Staple food content: More on we are what we eat.

Staple foods are the basic form of food available for people around the planet. Each area/continent has different climate and soil conditions, thus the staple food planted, cultivated and harvested differs. One factor common for each is that they can be stored in their original form or in a dry processed form. This is important when famine occurs.

Kwashiorkor can occur when staple food is not available

Kwashiorkor can occur when staple food is not available

The main “ingredient” in each is the amount of energy it can provide. The table of staple food content below highlights the food with the highest concentration of each ingredient in bold. So you can see that rice and wheat are the two highest for energy and potato and maize/corn the two lowest. When it comes to vitamins and micro-nutrients (iron, selenium, magnesium, copper etc) you can see foods which have zero-content in some of these vital elements. There is therefore no staple food which can provide everything the body needs for optimal nutrition, and why when famine occurs and people are living in starvation, they rely on stores of their staple food, whilst the stores last. Eventually some form of deficiency will occur like kwashiorkor and pellagra (see images)

Pellagra can occur when staple food is not available

Pellagra can occur when staple food is not available

The table below gives an idea of what nutrients are in our staple foods. I have put it up so that comparisons can be made that may help may help you choose what form of staple is right for you and the family.

 

I hope some of you will find it useful. It also demonstrates the complexity of such basic items as shown below. The news that “bio-printing” could be the next “big” thing is fine but we are a long way from using that sort of technology to aid nutrition.

 Nutrirents in content of major staple foods

STAPLE:

Maize / Corn

Rice

Wheat

Potato

Soybean (Green)

Component (per 100g portion) Amount Amount Amount Amount Amount
Water (g) 76 12 11 79 68
Energy (kJ) 360 1528 1419 322 615
Protein (g) 3.2 7.1 13.7 2.0 13.0
Fat (g) 1.18 0.66 2.47 0.09 6.8
Carbohydrates (g) 19 80 71 17 11
Fiber (g) 2.7 1.3 10.7 2.2 4.2
Sugar (g) 3.22 0.12 0 0.78 0
Calcium (mg) 2 28 34 12 197
Iron (mg) 0.52 4.31 3.52 0.78 3.55
Magnesium (mg) 37 25 144 23 65
Phosphorus (mg) 89 115 508 57 194
Potassium (mg) 270 115 431 421 620
Sodium (mg) 15 5 2 6 15
Zinc (mg) 0.45 1.09 4.16 0.29 0.99
Copper (mg) 0.05 0.22 0.55 0.11 0.13
Manganese (mg) 0.16 1.09 3.01 0.15 0.55
Selenium (mcg) 0.6 15.1 89.4 0.3 1.5
Vitamin C (mg) 6.8 0 0 19.7 29
Thiamin (mg) 0.20 0.58 0.42 0.08 0.44
Riboflavin (mg) 0.06 0.05 0.12 0.03 0.18
Niacin (mg) 1.70 4.19 6.74 1.05 1.65
Pantothenic acid (mg) 0.76 1.01 0.94 0.30 0.15
Vitamin B6 (mg) 0.06 0.16 0.42 0.30 0.07
Folate Total (mcg) 46 231 43 16 165
Vitamin A (IU) 208 0 0 2 180
Vitamin E, alpha-tocopherol (mg) 0.07 0.11 0 0.01 0
Vitamin K (mcg) 0.3 0.1 0 1.9 0
Beta-carotene (mcg) 52 0 0 1 0
Lutein+zeazanthin (mcg) 764 0 0 8 0
Saturated fatty acids (g) 0.18 0.18 0.45 0.03 0.79
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g) 0.35 0.21 0.34 0.00 1.28
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g) 0.56 0.18 0.98 0.04 3.20
 

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: