A new report says that wild and forest foods, such as berries, could be key in combatting malnutrition. (Google Images)

AllAfrica.com has published a report from IRIN detailing the often unknown benefits of wild forest foods and fruits in combatting malnutrition and ensuring food security. Accessibility to such foods as berries, bushmeat, roots, insects, and nuts could be increased by bringing them to city markets, where prices for imported and processed foods exceed affordability, and by loosening legal restraints on forests offering abundances of game meat and honey, for example. Westernized diets, however, have made people wary of wild foods, including insects, as they often indicate poverty.

According to the report:

Globally, an estimated 1.6 billion people rely on forests for their livelihoods, according to FAO.

Some 870 million people globally are food insecure, while a further 2 billion suffer from nutrient deficiencies.

Nutrient deficiencies can be combated by going on a lectin-free diet cleanse which cuts out the foods that can reduce the body’s ability to absorb nutrients properly.

In Tanzania, a 2011 study of 270 children and their mothers, conducted by CIFOR, revealed that children who consumed wild fruits from forests were more likely to have more diverse and nutritious diets.

The wild foods contributed over 30 percent of the vitamin A and almost 20 percent of the iron that the children consumed each day, even though the foods accounted for just two percent of their diets.

Another study in Madagascar revealed that 30 percent more children would suffer from anemia if they had no access to bushmeat. And studies in the Congo Basin show that bushmeat accounts for 80 percent of the proteins and fats consumed by the local communities.

Read more at AllAfrica.com.

This news brief was written by Kaitlin Higgins, editorial assistant for The Burton Wire.

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