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Health Matters

Climate is changing. And so are foods and agriculture.

Mónica Santos . 18/10/2016

World Food Day is promoted by FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) and celebrated all over the world. Each year there is a different theme and common goal: Promoting the existence of safe foods, in appropriate quantities for world population, reducing nutritional inequalities and imbalance, either by deficit or excess.

The climate is changing. And so are foods and agriculture.

This is the challenge FAO presents us for the coming year.

Several climate changes that we are aware of have become common: arctic thaw, the rising of sea water level, draughts, cyclones, floods. All these phenomena threaten agriculture and the production of foods and, consequently, the goal to put an end to world hunger until 2030.

We all play an active role in this challenge, by changing our daily routines as consumers and users of the surrounding environment.

Bearing this in mind, on World Food Day, Joaquim Chaves Saúde presents you 4 of FAO’s proposals:

  • Diversify your diet

Have a vegetarian meal once a week, replacing a meat meal.

The production of meat consumes more natural resources, such as water, than the production of vegetables. A meal with varied vegetables, cereals and leguminous (green peas, beans, chickpeas, lentils, etc.) allows nutritional richness and balance, satiety and economy.

In this international leguminous year, it is important to promote its use in our everyday gastronomy. Besides being a replacement to meat, they may also be part of our daily diet, if included as a base or filling for soups and salads.

Buy your foods according to the needs of your household.

Don’t forget that children, despite being in a growth and development period, need very little portions of foods, namely meat and fish. Insisting that they ingest greater amounts, due to their development stage, only ends up contributing to a stressful environment at the table when, ultimately, this should be a time for sharing and socializing.

Choose your foods in accordance with seasonality and regionality.

Besides being cheaper, season and local products are usually tastier and nutritionally richer, since a shorter period between harvest and consumption promotes nutrient and flavour preservation.

  • Choose organic food products

Organic agriculture respects soil preservation and increases its capacity to retain carbon, which helps reduce climate changes.

Choosing organically produced foods, whether in supermarket chains, local markets or even family production, are transversal measures we should all adopt.

Urban gardens are an excellent example of the promotion of this principle.

  • Store your food appropriately

When storing food products, don’t forget to move the older ones to the front and the more recent ones to the back. This will help you to avoid exceeding expiry dates and food waste.

After a package is opened, if not entirely consumed, store it in a hermetically sealed condition, according to recommended temperature (refrigeration, freezing or at room temperature).

  • Make a safe use of leftovers

If you have cooked in excess, don’t put it all to waste! Refrigerate as soon as possible leftover foods, freeze them for later consumption, or refrigerate and transform them for next day consumption.

For those having meals in restaurants, be reminded that “less is more”! if you think an entire portion in too much for you, order half portion or take the leftovers home. This way you’ll be saving money and improving your nutritional status, by ingesting only in accordance with your needs.

The contribution and example of each of us, at home, at school, at work, will make a difference in general health and surrounding environment and will help achieve FAO’s goal to “End world hunger by 2030”.

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