Doctor Snegarova, would you introduce yourself?
My name is Violeta Snegarova and I am a doctor, trainee in gastroenterology at Military Hospital Varna and doctoral student in nutrition and dietetics. My primary interests are in the field of balanced nutrition, healthy lifestyle and functional intestinal diseases.
I am also a mother of two gorgeous boys and I am trying to juggle between my profession and my family but when you love your work, I would say it’s not so difficult.
As a gastroenterologist of 21-st century, do you agree with Hippocrates’s advice “Let the food be your medicine and the medicine – food”?
As ancient that thought is, there is 100% true in it. And I would continue with a Chinese proverb that I like a lot: “No matter who the father of a disease is, its mother with no doubt is bad nutrition.”
Food is essential for our health. For example, the food that a woman takes in before, during and after pregnancy is extremely important for the development of the future individual. Through nutrition we are programming our health.
Functional food – this is a relatively new term. However, it is based on century-old philosophy and knowledge. The question is how to apply and interpret this philosophy today?
Functional foods are a new line of development in nutrition science. They are of primary importance for the balanced nutrition, which from its side is fundamental for healthy nutrition.
Under healthy nutrition we understand nutrition which is adequate to metabolic needs of the body and which ensures good health and active long-living.
The secret of good health is namely healthy and balanced nutrition. We need to seek that balance and listen to our body.
None extreme is good, and extreme, restrictive models of nutrition and diets which are becoming the hype of the day are hiding great risks for our health.
My advice as a doctor is not to experiment with our health.
Perhaps you know that our focus is Bulgarian oil-bearing rose as an edible flower. What do you think for the edible qualities of the rose? Do you like its aroma and taste?
Bulgarian rose is one of the big treasures of our country and we need to be proud with that.
The rose blossom can be beneficial against bad digestion, arthritis, skin problems, stress, etc. The rose petals are a rich source of precious micronutrients, as vitamins A, E, C, D and B.
Personally, I adore the aroma and the flavour of the rose, and I recommend to everyone who haven’t tried it to do so.
I believe that the holistic approach by the doctor to the patient is very important and combining traditional medicine with good diet including functional foods is the key to good health.
Which functional benefit of the rose you find the most precious?
The richness in antioxidants. Antioxidants are elements that help fighting the effects of free radicals. Those are reactive molecules which cause cell damages and lead to oxidative stress related to number of diseases and premature aging.
The main sources of antioxidants in the rose tea are polyphenols. It is considered that diets rich in polyphenols reduce the risk of some cancerous, cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, and of depression.
According to studies, the content of phenols and the antioxidant activity of the rose tea are equal or bigger than in green tea. The rose tea is particularly rich in gallic acid which is known for its anti-cancerous, antimicrobial, anti-inflammatory and analgesic effects.
The tea is rich in anthocyanins which are 10% of its general content of phenols. Those are colour pigments which are related to the good health of eyes and urinary tract, good memory, healthy aging. Other phenols making part of the antioxidant activity of the rose tea include kaempferol and quercetin.
When, why and to whom would you advice to include rose in their diet?
The rose tea doesn’t have specific medical indications. It can be consumed by everyone who loves the rose aroma and would like to enjoy a cup of fragrant tea. It is particularly suitable for those suffering of bad digestion.
One of the secrets of rose tea is that it is particularly appropriate in weight loss regimens.
Rose tea, rose jam or chocolate with roses would you chose to have while answering this last question?
A cup of tea and a piece of chocolate. The choice is difficult. The food products with roses are great and can be part of balanced and healthy diet. I advice everyone willing to try them to do so.
Violeta Snegarova is doctoral student in nutrition and dietetics and trainee in gastroenterology at Medical University of Varna, Bulgaria. Author of the medical blog www.medilatte.com. Doctor Snegarova is member of the Bulgarian Medical Union, the Association of Young Hepatogastroenterologists in Bulgaria, the Bulgarian Association of nutrition and dietetics, the Bulgarian society for studying overweight and diseases related to it and the Bulgarian society for colopractology.
Member of the board of directors of the Association of Young Hepatogastroenterologists in Bulgaria, responsible for North-Eastern Bulgaria region with center city of Varna.