Diwali 2012 - Celebrate With Caution
Diwali ushers with it fun, frolic, festivities and joyous celebrations. It is incomplete without festive clothes, the mouth-watering array of splendid sweets and the colorful and ear-splitting fireworks. This festival of lights signifies the triumph of good over evil and gives us all reason enough to celebrate! A perceptive glance at certain health hazards hidden amidst the feast of senses will probably help us make informed choices and get the most out of the day's festivities in a healthier way.
The good and bad about Diwali sweets
Tasting and enjoying mouth-watering sweets with family and friends is a part of the Diwali festivities. But remember that cutting down on fats, sugar and excess of preservative and food color is the key to enjoying the mouth watering Diwali sweets.
Sweets prepared during Diwali are loaded with calories and counting these calories becomes a very big challenge. Avoid sweets with sugar syrup as they usually have more calories. Ethnically Indians are prone to diabetes and over the last decade there has been a sharp rise in diabetes and other lifestyle related diseases. Therefore, we need to consciously cut down on sugar and starch. Almost all these sweets are made with ghee and other fatty variants. People who wish to eat sweets should see to it that they have smaller portions of other meals to cut back on calories.
Eat sweets in moderation to avoid health-related complications like heart-burn and indigestion.
There is always the fear of sweets being prepared with substandard or adulterated ingredients. Therefore, always buy sweets from reputed stores or prepare them in your own kitchen.
Sweet factories make use of formalin to preserve sweets. Consuming formalin-mixed sweets can cause damage to the kidneys and liver, asthma attacks and cancer. If such sweets are consumed during pregnancy there are chances of the baby having some physical abnormalities.
Buy fresh sweets without the silver foil, as the foil used for coating sweets is adulterated with aluminium. Aluminium accumulates in body tissues, especially the bones. It can also enter the brain. During pregnancy it can cause damage to the placenta and fetus. The process of making this silver foil is very unhygienic and involves beating the foil in pouches of leather, and goat epidermis and intestines for long hours. This process can also cause the remnants to mix into the silver foil.
Safe Diwali-Ugly truth about firecrackers
Firecrackers are burst with great fervor all through Diwali. Bursting firecrackers no doubt ushers in glee but at the same time it also causes air pollution. The smoke from the crackers traumatizes asthma patients for days. Noxious pollutants like Respirable Suspended Particulate Matter (RSPM), nitrogen dioxide and sulphur dioxide emanating from firecrackers call for a Diwali with less bang and less smoke.
The noise pollution caused by loud crackers is distressing for the elderly and pets. It can even prove to be fatal for some. The Supreme Court of India has issued a limit of 125 decibels to control noise pollution and has also prohibited setting off fire crackers in the silence zones areas (within 100 meters of hospitals, educational institutions, courts and religious places).
Most brands of fireworks violate the noise and air pollution norms. Therefore, burst crackers in moderation.
Burn injuries tend to take the fun out of the celebration. Keep the crackers at a safe distance and avoid wearing silk or synthetic clothes while bursting crackers. Wear slippers while firing crackers. Do not use residue powder from used or left over firecrackers because even a small amount of the powder can cause an explosion and severe burn injuries. Children should burst crackers only under adult supervision. It is wise to have a bucket of water, some sand and first aid kit nearby in case of an emergency.
Sweets and firecrackers are an integral part of Diwali celebrations, but enjoy them with a little caution to have a healthy blast this Diwali.