Optimizing Nutrient Intake
Efforts by the Gates Foundation on Nutrition Issues
The world’s largest charitable organization, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has pledged a record $922.2 million over the next five years to tackle global nutrition issues. A significant portion of these funds will be directed towards South Asia and sub-Saharan Africa, regions with high nutritional needs. One of the foundation’s central goals is to achieve “healthy and productive lives” for women and children.
According to the latest report from the United Nations, the pandemic has exacerbated hunger, particularly in low- and middle-income countries, undermining efforts to combat malnutrition. The Gates Foundation is concerned that this situation could delay nutrition interventions by more than a decade, potentially resulting in annual losses of $3.5 trillion to the global economy.
Moreover, this initiative is expected to encourage commitment from other funding sources and embolden nations to take action. Dr. Christopher Elias, head of the Global Development division, stated, “Nutrition is a driving force for overall health and contributes to achieving the SDGs’ goals in the remaining nine years.”
Apart from this, the Gates Foundation is also addressing nutrition issues through aspects such as “fortifying vitamins and minerals in food,” “nutrient-rich food systems,” and “research on new approaches.”
Aarhus Embraces Winter and Vitamin D
Denmark is already showing signs of winter, with visible white breath and a sense of winter’s arrival. In addition to the harsh cold, the perpetually overcast sky contributes to a melancholic atmosphere. The sun sets prematurely, making the day even shorter.
With just about 7 hours of sunlight during the winter, vitamin D supplements are essential to combat the subdued mood.
Vitamin D, primarily produced by exposure to sunlight, contributes to strong bones and improved immune function.
However, it’s surprising that about 50% of the global population suffers from vitamin D deficiency. Causes include excessive UV protection and limited outdoor activities. This issue could be more common than expected.
Of course, the recommended intake is crucial. Studies suggest that for maintaining an adequate blood concentration of vitamin D, a daily intake of around 600 IU is recommended for adults, with some studies suggesting up to 3,000 IU. While about 20 minutes of sun exposure per day is sufficient, remote work and reduced outdoor activities might prompt some to consider supplements.
However, balance is essential. It’s advisable to avoid consuming more than 10,000 IU per day. Careful attention to the content is necessary.
Energy Drinks 2.0
The energy drink market is expected to grow until 2026 due to busier lifestyles and shifting exercise habits influenced by the pandemic. Consumption is rising among the youth and athletes, occupying a substantial share in the ready-to-drink market. However, concerns persist about their high sugar content and unfavorable impact on health perceptions.
In this context, “organic energy drinks” are predicted to become the fastest-growing products. Introduced in 2020, Rowdy Energy is sugar-free and free from synthetic colorants and preservatives. It utilizes slowly absorbed natural caffeine to reduce the occurrence of post-consumption energy crashes. Moreover, it contains essential electrolytes for hydration, resembling sports drinks.
Once associated with intense moments like workouts or exams, energy drinks are evolving into products that support overall physical performance and well-being.
Vitamins Your Body Truly Needs
Nowadays, nutritional supplements and drinks are easily accessible even at supermarkets and convenience stores. In Sweden, where I currently reside, the limited winter sunlight makes supplements more prevalent than in Japan. Pharmacies offer a variety of supplements tailored for different genders and ages, including colorful and cute nutritional gummies for children.
However, do we truly understand the correct intake and effects of these nutrients? I personally have a few ideas – for instance, taking vitamin C for skin issues or zinc for hair and nail growth. In an article from healthline, the benefits, recommended intake, and food sources for essential vitamins and minerals are highlighted. Vitamins D, B-1, B-2, magnesium, calcium, zinc, iron, and folic acid are emphasized.
Most of these are lacking in our diets but play crucial roles. Particularly, nutrients like zinc that can’t be stored by the body and vitamin D produced by sunlight might need more attention.
We can understand what vitamins we lack by reflecting on our diets and health. According to healthline, hair and nail damage might be due to a lack of vitamin B7, while iron and vitamin B deficiency could lead to mouth sores and cracked corners of the mouth. Vitamin C deficiency not only affects the skin but also causes bleeding gums.
Before venturing into supplements, it’s essential to determine what our bodies truly lack by understanding our diets and overall health.