Handling Nutrition Risk & Malnutrition in Vulnerable South African Populations

Dec 18, 2020

Malnutrition remains a leading global challenge, where low- and middle-income countries experience the double-burden of malnutrition, characterised by high prevalence of both under- and over-nutrition.

It is likely that many sub-Saharan African populations, including South Africans, are deficient in high-quality protein and micronutrients, as due to a low intake of plant-based foods.

Could Gut Health be a Plausible Solution for South Africans?

649px-Vendeuse_de_fruits_&_légumesTo address this global challenge, it has been recommended that governments and health initiatives promote an adequate supply and demand of plant-based proteins and micronutrients, including fruit, vegetables, nuts, seeds, and legumes.

Mpho Tshukudu, a local registered dietician, explains how traditional, African food is both healthy and delicious and can even solve South Africans’ health problems (as per her interview with the SowetanLive.)

Essentially, as Tshuduku explains: “Africans have already been consuming foraged, organic, ancient, gluten-free, vegan, low GI, low GL, slow-cooked, seasonal, sustainable, grass-fed, hormone-free food for generations

Tshuduku recommends coupling South Africa’s traditional food culture with modern advice to blend both heritage and modern health trends.

By taking this approach, dieticians can help develop a more sustainable diet for the modern South African. Although nutrition risk and malnutrition run deeper than finding a balance between consuming traditional and modern diets, this would be a powerful step towards addressing the wide-spread issue, approaching middle-income South African populations.