Friday, August 10, 2001,
Chandigarh, India


L U D H I A N A   S T O R I E S


A miracle bean called soyabean
Our Correspondent

Ludhiana, August 9
According to Prof Faqir Chand Shukla of the Food Nutrition Department , Punjab Agricultural University, most of our diet is deficient in proteins and calories, and this protein-calorie malnutrition spawns several disorders. Cereals constitute the major part of our diet, but they are deficient in essential amino-acid lysine. The quality of proteins depends on the amount of the essential amino-acids they supply. Proteins are composed of amino-acids. Some of the amino-acids are such as cannot be manufactured by the body. Hence they are indispensable and to obtain them we have to depend on other sources. Animal proteins such as meat, fish and eggs are called complete proteins because on digestion , they supply all the essential amino-acids required by the body. But these sources are costly and are not within the reach of everyone.

Further, Prof. Shukla says that soyabean, the so-called miracle bean, could solve the problem of protein-calorie malnutrition. It has an abundance of protein and fat, besides many other nutritionally important constituents.

How many of us do really know about the importance of proteins? About 15-20 per cent of our body is made up of proteins. The various enzymes which aid digestion are also proteins. Soyabean has more than 40 per cent protein, whereas other foods rich gram and groundnut, possess only 20 per cent of it. Meat which is considered to be a good source of protein, has only 24 per cent of it. Soyabean tops the list in having the maximum protein contest ó not only in quantity but in quality also. Soyabean excels in so many other resources of vegetable foods. Meat, fish and eggs produces uric acid in the body and it leads to a number of disorders, particularly those of the kidneys. But the soyabean proteins do not produce uric acid because they are alkaline. Owing to their alkalinity, they are quite useful from the viewpoint of health, as they help to reduce the acidity of the blood. The starch and sugar content of soybean is low. It is just half that of other dry beans. Soyabean contains so little starch that it is excellent for diabetics.

According to studies fat is considered to be the richest source of energy and supplies more than two times what is supplied by proteins and carbohydrates. If fat is included in out diet, the pressure for want of calories on cereals would be lessened. Soyabean supplies a fairly good amount of fat. Fat supplies more calories without increasing the bulk of the food too much. Moreover, the fat of soybean is rich in unsaturated fatty acids, which are important from nutrition as well as from digestion point of view.

Although soyabean excels in other foods in nutritional quality, there are some obstacles in its consumption. Soyabean proteins in unprocessed or raw form are poorly digested. The digestive enzymes of the stomach cannot completely convert the protein inside the bean into a digestible form, with the result that only a part of the protein may become available to the body. Another reason for the poor digestibility of the soyabean protein is the presence of an inhibitor, trypsin, in soyabean, and it prevents the digestive enzymes from properly breaking down the protein. Therefore, to overcome these hurdles, soyabean should be properly processed. Cooking, steaming, fomenting, soaking and germinating are the various methods which can be employed for processing. These methods improve the digestibility and biological value of soyabean protein. Soyabean products are quite popular in foreign countries. Fermented soyabean is used in many forms in China, Japan and Korea.

Milk, curd and butter prepared from soyabean are liked in Western Countries. It s a matter of pleasure that some products prepared from soyabean are also available in India and are becoming more and more popular.

Soyabean can be put to diverse uses. Dr Shukla says its flour can be mixed with wheat flour and this combination helps to fill in what wheat proteins lack. Such a mixture can be utilised for preparing biscuits. Soyabean milk can be prepared and is quite rich in nutritients and the cost is also negligible.

Prof Shukla says that soya milk can be easily prepared. Select good beans, ie. remove those which are spoiled and discoloured. Wash them properly two to three times with clear water and then soak them in water (four times the weight of beans) for 7-8 hours. Also add a pinch of sodium bicarbonate (baking soda) which helps to remove bitterness. Drain away the water and again wash the beans in clean water. Now make a paste of the beans by grinding them in a pestle and mortar. Strain through a piece of muslin. Two cups of warm water may be used during grinding and straining. Then boil the milk for sometime. Sugar can be added according to taste. Cardamom may also be used for flavouring.

The constituency of this milk can be altered as desired. For thick consistency, a smaller quantity of water should be used and vice-versa. This milk can be used for preparing butter, curd, etc. It is a highly energising food and can serve as a tonic for persons suffering from diabetes, peptic ulcer, anemia, heart ailments, gout, kidney trouble, blood pressure and diseases which are related to malnutrition in children and in pregnant and lactating women.

Make the consumption of soaybean a habit and solve the nutritional problems efficiently.


How to prevent and stop allergies

ALLERGY is a common problem in world today. Allergy can occur in all age groups. Allergy comes in many forms. Hay fever, with its symptoms of itchy, watery eyes, sneezing, runny, stuffy or itchy nose, temporary loss of smell, headache and feeling tired, is the most common form of allergy. Dark circles under the eyes or post-nasal drip may also accompany hay fever. Children with allergies may snore, wake with a sore throat, breathe through the mouth and frequently rub the nose. Allergy symptoms are often like symptoms of a cold, but usually last longer.

The most common causes of allergies are particles of the air, such as tree or grass pollen, house dust mites, mould. Allergies may be genetic. Parents with hay fever often have children with allergies. Hay fever usually develops in the early teens, but can occur or any age.

To control allergies you must determine whatís causing them. Sometimes they are easy to pinpoint. But seasonal allergies can be harder to figure. Thatís where allergy testing comes in. Skin tests for pollen and other seasonal allergen are accurate, so people with troublesome symptoms should definitely get themselves tested. The purpose of allergy shots is to increase your tolerance to an allergen by exposing you to small amounts of that substance over one to two weeks and finally once a month. It is a commitment, but for people who take medications daily, having one shot a week is a real improvement.

Preventive measures

If you take steps to avoid exposure to pollen and fungal spores, you can reduce your allergy symptoms and improve your quality of life. Use tips to keep allergen from sharing your space.

* Avoid outdoor activities in the early mornings, when the pollen count is highest.

* Clean bathroom and kitchen surfaces often with bleach to reduce mould growth.

* Use an air conditioner which removes mould spores from the air.

* Change or clean heating and cooling system filters regularly.

* Keep animals (pets) outside, or at least out of the bedroom.

* If your symptoms are severe, the best solution may be to get rid of the pet.

* Shower and change after being outside to avoid tracking pollen in

* Wash your hair before bed to avoid leaving pollen on your pillow.

* If you must do yard work, wear a mask.

* If you have a damp basement or a bathroom without a vent, run a dehumidifier, which helps prevent mould growth.

* Brush pets before they come in.

* Keep windows closed at home and in the car.

* Avoid smoking and inhaling other peopleís smoke.

* Eliminate aerosol sprays, perfumes, room deodorisers, cleaning products and other substances they may add to the problem.

* Antihistamines and decongestants may relieve some allergy symptoms. Use caution when taking these drugs.

* During allergy attack drink plenty of liquids, including lukewarm water, vegetable soup, which may help relieve nasal congestion.

Be careful if signs of a severe allergic reaction develop, especially soon after taking a drug, eating a food or being stung by an insect. Wheezing or difficulty breathing; swelling around the lips, tongue or face. Skin rash, itching, feeling of warmth or hives, then immediate consult your doctor.

Dr Anil Dheer

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