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More awareness and understanding of food items consumed in our regular life can help us lead healthy lives. Food is not only for energy and growth, it is necessary to repair tissues, rejuvenate cells and protect against diseases.

Spoilt food and contaminated food are the cause of many diseases. Chemicals used in growing food, preserving it, or used as additive to boost taste bring down the nutritive value of food.

Food security legislation and consumer rights laws are not implemented properly in India. Without proper awareness, people are susceptible to diseases. This harms productivity and eventually the nation’s growth.

Much can change if people are more aware of the nutritive value of the food they eat. In Tamil Nadu and elsewhere, we don’t have the culture of being keenly aware of nutrition.

Tamil Nadu has several regional cuisines. Festivals in temples as well as folk shrines still celebrate local food. Sometimes the deities are offered separate dishes that we don’t eat normally. Often, what we offer is a mix of meat and vegetarian food.

While food is held sacred in our traditions, knowledge of nutrients in food is often lacking

While food is held sacred in our traditions, knowledge of nutrients in food is often lacking. Our eating habits are not quite based on this knowledge. Our traditions don’t take into account knowledge of nutritive aspects of food. Taste is given primary importance.

Only recently has food and nutrition been becoming a part of regular Tamil Nadu school curriculum. In social science lessons, food and nutrition is part of textbooks starting from Class 6 now. This will kindle student interest in the food they eat.

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Until now, writers of Tamil literature focused on ethics and fiction. In new literature in Tamil, writers like Nanjil Nadan, Samas, Niveditha Louis and a few others have written about food. Sri Lankan writer K Daniel has written about food as well as the lack of food and nutrition literacy among Tamils. Only a few such as Dr Sivaraman have written in Tamil about nutrition aspects of food consumed by Tamils.

The skews in food distribution and reaching nutrition to people are not matters of serious concerns. Therefore, there is a paucity of good books regarding food and nutrition in Tamil.

A recent volume in Tamil seeks to fill this space. The compendium, Nutritive Value of Indian Primary (Plant and Animal origin) Foods, gives details on nutritive value of basic Indian food items. The book is divided into four comprehensive chapters.

Many of the information released by the National Institute of Nutrition have been translated and included in this compendium.

The skews in food distribution and reaching nutrition to people are not matters of serious concerns. Therefore, there is a paucity of good books regarding food and nutrition in Tamil

The book includes the revised guidelines for calorie intake. Some 528 food sources are classified and listed with detailed information about the nutrition they provide. Foods consumed occasionally or rarely are also discussed in the book.

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The book has been compiled after many years of research by Dr Sathyamurthy and Kanchana Sathyamurthy. The book is priced at Rs 30,000 and has four large sections. It is an exhaustive reference book on food and the nutrition they provide.

This book can be considered one of the most significant books of knowledge published in Tamil in recent times. The book is a testimony to what dedicated research by individuals can make a difference to the knowledge level among the population. Those who are interested to procure the book can call 9486671819.


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