According to the World Health Organisation, more than two billion people over the world are affected by micronutrient deficiencies, the bulk of that number is in developing countries.
Micronutrients account for approximately 7% of the global disease burden, and they play a key role in the growth and development of the whole family.
In South Africa, studies have shown that adults are prone to zinc deficiency and that one in five children are stunted, therefore, addressing micronutrient deficiencies is a crucial step in the health and wellness of the whole family.
Micronutrient deficiency is something we cannot easily detect as cough or colds. It is called “hidden hunger” because a person who looks normal, with normal weight and physique, may not know that they are already suffering from nutrition deficiencies.
To help us and caregivers know whether your children have nutrition deficiencies, here are some of the signs or manifestations you can look out for:
- Do they feel tired early in the morning, even before they go to school?
- Do they have a hard time focusing in class?
- Do your kids easily get sick?
Hidden hunger in adults and the ageing population places them at risk of nutrition related diseases.
Here are some tips to get more nutritious meals for the whole family.
Power of vegetables
For your family’s optimal health, add green vegetables such as green beans, spinach, cabbage, broccoli and peas.
Yellow veggies such as carrots, pumpkin, and sweet potato are high in fibre – to help control blood sugar levels, folate; a very important B vitamin, magnesium, vitamin A and potassium.
Make your family part of the shopping and preparation of these veggies to ensure commitment to eating them.
How a colourful plate can help
The best way to prevent micronutrient deficiencies is to ensure variety on the plate, have a full colour meal every day of the week and not only on Sundays and special occasions. This you can do by planning your meals, this will create excitement for mealtimes and a giant step in giving yourself and your family a fighting chance to live up to their full potential.
Get your intake through dairy
A glass of milk has nutrients such as calcium which is important for strong bones, vitamin D – a special vitamin important for our immune system and potassium – ensures proper function of the muscles and nerves.
- This article was compiled by Anne-Marie de Beer, a registered dietitian and nutrition, health and wellness manager for Nestlé Africa.