Hot News

Invisible Injustice - 70

Invisible Injustice - 70

Lithium is the third chemical element in the periodic table with three electrons and protons each and four neutrons in its structure. It is a silvery white coloured alkali metal having an atomic mass of 6.941 amu, melting point at 180.54oC and boiling at 1347oC. Its structure is cubic. It occurs in the nature and all living organisms including humans to whom its everyday availability is mainly from various types of vegetables and fruits.

Lithium plays a key role in maintaining the intellectual and mental health of every person. Lithium is very useful as an effective medication for mania ( mental illness marked by periods of great excitement or euphoria, delusions, and over-activity) and mood swings including manic depressive disorders. M any people suffering from various degrees of mania do not think anything is wrong with themselves or with others. The deficiency symptoms of Lithium are different degrees of mental imbalances, derangement, dementia, alzhemer’s disease,  insanity, lunacy, dementia, psychosis, schizophrenia, delirium, frenzy, hysteria, raving, violence, wildness, excessive enthusiasm, obsession, compulsion, fixation, fetish, fascination, preoccupation, passion, excessive desire or urge, craving for something, craze, fad or rage, bad temperament etc. Choleric and criminal tendencies will be high among people with Lithium deficiency. They will have very low resistance to many of the diseases.  Deficiency of a simple element puts countless humans into such mental consternation landing them up in mental asylum, end up in suicides or remain as perennial nuisance in the society. Instead of supplying lithium in the diet most people, due to ignorance, resort to prayer, pilgrimage, magic or treatment of the symptoms in the traditional or modern systems of treatment when people are found in the above mentioned mood swings: Ignorantly Invisible Injustices.

For the proper mental balance of mind Lithium is essential in human beings. The main dietary sources of Lithium are fresh vegetables, fruits and dried pulses. Fresh mustard paste is also good source of lithium. Therefore those who are not consuming enough (minimum three servings/hands per day) vegetables of the three types: 1. leafy, 2. root and 3. immature pod and fruit and minimum of two servings of mixed fruits regularly in their daily diet are prone to be relatively deficient in Lithium and exhibit some of the above mentioned deficiency symptoms.

Lithium is only one of 30 presently known minerals or elements that are required for human body. They are in alphabetical order: boron, calcium, cesium, chlorine, chromium, cobalt, copper, fluorine, gallium, germanium, gold, iodine, iron, lithium, magnesium, manganese, molybdenum, nickel, potassium, phosphorus, rubidium, silver, sodium, sulphur, selenium, silicon, strontium, tin, vanadium, and zinc. Then there are 14 vitamins needed for our body: they are Vit A, B1, B2, B3, B5, B6, B7, B9, B12, C, D1, D3, E & K. Originally they are known as Vital Amines: Amines are one of the classes of organic chemicals. Each of these 30 (more may be discovered later) minerals and 14 vitamins are responsible for thousands of enzymatic, hormonal and other physiological  functions individually as well as in combination with other minerals and vitamins in the human body and brain. For example a good balance of vitamin D1 & D3, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, zinc, fluoride, chloride, manganese, copper and sulphur is required for healthy bones. D3 also has beneficial functions related with diabetes and cancer; sodium and potassium together with Lithium maintain balanced brain function and mental balance.

The role of each mineral and vitamin enumerated above in the human body as well as their deficiency symptoms can be availed by anyone from internet. Suffice it here to say that every mineral and vitamin interact with each other in various degrees and stages of thousands of metabolic activities in our body. As per the present knowledge 30 minerals and 14 vitamins have to be present in the human body within certain optimum range. Many of them can enhance or impair another vitamin or mineral's absorption and functioning. For example an excessive amount of iron can cause a deficiency in zinc. Balanced intake of vitamins and minerals is very important. The thumb rule is half of the two main meals should be consisting of a mixture of different vegetables and fruits along with herbal chatneys of green herbs, spices and condiments. Vegetables and fruits are the major and best source of vitamins and minerals for all people. Yet surveys all over the world have shown high deficiency in vegetable consumption.

“One out of three people in developing countries are affected by vitamin and mineral deficiencies and therefore more subject to infection, birth defects and impaired physical and psycho-intellectual development” (WHO 2006). Reena Borwankar, Tina Sanghvi, and Robin Houston studying Vitamin and mineral deficiencies, particularly of vitamin A, iron, iodine, zinc, and folate—pose a public health problem that affects over 2 billion people. An estimated 25% of pre-school-aged children and 18% of women are vitamin A–deficient; 37% of the total population has anemia; 35% of the world’s population is at risk for iodine deficiency (data from 1998–2003 [49]); and 20% is estimated to be at risk for zinc deficiency. These prevalence figures may not reflect the current situation, as limited resources have prevented the gathering and maintenance of up-to-date information.

On the global index India is 67th among 80 nations having the worst hunger situation. In India 44% of children under the age of 5 are underweight. 72% of infants and 52% of women have anaemia. Research has shown that malnutrition during pregnancy causes the child to have increased risk of future diseases, physical and mental retardation. Chennai-based Metropolis Healthcare studied 14,96,683 samples over three years and found an increasing trend of deficiency in vitamin D, vitamin B12 and vitamin B9 (Folic Acid) among all age groups of Indians. The samples tested across four zones showed that 75% of the population was deficient in three vital vitamins. While 21.02% were deficient in vitamin B12 and 15.06% deficient in vitamin B9, 81.28% of all samples were deficient in vitamin D and several minerals. Let us look at one of the minerals needed in the humans. The main reason for such rampant vitamins and mineral deficiencies is the decreasing trend in vegetable consumption in quality and quantity.

As per the WHO prescription, it is necessary to consume 400gm of fruits and vegetables to avoid chronic diseases. S tudies have shown that Indians, across all age groups, consume less than half the quantity of fruits and vegetables recommended by World Health Organization. Consumption of fruits and vegetables is abysmally low among middle-and high-income groups in urban India, according to a survey conducted by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER) in five Indian cities. The survey shows that the younger generation is consuming even less nutritious food than older people, primarily due to lifestyle choices.

Survey in Australia in 2011-12 showed that while 48.5% of the population consumed regularly fruits only 8.2% only consumed vegetables. Nutrition survey in Canada in 2004 indicated that 62% of girls and 68% of boys fell short of the optimum level of consumption fruits and vegetables and among adult too around half the population fell short of optimum level of consumption fruits and vegetables (five servings). Similar survey in the US between 2004 and 2009 showed that overall consumption fruits and vegetables declined 6% and 7% respectively both in-home and away-from-home. Fruit juice consumption is down 14% over the past 5 years and 21% over the last 10 years. According to Health Day News July 2015 only one in every 10 Americans eats enough fruits and vegetables. Researchers from the US Centres for Disease Control and prevention found that just 13% of the US residents consume one and half to two cups of fruits every day as recommended by federal guidelines. The news on the vegetable front was even worse. Less than 9% of Americans eat two to three cups of vegetables every day as recommended, the report showed. Even residents of California, the state with the best consumption rate for these nutritious foods, fell woefully behind. Only close to 18% of Californians ate enough fruit every day, and only 13% ate enough vegetables. Tennessee and Mississippi ranked among the lowest in terms of people eating enough fruits and veggies. ( https://consumer.healthday.com/)

In another global survey involving 52 mainly low-and middle-income countries on Global Variability in Fruit and Vegetable Consumption [accessed Sep 7, 2017] revealed that 77.6% of men and 78.4% of women consumed less than the minimum recommended five daily servings of fruits and vegetables. Low fruit and vegetable consumption prevalence ranged from 36.6% (Ghana) to 99.2% (Pakistan) for men and from 38.0% (Ghana) to 99.3% (Pakistan) for women. ( www.researchgate.net/ publication/24274085)

This year during the days of Onam celebrations the glorious people of Kerala drank liquor worth nearly rupees 500 crores including the country made foreign liquors and toddy. Consumption of liquor is always accompanied by overeating of flesh foods like meat and fish. When someone’s stomach is filled with liquor and flesh food his status will be worse than the animal: because no animal overeats. Over-boozing accompanied by overeating of flesh food is one of the human blunders we see in the world: Invisible Injustice. According to NSS round 58 { Report No. 485 (58/26/1), Disabled Persons in India 2002}, Kerala is almost at par with Odisha (about 2300 per 1,00,000): Odisha because of undernutrition and Kerala because of distorted nutrition. Crimes, suicides, mental cases, folic acid and iron deficiency among adolescent girls, susceptibility to all types of viral and bacterial diseases etc. in Kerala are very high. A study by the Kerala State Mental Health Authority says that 39 of every 100 family suicides reported across India, take place in God's own country. 

There are people who eat only by their likes and dislikes. Food habits are more cultural and psychological (more by likes and dislikes) than scientific or rational. Hence we have people of too much rice eating, too much fish eating, too much meat eating, too much milk and milk products consuming including ice-creams, consuming too much of fried wafers, too much of cakes and pastries or too much of pickled foods. Eating food according to the likes and dislikes is the greatest everyday human blunder: Injustices to oneself and to humanity.

Eating by likes and dislikes is observed more among women than men. The adolescent girls all over the world, exhibit greater propensity to go by too much by likes and dislikes in their food consumption. To be too fussy about food is a common style among them; they continue the same even after becoming housewives and mothers. “What do you like to eat to eat for breakfast, lunch or dinner? This or that is very tasty; I don’t like this or that; let us have some fast food today for supper.” This is the way the women talk in the families. For them taste is more important than nutrients. The children pick up the same tendency. Womenfolk think that they make others happy by preparing the tasty greasy food. Often instead of preparing proper vegetables they prepare pickles and serve in the meals regularly. Happy they become but gravely sick also. A generation ago when there was no availability of various kinds of fast foods, people in general managed with what they had at home and the individuals in a family did not have his or her own choice in the food items. Today if you sit with two or three children in a family, each child is demanding different items for breakfast. The curious thing is that the lady of the house is ready to cater to the likes and dislikes of each child. She thinks that she is doing a great job as a mother in catering to the whims and fancies of each child by preparing things according to each one’s taste and liking. Such mothers do not know that they are doing a great harm to the children: invisible injustice.

Great harm how? Everyone would ask; harms are many ways. First of all the children acquire a habit of doing everything according to their own likes and dislikes; they become unable to bear with any inconvenience in their life; any little difficulty they get upset; their ability to cope with difficulties and adverse situations will be less or least; juvenile delinquency is very high among the present generation children; when they grow up they show more of violent and criminal tendencies in them; the degree of self control will be very low in them; sudden outbursts of anger and violent reaction among them is common; the growing suicidal tendencies and violence including sexual violence among the youth is a clear indication of their imbalanced mind in them. The greatest truth is that all these distortions begin with the habits of eating food according to the likes and dislikes; “You are what you eat”, is an ancient saying. “Tell me what you eat and I will tell you what you are” is another expression of the same. The type of food people mostly eat determines their physical and mental conditions of health.

Vast majority of the educated people including the priests and religious eat according to their likes and taste at the cost of many nutritional deficiency diseases. For them any celebration means eating all types of meat and fish cooked in various forms and drinking a lot of liquor. The medical bills among them are very high. The ubiquitous fast-food culture is taking the young and old for a ride through a nutritionally perilous path in the health and in the process the pharmaceutical companies and allopathic medical system are reaping rich harvest. Hence there is an urgent need to change the food habit of people to ensure healthy population in the future.

The solution is simple: at least one handful each of cooked leafy, root and other vegetables, two handful of fruit salad and two spoons of mixed herbal chutney along with your two main meals per day will solve the vitamins and mineral deficiency among the human population. Reduce the pickle culture to nil or minimum. Everyone in a family should be ready to practice this simple nutrition formula to save 75-80% of the family medical expenses. Why should we give our hard earned money to multinational pharmaceutical companies by still following the age old human blunder of faulty food consumption?

Those who eat for taste waste the food and their life

Those who eat for nutrients nourish their life.

(The writer is Retired Professor at XIM, Bhubaneswar. Email: ktchandysj@gmail.com)

(Published on 16th October 2017, Volume XXIX, Issue 42)