Read Full article by Sandeed Goyal @TheEconomictimes Photo Credit: ICRISAT
In 2009, researchers publishing in The Lancet defined health as ‘the ability of a body to adapt to new threats and infirmities’. This definition is especially relevant today as the world combats one of its biggest transformative challenges, the Covid-19 pandemic. In the past few decades modern science has taken significant strides in the awareness of disease, by understanding how it works, and discovering new ways to slow it down or to stop it. This Future Shock series looks at how the prevailing threat of infection, disease and death is a frightening time for the human race. A worldwide virus attack has shut down cities, big and small, and even entire countries. With all of us watching the headlines and wondering, “What is going to happen next?”, it is pertinent to look at how we will view health in the future. For many people, the uncertainty surrounding the coronavirus is the hardest thing to handle. We don’t know how exactly we’ll be impacted or how bad things might get. And that makes it all too easy to catastrophize and spiral out into overwhelming dread and panic……….
- Building immunity will be the new mantra. One of the crucial shields against Covid-19, and other against diseases in the future, is to get patients to build good immunity levels so as to be able to fight the infection better. Many home remedies, many magic formulae, many wonder foods will get tried in the quest to strengthen the body against infections and invasions. Scientists at the Indian Institute of Millets Research (IIMR), for example, are drumming up much PR and publicity over recent weeks saying that a fair dose of millet intake could help people boost immunity levels, which would come in handy in any fight against the virulent Novel Coronavirus. Millets (lately known as nutricereals) are nutritionally superior to major cereals (wheat and rice) for carbohydrate and energy, and serve as a good source of protein, high dietary fibre, vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and micronutrients. Finger millet grains contain essential minerals such as calcium (Ca), phosphorus (P) and vitamins. Pearl millet grains contain Fe, which is the highest (6.4 mg/100 g) among various cereals. Millet is rich in resistant starch, soluble and insoluble dietary fibres, minerals, and antioxidants … The protein content of proso millet is significantly richer in essential amino acids (leucine, isoleucine, and methionine) than wheat protein … Probiotic foods from millets are rich in phytochemicals including phytic acid and phytates, which are known to have lower cholesterol and reduce the risk of cancer … the gut microbiota includes bacteria, fungi, protozoa and viruses. The anti-inflammatory property of millets could well be suited to prevent environmental enteropathy and inflammatory bowel disease. Millet is not the only suitor for better immunity. Many more will try for a significant mindshare of the consumer for better health and a shield of protective immunity. And consumers, not surprisingly, will bite.
- Immune Supplements will see an uptick. It is estimated that it takes about 66-days for someone to acquire a new habit and continue doing it when not coerced. Certainly, Covid-19 and social distancing has had consumers rethinking their health habits and it’s reflected in purchase priorities. The purchase of immune supplements is going to see a significant uptick. Data shows that 17 of the top 20 vitamin category products are immune-related. The top 500 vitamin products are dominated by C, D, and multivitamins with immune support. 57% of the top 100 fastest growing vitamin products are vitamin C. More people are likely to turn to vitamins and supplements to try and stay healthy.
- Organic Foods will reign. As per an Assocham study, the Indian organic market stood at a little over Rs 1,200 crore last year. This year the market is expected to cross Rs 2,000 crore because of the health insecurities stoked by the corona contagion. People are clinging to the health bennies intrinsic to organic food – they are free from pesticides and chemicals and considered to be safe, healthy and nutritious. Not only India, the world is clamouring for organic food. As per APEDA statistics, Indian organic exports were Rs. 5,151 crore last year. They are expected to double in the year ahead.