Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

4MV #232 [From India] How Indian dietary spices help reduce obesity ✔ research evidence

Published 3 months ago • 6 min read

⭑ Building a caring company culture is nearly impossible ✔ this CEO did it
⭑ Could herbs and spices help prevent obesity in Indians? ✔ it is likely
⭑ My favourite herbal-flavoured dessert combination ✔
⭑ This Indian massage is said to improve eyesight ✔ I'm willing to believe it

All strength to Ukraine 🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦🇺🇦


Back home now.

Entwined with my business reasons for being in India, I was hosted to tour local sites of interest around Jaipur, Bangalore and Mysore. The sites were fantastic. However, the long days, e.g. 7 am departure, 11 pm return, and the hot, humid weather left me without enough horsepower to complete last week's newsletter. My apologies.

My overwhelming impression of India is that it is incredibly focused on achieving its full potential as an economic and military superpower. That's good news for democracies as we face the threat from Iran, Russia and China.

At the same time, it is an extraordinarily difficult country to manage. There are 1355 local languages, two official languages, no national languages, an active 70-year war with China on the NE border, an active 70-year war with Pakistan on the NW Kashmir border, indigenous communist terrorists active on the eastern border with Bangladesh, active criminal gangs, regular targeted assassinations (3 politicians killed while I was there), and nationwide water shortages.

Managing India makes managing Australia seem like child's play. They do an amazing job of it.

I pondered the lack of obese people in India in last week's newsletter. I've found one reason which may be part of the explanation — see item #2

The company that hosted me in India turned out to have a remarkable culture, one in which the staff cared for each other, celebrated together and brought abundance to their local communities — see item #1.


01 Can companies really care? Here's one that walks the talk

I've heard many CEOs say that their company is like one big family. However, this is rarely true when you talk with the employees off-site. I've also been to a lot of corporate celebrations since I started full-time work in 1967, and it seems that most people enjoy them because they are getting something "free" from the company - food and alcohol.

The company that invited me to India walks the talk, and they have 1200 people who do the talking for them. They have truly created a family of employees who care for each other - what they call their chosen family.

The formula starts with a conversation, which creates a connection and inspires celebration together. Among their celebrations, they celebrate their real families and the community that nurtured them. It is a very deep culture of abundance.

These ideas may seem simplistic, but they are profoundly difficult to build in a corporate environment based on meritocracy, which this company has.

I was lucky enough to attend their annual award nights in two different cities.

The awards are given, the staff do a string of performances, and then the dancing begins and continues way into the night. The people aren't just happy, they are caring, joyous, and grateful to the company for helping them make their dreams come true.

What this means for you: I have never seen anything like this before. What I learned is that it all starts with a conversation, and then the connection and celebration follow.

I also learned that nothing happens without contribution. For me to contribute to another without expectation, for nothing more than the greater good. And I also learnt that listening is a contribution. I have to try harder at that, as I may have underestimated its contribution to others.

If you find this interesting, the CEO has written a couple of books about his philosophy, and most importantly, he has proven his philosophy works in an entrepreneurial setting - see here.


02 Do Indian dietary herbs and spices help reduce obesity?

In the last newsletter, I mentioned how I rarely saw obese Indians, especially as compared to Western countries. Could their diet, rich in herbs and spices, be part of the reason why?

Several research studies confirm that this is indeed the case. And probably even more so because they eat such spices in freshly cooked food rather than the industrial food that dominates in the West.

What are these spices? Think of black pepper, medicinal cinnamon, ginger, onion, garlic, turmeric, green tea, cocoa, soy isoflavones, citrus products, hesperidin (from citrus fruits), quercetin (found in apples, berries, onions, citrus fruits, grapes, cherries, and leafy greens like spinach and kale).

⇒ A 2016 study found these spices improved body mass index, waist circumference, fat metabolism, blood pressure, and blood glucose levels.

⇒ A 2020 study found they "could serve as effective prebiotics in ameliorating high-fat diet-induced metabolic derangements, significantly affecting gut microbiota and reducing obesity".

⇒ A 2003 systematic review found that they improved glucose control in diabetes.

⇒ A 2021 study found they reduce dyslipidemia (clogged arteries) in people with diabetes.

⇒ Another 2021 study found that red pepper, ginger, and turmeric improved energy metabolism, indicating their potential in weight control and obesity prevention.

What does this mean for you? I'm very open to accepting that such herbs and spices improve our metabolism in many ways. If you are willing, add them to your daily diet. It is easy to add those we are familiar with, such as garlic or the fruit and vegetables mentioned.

Others are a little harder, so you have to make an effort. For example, how do you add turmeric or medicinal cinnamon regularly? I add both to my breakfast of resistant grains (rice, quinoa, barley and oats) and to a half avocado I eat each day. I also add both to a morning protein shake.

Pro Tip: There is a "secret sauce" in the power of the combination of some of these herbs and spices. I only know one detail - the combination of black pepper with turmeric increases the bioavailability of the turmeric by 1000X. I always add a twist of black pepper.

Pro Tip: "Decorative" cinnamon, as used in cakes and sweets, is not medicinal cinnamon. Ceylon, or "true cinnamon", is native to Sri Lanka and southern parts of India. It's made from the inner bark of the Cinnamomum verum tree. Check eBay or Amazon for high-grade medicinal cinnamon. ​​

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03 Herbal desserts Indian-style

One dessert set I loved was a combination of Pistachio mahalabia, masala chai, and Ajwain cookies:

  • Ajwain, commonly called carom seeds, has a wealth of health advantages, including digestive aid, combating peptic ulcers, and many more.
  • Pistachio-infused desserts like pistachio Mahalabia, in moderation, help heart health, weight management, and glycemic control and have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory effects.
  • Masala chai stimulates improved digestion, enhanced immune function, and better glycemic control and cardiovascular health (masala means "spices").

⇒ I ordered this combination because I love the taste. The health benefits are a nice side effect (I don’t add sugar to the chai).


04 The connection between foot massage and improved eyesight

I'm running in the state Masters Athletics Championships the weekend after returning home to Melbourne. So, I am paying attention to the state of my legs and feet while in India, especially tightness in the glutes, hamstrings and quads (front of thighs).

A deep body massage with myofascial release costs less than US$30 an hour here, and that's been really helpful for my tight quads. I especially like the Indian Foot Massage - 30 minutes for less than $10.

The Padabhyanga, or Ayurvedic foot massage, is a pressure point massage - a reflexology-based treatment that relieves and resets metabolic, structural and neurological imbalances.

Surprisingly, it is also said to improve vision and eyesight. This practice aligns with the Ayurvedic belief that the feet are a mirror for the entire body's health, including sensory organs like the eyes.

The significant point of interest here is the stimulation of specific pressure points on the feet that correspond to different body organs, including our eyes.

I am content with the benefits to my legs and feet alone, but I love the idea that it might sustain better eyesight.

Thanks for reading!

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Four Most Valuable [4MV] Weekly Tips For Living Longer Better | Newsletter

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