22 year old Rita loves to eat and keeps on munching easily accessible and addictive junk foods. As a result she has gained excess weight but feels dull and drained throughout the day. Her health checkup revealed nutrient deficiency, which was hard for her to believe. In this modern day of being time-poor and money-rich, there is nothing more appealing than fast and convenient meals, which unfortunately gets translated to junk food. Junk food or empty calorie foods, refer to calorie-containing foods (and beverages) that are low in or completely devoid of nutrients. Rita is not an isolated case. Many of us might have experienced the same… This is Hidden Hunger.
What Is Hidden Hunger?
WHO defines Hidden Hunger as lack of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). As the name suggests, micronutrients are required by our body in very small quantities. They enable the body to produce enzymes, hormones and other essential substances. They also play a central role in metabolism and in the maintenance of tissue function. Hidden Hunger occurs when the quality of food we eat does not meet our nutrient requirements.
Left unnoticed, long term deficiency of micronutrients may lead to impaired cognitive and physical development. Short term deficiency can be treated by a nutrient rich diet. General symptoms of hidden hunger are-unexplained tiredness, dullness, poor concentration and lack of interest in activity.
A balanced diet, that contains items from all major food groups in appropriate quantities ensures adequate intake of micronutrients. Major food groups to be included in meals are:
- Cereals, Pulses and Millets: Rich source of B vitamins and minerals like iron, selenium etc., when consumed in whole (unprocessed) form.
- Dairy and Meat products: Rich source of several vitamins and minerals esp. Vitamin B12, Vitamin A, Iron, Iodine, Calcium and Zinc.
- Vegetables and fruits: Rich source of all vitamins, minerals and antioxidants (phyto chemicals) esp. Vitamin C, Beta carotene, Folate, Potassium, Magnesium etc.
- Nuts and oilseeds: Powerhouse of minerals (Magnesium, Zinc etc.) and fat soluble vitamins. They are good snacking option between meals.
To curb this Hidden Hunger, it’s time to check your meals, modify them to include all food groups and revert back to your original, active and energetic self! We hope this article helps you. If you need help to make a change and learn more about how to balance your meals, ask an expert by subscribing for personalised health coaching here: https://goqiiapp.page.link/bsr
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