World Food Day: Because Hunger is a Health Issue
The availability of food is something we rarely worry about. Unless it’s an emergency #hangry moment, it’s not a concern that’s typically at the forefront of our minds. There are still some 821 million people who do not get enough to eat daily. That is about 1 in 9 of every person in the world go to bed with an empty stomach each night. Even more — one in three — suffer from some form of malnutrition.
World Food Day was established by the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) of the United Nations in 1945 to address the widespread concerns of food security. October 16th is meant to draw attention to the continuation of work towards achieving Zero Hunger. In many places around the world, hunger means starvation. In the US, hunger is a health issue. People facing hunger usually get the wrong calories — junk calories — that lead to a number of diet-related health issues including but not limited to diabetes, obesity, cancer, heart disease, and so on.
In honor of the efforts of World Food Day to end world hunger, we have to address this malnutrition. Feeding our body certain foods, not only keeps us healthy but can assist in keeping our immune system strong. A strong immune system can help prevent many things.
Here are some items you should consider adding to your shopping cart next time you go get groceries:
- Citrus Fruits
Most people turn to vitamin C after they’ve caught a cold. That’s because it helps build up your immune system. Vitamin C is thought to increase the production of white blood cells, which is key to fighting infections. From grapefruits, oranges, limes, lemons, even pomegranates, vitamin C can be easy to add to any meal. Because your body doesn’t produce or store it, it’s essential to take daily vitamin C for continued health.
- Red Bell Peppers
Did you know that citrus fruits don’t contain the most amount of vitamin C of any fruits or vegetables? Surprise! Ounce for ounce, red bell peppers contain twice as much vitamin C as citrus. They’re also a rich source of beta carotene. Besides boosting your immune system, this veggie may also maintain your healthy eyes and skin!
Broccoli is supercharged with vitamins and minerals. Packed with vitamins A, C, and E as well as many antioxidants and fiber, broccoli is one of the healthiest vegetables you put on your table. The key is to keep its power intact by cooking it as little as possible, or better yet, not at all! So, don’t overcook this green nutrition-giant. Cook until bright green and remove from heat.
Garlic is found in almost every cuisine in the world. It adds a little zing to food and it’s a must-have for your health. Early civilizations recognized its value in fighting infections. Garlic’s immune-boosting properties seem to come from a heavy concentration of sulfur-containing compounds, such as allicin. So much so that the National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health says that garlic may also help lower blood pressure and slow down hardening of the arteries.
Ginger is another ingredient many turn to after getting sick. It’s because it may help decrease inflammation, which helps reduce sore throat and other inflammatory diseases. It can also help decrease nausea. While used in many sweet desserts, ginger packs some serious heat in the form of gingerol, a relative of capsaicin. This helps decrease chronic pain and may possess cholesterol-lowering properties.
Variety is the key to proper nutrition. These are just a handful of foods that can help boost your immune system. Eating just one of these won’t be enough to help fight off the flu, even if you eat it constantly.
Eating right is one of the best ways you can honor your body and celebrate World Food Day. There are so many people around the world who would love to privilege of eating healthy. On top of which, eating healthy means you’re supporting agriculture, forestry, and fishery industries, some of which pay it forward by providing nutritious food for lower-income communities. It just goes to show that when you take care of yourself, you take care of others.
Speaking of delicious, nutritious foods. Here’s one of our favorites. Try this recipe and let us know your thoughts!
Cauliflower and Kimchi “Fried Rice”
Total Time: Under 30 minutes
Serving Size: 4
This grain-free, vegan, probiotic-packed (thanks, kimchi!) meal means it’s really good for you. Plus, it totally hits the spot for that Chinese-takeout craving.
- 1 small head of cauliflower
- 2 tbsp grapeseed oil
- 2 tsp toasted sesame oil
- 1 small bunch of dinosaur (Lacinato) kale, ribs removed, leaves diced into ribbons
- 2 scallions, thinly sliced
- ½ cup chopped kimchi
- ¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro
- 3 tbsp tamari
- Salt and pepper
- Food processor
- Cut cauliflower into small florets, then pulse in a food processor until the pieces are the size of couscous (about 2 cups)
- Heat the safflower and sesame oils in a large nonstick sauté pan over high heat
- Add the kale and cauliflower and sauté until the kale is wilted and the cauliflower is beginning to brown, 3-5 minutes