Malnutrition- The Silent Catastrophe and the Miraculous supplements

Children are the wealth of tomorrow; take care of them, if you wish to have a strong India ever ready to meet various challenges.-Pt. Jawaharlal Nehru

India observes National Nutrition Week 2018 between September 1 to September 7. The purpose of this week is to spread awareness about the importance of nutrition and eating nutritious foods.

It is well-known that despite a fast-growing economy and the largest anti-malnutrition programme (the Integrated Child Development Services (ICDS), which has been in force in the country since 1975), India has the world’s worst level of child malnutrition. Of the 25 million wasted children in the country, 8 million are severely wasted or suffer from severe acute malnutrition. India is home to one-third such children. And 60% of them live in six states: Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Tamil Nadu.

Luckily , unlike certain other societal issues, malnutrition is a preventable problem, if we approach a shift in strategy and practices. We don’t need to go far to find the solutions as there are a lot of nutrition rehabilitations options innovated within the country and available around us. Following are certain effective nutritious supplements which if scaled-up well, can be good solutions to counter the problem of malnutrition.

1. Bal-Ahar

Type: All weaning and pre-school children above age 1+. It can be given to pregnant and lactating women as well.

Ingredients used: Whole wheat flour (70 parts), Groundnut flour (20 parts), Roasted Bengal gram flour (10 parts), Fortified with calcium salts and vitamins

Preparation: Clean the raw materials like wheat flour and groundnut flour before roasting them. After that, mill them before blending with the rest of the ingredients.

Nutritional Benefits: 100 g of Bal-Ahar provides 360 calories and 22.31% protein in addition to substantial amounts of vitamin A, Calcium and Riboflavin.

Developed at: Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore

2. Hyderabad mix

Type: Supplementary feed

Ingredients used: Whole wheat (40g), Bengal Gram (16g), Groundnuts (10g), Jaggery (20g)

Preparation: Saute 3/4th of the wheat flour along with 1/10th of Bengal gram and groundnut till brown in colour & make a powder of it. Now mix together all the ingredients properly. This mixture is to be stored in air-tight container in a cool & dry place. As and when required, mix this powder with milk or warm water and add sugar/ jaggery( Sugarcane) till it thickens.The mixture can be stored safely for 3 months.

Nutritional Benefits: A ball of Hyderabad mix weighing 86 g will provide  330kcal and 11.3g protein (12.5%). This has proven capability to provide an increase of weight within 22 days to 3 weeks

Ideal For: Children

Developed at: National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), Hyderabad

3. Indian Multipurpose Food (IMPF)

Ingredients used: Edible groundnut flour and Bengal gram flour (Cicer arietinum)

Preparation: Blend (75:25) of low fat 1:1 Groundnut flour and Bengal gram flour fortified with vitamins A and D, thiamine, riboflavin and calcium carbonate. There are 3 formulations:

(i) seasoned;

(ii) unseasoned and

(iii) unseasoned with added skim milk powder

Nutritional BenefitsA daily supplement of 25g of Indian Multipurpose food  will provide about 10g proteins and half the daily requirements of Vitamin A, Calcium and Riboflavin. At Ankola children aged from 2 to 6 years, 41 boys and 63 girls, received 1 oz multipurpose food daily in addition to their ordinary diet, and 48 boys and 40 girls served as controls. During 6 months the children given the food improved in nutritional state and their Hb values rose considerably above those of the controls.

Ideal for: Children (5-12 years)

Developed at: Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore

4. Malt Food

Ingredients used: Blend of cereal malt (40 parts), low groundnut flour (40 parts), roasted Bengal gram flour (20 parts) and fortified with vitamins and calcium salts.

Preparation: Roast the Bengal gram flour and blend it with the cereal malt and low groundnut flour in the ratio 1:2:2. Fortify the mixture with vitamins and calcium salts during processing.

Nutritional Benefits: Contains about 28% proteins. Daily supplement of 40 g of malt food will provide about 10 g protein, and half the daily requirements of Vitamin A, Calcium and Riboflavin.

Idea for: Infants

Developed at: Central Food Technological Research Institute (CFTRI), Mysore

5. Kuzhandai Amudhu

Type: Weaning food or snack

Ingredients used: Blend of roasted maize flour (30 parts), green gram flour (20 parts), roasted groundnut (10 parts) and jaggery (20 parts)

PreparationThe mix is prepared by roasting the cereal, pulse, and groundnut followed by grinding the cereal-pulse combination in a mill and pounding the roasted groundnut. All the ingredients should then be mixed with powdered jaggery. To 80g of the formulation, if we add 25 ml of water and mix, it can be made into balls (laddus) or if we add 100 ml of boiling water we get porridge. One can also make food items like Idli, dosai, adai, chapati, pittu, modakam and kolukkattai  and other delicacies using this mixture.

Nutritional Benefits: 80 gm mixture of Kuzhandai Amudhu contains about 14.4% proteins (i.e11.5g proteins) and 305kCal

Ideal for: Infants

Developed at: Sri Avinashilingam Home Science College for Women, Coimbatore

6. Davangere Mix

Ingredients used: Ragi powder (soaked and dried), Bengal gram powder(roasted), groundnut powder(roasted), jaggery syrup

Preparation: Saute the powders and mix Ragi, Bengal gram, jaggery and groundnut in the ratio 6:3:2:1 respectively, to form the mixture, which can then be moulded to form laddus by adding adequate water.

Nutritional Benefits: One Davangere mix laddu weighing 25 g provides 100 calories and 3.5g protein

Developed at: Nutritional Rehabilitation centre, Davangere Medical College

There are few more, namely Krishna Poshak Mix Laddu, Besan Panjiri, Shakti Aahar, Sooji Kheer, Jeevani Milk which deserve due mention. We shall keep updating this post as we keep coming across them.