What is Hunger?
by Maria Del Mar Mejias on October 26, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT

Hunger is one of the leading causes of death world wide, but does anybody really know what hunger is? Honoring UNICEF’s World Food Day on October 16, I decided to write a small piece on what hunger really is, and how it’s not as simple to explain as you might think. Hunger is a condition where there is no consumption of foods that will provide us basic nutrients that we need for our well-being. The absence of these nutrients will cause malnutrition, a severe case of nutrient deficiency, which can cause permanent damage to the body.

Even if you only lack one vitamin or mineral in your diet, you suffer from malnutrition. All nutrients are important regardless of how much or how little your body needs out of each one and these include carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals. It is very common to see an accelerated drop of nutrients when a person is malnourished; micronutrient deficiencies are a fast growing epidemic in Americans. Even though we don’t need to consume so much of these micronutrients, regardless of size, they’re still very important. According to WHO, World Health Organization, three of the main deficiencies are iodine, vitamin A and iron. Respectively, these nutrients deal with prevention of brain damage, visual impairment, and anemia.

Micronutrient

Dietary Source

Iodine Dairy Products like cheese, milk, yogurt, and eggs.
Vitamin A Sweet potato, carrots, and dark green leaves (spinach, kale, romaine lettuce).
Iron Soybeans, lentils, spinach, tofu, sesame seeds, olives and garbanzo, lima and navy beans.

There are many ways of describing we’re hungry, not only by eating a piece of bread to fill us up, but an actual nutrient-dense food that will provide us with what our body is really craving. An easy way of keeping track of this, is as easy as making half of your plate a colorful medley of fruits and veggies every day.

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