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Nutraceuticals In India: Bringing Together The Old And The New

The fact that Indian kitchen has always been centred around a nutritious diet is also the reason for the success of nutraceuticals in the Indian market.

India boasts of a long tradition of using natural products for the use of enhancing nutrition and preventing diseases. One of the oldest forms of medicine science – Ayurveda – in the world also emerged from India. These has been a long practice of mixing the various ingredients together or processing them in different ways to increase their nutritional and medicinal benefits. In the modern age, nutraceuticals are also trying to do the same for bringing a revolution in how nutrition and health is viewed by people. Defined simply, nutraceuticals are ingredients or products which are derived from a food source in a way that they have additional health and nutritional benefits.

In today’s world, where people are leading sedentary lifestyles with an immense amount of stress because of a range of reasons, our health is bound to take a plunge. At the same time, our growing dependency on fast food, or packaged food, is also pushing us towards a diet which is unhealthy. It is always a good idea to go back to our roots where our grandmothers used to cook the best-quality food using natural ingredients, sometimes preparing everything from scratch using their own hands. The food prepared using fresh products and without any adulteration was extremely beneficial for the body as well as mind.

However, the challenge today is that the fast-paced life and its demands have made it impossible for us to spend so much time in the kitchen, carefully picking what to cook and eating consciously. Therefore, the need is to have products in the market which can fill this lacuna and propel us towards a healthier choice of consumption. This is where Nutraceuticals are acting as a bridge between the old and the new. Adding nutraceuticals in a diet can not only improve overall well-being of a person, but it can also play the role of a medicine to prevent certain ailments and to control the symptoms of existing illnesses. This is the reason why we use the word nutraceutical which is a combination of two words – nutrient and pharmaceutical.

Now, when we talk about the old traditions or practices, these include cooking in earthen utensils, or storing the water in copper jars. Additionally, there are foods like pickle, chutney, buttermilk, and Indian yoghurt, which serve as an excellent probiotic and aid the digestion process. Our elders also preferred a piece of sweet jaggery after their meal which again has many health benefits. Having a balanced and nutrition diet has benefits that are known to everyone. Scientific research has found that a healthy gut can help in boosting the immune system, improve sleep, uplift the mood, and keep the brain and heart healthy. What we eat and the composition of our food plays an important role in maintaining a healthy gut. Similarly, nutraceuticals can also help in postponing the ageing process and increasing the life expectancy of an individual.

The fact that Indian kitchen has always been centred around a nutritious diet is also the reason for the success of nutraceuticals in the Indian market. We can say that the average Indian is aware of the benefits of a balanced and nutritious diet and the nutraceuticals are now providing that to them. The market for nutraceuticals in India has been growing at an astounding pace of 35% annually and it is expected to grow to USD 18 billion by the year 2025. This also makes India a global leader in the field of nutraceuticals.

The Covid-19 pandemic has also played a crucial role in this growth as it made everyone stop and think about improving their immunity. For Indians, all they had to do was look back to their age-old practices and products like Ashwagandha or Indian Gooseberry to achieve that. This increased awareness about nutrition due to pandemic and the traditional loyalty towards food nutrition is now reflecting in how the nutraceuticals market is growing in the country. As the industry grows, it will also improve further because of the research and development progress. We can expect that nutraceuticals’ scope and purpose of use will continue to expand. For now, their accepted use as dietary supplement and medicinal foods has been proven by the benefits they have provided to the consumers and their growing demand in the market.

Source: Business World

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