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Micro-Nutrient Deficiency: Ways to Identify and Beat Hidden Hunger

Micro-Nutrient Deficiency: Ways to Identify and Beat Hidden Hunger

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Hidden Hunger is a major blow to an individual’s growth and development. It occurs when there is an acute lack of essential micronutrients in the body. This is true of young mothers and infants in particular.

Tuesday, June 19th, 2018

During pregnancy, the nutrition of the mother affects the health of the child. Effects of nutrient deficiency can have long-term consequences on both, the mother and the child. We discuss ways to identify hidden hunger caused by micronutrient deficiency and how to overcome malnutrition.

1. Iron (1, 2):

The symptoms of Iron deficiency are as follows:

  • Unusual tiredness
  • Headache and Dizziness
  • Paleness
  • Dry hair and skin
  • Swollen tongue and a sore mouth

To beat Iron deficiency, include iron-rich food in your diet. Vegetables like spinach, soybeans, and potatoes are rich in Iron. Lentils, nuts and seeds also contain Iron in sufficient quantities. Grains and cereals also offer a way to fulfil Iron deficiency. Iron-fortified cereals have the appropriate amount of Iron ad help in warding-off Iron deficiency.

2. Vitamin A (3, 4):

You can identify Vitamin A deficiency through the following symptoms

  • Reduced vision and dry eyes
  • Frequent eye inflammation
  • Increased rate of respiratory and urinary infection
  • Slow rate of growth
  • Dry and rough skin

Vitamin A rich-food should be included in the diet to prevent health concerns arising from its deficiency. Butter, milk, cheese, liver, fish are good animal-sources of Vitamin A. Carrots, sweet potatoes, spinach, turnips are some of the vegetables to consider while choosing a foods rich in Vitamin A. Also, include fruits like mango, papaya, guava, watermelon in your child’s diet to counter Vitamin A deficiency.

3. Vitamin D (5, 6, 7):

Some of the symptoms include:

  • Rickets
  • Bone deformities
  • Tooth delay
  • Respiratory issues
  • Prolonged Irritability

Besides exposure to the early morning sun, you can incorporate Vitamin D-rich food items in your baby’s diet. Dairy products like milk and yoghurt are excellent sources of Vitamin D. Vegetables and fruits have low Vitamin D levels. Fruit juices and infant cereal fortified with Vitamin D are good alternatives. Animal products include a variety of meat and fish that can contribute to your daily supply of Vitamin D

4. Zinc (8, 9):

Zinc deficiency can be identified as follows:

  • Behavioural changes and sleep disturbances
  • Diarrhoea
  • Hair loss
  • Weight loss
  • Inflammation and weak immune system
  • Dry skin and rashes
  • Delay in wound healing
  • Loss of appetite

Zinc is an important mineral required for the smooth functioning of various metabolic processes. Fruits and vegetables can counter Zinc deficiency. Pomegranate, avocado, blackberries, spinach, soybeans, peas, potatoes, pumpkin are all good sources of Zinc. Dates and other dry fruits have high Zinc content. Meat and fish are also effective in countering Zinc deficiency.

5. Calcium (10, 11):

Lack of Calcium in your infant’s diet show following signs:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Protruding belly
  • Delay in tooth formation
  • Difficulty in sleeping
  • Poor growth with deformities of joints
  • Poor immune system

Dairy products are good sources of Calcium. Include milk, cheese, and yoghurt daily, in your infant’s diet. Beans, lentils, green leafy vegetables are excellent sources of Calcium. Nuts and Cereals like amaranth are highly nutritious and have high calcium content. You can also include fortified cereals to fulfil the need of Calcium for your growing little one.

Micronutrients are essential for a growing infant. They are not just needed in the stages of infancy but are immensely important during the later stages of life.

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