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(BEVERLY HILLS) – Legumes could turn out to be a nutritional powerhouse to help overcome malnutrition among an estimated 800 million undernourished people in the developing world, says a report.
Published in an upcoming issue of Comprehensive Reviews in Food Science and Food Safety, the report points out that providing safe, nutritious and wholesome food for poor and undernourished populations has been an increasing challenge for the developing countries, where protein-energy malnutrition is among the most serious problems.
And this is because of increased populations, scarcity of fertile land, and degradation of natural resources. Thus, wild and underutilized legumes have emerged as cost-effective alternatives to the unreliable supply of animal-based protein in developing nations.
Although common legumes such as soybeans and cowpeas are available, the demand for these protein-rich sources is not being met. On the other hand, researchers throughout the world are tapping into natural wild and underutilized legumes to alleviate hunger and overcome malnutrition in developing nations.
Several species of wild and underutilized legumes, such as Sesbania, Mucuna and Canavalia, possess strong nutritional and pharmaceutical value.
With proper processing of these legumes, food scientists are certain that with further research these plants will provide food for humans and animals as well as a potential way to overcome protein malnutrition issues that currently affect developing nations.
“Further research is needed to explore the entirety of the underutilized legumes’ nutritional potential and researchers hope to find them to be a source of nutraceuticals for new food formulations, biofortification and new product development,” said lead researcher Rajeev Bhat.
The patient usually complains of weakness, fatigue, lack of energy and dizziness. Other symptoms include a haggard look, premature wrinkles, dull and tired looking eyes, poor memory, shortness of breath on exertion, headache, slow healing of wounds, and palpitations. The skin and mucous membranes look pale.
Diminished formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow
A diminished formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, either due to defects in the bone marrow, or due to an inadequate intake of iron, vitamins, and proteins, is one of the main causes of anaemia.
Heavy loss of blood due to injury, bleeding piles
Other important causes are heavy loss of blood due to injury, bleeding piles, or excessive menstruation in women.
Lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach or intestinal parasites or worms
Anaemia can also occur due to a lack of hydrochloric acid in the stomach, which is needed for digestion of iron and proteins, or intestinal parasites or worms. Hookworms, pinworms, round worms and tape worms feed on the supply of blood as well as on the vitamins.
Anaemia treatment using Vitamin B12
Vitamin B12 is needed for preventing or curing anaemia. This vitamin is usually found in animal protein, especially in meats such as kidney and liver. There are, however, other equally good sources of vitamin BI2 such as dairy products which also contain some B12
Anaemia treatment using Beets
Beets are very helpful in curing anaemia. Beet juice contains potassium, phosphorus, calcium, sulphur, iodine, iron, copper, carbohydrates, protein, fat, vitamins B1 B2, B6, niacin, and vitamin P. With their high iron content, beets help in the formation of red blood cells. The juice of red beet strengthens the body’s powers of resistance and has proved to be an excellent remedy for anaemia, especially for children and teenagers, where other blood-forming remedies have failed.
Anaemia treatment using Fenugreek
The leaves of fenugreek help in blood formation. The cooked leaves should be taken by adolescent girls to prevent anaemia, which may occur due to the onset of puberty and menstruation. The seeds of fenugreek are also a valuable cure for anaemia, being rich in iron.
Anaemia treatment using Lettuce
Lettuce is another effective remedy for this ailment as it contains a considerable amount of iron. It can, therefore, be used as a good tonic food for anaemia. The iron in it is easily absorbed by the body.
Anaemia treatment using Spinach
This leafy vegetable is a valuable source of high grade iron. After its absorption, it helps in the formation of haemoglobin and red blood cells. It is thus beneficial in building up the blood, and in the prevention and treatment of anaemia.
Anaemia treatment using Soyabean
Soyabean is rich in iron and also has a high protein value. As most anaemic patients usually also suffer from a weak digestion, it should be given to them in a very light form, preferably in the form of milk, which can be easily digested.
Anaemia treatment using Almonds
Almonds contain copper to the extent of 1.15 mg per 100 gm. The copper along with iron and vitamins, acts as a catalyst in the synthesis of haemoglobin. Almonds are, therefore, a useful remedy for anaemia. Seven almonds should be soaked in water for about two hours and ground into a paste after removing the thin red skin. This paste may be eaten once daily in the morning for three months.
Anaemia treatment using Sesame Seeds
Black sesame seeds, as a rich source of iron, are valuable in anaemia. After soaking one teaspoon of the seeds in warm water for a couple of hours, they should be ground and strained, and then mixed with a cup of milk and sweetened with jaggery or sugar. This emulsion should be given to patients suffering from anaemia.
Anaemia treatment using Honey
Honey is remarkable for building haemoglobin in the body. This is largely due to the iron, copper, and manganese contained in it
Anaemia treatment using Other Foods
There are several other foods which are rich sources of iron and can be used beneficially in the treatment of anaemia. The more important of these are bananas, black grapes, plums, strawberries, raisins, onions, squash, carrots, radish, celery, and tomatoes.
Have raw vegetables and fresh fruits rich in iron
Diet is of utmost importance in the treatment of anaemia. Refined foods like white bread, polished rice, sugar, and desserts rob the body of its much-needed iron. Iron should preferably be taken in its natural organic form in food. The emphasis in the diet should be on raw vegetables and fresh fruits which are rich in iron.
Go for therapeutic treatment with an exclusive fruit diet
The patient should commence a therapeutic treatment with an exclusive fruit diet for five days, taking three meals a day of fresh juicy fruits. This may be followed by a fruit and milk diet for about fifteen days. In this regimen, the frequency of meals should be exactly the same as for the earlier all-fruit diet. Thereafter, the patient may gradually embark upon a well-balanced diet, consisting of seeds, nuts, grains, vegetables, and fruits.
Other anaemia treatment
Cold water baths
Cold water baths are recommended in anaemia. The patient should be given a cold bath carefully twice daily, the coldness of the water being increased gradually.
Hot Epsom salts bath and sunbatbs
A hot Epsom salts bath for five to ten minutes once a week and an occasional steam bath are also useful. Sunbaths are especially beneficial as the sunlight stimulates the production of red cells.
Deep breathing and light exercises
Other important factors that help in curing anaemia are deep breathing and light exercises like walking.
Yogic asanas such as sarvangasana paschimottanasana and shavasana as well as massage are also helpfu1 in this regard.