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Foro Global sobre Seguridad Alimentaria y Nutrición • Foro FSN

Re: Pulses: Innovations from the field to the cooking pot

Manuel Moya
Manuel MoyaInternational Pediatric Association. TAG on NutritionSpain

Good nutrition is not evenly adequate in the world because malnutrition is increasing at the expense of overweight and obesity and although its other component undernutrition is receding it is a quanti and qualitatively reality still too important in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC). The absolute figures and trends are a matter of concern at individual, national and international level.

Another relevant aspect is the specific prevalence of undernutrition in children under five years, a period of special health relevance according to the WHO Global Health Observatory in which infections are a real threat with a higher mortality rate especially in LMIC. The good news is that this  pediatric health problem is receding all over the world: In 1960 there were 300 million that in 2015 had gone down to 113 million (-33%), but the problem is still important especially in South Asia with 28.7 million and Sub-Saharan Africa (> 50 countries) with 51.3 million (1) These worrying figures will continue because the world population by 2050 will be of 9.1 billion, whereas the developed countries  will increase by 6%, South Asia will do by 48% and Sub-Saharan Africa by 130%. Consequently malnutrition as the present double burden that is the coexistence of underweight and overweight will go on according to the United Nations Population Division (2).

Essential amino acids (not synthesized by humans) are not completely present in plants or crops that are important, if not the only food available for people living in certain wide areas such as Sub-Saharan Africa or South-Central Asia. Basic genetic and genetic engineering technologies initiated in the middle of the past century have evolved at a fast rate allowing the improvement of this lacking problem. This can be the solution at mid or long term but in the meantime mixes of plant foods adapted to local climate arid conditions can be a feasible solution.

Chickpea seeds (3) or flours (4, 5) are a reasonable food resource but their low content in the essential amino acid tryptophan (Table) is a nutritional risk especially for weaned infants and underfives (6). On the other hand sorghum flour a cereal with similar nutritional capacities, has also the very low content of another essential amino acid (lysine) with well stablished consequences in neurodevelopment and growth (7.8). The mixture of both flours (~20/80 %) will provide a complete protein, the fact of small losses (9) of essential amino acids as consequence of food processing (even by microwaves) is an added advantage. Because of the pragmatic idea of this Forum digest the possibility of having both flours or preferably crops, both being resilient to dry conditions, in these vast rural areas of LMIC could help to improve nutrition in general and especially in this crucial age which affects the rest of life.          

 

REFERENCES

  1. De Onis ; Dewey KG, Borghi E, Onyango AW, Blössner M, Daelmans B. The World Health Organization’s global target for reducing childhood stunting by 2025: rationale and proposed actions. Maternal & Child Nutrition 2013; 9(Suppl 2): 6-26.
  2. UN Department of Economics and Social Affairs. World Population Prospect: The2015 Revision www.un.org/eng/development/desa/population
  3. World healthiest food. www. whfoods.com
  4. Angulo-Bejarano PI, Verdugo-Montoya NM, Cuevas-Rodriguez EO, Milan-Carrillo J, Mora-Escobedo R, Lopez-Valenzuela JA. Tempeh flour from chickpea (Cicer arietinum) Nutritional and physicochemical properties. Food Chemistry 2008; 106: 106-12.
  5. Arab EAA, Helmy IMF, Barch GF.Nutritional evaluation and functional properties of chickpea (Cicer arietinum L) flour and the improvement of spaghetti produced from its. J Amer Science 2010; 6(10): 1055-72.
  6. Malunga LN, Bar-ElDadon S, Zinal E, Berkovich Z, Abbo S, Reifen S. The potential use of chickpeas in development of infant follow-on formula. Nutrition Journal 2014; 13(8): 1-8.
  7. Suri DJ, Tano-Debrah K, Ghosh SA. Optimization of the nutrient content and protein quality of cereal-legume blends for use as complementary foods in Ghana. Food Nutr Bull 2014; 35(2): 372-81.
  8. Moya M. Lysine genetically enriched cereals for improving nutrition in children under 5 yearsin low- and middle-income countries, J Nutr Health Food Engineer 2016 (in press).
  9. El-Adawy TA. Nutritional composition and antinutritional factors of chickpeas (Cicer arietinum L.) undergoing different cooking methods and germination. Plant Food 2002; 57: 83-97.  

TABLE.  Essential amino acids and protein content in chickpea flour and different
Cereal products in comparison to the complete protein pattern.

   
           

ESSENTIAL

COMPLETE

CHICKPEA

SOYBEAN

SORGHUM

MAIZE

AMINO ACIDS

PROTEIN

FLOUR

FLOUR

GRAIN

WHOLE

 

mg/g prot

mg/g prot

mg/g prot

mg/g prot

mg/g prot

           

Trp

7

1.1

14

10,2

9

Thr

27

38

42

31,2

37

Ile

25

47

50

42,1

38

Leu

55

76

85

140,8

133

Lys

51

60

70

20,2

27

Met + Cys

25

29

28

16,6

41

Phe + Tyr

47

91

88

53,3

92

Val

32

56

53

52,2

46

His

18

29

28

20,6

27

           

Prot g/100g

 

22

36

10,4

8