Panta Bhaat, a local food of Orissa, rules the kitchen of almost every household there. It is also known by many other names like Gil Bhaat, Pazhaya Sadham or Pakhala Bhaat. It is prepared in every household of Orissa and is eaten with great taste and fervor. There for centuries, this Fermented Rice is being made with great love. It has always been considered very good for fighting health and stomach related problems.
On several occasions my grandmother often claimed that panta bhaat is extremely beneficial in reducing weight, improving digestion and strengthening bones. But his claim had no scientific basis at that time. Now, Balamurugan Ramadoss, Research Professor from Bhubaneswar has recently researched it, giving it a scientific basis.
Pakhala, why is it so healthy?
Professor Balamurugan Ramadoss heads the Center of Excellence for Clinical Microbiome Research at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences, AIIMS. They have discovered through their research that ‘Pakhla’ (fermented rice porridge) made in Odisha contains short-chain fatty acids. This acid, not only keeps the stomach and intestines healthy, but also provides many other health benefits along with boosting immunity.
Professor Ramdas says, “I was doing research on the gut microbiome since 2002. Simultaneously, we were also working towards the treatment of malnourished children in AIIMS. These malnourished children were being given short chain fatty acids (SCFA) along with complex carbohydrates. This fatty acid is found in abundance in the water of fermented rice, which is commonly known as Taurani. We were looking for food that was easily available to people from all walks of life and from all walks of life and was cheap. That’s when our attention shifted to Pakhala or Fermented Rice and then from the year 2019, we started research on it.”
He says that the body gets a lot of energy from the SCFA found in Torani (Pakhala water). It is rich in antiviral peptides and anti-inflammatory properties. On the one hand, the nutrients found in taurani help in fighting malnutrition. On the other hand, it also gives a lot of energy to the body, due to which the stomach feels full for a long time and due to lack of hunger, weight is also controlled.
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Professor Ramdas, along with his team of eight people, analyzed at least 20 samples of Taurani. They took samples from households with different socio-economic backgrounds to reach the conclusion. Microbial cultures were found in all these samples, which showed the presence of Lactobacillus and Taurani as a probiotic.
Professor explains, “Lactobacillus found in Taurani increases secretory immunoglobulin. Which helps in fighting infections in the body, especially in the intestines and lungs, and also boosts immunity. He is also working in the direction of how helpful this research can be for people suffering from diseases like malnutrition, HIV etc.
The 40-year-old professor hopes that this research can change the lives of millions of people in the times to come.
Original article:- Ananya Barua
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