Home Science & Technology Is Insect Porridge the Answer to Malnutrition in Africa? – Researcher

Is Insect Porridge the Answer to Malnutrition in Africa? – Researcher

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African porridge with low nutrients can be enriched with amaranth and cricket to make it rich in trace elements. improper nutrition in infants as wellstudysuggests.

The study was published this month (April 5)FoodThe magazine says that cereals such as sorghum and millet are used to make African porridge, a staple food for many communities, rich in carbohydrates but low in micronutrients.

Researchers from the International Center for Insect Physiology and Ecology, headquartered in Kenya (ice) stated that they want to develop a “nutritious product that will be acceptable, attractive and accessible to a wide range of consumers.”


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Researchers have enriched millet finger with high-quality nutrients from an edible African cricket known asScapsipedus icepe,which is rich in protein and fat, as well as amaranth grain, a local vegetable grown in many parts of Africa to create, as they say, flour with fortified porridge, and compared its nutritional value with traditional porridge.

“The four cereals developed in this study have higher energy density and nutritional value, as evidenced by the improved content of fats, proteins, vitamins and minerals in various foods compared to widely consumed commercial porridge,” the study said. .

“Our findings also demonstrated the importance of integrating crickets and amaranth flour into porridge to produce nutritious food sufficient to meet the recommended daily allowance of the most vulnerable if handled properly.”
According to World Nutrition Report 2021malnutrition persists worldwide, 149.2 million people children under the age of five, who have low stature compared to their age, and African children have been severely affected.

Co-author of the study Chrysantus Mbi Tanga, senior scientist and head of the program of insects for food, feed and other purposes in ice, adds: “The quality of insect nutrients is comparable to or higher than the quality of most plant and animal sources. In this way, it will significantly reduce over-reliance on existing food systems that are under severe pressure due to the rapid population growth of the world ”.

According to research, crickets are also rich in essential amino acids, minerals and vitamins, while amaranth leaves and grains are rich in vitamins C and A, iron, zinc and calcium, which are absorbed by the human body.

Tanga says that about two billion people worldwide entomophagy, the consumption of insects, is considered a safe practice in more than 100 countries, but is still underused.

He adds that the use of insect-based products to increase nutrient content in foods with commercial standards can help generate income, create jobs, improve livelihoods and food security for local communities in Africa, where there are more than 500 species of edible insects.

Lydia Maruti Vaswa, a senior lecturer in human nutrition at Egerton University in Kenya, says eating insects such as crickets is increasingly being accepted as demand for nutritious, affordable and culturally acceptable food grows, especially in poor resource conditions. climate change and rapid population growth.

“These insects are rich in nutrients that can be used to improve the nutrition of Africans. We need to find more ways to make them taste good, ”Vaswa says SciDev.Net.

She says consumption has previously been limited by cultural beliefs, stigma and negative perceptions.

“However, with the development of production and added value technologyInsect consumption can make a significant contribution to the quality of the diet and thus reduce the burden of malnutrition, especially micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable populations, ”she adds.

Vaswa calls on African governments and research institutions to promote the breeding and processing of insects and to raise awareness of the benefits of including them in African diets.

She says more research is needed to identify other nutritious insects to maintain production and consumption on the continent.

Image Credit: Pixabay