*Scurvy, What you donít eat CAN hurt you:*
Micronutrients and refugee preparations
By: Argus
10 February 2006

This is not intended to be an exposition on food preparation or storage. There is ample material on that subject. Instead, this article will serve as a reminder of some considerations you should make when selecting food for storage and use during emergency situations, based on nutrients the body needs in minute amounts in order to function properly ("micronutrients".)

It is easy to collect a couple of 50-pound bags of beans and rice, some cans of SPAM, and a barrel of water and call yourself prepared. While there is nothing inherently wrong with any of these items (unless you have an aversion to SPAM as most people do), without the micronutrients supplied by a variety in your diet or appropriate supplements, over the long haul a restricted diet can lead to a number of health problems and impair your ability to function, or worse.

This article will cover several of these problems, and make some suggestions on what to include in your preparations in order to avoid them.

I am not a doctor, and I am not proposing to give medical advice or diagnose any illness here. Rather, my purpose is to raise awareness of some nasty things that are out there that will bite if you donít put some thought into your preparations.

Now, before anyone gets up in arms over the use of the term "refugee", I am not speaking of the unprepared population that heads for the government handouts during and after natural disasters and such, aka "Sheeple." In this article a refugee is one who is taking refuge and for any number of reasons exists off of stored or emergency food sources. For those who practice preparedness, this could be us.

There are a number of medical conditions that are common among individuals living off of restricted diets, known as micronutrient deficiencies. Your belly may be full, but that doesnít make you healthy. For the most part, these are common in underdeveloped countries, refugee camps, and individuals who for other reasons do not have access to proper nutrition. In a SHTF scenario, that latter could be us without proper preparation. Listed below are some of the more common micro-nutritional disorders, common symptoms and consequences, and recognized preventative measures.

As you can see, little things in your diet can make a big difference in key survival functions such as energy level, wound healing, immune function and vision. For children and adolescents, micronutrients are crucial to proper mental and physical development, and contribute to pre- and post-natal survivability and health. Whether making food selections or adding vitamin supplements to your list of supplies, micronutrients should be a top consideration when choosing food preparations.

Studies by the United Nations, World Health Organization, Red Cross and others consistently point to limited dietary variety and lack of appropriate supplements as major causes of malnutrition and associated illnesses, resulting in elevated mortality rates and decreased productivity in refugee populations.

Prepare now, donít let it happen to you.

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