In the midst of the Covid-19 pandemic, consuming healthy food plays a crucial role in maintaining well-being as well as immunity. However, certain foods also aid in the prevention of lifestyle-related chronic diseases. Hippocrates, the father of medicine, included food as a part of treatment to cure diseases. Food, as medicine, is not something new to a nation like ours with a rich cultural heritage of 5,000 years. The fundamentals of using edible herbs, barks, seeds, stems, leaves and other food items to treat illnesses are well documented in our ancient records including texts like Charaka Samhita. They are an integral part of our ancient healing system Ayurvedic medicine. But, the system suffers from lack or inadequate research and controlled clinical trials. This often conflicts with the concept of ‘evidence-based’ medicines fundamental to modern, Western medicine.
Modern medicine and food science recognise that food serves a primary function of providing energy and nutrients for living. It is also established that the secondary function of food is that it must be good to taste. It is the tertiary function which deals with the regulation of physical condition of the body which was recognised later. This led to the formulation of a special category of foods called Functional foods, foods which provide special health benefits which go beyond their nutritional components like energy, vitamins and minerals. They are natural or formulated foods that enhance physiological performance or prevent diseases. The promise of functional foods has emerged at a time when limitations of modern medicines were felt and consumer interest in diet and health is at an all-time high.
Taken from many cultures, herbs and plants commonly used for treatments for specific disorders have been carefully identified. By now, modern analytical methods have identified more than 10,000 physiologically active constituents provided by the human diet, some of which have been developed into medicines.
It was the Japanese in the 1980s who developed and commercialised the concept of functional foods in response to the burden of disease and escalating healthcare costs. The Ministry of Health & Welfare in Japan initiated a regulatory system to approve certain foods with documented health benefits. Thus, was born FOSHU-Foods For Specified Health Use. This was the first time, food could legitimately be labelled and categorised as possessing specific health-promoting or diseasepreventing properties.
This sort of regulation, backed by scientific clinical trials, unifies the gap which exists between medical, nutrition, food sciences and traditions. The FOSHU system was introduced to encourage the maintenance of health, prevention of lifestylerelated diseases based on the consumption of functional foods with scientific evidence. FOSHU food benefits include cholesterol-lowering, regulating BP and improving bowel, gastrointestinal health and bone health.
Interestingly, the positive health correlations of functional foods are not on the basis of their nutrient content. Non-nutrient constituents contribute beneficial physiological effects that either retard or prevent disease. Some of these include allyl sulfides in garlic and onions prevent heart disease; phytates in grains and legumes protect against cancer and heart disease; lignans in flaxseeds have a protective effect against cancers; isoflavones in soy protect against osteoporosis, cancer and heart disease; indoles and isothiocyanates in cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli have a protective effect against cancer; ellagic acid in grapes, strawberries, raspberries and nuts function as antioxidant and anticancer substances and prebiotics in garlic, barley, oats and probiotics in fermented milk and yogurt help in improving gut function and immunity.
Its time, we too establish and put in place a regulatory system for such foods to promote safety and health, something similar like the Japanese or else we may lose out not only patents on turmeric and neem but also miss out on their benefits.
The writer is a well-known clinical nutritionist, columnist, author, entrepreneur and researcher.
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Kashmiri ASHA worker serves as inspiration by donating blood 28 times
A 32-year-old woman named Bilqees Ara, an ASHA worker, has donated blood 28 times since 2012. She has served as an inspiration to others across the nation.
Bilqees, who is from the Handwara Tehsil in the Kupwara area of North Kashmir, stated that she understands the “importance of blood”.
She said that by donating a pint of blood, she not only saves a precious life but an entire family.
She began donating blood in 2012 and has since given 28 pints.
She expressed her gratitude and pride at being the saviour of so many patients in the Kashmir valley.
I’ve seen people cry helplessly as they try to get blood to save their loved ones, but I’m proud of myself because I’ve arranged blood for them as well. “I felt an inner joy after that,” she said.
In Kashmir, she is known as the “Blood Woman of Kashmir”.
She is a registered blood donor. Whenever a need arises, the officials at the Blood Bank at Handwara hospital call her and, within the shortest span of time, she makes herself available to donate blood.
Women should come forward and do this as there is nothing to be afraid of. This is to be done for society, she said. She also said that she wondered who else would do it if she refused.
If a person has blood and courage, why can’t he give it to someone else in a time of need? She asked.
Covid facilities to reduce in Delhi amid drop in cases
The Delhi government has closed 11 Covid care facilities because to a consistent reduction in cases. Two Covid Care Centers are operational at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital, which has 50 beds, and Balak Ram Hospital, which has 25 beds, according to a government report. Only five admissions were registered at Ambedkar Nagar Hospital over the past three months, while there were none at Balak Ram Hospital.
The number of patients has steadily decreased at the remaining CCCs as well, according to reports.
According to officials, the Delhi Disaster Management Authority on Thursday decided to scale back the medical staff and infrastructure that had been deployed for COVID management in a planned manner. The health department will now formulate an action plan in response to this decision.
“The deven CCCs were closed and dismantled by Delhi government and one by the Centre and three others with total 4000 bed capacity- Radha Saomi Satsang ,Chattarpur, Sawan Kirpal, Burari , and Sant Nirankari, Burari- were closed but not yet dismantled”, officials said.
India’s daily covid tally falls below 5k with 4,858 new cases
India reported 4,858 new Covid-19 cases in the last 24 hours, 806 fewer than yesterday, bringing the total to 4,45,39,046, according to data released by the Union health ministry on Monday. On the other hand, according to the health bulletin, the number of active cases rose to 48,027.
India has 0.11 percent of the infections that are still active, and the Covid recovery rate has risen to 98.71 percent. 2.76 percent was the daily positivity rate, while 1.78 percent was the weekly positivity rate.
Infections with the coronavirus are currently most common in Kerala, followed by Tamil Nadu, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Assam, and West Bengal.
The health ministry stated that as many as 18 fatalities were reported today, taking the death toll to 5,28,355. This included eight deaths reconciled by Kerala.
According to the data available, 2.16 billion doses of vaccines have been administered in the country so far under the nationwide Covid vaccination drive.
On December 19, India’s Covid-19 total had reached one billion. On May 4 and June 23, respectively, last year, it reached the depressing milestones of two and three crore. On January 25 of this year, the number of Covid cases in the nation surpassed four crore.
Over 100 people suffer food poisoning in Manipur
Since Tuesday, over 100 people, including children, have been admitted to hospitals in the Senapati district of Manipur due to a possible case of food poisoning linked to a birthday celebration in the hilly state.
According to medical officer Dr. Th Veidai Shuru of PHC Paomata on Thursday, the majority of the patients, who are from the villages of Tungjoy and Tunggam, were admitted at the Public Health Centre (PHC) Paomata while some were in the Public Health Sub-Centre (PHSC) at Tungjoy.
From Tuesday onward through Wednesday, patients with complaints of loose motion, fever, and bodily soreness were admitted to health centres.
“Now most of the patients are getting relatively better, “said Dr Veidai.
According to reports from medical facilities, about 83 people have been released, and the 31 others are anticipated to leave soon.
According to the specialists, food poisoning is a possibility. According to locals, the primary cause may be the drinking of fermented fish chutney during birthday festivities.
“However, it will take at least 7 to 14 days to get the results for the samples which we collected and sent for testing and we’ve also collected blood samples to check other diseases, Dr Veidai said.”
Meanwhile, representatives from the food safety agency visited a village in the Senapati district to determine what was causing the widespread illness.
Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?
Medicaid services, as convenient as it sounds, might not be fulfilling enough to live a comfortable life for low-income families. Air purifiers are no more a luxury and have become a requirement to stay healthy. When we come to this, the real question is: does Medicaid pay for air purifiers?
The answer to this simple question is no. Medicaid does not cover air purifiers until and unless it is prescribed by a doctor if you are medically ill. This is not just enough to know; read on to have a better idea of how medicare works and what are your other options.
Does Medicaid Pay for Air Purifiers?
Medicaid is an insuranse plan which does not cover equipment lik air purifier, room heater, humidifier, dehumidifier, and air conditioner. The plan is only entitled to cover only those devices, which are Durable Medical Equipment.
For instance, Medicare is shown to provide Positive Airway Pressure machines if you are medically proven to have obstructive sleep apnea. However, in some cases, Medicaid may reimburse you with an air purifier and humidifier if you are medically proven for its need.
To do so, you must provide a proof showing authentication of your medical need, like a prescription or a letter of medical necessity. The plan only covers medical grade air purifiers and Air Purifier Mag has shared some of the best options that may help you get your air purifier cost covered under Medicaid easily.
Why Original Medicaid does not Include Air Purifier in their Part B?
Original Medicaid part B only covers the equipments under the DME category and since the plan does not categorize air purifiers as a DME, it’s not in the list. They rather believe it to be an environmental control equipment and not primarily medical in nature.
Same is the case with the other such appliances like humidifiers and room heaters that are designed to improve or manage health conditions.
Can you Ask a Doctor to Prescribe you An Air Purifier?
You can request your doctor to prescribe you an air purifier only if you really think it could bring a difference in your health status. Medical grade air purifiers, which use HEPA filters are usually prescribed by the doctors to look after health condiitons like asthma. In some cases, doctors can refuse to sign you a prescription considering its short term benefits.
Does Medicaid Advantage Plus Pay for Air Purifiers?
Medicaid Advantage Plus is a long-term health management solution for people with chronic condition who need health devices and tools in their homes and have access to both Medicare and Medicaid plans.
The MAP plan is offered by the companies associated with Medicaid to cover all the services laid down by the original Medicaid plan.
Unlike the original plan, as allowed by the fall enrollment of 2020, the Advantage plan is more likely to be helpful in covering the cost of health equipment like air conditioners and air purifiers. Coverage plans and type of health devices covered in the Advantage plan vary from one provider to another.
Which Durable Medical Equipment does Original Medicaid Part B Cover?
Medicaid, in general, covers the major chunk i.e. 80% of the Medicaid approved health equipment also called, durable medical equipment, to be used at home. To consider it a DME, Medicaid believes the equipment should be able to be repeatedly used, must only be useful for the sick, and restricted to home usage.
The equipment the plan will cover is based on the plan you choose and your health condition. Here’s a list of equipment Medicaid plan covers:
● Hospital beds
● Seat lifts
● Pacemaker monitors
● Blood glucose monitors
● Wheelchair lifts
● Heating pads
● Oxygen regulators
● Face masks
● Alternating pressure pads, mattresses
● Motorized wheelchair
● Heat lamps
● Sitz baths
Other Ways To Get Inssurance or Pay for an Air Purifier
Either when time is running out or there is no way out to get your prescription approved by Medicaid, you can opt for other ways to cover the expenses for your DME.
Private insurance: Even though FSA or HSA debit card isn’t allowed to be used on purchase of equipments, you can reimburse the amount by FSA after buying it from your own money. Most of the insurance providers cover air purifier as long as a proof is provided in terms of prescription or letter of medical necessaity.
Second Hand: You can always pay for the the equipment from your pocket. However, one needs to understand the cost difference if one opts for an insurance plan. You can directly pay and get second hand DME at half price from Facebook Market place, eBay, or any good thrift store.
Veterans Health Care: With the help of Department of Veterans Affairs, veterans and their spouses have the benefit of getting Medicaid copayment or the complete cost of DME.
Nonprofit Assistance: There are a number of nonprofit foundations and state programs, which help elderly with DME through low or interest-free loans and different programs. Visit your state’s site to have a better idea on the available programs.
India reports 5,108 new Covid cases in 24 hours
India reported 5,108 new Covid-19 cases in the previous 24 hours on Wednesday, bringing the total number of infections to 44,510,057. According to data from the union health ministry, the country’s active caseload is 45,749, accounting for 0.1 per cent of total cases.
So far, a total of 4,39,36,092 people have been recovered, with 5,675 recovered in the last 24 hours. The recovery rate in the country stands at 98.71 per cent.
The weekly positivity rate is 1.70 per cent, while the daily positivity rate is 1.44 per cent.
According to official data, approximately 89.02 crore samples have been tested for coronavirus in the country so far, with 3,55,231 tests conducted in the last 24 hours.
Meanwhile, India’s vaccination coverage has reached 215.67 crores, with 18.70 crores being precautionary (booster) doses. The vaccine doses have been administered to 19,25,881 people in the last 24 hours.
4.06 crore people aged 12-14 received their first dose, and 3.09 crore received their second. Over 6.18 crore people aged 15 to 18 received their first doses, with over 5.27 crore receiving a second dose.
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