutrition. Avoidance of food: There are some conditions like gluten intolerance (wheat intolerance) or lactose intolerance (milk intolerance) where the patient\'s body does not tolerate these foods. These conditions may be rare but they can be all consuming for the patient. Here the patient has lo be taught to keep his intake normal despite these constraints, So readers with all the progress made in nutrition in various diseases, why not lake advantage of a dietitian\'s knowledge. When your doctor asks you to consult a nutritionist do so. By all means, question her, ask for explanations, but do follow the prescription and get back to her when she asks you to. This is important. Often people call back after eight months to report how they have effectively reduced eight-10 kilos, so what should they do now? Well it is wonderful to hear I that you have lost the weight, but had you kept in constant touch, you would have been taught the inclusion of other foods and maintenance of weight. Or if some patient on tube feeding is not tolerating milk or is gelling diarrhoea, please get back to your diet consultant who will give you other alternatives. I hope I have been able to make my point. I feel very strongly the responsibility of patient care, even as a dietitian, but we do need your cooperation as well.  

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Amita Singh

Nutritionist in Bhopal & Delhi, India 

Dietician Amita Singh, Started her career at PGI Chandigarh in 1980. She Set up the first private diet clinic in August 1983 in Bhopal Madhya Pradesh. Consultant to his Excellency Governor of Madhya Pradesh On the health Panel of Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Attached to National Hospital in charge of Medical Nutrition therapy of patients in Critical Care Unit. Consultant to hospitals for nutritional intake and nutritional interventions for all diseases.CONSULTANT TO1. Sports Authority of India2. Women and child welfare department3. Health department4. Various Schools like DPS, Sprouts, Sagar Public School etc.
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