Talk about the key food Cassava.
Cassavais categorized as a staple food and is consumed by 250 million of thepoorest people in Africa (Gegios, Amthor, Maziya-Dixon, Egesi,Mallowa, Nungo, Gichuki, and Manary, 2010). Cassava’s roots arerich source of energy while its leaves are rich in minerals,vitamins, and proteins. Nevertheless its leaves and roots aredeficient of amino acids that contain sulfur, like cysteine andmethionine. In addition, some nutrients are not properly distributedwithin various parts of the plant. It also contains someantinutrients that may have either positive or negative effect onhuman health depending on the amount that a person consumes. It ishighly tolerant to drought and flourishes well in both subtropicaland tropical areas where many people suffer from undernutrition.Additionally, cassava is rarely attacked by boring pests since itspeel is rich in cyanide, which acts as a defense mechanism from suchinsects. Cassava’s edibility and viability is noticeable up to 3years once it matures. Therefore, many farming communities in Africaprefer cassava as a source of food security. It contains somenutrients like iron, zinc, and carotene.
The impact of cassava on their health
Gegioset al (2010) findings indicate that children whose diets are made upof large amount of cassava have a high likelihood of developingmicronutrient deficiencies. In fact, children (between 2 and 5 years)who rely on cassava as their staple food have low levels of iron,zinc, and vitamin A in their bodies (Gegios et al., 2010). Thisbecause the contribution that cassava has on children daily diets isinversely related to intakes of Vitamin A, zinc, and iron. Vitamin Adeficiency may cause improper bone growth, respiratory problems, poorvision, and skin problems iron deficiency leads to the developmentof anemia that may make such children feel weak, walk slowly, anddizzy, while zinc deficiency causes impaired immune function,diarrhea, ant taunted growth. Apart from being used as a staple food,cassava is also used as a herbal medicine. Its use as a herbalmedicine is linked to its ability to produce cyanide, which may beuseful in treating cancer. Since the plant produce cyanide, cassavacan have further detrimental effect on children if it is notprocessed in a proper manner. Cyanide is poisonous to human beingsome signs and symptoms of cyanide poisoning include but not limitedto coma, convulsions, confusions, dizziness, headache, and agitation.In fact, some children have been reported to have succumbed to deathin developing countries after they consumed parts of the cassavaplant that had been prepared in a proper manner. Children who consumecassava in large amount have a likelihood of suffering frommalnutrition since the plant has low content of protein as well assome micronutrients.
Counseling strategies associated with the nutritional intake of these children
MostAfrican communities turn to the intake of cassava since they cannotafford other types of health food.Hence,African governments should emphasize andfocus on price subsidies on various foods in order for the poorindividuals to afford such health food.This, in turn, will immensely reduce undernutrition in youngchildren.For instance, they could use consumer subsidies in encouraging theuse of a beneficial product by lowering the price that consumers payespecially where market prices of the good are too high or consumersare extremely poor. Again, various communities in Africa should beencourages to plant crops that are rich in proteins, minerals, andvitamins in order to maintain well balanced diets as well as properhealth. This means that these communities should indulge in mixedfarming in order to ensure that they have different crops thatprovide the aforementioned nutrients.
Gegios,AAmthor,RMaziya-Dixon,B,Egesi,CMallowa,SNungo,RGichuki,SMbanaso,A,& Manary,M.J.(2010). Children consuming cassava as a staple food are at risk forinadequate zinc, iron, and vitamin an intake. PlantFoods Hum Nutr.,65(1), 64-70. Doi: 10.1007/s11130-010-0157-5.