It’s not news that malnutrition is a major issue throughout the world, with children being the most innocent victims of this international crisis. While there’s not a perfect solution, yet, it’s encouraging to see what some are doing to solve such a huge problem. It’s also interesting to see that relief is coming from one of the most unlikely sources – the sweet potato. This vitamin-rich tuber is literally changing people’s lives.
NPR’s Food Blog, The Salt, reported on this topic last summer. Specifically, they referred to a term many of us have never heard before – biofortification. This refers to adding vital nutrients to food by breeding and growing better versions of the food people already eat.
For example, the report stated that many poverty-stricken people spend their money on corn and rice because it is cheap. While they are getting calories, they are not getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients; thus, malnutrition. The idea of biofortification says to breed better varieties of rice and corn that contain higher values of iron or vitamin A. This process is taking place in many countries and positive results are being found.
Howarth Bouis is an economist with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. He’s been promoting biofortification for many years through a program called HarvestPlus. He helped birth the idea of growing healthier food versus attempting to get vitamin capsules to impoverished countries. Perhaps one of the best moves was switching Africa from regular potatoes to the sweet potato, the orange variety specifically.
The mighty sweet potato, or what some health experts are calling the “living vitamin A supplement,” has become a common staple in countries like Mozambique and Uganda. As a result, children are showing signs of more Vitamin A in their blood, the plan is working and giving a great boost to those fighting so hard to improve the health among the world’s poorest nations and citizens. New crops are being introduced throughout the continent to continue increasing the nutritional content of staple foods.
Add more vitamin A to your own diet with this excellent sweet potato recipes:
By Lacy J. Hansen for DietsInReview.com