Organic Food Products can Play Key Role in Managing Lifestyle Diseases in the Middle East
Organic and natural food products can play a key role in managing lifestyle diseases in the Middle East, where obesity, stress, cardiac disorders and diabetes are the biggest healthcare concerns, according to experts. The up to 40 per cent more antioxidant levels in organic foods, as revealed in a four-year long European Union-funded study, have been scientifically proven to mitigate cancer and heart disease risks.
The fast-growing organic and natural food market is the highlight of the Middle East Natural & Organic Products Expo (MENOPE 2008), to be held from November 16 to 18 at the Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Centre. Organised by Dubai-based Global Links, the event is supported by the UAE Ministry of Health and Ministry of Environment & Water.
The organic food market is growing at an estimated 20 to 25 per cent annually. More than 175 companies from over 35 countries will showcase an array of natural foods at the expo, expected to be attended by lifestyle specialists, nutritionists, retailers and healthcare professionals.
Addressing a press conference, Eng. Nadim Al Fuqaha, Managing Director, Global Links, said: “Organic and natural food products are not a fad anymore; they are a lifestyle choice that is of considerable relevance in nutrition management. This is particularly relevant for the Middle East region given the high rates of lifestyle diseases such as obesity, stress, cardiac disorders and cancer, which contribute to soaring healthcare bills. The high levels of antioxidants in natural food products enable them to mitigate lifestyle disease risks.”
He added: “The growing interest for natural and organic food products is reflected in the response to MENOPE. There is strong participation from the UAE at the expo reiterating the locally-driven initiatives in promoting natural foods. Government authorities in the region are increasingly focusing on sustainable development initiatives in which organic farming can play a key role.”
Today, Saudi Arabia, the UAE and Oman have more than 3,000 outlets for natural and organic products. Several farms in the region are setting aside resources for organic farming. Simultaneously alternative therapies like Ayurveda and herbal treatments are gaining ground, further linking lifestyles to organic foods.
With the merger of Arab Naturals Expo & Conferences, MENOPE offers a larger regional platform for the organic industry. Internationally, the exhibition is supported by the International Federation of Organic and Agricultural Movements (IFOAM) and Korea Health Supplement Association (KHSA).
The expo will showcase a variety of products including Herbs and Spices, Foods & Beverages, Cereal Products, Supplements, Health Care products, Natural Living, Natural Cosmetics, Healing Products, Natural remedies, Traditional Medicines, Spas, Relaxation facilities, Pet products and fabrics.
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