Simoné van Niekerk
Consumer scientist, CFAM Technologies.
Malnutrition and reduced brain function
Malnutrition is a regular occurrence in children and adults in developing countries. It entails so much more than ‘hunger’. The long-term impact is a suppressed immune system, delayed growth and development. To develop a healthy brain, enough of the right food types are needed. The reality is that malnutrition over a long period of time can result in a lowered cognitive level of an entire community.
Often developing countries’ staple foods consist of crops that are high in carbohydrates. It fills the tummy, but doesn’t contain enough nutrients, especially proteins, healthy fats and amino acids. The result is lower cognition and educational achievements because of poor brain development, as well as the possibility of the diagnosis of a series of diet-related chronic illnesses. An unhealthy lifestyle is therefore established, in which generation after generation can get caught up and ultimately result in the creation of an unproductive, intellectual-poor nation.
However, it is a fact that most of these countries are caught up in poverty and cannot afford to produce or import healthy, nutritional foods for everyone. A carb-dense diet is often the only thing that these countries have to their disposal.