Moringa Feeding Babies in Chad

Moringa Oleifera, also known as the Moringa tree, is a superfood known around the world for its high saturation of necessary vitamins and minerals, including antioxidants. Moringa is a nutritionally complete food, making it a boon to those in less fortunate circumstances in dry climates all over Africa and India.

The Moringa tree has been called “the Miracle tree” for many reasons, one of which is due to its high content of vitamin A. Vitamin A deficiency is one of the leading problems in developing countries like Gambia or Chad. VAD (Vitamin A deficiency) can cause problems with the eyes, and increases the rate of mortality in both children and their mothers. Collectively, 21% of the children of the world have vitamin A deficiency and die more frequently from diarrhea, measles, and malaria due to it. Roughly 800,000 deaths in children and mothers can be attributed to VAD. This number is slowly decreasing, likely due to the increase in programs that encourage the fortification of diets with vitamin A. Moringa is one of these foods that can do that.

Moringa thrives in dry climates, making it an ideal candidate for increasing vitamin A intake in developing countries in Africa and India. Professor Mike Gordon (University of Reading), an expert in nutrition has said “If a country in Africa really wants development, it has to put good food in the mouths of its babies. There is no other way to develop than to put good food in their mouths and build up the human resource of the country.”

This is why there has been significant research into the benefits of Moringa for infants. A study done recently shows promise for the positive effect of Moringa as a component of “infant flours”, a fortified flour used to feed young children and babies. The study, done by the University of Ouagadougou and spearheaded by Barnabas Kayalto, found Moringa to be an excellent option for feeding infants in developing countries, especially in Chad and other areas with similar climates. The study concludes that Moringa powder is rich in calcium, magnesium, iron, and zinc, as well as protein and vitamins A and C. In fact, the protein, fat, iron, zinc and vitamin A levels were higher than seven traditional, more commonly used, porridges. The study also concluded that by grinding the Moringa leaf into powder, it can be better preserved for future use as well as the best way to get the highest concentration of nutrients.

Dr. Isatou Semega Jammeh, director of Gambia’s National Nutrition Agency has said “Malnutrition causes a great deal of human suffering and is associated with more than half of all deaths of children worldwide…Malnutrition severely impacts on the socio-economic development of a nation because a workforce that is stunted both mentally and physically may have a reduced work capacity. The interaction of poverty, poor health and poor nutrition has a multiplier effect on the general welfare of the population and also contributes significantly towards keeping a population in a downward trend of poverty and nutritional insecurity. Thus nutrition plays an important role in the reproduction of poverty from one generation to the next.”

The proper growth and development of children is of the utmost importance for these countries. Moringa can help these children grown stronger, be better able to resist and overcome illness, and go on to make a difference in their country and the world.

Photo credit: Mishimoto / Foter / CC BY

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