When you think of packaged food, the first thing that comes to your mind are those chips, cereals, frozen corn, frozen meat, pickles, aerated drinks and the list goes on. Life of the working class is made much more comfortable with a pick and gulp down packet considering time constraints to cook fresh meals. So what is the processed food doing inside our body?
GUT FRIEND OR FOE?
Considering the boom of processed foods, researchers planned to check on was the food helping our stomach bacteria or harming it negatively. "Preservatives are found in large numbers in almost all of the processed foods to increase their shelf life. You will find them mentioned as emulsifiers, lecithin, polysorbate-80 etc. in the ingredient list. These are the ones creating havoc inside the digestive tract", explains Dr C M Parmesh, Leading Colorectal Surgeon India and Founder of Smiles Hospital Bengaluru. He also continues, hence the rise in the number of patients falling prey to IBS (Irritable Bowel Syndrome), Metabolic Syndrome, IBD (Inflammatory Bowel Disease), APD (Acid Peptic Disease) so on and so forth.
So what makes the young or old population get attracted to these packet foods? Cutlets, nuggets, spring rolls or name any packet food has an expiry or a year or even more than that. Ever wondered why the packet food lasts longer and why the fresh food made at home spoils in a day? Did you ever have an idli or dosa batter freshly made after 5-6 days of preparation? Coming to the fact that we already mentioned above, that, processed foods have preservatives in them. Moreover, the fibre and nutritional content of the food also reduces drastically during this process.
In research conducted if you had freshly cooked food compared to processed food the one eating processed food had symptoms of bloating, reflux, chronic colitis, intestinal inflammation and metabolic disorder which made to eat more finally leading to obesity, increase in blood sugar and resistant to insulin over the long run. Many of them faced issues with IBS or constipation as well.
As your lungs need fresh air to remain healthy, so does your gut need fresh food to stay energetic! So even though you are running errands or have less time in hand, you can always have fresh fruits, salads, homemade smoothies to keep your stomach full. "Almost all the packaged products are FDA approved. But my advice to today's youth will be, as much as possible stick to keeping it natural and real to keep the gut life longer. Have a moderate amount of salt, sugar, refined and processed food. As they say, go by your GUT INSTINCTS, as that's your 24x7 doctor and tells you what is healthy and harmful for the body", adds Dr Parmesh on a concluding note.
Including fresh fruits, fresh vegetables and the greens, moderate amount of meat and meat products, dairy products are beneficial. Homemade yoghurt, buttermilk, homemade fermented idli and dosa batter prove useful for the gut as they contain helpful bacteria to keep it strong.
In the no plastic era or where we stress more on indulging in our grandmother's recipe's it is not very difficult to say no to processed foods. Processed foods once in a while will not pose a threat to your body, but, if indulged daily can lead your path to a Colorectal Specialist soon!
With inputs from Dr Parameshwara C M, Chief Colorectal Surgeon & Founder, Smiles
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