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Why Fortified Foods Are A Must Have For All Age Groups?

When the body lacks in adequate nutrition, you tend to suffer from several health issues. The food that you eat might not be able to provide the needed amount of nutrients. This is one major problem that is being faced by every mother, as the kids first of all refuse to eat the food, and the little of what they eat does not provide the sufficient nutrients to them.

Well, it isn't just the kids, the problem persists even among the adults and elderly too. When the body fails to get the needed amount of nutrients and micronutrients, it gives rise major health issues like anaemia, poor eyesight, weak bones, frequent fractures (where one can be highly prone to it) and several other serious ailments.

Foods Rich In Vitamin B12

So, how do we get the right amount of nutrients that the body requires? Well, this is where fortified foods play a vital role.

What Is Food Fortification?

Food fortification is nothing but the addition of key vitamins and minerals such as iron, iodine, zinc, vitamins A and D to staple foods such as rice, wheat, oil, milk and salt to improve their nutritional content. These nutrients may or may not have been originally present in the food before processing or may have been lost during processing.

Why Food Fortification Is Needed?

When we looked at the statistics, it was found that India has a very high burden of micronutrient deficiencies. As per the National Family Health Survey (NFHS), 58.4 percent of children (6-59 months) are anaemic, 53.1 percent women in the reproductive age group are anaemic and about 35.7 percent of children under 5 years of age are underweight and anaemic.

"Micronutrients are needed for the right physical, mental and cognitive growth of the child. It is critical to get them right from the time a women is expecting a child. The first 1000 days are critical for nutrition. Human body needs these micronutrients in small quantity but need them throughout their life for the proper functioning of the body on a daily basis. Hence, it is important to make sure to get these nutrients," mentioned Smita Mankad, Principal Lead, Food Fortification Resource Centre, FSSAI at the recently held National Health Writers and Editors Convention organized by the Heal Foundation in Hyderabad.

Since the supplements are expensive, everyone cannot afford to go for supplements. And this is where the fortified foods play a vital role. A total of 20-30 percent of the nutrient requirements can be brought through fortification, she further added.

So, how do we know that the food that we are buying is fortified?

In order to ensure that you pick up fortified foods, you need to check for the +F symbol in your food packets. Currently, the FSSAI (Food Safety And Standard Authority Of India) has set standards for five staple foods - wheat flour, rice, edible oil, salt and milk. However, every other company has its own set of standards too.

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Story first published: Tuesday, November 14, 2017, 20:30 [IST]