TOPICS: Processed food

We daily use some products like jam, canned foods, frozen fruits, packaged foods etc. and every product has its benefits and advantages.

Obviously we can find different products indicating they are safe from harmful bacteria and other microorganisms and have added nutritional values and even vitamins. The business of processed food has its own history and has flourished in the world.

Considering this, let us look towards how traditional Nepalese women tried to tackle the difficulty in procuring vegetables to cook in the rainy season. They did this by the use of sun dried processed vegetables like “gundruk” and “sinki”. “Gundruk” is made of green leaf mustard and sinki of radish. This shows how   processed food was the solution to some problems faced to cook and eat during the rainy season.

Today we find the shelves of grocery shops full of processed food products and some items like papad and fish which are sun dried and differently bottled pickles, jams and jellies, soups, dhokla, bakery products, beaten rice, noodles, sauce, potato chips etc.

These products have obviously helped us to save time in cooking and to do something else. But contrary to this we see some disadvantages in the use of these sorts of foods. Processed foods are received from laboratories and not nature.

These foods are genetically modified and may cause gastrointestinal disorders, infertility and also can cause damage to our various body organs.

Food processing removes some of the nutrients, vitamins and fibre present in the food. The sugar and trans fats present in processed items can cause inflammation and the unhealthy practices cause diseases like asthma.

Daily or too much intake of processed food promotes ageing and kidney damage as processed food contains genetically engineered ingredients and phosphates. Before the use of these products we should know how they can be used in a proper manner to cause less harm to us and to gain optimal nutrients from the products.

Vitamin B complex and C are lost when the product is soaked in water and, thereafter, if this water is discarded. It makes nutrients unavailable. Using this water for cooking purposes has its benefits.

The best way of cooking would be by steaming wherein little loss of nutrients takes place.

Meanwhile, freezing can destroy the nutritious components of food stuffs. So the food should be stored in the manner as directed in the products.