4 Benefits of Golden Milk (Turmeric Milk)

Introduction

Though Chilli is most commonly associated with Indian staple for ages, the importance of the turmeric or Haldi, as is known in India, is not that publicized among the people. However, its importance has once again come to the reckoning during the time of global pandemic COVID-19. It is surprising and ironic to know that turmeric’s health benefits were unknown to the Indians even when they are using it to make every cuisine that they make at home. People make a solution of Haldi and salt to dip the vegetables and fruits before their use. It is believed that the solution removes the bacteria and other harmful chemicals that may have been on the surface of the treated fruits and vegetables.

Golden Milk

Origin of Turmeric

A mainstay of all Indian kitchens, turmeric is extracted from an underground stem, just like ginger, that is cultivated throughout India. As it grows up, it accumulates all the required chemicals for the well being of human beings. When we grew up, the grandparents used to talk a lot about its benefits and made us drink the milk laced with turmeric powder. Even, Indian System of Medicine, Ayurveda gives it as a recipe for sun tanning, bruise, or chronic cold. In this article, let us see whether these claims by elders are with good reasons to backup or not and the way by which the golden milk is properly cooked.

Preparation of Golden Milk

The best way of preparing golden milk is by the addition of a teaspoon of turmeric powder to hot milk and adding a dash of sugar or honey to it. The experts believe that the maximum benefits of this healthy concoction can be obtained if it is drunk without any sweetening agents. To make the concoction healthier, it is better to add fresh rhizome paste in it. However, everything depends upon the quality of turmeric powder used, says Ramesh who writes books on Ayurveda. Some people prefer to call it ‘turmeric latte’ as they feel that it tastes awful. The golden milk can indeed taste awful if it is not prepared properly.

Golden Milk Preparation

There are other ways of making the golden milk tastier, especially for those who hate its original taste. The golden milk made using the following taste is so delicious that you feel to the trade of the coffee with it. It is done as follows.

  1. Make an equal-mixture of water and milk and bring the resultant mixture to a simmer. 
  2. Separately, melt some ghee in a pan and sprinkle a half teaspoon of turmeric powder into the molten ghee. 
  3. Continue heating the mixture until it smells aromatic.
  4. Take the pan containing ghee and turmeric powder off the flame and add cinnamon, pepper, and nutmeg mix the mixture by shaking it over the flame.
  5. Pour the water-milk mixture on to the pan and mix it thoroughly.
  6. The flavored mixture of milk in water is then heated to a light boil.
  7. Add the sweetener of your choice to make it sweet and tasty.
  8. Take the pan off the flame and serve it hot to devour its taste.

Altered Bioavailability of Curcumin

The piperine present in the black pepper improves the bioavailability of curcumin. This combination works even better with some nutmeg and cinnamon in the milk medium. Some people don’t like to drink milk due to various reasons such as allergies and lifestyle choices. During those times, it is always prudent, from a health point of view, to prepare turmeric-based preparations such as golden milk. The nutritive value of milk can be enhanced by using coconut or almond milk.

Health Benefits of Turmeric Powder

The spice itself is an antidote for common ailments like chronic or simple cold, inflammations and bruise. It is even used as a medicine skin tanning and other simple skin ailments. When it is mixed with health drink milk, its medicinal properties grow at least 10 folds. Lots of researches have been done on its medicinal effects in different parts of the world. These researches corroborate what our grandparents coerced us to believe through their wonderful preparations as antidotes for common ailments at home. The posts with headings “golden milk” on Instagram have made it an international star among the global dwellers.

Health Benefits
  1. Turmeric Powder Stimulates Immune System: The most important content in turmeric that powers the body’s immune system is curcumin. This wonderful natural chemical has pharmacological properties such as antiseptic, anti-inflammatory, and antibacterial properties. Because of this reason, the consumption of a glass of turmeric powder-laced milk has become a norm for the Indian kids at home. The kids consuming the golden or Haldi milk get relief from not only coughs and sniffles but also immunity against further infections. Seeing the response to various ailments after the gulping of the golden milk, the lactating mothers, young children, or patents who are recovering from surgery are given this health concoction to build the body immunity in Indian households.   
  2. Turmeric-laced Milk Cures the Sick: The reason why the health benefits of the turmeric powder get boosted on mixing with milk is the solubility of its potent chemical curcumin in the fat-rich milk. When the turmeric powder-laced milk is ingested, the curcumin present in the turmeric powder gets absorbed along with fat easily in our digestive system, says nutritional consultant Sangeetha Kanna. So, after getting into our bloodstream, the curcumin purifies it and flushes out the toxins from the system. Thus a person suffering from headaches due to sinus blockage gets to drink the golden milk receives immediate relief from it as the turmeric powder dissolves the phlegm or mucus and promotes the sinus drainage. The main component curcumin helps in digestion and keeps at bay heartburn and bloating if ingested regularly with milk.
  3. Antidepressant Effect of Turmeric Milk: People taking a cup of golden milk before going to bed can get a peaceful sleep in the night. Armed with the antioxidant properties, curcumin protects the internal organs of the human body when used regularly with milk over a longer duration. It is important to remember that the health benefits of golden milk appear only after a certain time. Hence, it should be used on a long-term basis, not on an SOP basis. The bioavailability of the tryptophan in the brain gets enhanced in the presence of curcumin. Hence, the medicinal properties of milk get bio-magnified in the presence of the turmeric powder. Golden milk is believed to bring the depression down as some research studies have shown. It can even potentially bring down inflammation relating to mood disorders also.
  4. Turmeric Cures Skin Disorders: The curcumin present in turmeric powder is known to improve the skin complexion of people. This is the reason why the brides-to-be are given a glass of turmeric milk before their marriage. The anti-inflammatory and antibacterial properties of curcumin enable the turmeric to remove acne and improve the skin complexion. The local beauticians in India promote the concoction of turmeric and cow’s milk as cleanser-cum-moisturizer. A potent creamy mixture of turmeric and malai is used as an instant glow mask to brighten the face. This cream works well for people who have dry to normal complexions. On the other hand, another potent mixture of turmeric with yogurt works well to give brighter skin in people with oily skin complexion.

Local Variants of Turmeric and their Uses

Another variant of turmeric, locally known as Kasturi Haldi in South India, is an amazing ingredient in many beauty and facial treatment mixtures. For instance, the beautician Deepshikha Deshmukh, the founder of Love Organically, uses another Haldi variant by the name amba halid in her recipes for beauty enhancement. She says that she mixes this Haldi variant with malai and raw rice to make a smooth scrub for the body. She further adds that this superb mixture not only hydrates the body but also removes the dead skin to make brighter complexion. So, next time if you have any skin issues, it is better to look for the grandma remedies than looking for the instant chemical solutions that are available online.

Known and Unknown Facts You Should Know About COVID 19

Introduction

The new coronus virus is the disease causing agent of the viral disease that has become global pandemic, and it has induced the global economic recession. Known as COVID-19, this disease has threatened the public health in large-scale and forced the authorities across the world to go for long-term lockdown to break its chain of progression. According to the UN Secretary General, the situation due to the COVID-19 is reminding of the crises that had occurred during the World War II. Globally, more than 16 lakhs people have been infected by this disease and it has caused over 82,000 deaths worldwide.

COVID-19

Origin of COVID-19

The COVID-19 had its origin in the Chinese city of Wuhan in the last month of 2019 when the local health workers stated that this viral disease was passed from the animals to humans. Since then, it has spread to different countries across the world. At present the disease is prevalent in over 100 countries across the world. Being a new virus, there is no specific vaccine or medicine available over-the-board to prevent this viral disease. Since December last year, there have been many attempts to understand the novel corona virus. Despite the availability of plethora of data available, it is not known much about this newly mutated corona virus. In this article, we are going to walk you through some unknown things and facts about the virus.

COVID-19 Symptoms
  1. This newly muted virus was first spotted in the Chinese city of Wuhan where the people got this virus from the products derived from cattles.
  2. Corona Virus is scientifically called as SARS-CoV-2.
  3. Since the disease was discovered in the year 2019, World Health Organization (WHO) has christened it as COVID-19.
  4. Only few days back, WHO has decided to call this COVID-19 as ‘Pandemic’.
  5. This virus belongs to a family of viruses that cause diseases ranging from mild cold to severe diseases. Some of the severe diseases caused by this family of viruses include Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS).
  6. The common paths of transmission of viruses include physical contact of or through the coughed or sneezed droplets coming from the infected person.
  7. This viral disease is highly contagious.
  8. The symptoms are mild in the beginning for an infected person and the infections picks up over a period of time. The symptoms associated with COVID-19 include dry cough, fever, sore throat, nasal congestion, tiredness, diarrhoea or running nose.
  9. About 80% of people with COVID-19 recover without much medical intervention. However, ever one person out of six infected people become seriously ill and require serious medical intervention as they develop breathlessness.
  10. Ordinary people can avoid getting this disease by observing social distancing, washing their hands with hand sanitizers or soaps at regular intervals, stopping the touching of their face, nose and eyes, avoid travelling, and stopping the practice of hugging and handshaking.
COVID-19 Care

Unknown Facts About COVID-19

After having gone through the known facts, let us now look at some unknown facts about this disease.

COVID-19 Smart Activities
  1. Since there is no prescribed cure for the treatment of COVID-19, all the patients will get is the supportive treatment based on symptoms produced by them.
  2. The vaccines for the Corona Virus are being developed in the countries like the U.S. and China. However, they are undergoing clinical trials in these countries, which is a mandatory step before getting the approval from the local government agencies.
  3. COVID-19-infected person on an average may pass on the virus to two or more people.
  4. Mainly old people, children below 10 years and those persons who have weak immune systems and pre-existing medical conditions may develop serious illness. According to the doctors, people with heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure or previous lung infections might get serious illness due to the exposure to this virus.
  5. When the affected person sneezes or coughs, the droplets that come out contain this virus. The virus particles present in air-suspended droplets remain virulent for about 3 hours in the airborne drop suspensions.
  6. Though the wearing of face masks does not guarantee 100% protection from the COVID-19 transmission, it is advisable for the persons infected with virus to wear them to stop the spreading of cough or sneeze droplets in air. Even the people with common cold and cough are advised to wear the face mask to avoid the spreading of the cough or sneeze droplets. The healthy people need not wear the mask.
  7. Though there is no data available to substantiate the re-occurrence of COVID-19 infection, there have been instances of people getting the infection after recovering completely from it once. For example, a Japanese woman was reported to have got the re-infection after recovering from it once.
  8. Despite the previously held beliefs that COVID-19 infection tends to slow down during summer seasons, there have been increased infections in all climate areas. That is why the WHO has made it clear that the transmission of this disease is not climate dependent.
  9. There is no information to suggest when the COVID-19 infection is likely to subside and life across the world would return to normal.
  10. Though there is no evidence to suggest the spread of Corona Virus from pet cats or dogs, there has been a case involving a tiger at zoo getting the COVID-19 infection. More data is required to substantiate this claim.

Sivayogi Brahmanada Swami – Great Social and Religious Reformer from Kerala

Introduction

Sivayogi Brahmananda Swami was a seer and a social reformer from the state of Kerala. He established Ananda Maha Sabha and Anandamatham with the help of others who had similar views. Right from childhood, he was an atheist. Hence, he denounced all forms of idol worship and all forms of religion. According to him, the ultimate aim of the activities of all human beings is to get the Ultimate Bliss or Paramanandam. He was against the segregation of people based on their caste, creed, and color. The movement he spearheaded during the Kerala Renaissance period goes into Kerala’s history as the golden period. His original name was Govindan Kutty.

Sivayogi Brahmananda Swami

Early Life

Sivayogi Brahmananda Swami was born as Govindan Kutty on August 26, 1852. He was born into an aristocratic Nair family. His parents were Nani Amma of Karat Nair family and Kunjikrishna Menon of Vellengi Ravanyaram. His birthplace was Nenmara in the Palakkad district of Kerala. As per the custom that was prevalent in the state, Govindan Kutty was staying with his mother Nani Amma and his father used to make occasional visits to him. In the formative years of his life, he was brought up in an orthodox way. In the early morning, he used to take the bath and visit the worship chamber in the house for prayers. As a child, Govindan Kutty was ignorant about the activities undertaken by him at his home. He merely followed the instructions given by the elders in the family. During those times, youths were not expected to raise any objection on the ages-old customs followed at their homes.

 Young Govindan Kutty used to watch the rituals and customs with disbelief. His inquisitive mind could not understand the society’s illogical behavior.  He asked himself why people are getting divided on color and caste lines when they are made of the same flesh and bone and contain the same blood. This fundamental question was troubling his mind since his childhood. He started to think about the rationality of these customs.  After thinking about this over some time, he realized that there was no rationality behind following such customs and rituals. This realization was the starting point of the rationalist in him. His conviction became a steely resolve after he gained requisite knowledge.

Education and Realization

Govindan Kutty got initiated into the world of letters by a home tutor. After learning the alphabet of languages, he went to a nearby primary school to get a quality education. When he passed the primary school, he was sent to Padmanabha Sastri who was a reputed scholar in Sanskrit in the region to learn basics of that language. During this period, Govindan Kutty started to write simple and meaningful poems in the Sanskrit language. Due to this ability, he became an instant hit among fellow students. Under the same guru, he learned Sanskrit Kavyas. In light of the knowledge gained by him, young Govindan Kutty started questioning the logic of each and everything around him. By constantly assimilating information from various sources, he also became well-versed in Hindu scriptures and Tamil language. This also helped him to independently analyze the different dimensions of society.

 After learning about Govindan Kutty’s ability to study well, his father sent him to a Ernakulam-based English medium high school.  This decision by his father was a turning point in his life. By interacting with various people there, he became acquainted with other religions as well. This forced him to objectively compare the tenets of Hinduism with those of other religions.  After learning the basics of the English language, Govindan Kutty decided to stop learning that language and concentrated on the subject of Philosophy. Soon he found himself among the fat books of the Vedas, Puranas, Upanishads, Smritis, Sutras, Gita, etc. Due to this move, he soon found the answers he was looking for. To his astonishment, he learned that the concept of God is non-qualitative, and therefore the idol worship was not solicited.

Sivayogi Brahmananda Teachings

The stint at Brahma Samaj

After gaining proper knowledge in the Sanskrit language, Govindan Kutty decided to pass the knowledge he gained to young men in his locality. In this role, he continued for a while. Later, he joined in a Kozhikode-based Native School as a Sanskrit teacher. While working in Kozhikode, he could interact with learned persons who had similar views. During this period, he established a branch of Brahma Samaj in Kozhikode. The learned members of the Samaj gave him the title of Brahmananda Swami after they learned about his stack of knowledge in Philosophy, Logics and Sanskrit language.   Govindan Kutty began to practice Rajayoga in the premises of this organization. His association with this organization helped him to widen the horizon of his knowledge. Role as a Social Reformer

After getting the title of Brahmanda Swami, Govindan Kutty decided to renounce the worldly life. For this purpose, he sought the permission of his wife. After getting his spouse’s permission, he took the Brahmacharyam vow and moved to his hometown to establish an ashram. In his hometown, he took up the job of a Sanskrit teacher in the Alathur Board School. In that school, he was known as Brahmananda Swami. Due to his free-thinking, he got a long list of disciples. To teach his disciples, he opened an ashram at Vanoor in the Palakkad district of Kerala. He named his ashram as Venoor Sidhasramam. In his organization, he spoke against the practice of animal sacrifices. The orthodox people in the society dubbed him as a rationalist. On the other hand, the learned people regarded him as a revolutionary. In truth, he was neither. Instead, he was a free-thinking social scientist who was searching for the truth.

Role as a Religious Reformer

As his popularity grew, Govindan Kutty decided to shift his ashram to Alathur in the same district. Due to this, people began to visit his ashram in large numbers. For the benefit of the people visiting the ashram, he began to give discourses on various religious topics and the truths he found about them. After hearing the discourses, the people began to recognize the difference between the religion taught by him and that taught by the priests in their neighborhood. When the people started to learn more about the truth in the religion, they began to appreciate the works of this great saint. Due to this, Govindan Kutty’s popularity increased and more people from different parts of the state started to visit him. They left the organization premises happily after getting enlightened about the nature of the true religion.

 Through his contact classes at the ashram, Govindan Kutty wanted to tell his disciples that the mind controls every aspect of a person’s life. Without its control, a person’s life would become miserable. In the year 1905, he stopped teaching his disciples and devoted his full-time to the cause of Rajayoga. In connection with this, Govindan Kutty gave his first speech at Kozhikode in 1910 and the second one at Guruvayoor in 1912. Both the speeches attracted learned persons’ attention and drew the flak from the orthodox members of the society. Despite the protests from a section of the society, he repeatedly told the people that all religions need to be rebuilt scientifically. He also advised the women to equip themselves through education and fight against the odds that discriminate them. He told women not to get disheartened by the step-motherly attitudes of society.

Literary Career

Govindan Kutty explained his ideas with the help of suitable examples and proofs in his books, speeches, meetings, and letters and advice. His literary career spanned for 35 years. During this period, he wrote 13 books and all these books were having good and meaningful content. His masterpiece was Mokshapradeepam. This work was a huge hit in the market. Due to huge demand, he could sell thousands of copies of Mokshapradeepam in different parts of Kerala. Some of his works got even translated to English and Hindi languages to cater to the demand of people from North India and abroad.

Conclusion

Brahmananda Swami Sivayogi was a saint, a social reformer and a rationalist from Kerala. He studied Logics and Philosophy to compare the tenets of different religions to find the eternal truth. After having found the truth, he started to pass it through religious discourses, seminars, letters, and books. Through his words of wisdom, Govindan Kutty enlightened his disciples with the real truth in the world. He called this truth as Eternal Bliss or Paramanandam. He advised the women to educate themselves to fight against the society that discriminated against them. He also spoke against the animal sacrifices and regarded these practices as inhuman.

Indian Cultural Renaissance – A New Beginning

Introduction

The emergence of the Indian Cultural Renaissance is mainly attributed to the liberal education that youths had in the 18th century. The colonial powers came and established their bases and taught the unifying language to the locals to enable them to get menial jobs in offices. Exposure to Western Culture changed the mindset of the impressionable minds of the educated youth in our country. They were able to objectively compare our country’s social set up with those of European countries to draw some lessons. A bunch of highly advanced and intellectual men from Western culture spread the ideal concepts through their education. This not only revived the learning but also enriched the local culture with its positive effects.

Indian Culture Renaissance Leaders

Indian Renaissance

The gradual, but a subtle beginning of Indian renaissance also had followed similar lines, after being thoroughly inspired by the European masters. In times of internal insurgence and struggle for Indian independence from the English, an educated class of people had fought seriously for the betterment of the society. In that process, they sealed some friendly ties with foreign nationals. Contrary to the expectation, the Indian renaissance did not only begin its journey during the British Raj. Instead, the highly celebrated Indian cultural revival had its origin in the pre-English era. Going down the Indian historical lane, one can find the signs of Indian renaissance during the Portuguese rule. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to set up trading posts in India. Other colonial powers, like the Dutch, the French, the Danish and lastly the British followed them in their quests to establish supremacy. Though the signs of cultural renaissance could be traced back to the Portuguese period, it did not have much impact as those colonial establishments were not more than tiny enclaves. Only by the mid-eighteenth century that the scenario changed after the British East India Company acquired the whole of Bengal after the Battle of Plassey in 1757.

Period of Chaos

The leaders like Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar were mostly from the Bengal province. They lived in the first half of the nineteenth-century which was in cultural turmoil. Under the barrage of information from the Western countries through the medium of the English language, the glories of ancient India were beginning to fade away from the minds of youth in the country. So, the great works of Aryabhatta, Charaka and other people from the Vedic period were going into the oblivion. This was mainly because of the attitude of the people who learned them without giving a thought to their real meaning. Even the short-lived, free-handed vibrancy of Mughal Emperor Akbar’s sixteenth-century court was fading into oblivion. Since the collapse of the Mughal Empire, the whole country was lurking in chaos. Against this backdrop, Ram Mohan and Vidyasagar had set about reconstructing the civilization from its ashes, paving the way for its resurging revival.

Cultural Revolution

Over the next several decades, the East India Company adopted the policy of attacking and annexing various princely states in our country. This way the company came to directly or indirectly control most of the subcontinent. To remain in power, they started various departments that needed people for blue-collar jobs. Since these jobs need English-speaking people, they started imparting English education to the youths of our country. This way the British conquest of India did have a positive long-term impact on India’s ‘wounded civilization’. As part of the new curriculum introduced by the British authorities, the teachers taught modern subjects such as science and the ‘English language’ in schools. Most importantly, they created an environment in which sparkling minds unshackled the existing setup to imagine a new one.

Some of the early reformers of our country got benefited from this educational set up. They included Raja Ram Mohan Roy, Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar, etc. These people took upon themselves the mantle of making India a better place to live in. Hence, it can safely be stated that they left no stones unturned to usher a positive change in the social set up of the country.

Contribution of Raja Ram Mohan Roy

Since he was born into an aristocratic family that had financial resources, Raja Ram Mohan Roy had studied in foreign Universities where he had experienced the virtues of being free. Therefore, he became fluent in several languages, including Bengali, Arabic, Hindi, Sanskrit, and Persian. However, the mastery over these languages did not give him the knowledge to free society from the clutches of poverty, untouchability, etc. According to him, only the English language opened up the medium for the youth to reach new ideas coming from Western culture. Therefore, he fought for the introduction of the English language in Indian Schools. He also advocated for the teaching of modern subjects like Human Anatomy and Mathematics. After the introduction of English in schools, the true cultural renaissance commenced. The youths of the country began getting ideas from Western and Oriental cultures. The new common language played an intensely crucial role in opening the country to new and revolutionary ideas and helped it re-discover its past glory. The emergence of English as the common medium to some extent filled the void created by the decline of Sanskrit as a common language. Thus, youths from across the country could freely interact with one another in one common language and exchange their ideas. Thus, one can see that the introduction of English as a common language began uniting people across the regions on a common cause. Though the British officials had the different intention in introducing their language in schools, it had essentially brought the youths of the country under one roof. This is why leading Indian social reformers were strongly in favor of introducing the English language in Indian Schools.

Contributions of Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar

Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar was one of the first products of the new approach to learning. As a youngster, he came to Calcutta from a remote village to study at the newly opened Sanskrit College in 1829. Over the next few years, he learned the ancient Sanskrit texts. During the same period, young Vidyasagar had also studied English and Hindi languages. Having imbibed the spirit of the renaissance through learning, he went on to make major contributions in areas ranging from women’s rights and education to Indian language publishing. Using his mastery over the Bengali language, Vidyasagar even simplified its script to give the language its present form. He even established many schools for the benefit of girls. He was the first social reformer who fought for the rights of women and girls. He also was instrumental in establishing the Calcutta University, which many hail as the subcontinent’s first modern university. It was established in 1857. These were sumptuous information in Indian history that had further raised the advent of Indian renaissance to esteemed heights.

Contributions of Other Social Reformers

Other brave hearts also decided to follow the path treaded by Raja Ram Mohan Roy and Ishwar Chandra Vidyasagar. They included people like Dababhai Naoroji, Madhav Ranade, Gazalu Chetty, Sri Ramakrishna Paramahamsa, and Swami Vivekananda. As before, all these path-setters were the products of the new education system followed by the British government in pre-independent India. All these people lived in upcoming cities like Madras, Bombay, and Calcutta. In comparison, those coming from the old cities like Delhi, Lucknow, and Hyderabad were less in number. They took up the task of taking the societal changes to newer heights. These reformers further spoke about the need for the people to think independently and rationally. They claimed that only an independent mind could generate creative thoughts and think objectively

Indian Renaissance in the 19th Century

Post eighteenth century and at the beginning of Indian cultural renaissance, the nineteenth-century reformers were all very conscious of the need for a wider reawakening of civilization. They sought to funnel the collective positive energy for the common cause of freedom. This is perhaps counted under the most important header, driving history of India towards an international direction. Over the next century, the reformists’ idea of cultural modernization led to the Independence movement. It can also be noted that throughout this Indian renaissance period, the country’s intellectual leadership continued to emphasize the need for innovation and cultural openness to collect more ideas to reinvigorate the freedom movement. Slowly, the cultural renaissance led to a national movement for the independence of the nation. Following the cues from the earlier reformers, the 19th-century reformers sought to bring changes in the way the British officials were looking down on their Indian subjects.

Conclusion

Though the colonial governments sought to bring in suitable changes to enable them to employ Indians in their departments to rule the country, they brought in positive changes in the society. The introduction of the English language offered a common medium for the educated youths of the country to interact with one another and exchange knowledge. This helped them to find the common grounds for a cause. They discussed their outlook on the concept of freedom as expressed in foreign books. Many of the social reformers of the 18th and 19th century period were taught in foreign universities. Hence, they experienced first-hand the feeling of freedom. Therefore, they asked the British authorities to introduce English, Modern Mathematics, and Human Anatomy in the Indian educational system. The social reformers of the above said period later could channelize the positive energy of this change for the common good.

New Trends in Food Packaging Industry

Introduction

During its shelf life, the packaging assures food safety and maintains its quality. The most commonly used material for making food packages worldwide is plastic. However, the usage of plastic packages has brought harmful effects to the environment. The build-up of plastic in the surroundings has gone to such an extent that even our drinking water is getting contaminated with microplastics. If we don’t stop using it, there will more plastic in the sea than fish, by weight, by 2050. As a departure from the past, we can see a tangible shift towards eco-friendly packages in the food packaging industry. Toeing the line, there have been innovations in the cling film packing, which is one of the most widely used methods of food packaging.

Food Packaging

Silk Fibroin Thin Films

Thin films made of silk fibroin are used to package perishable items such as apples, bananas, tomatoes, and strawberries. The silk fibroin material is similar in structure and function to collagen fibers found in the human body. Its unique characteristics such as polymorphism, conformability and hydrophobicity help it to reduce dehydration, gas diffusability and carbon dioxide production. Using these properties, the scientists at Tufts University have developed a water-based suspension that easily self-assembles on the surface of food items when they are dipped in it. After self-assembly, the film insulates the food surface and preserves its texture, aroma, and firmness.

Crab Shells and Tree Fiber Films

Another eco-friendly film can be made by combining uniquely the cellulose and chitin biopolymers. This is made by spraying alternatively crab-shell-derived chitin and tree-sourced cellulose to form multiple layers. This eco-friendly film is comparable in property to polyethylene terephthalate (PET). During its development, the scientists at the Georgia Institute of Technology School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering have found that the positively charged chitin nanofibers fit nicely with the negatively charged cellulose nanofibers to form crystalline films. Hence, the film impedes penetrations of gas molecules. For example, these films were found to reduce oxygen penetration by 73%. However, a lot of work needs to be done on the film to help it reduce the water vapor permeability. The results of the study suggest that this film can even provide suitable protection for foods with delicate or uneven surfaces.

Gluten Films

At a concentration of 12.5% and a pH of 5, wheat gluten films generally show better mechanical properties. To modify its mechanical and barrier properties, a group of scientists studied the effects of flaxseed gum, lauric acid and oligomeric procyanidins on water vapor permeability, peroxide value and mechanical properties and incorporated them in it. The resultant films were found to have a uniform, dense and hydrophobic properties. Hence, altered gluten films can be used to package salt, vegetables, oils, and other seasonings. In a separate study, the scientists have been able to reduce the Listeria counts in food by incorporating a bacteriocin-like substance in gluten films made from triticale flour.

Mango Waste Edible Films and Coatings

The production cost of biodegradable films can be brought down significantly by using mango peels. When these peels are used along with antioxidant extracts from seed kernels, the resultant films and coatings developed are found to reduce effectively the gas, especially water vapor, permeability, and good barrier properties. This improves the shelf life of the food. Apart from these, the films laced with antioxidant extracts improved polyphenol and antioxidant activities in food. Furthermore, peaches dipped in a solution containing extracts from mango peel and seed kernel showed 39% less oxygen consumption, 64% less ethylene production, and 29% less carbon dioxide production. Thus, we can surmise that mango peel usage reduces the production costs of edible films and coatings and bring down the harmful effects of food waste on our climate.

Conclusion

Recent studies have thrown open viable solutions as an alternative to plastic films in the food packaging industry. Some of these solutions add more benefits like greater antioxidant activity, reduced microbial activity, and other bioactive properties. Now, it is up to the stakeholders in the food packaging industry to take appropriate steps to bring biodegradable films in their product lines.