Wellness and Vitality
Worldwide, nearly two billion people are malnourished ((It has been estimated that over 70% of pregnant women in India suffer from anemia). Running parallel to the scarcity of nutrients in some countries is a growing worldwide obesity epidemic. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimated that over 1.9 billion adults were overweight and of these more than 600 million were officially obese. For most of the world’s people the problems associated with being overweight or obese kill more people than problems associated with being underweight
These phenomena are linked: New scientific research is beginning to show that malnourishment in pregnant women and young children can create a genetic tendency for obesity later in life. These are just a few areas whereby the observable evidence shows that vitality and wellness are far from pervasive in society and are directly linked to our nutritional intake.
Plenty of food but not enough nutrients ~ a growing concern.
Surprisingly, middle class consumers in the more wealthy countries of the world, still suffer from a lack of or depletion of the essential nutrients that our bodies require. This means, in reality, that we have whole communities of both adults and children who are not functioning physically and mentally at their vital best.
Take Europe, for example, fewer people are actually going hungry than ever before but it is estimated that up to three-quarters of the population in some countries are actually suffering from malnutrition. This type of malnourishment is known as hidden hunger, enough calories are being consumed but not sufficient amounts of minerals and vitamins that are needed for vitality, health, growth and fighting off diseases.
Might undetected shortages of key nutrients have something to do with the rise of allergies, autism, hyperactivity and even cancer ? The answer is, we don’t know, and very few people are even asking this question. Several studies have shown a definitive link between depression and deficiencies in omega–3 fatty acids, vitamin B and magnesium.
And if our healthcare systems, even the way we train our doctors, are focused on treating illness and not on promoting and supporting wellness, how do we expect change to occur?
The work of Ashoka over the last few years suggests that full nourishment (and a Nutrient Economy that can deliver it) is essential for wellness and vitality and is a critical initiative towards combating malnourishment. With the onset of a more nutrient rich system problems associated with malnourishment, such as the physical and intellectual stunting of children, obesity, and the rise of chronic and infectious diseases will be reduced, and eventually even eradicated. A growing number of experts and international officials agree that:-
The entire food chain from seed to food processors to the consumer needs re-alignment
around ‘absorb-able‘ nutrient content rather than just yield and color that is focused
on ‘sterile stomach filling.’
Keep in mind, that it will take time…
It will take some time to create widespread healthy environments, wholesale adoption of nutrient-rich farming, and a market transformation toward full nourishment foods (the major element of Nutrient Economy).
In the short term, advanced nutritional supplements, either alone or in specially fortified foods, are almost the only simple tool we have at present to combat malnourishment. However, simply taking vitamin and mineral supplements may cause health problems too. In some cases you can actually exceed the safe level or recommended dietary allowance (RDA) of vitamins or minerals and actually add to, or even cause additional health issues.
Furthermore, in today’s world, the nutrients that everybody needs should be available to all through eating a large variety of fresh, organic products. No food supplements are ever going to be more beneficial to health than a natural, balanced diet and that means we need both new ways of measuring full nourishment, so we can gauge what works, as well as innovative new ways to get nutrient-rich produce to people who need them.