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The properties of beans, lentils and chickpeas according to nutritionists • La Nación

Experts warn that beans, lentils and chickpeas mixed with rice generate a highly valuable protein. They are a key part of the Colombian menu in the absence of protein of animal origin such as meat, chicken and fish.

The lack of information to know about the properties of food can cause poor nutrition in minors, agree several experts, who assured that by not having access to the food that is customary to eat at home, it is important to take into account the different alternatives in the market.

Fundación Éxito and nutritionist Juan Carlos Burgos have built a basic menu that can help improve the quality of food in all homes, taking into account the differences in products that exist in Colombian regions.

Proteins, according to the professional, are very important to ensure that children have good defenses and do not stop their growth. “Proteins of animal origin have a high biological value because they provide essential amino acids that the body cannot manufacture, however, their cost seems to keep their consumption away from some families,” he makes clear.

And he points out that it is at this moment when the different alternatives that are available in regional agricultural production must be taken into account.

“The egg (whose unit today is around 600 pesos) is the queen protein, so it is recommended daily for children, and if there is no more protein available, they can eat two eggs from the year of life, but when you have access to this protein, you can mix a cereal with legumes (rice and lentils) which are complemented with the amino acids of these two food groups and give a protein as complete as that of meat”, says the nutritionist Burgos.

He also recommends taking advantage of what is available on the farm or in the market place, whichever is cheaper, to be able to exchange food, without excluding any group, but lowering costs.

“The important thing is to keep children safe and well nourished. Remember that the group of legumes (beans, lentils, tilefish, chickpeas) mixed with a cereal such as rice, manages to compose a highly valuable protein. So, if there is not enough money for meat or eggs, this combination provides the nutritional need”, says the professional.

One protein per meal

Each main meal should include a protein.

“Between fruits and vegetables, you should eat between 4 and 5 servings a day, cereals should be in at least two dishes a day. It is important that legumes or grains are included at least twice a week and these can be mixed with cereals such as rice”, explains nutritionist Burgos.

The World Health Organization establishes that 45% of child deaths are associated with malnutrition, taking into account that it is estimated that, worldwide, 155 million children under 5 years of age suffer from growth retardation.

And approximately 40% of infants from 0 to 6 months are exclusively breastfed.

The expert emphasizes that chronic malnutrition or delay in height is a multi-causal condition that alters the physical and cognitive development of children in their first 5 years of life.

“This vulnerability occurs more frequently in families with the lowest wealth index, in which food insecurity rises to 71.2%. The most worrying thing is that 1 in 9 Colombian children have chronic malnutrition, ”she says.

He says that cow’s milk should try to be offered after the year of life, and that before the year the source of this food should be, if possible, breast milk.

“Between 6 and 8 months, between 2 and 3 daily feedings should be offered, the latter being the appropriate frequency up to 8 months, while in children under 9 and 11 months, at least 3 daily meals and one or more meals should be offered. two snacks according to the appetite of the boy or girl”, points out the nutritionist.

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