Healthy kya?

Why are companies across all product categories 'nutracising' their brands? Obviously, to catch a huge market -- growing by the day -- for health and dietary supplements

Published: Tuesday 15 February 2005

Healthy kya?

Looks, smells, even tastes like it. But is it beer?

WHAT GOES IN? Pub-crawlers beware, herbal beer is just raw mango mixed with herbs (Andrographis or kalmegh and Tinospora or guduchi), fermented for a week. Besides mango (Mangifera indica), other fruit such as amla (Phyllanthus emblica), guava (Psidium guajava) and oranges (Citrus spp.) can also be used as raw material. The product has been created at a research institute

NUTRA ELEMENT Guduchi is good for the heart, diabetes, blood pressure, leprosy and piles. Kalmegh is a traditional health booster that increases immunity, is effective against fever and acts as a liver tonic. Kalmegh is also used in herbal beer to simulate the bitter flavour of hops. Herbal beer is supposedly high in antioxidants, relaxes the heart and the digestive system, is a diuretic and also protects against gastro-duodenal ulceration. Tests on liver cell lines have shown that cells thrive with herbal beer while most die with regular beer. The product is a thirst-quencher with a pleasant aroma

STATUTORY WARNING Although it is called herbal, the alcohol content in this beer ranges between two and eight per cent, which is around the same as in some regular Indian beers

THE BUY-BUY STATUS The institute has shared the technique with a manufacturer and production of herbal beer is likely to roll by June 2005

PRODUCT FEATURES Can be sourced from flax seed, pumpkin seed, walnut, canola, soybeans and fish (that eat the algae)

NUTRA ELEMENT Fatty acids (alpha linolenic acid and linoleic acid) modulate cell membrane characteristics to minimise inflammations that lead to arthritis, coronary heart disease. Also said to safeguard against depression

PRODUCT FEATURES Available as rice bran oil. Also adds a nutritional element to products like biscuits and bread

NUTRA ELEMENT Rice bran phytonutrients help prevent conditions like cancer, heart disease, kidney stones, excessive calcium and hyperlipidemia (accumulation of fat)

PRODUCT FEATURES Protein in biscuits and as powder and capsules have been around as one of the world's oldest 'nutras'

NUTRA ELEMENT Milk protein (casein), low fat and B-vitamins for convalescents who need dietary supplements. Biscuits come with added calories to help absorb proteins

PRODUCT FEATURES Products include tofu, soymilk. US soy food market worth US $3.2 billion and is growing by 15 per cent each year

NUTRA ELEMENT Soy protein is rich in argenine, glutamine. Promotes anabolic activity, forms muscle, prevents lactic acid build-up. Saponins, phytic acid reduce cholesterol. Genistein in soybean seeds prevents cancer, cardiovascular disease and post-menopausal ailments. But known to have caused allergic reactions

PRODUCT FEATURES Sports-enhancer: based on the theory that creatine levels in wild animals are higher than in captive ones

NUTRA ELEMENT Taken orally, gets absorbed directly in intestinal lumen, then enters the bloodstream

PRODUCT FEATURES In vanilla, chocolate, other flavours and dissolves easily in beverages

NUTRA ELEMENT Rich in vitamins A and B complex, folic acid, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, iron, copper and zinc. Reduces sugar

Sprinkle the powder on your rasams and soups and even garnish your cooked veggies with it. Add it to homemade biscuits, burfi or murukku. Or take the easy route and just pop a spirulina capsule. It's also a terrific idea to try a lassi garnished delicately with spirulina on a hot day as it cools down the body

WHAT GOES IN? Blue-green algae that are a rich source of proteins (64 per cent), lipids (6 per cent) and minerals (8 per cent), including iron. Nutrients like phycocyanin, chlorophyll, carotenoids, vitamins, carbohydrates and minerals. Introduced in India in the 1990s, spirulina is one of the world's most popular health supplements

NUTRA ELEMENT Combats iron deficiency and also boosts vitamin A status (especially during pregnancy and lactation). Reduces plasma glucose level and cholesterol in diabetics, fights accumulation of fat, bronchial asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. It has even been found effective in preventing oral cancer

THE BUY BUY STATUS The product is available everywhere, in several brands. It is sold both in powder form and as tablets

PRODUCT FEATURES Traditional ingredient (haldi) in cooked food, new popularity as 'nutra'. Sold as phytonutrient capsules and as food colour. Well-researched, cancer-prevention properties determined

NUTRA ELEMENT Active ingredients protect the liver from chemicals and fungal toxins. They also manage degenerative secondary complications of diabetes mellitus

Next time you need some refreshing tea, don't reach for that cup, just pop a tea pill. Yes, now there are actually tea tablets and capsules. Tea is rich in antioxidants, green tea being more potent than the regular, cured one

WHAT GOES IN? Extract of green tea (dry leaf), about 40 per cent polyphenols (active antioxidant) by weight

NUTRA ELEMENT Each capsule has active ingredients equivalent to 10 cups of tea. Antioxidants protect drinkers from different types of cancer (of the lung, stomach) and precancerous conditions. Polyphenols in it prevent mutation, inhibit tumour cell DNA synthesis and reduce production of harmful peroxide molecules. Catechins block biosynthesis of endogenous nitrosamines that could cause cancer. Other chemicals in the leaf inhibit aflatoxin- induced liver cancer. The brew or tablet is also a guard from the side effects of anti-cancer drugs. Natural antioxidants in the leaf have anti-aging properties. Polysaccharides help reduce sugar level in the blood. Pigments can prevent arteries from hardening, reduce blood cholesterol. The flavones are effective antibacterials and anti-fungals. Polyphenols have also been found effective against HIV


THE BUY BUY STATUS As tablets and tea

PRODUCT FEATURES Sold as the safe, natural way to get into shape

NUTRA ELEMENT Garcinia (kokum), a fruit rich in hydroxy citric acid, reduces the body's conversion of carbohydrates to fats. Areca catechu (supari) encourages healthy fat metabolism, decreases false hunger and sugar cravings

PRODUCT FEATURES Process adds betacarotene to sugarcane juice. Ginger (adrak) and cumin (jeera) are add-ons for flavour

NUTRA ELEMENT Sugarcane is rich in minerals, vitamins. Cumin and ginger are anti-bacterial, increase immunity and act as anti-emetics

Good old sattu, now targeted at diabetics

WHAT GOES IN? A mix of microwaved cereals, pulses and extracts of medicinal plants. Pulses like soybean (Glycine), gram (Cicer), urad (Phaseolus), guar (Cyamompsis) and konch, also called velvet bean (Mucuna). Cereals are jau (Hordeum), buckwheat (Fagopyrum), amaranth (Amaranthus). Medicinal plants in this remix include ashwagandha (Withania) that raises immunity, provides energy, vidarikand (Pueraria), a general tonic for headaches and an aphrodisiac and punarnava (Boerhaavia) which works against fever and is a diuretic. Gudmar (Gymnema), karela (Momordica), jamun (Syzgium), vijaysar (Pterocarpus), as well as other plants like methi or fenugreek (Trigonella), cinnamon (Cinnamomum), bimba (Coccinia) and bel (Aegle) are anti-diabetic. Common spices, added for the taste factor, include Kali mirch or black pepper (Piper longum), safed musli (Chlorophytum tuberosum), turmeric (Curcuma longa) and elaichi (Elettaria cardamomum).

NUTRA ELEMENT The rise in diabetes-statistics in India has led to the revival of this "natural nutraceutical" that's nutritious, non-toxic, easy to digest and improves vigour in diabetics. It controls blood/urine sugar levels and tackles common diabetes-related problems like fatigue, drowsiness, frequent urination, excessive thirst and hunger. It is also helpful in controlling conditions like weight loss, swellings on legs, burning feet and palms, dry skin, hypertension, blurred vision and wounds that heal slowly. In adult diabetics, oral medicine-intake was found to have reduced (by 30-100 per cent) as were insulin doses (by 10-30 per cent).

THE BUY BUY STATUS Available; new players making moves. In future: Sattu tablets and capsules!

PRODUCT FEATURES Dietary supplement prepared from fresh plants and roots and standardised using three separate marker compounds

NUTRA ELEMENT Braces body's defence mechanism. Phytonutrients in Echinacea supply additional nutritional benefits

Sold as healthcare supplement for sportspersons and keep-fit types

PRODUCT FEATURES High carbohydrate energiser

NUTRA ELEMENT Beta-carotene, vitamins B and C are complemented by electrolytes and glycogen for instant energy

PRODUCT FEATURES Active ingredients from turmeric and shallaki (Boswellia)

NUTRA ELEMENT Regular use boosts blood supply to joints for cartilage repair and mobility, arrests inflammatory responses like pain, swelling. Can be taken over long periods without gastric irritation and is not toxic to liver or kidney

PRODUCT FEATURES Sourced from Dunaliella salina, a saline water alga. Used as a powder or an oil. Rich in carotenoids such as beta carotene, alpha carotene and xanthophylls like zeaxanthin, cryptoxanthin and lutein

NUTRA ELEMENT These chemicals are the best kind of antioxidants

PRODUCT FEATURES Fibre supplement, sold as tablets. It has ingredients like apple pectin, Psyllium or seed husk (isabgol) and cellulose

NUTRA ELEMENT Friendly acidophilus bacteria help digestion, keep colon healthy, boost nutrient absorption.

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