WINTER FOOD AID APPEAL /// Good nutrition is important for health, without it our energy levels, growth and development, immune system, our moods and morale suffer, not to mention and we become more susceptible to disease.
Nutritional deficiencies are common in persons seeking asylum, usually attributed to a chronic lack of essential nutrients. One of the contributing factors is interrupted and inadequate access to nutritious food. The journey to Greece is a long and dangerous and it’s difficult to access nutrient dense food or any food at all, especially for those camping out for long periods. Once in Greece, the meals provided are inadequate, food provided lacks nutrition, quality, and variety not to mention the small portion sizes.
For optimum health and wellbeing our diets should be a combination cooked and fresh vegetables and fruit, lean proteins such as meats, fish, eggs, legumes, dairy such as cheese and yoghurt, nuts and healthy fats such as oils, seeds or even avocado, we also like to see a variety of carbohydrates sources including whole-grains such as rice, pasta, bread, and cereals. Unfortunately, this is not seen in the camps and inadequate access to food continues due to the poor quality of the food provided, lack of personal funds to purchase food, lack of familiar or traditional ingredients, lack of access to shops and limited access to cooking facilities, among other things.
As we know, the situation in the camps is volatile, and the cold weather brings on a myriad of health risks. Lack of sun exposure leads to a deficiency in vitamin D (synthesized my action of sunlight on skin), when vitamin D levels are inadequate not only is mental health impacted, but immune systems become compromised. When immune systems are compromised we become more susceptible to disease, vitamin C, predominantly found in fruit and vegetables a really important nutrient. Due to limitations with access to fresh produce RBB has decided to include canned tomatoes in our food packs for distribution. Tomatoes are loaded with vitamin C, as well as antioxidants including beta-carotene (converted to vitamin A) and lycopene to support immune system health.