The food security challenge and health complications, strongly realize the importance of those plants (trees, shrubs, bushes etc) which can add to food and health. There are many plants which can give beauty along with the food and health promising nutrients. A movement to turn from just ornamental to health promising and food plants will be a great revolution in human heritage. I here by give the example of Moringa tree as a typical case, how it adds to health and food.
Moringa oleifera is a tree native to the Himalayas and cultivated throughout the subtropics. Also called the ‘drumstick tree’ due to its odd shape, moringa oleifera grows very well in numerous climate types and offers many health benefits. It has over 92 nutrients and 46 natural antioxidants, as well as anti-inflammatory compounds. A superfood to rival most other superfoods due to its incredible nutritional value, it is also said to treat more than 300 types of disease. The best part – it has no side effects. Moringa is one tree to be extolled for numerous reasons.
For example, one serving of Moringa has more vitamin C than seven oranges, four times the calcium present in milk, and twice the protein as well as three times the amount of potassium found in a single banana. It can reduce free radicals in the body that cause cancer and speed aging, and lower blood pressure due to its high levels of Niacin in the form of A1 and A5 as well as Vitamins B3 and B10. Just 100g of fresh Moringa leaves contain 8.3 g protein, 434 mg calcium, 404 mg potassium, 738 μg vitamin A, and 164 mg vitamin C. Moringa also contains:
Read more: http://naturalsociety.com/moringa-oleifera-92-nutrients-46-natural-antioxidants/#ixzz3UnvRx6V2
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I am an applied animal scientist and have been working with livestock breed issues in the context of food security and climate change. Climate change is affecting and will affect (worsen) livestock breeds and production systems. Every year new diseases enter the disease register of livestock species. Last year a fatal respiratory camel disease was reported from many quarters of Asia. The disease was linked to the dryness in the desert because of no rains.
On the other hand, introduction of exotic high yielding livestock breeds in the dry lands of the globe is a useless and wasteful exercise. Such breeds need very high inputs. While providing a favorable environment a lot of energy and water are needed. Grain feeding, high veterinary inputs, need for skilled human resources and others are limiting factors of such breeds.
Local/indigenous livestock breeds are very important and play a pivotal role in food security and livelihoods of the livestock keepers in the world. Such breeds need very low or even zero inputs. They rely on marginal lands, not suitable for agricultural activities. Local breeds are highly resistant to the climate change effects, diseases, feed/water scarcity and droughts.
Unfortunately, there is political and industrial backing for the introduction of exotic breeds. Local livestock breeds are always neglected while formulating policies for food security and livestock production. The local livestock farmers are also neglected and never participate in policy formulation. Such circumstances make it difficult to achieve the goals of food security, especially in the climate change context. LIFE Network has introduced the idea of livestock keepers’ rights.
Also climate change issue is always dragging politically. Carbon credits, methane gas production etc, all are considered as the produce of animals, especially livestock. In this context thousands of Australian camels are proposed to be killed/shoot for carbon credits. Such methodologies are unacceptable and cannot help in reality. The same camel can be used as food aid and food security in the drought affected areas, once those camels are provided to Asia, especially Afghan people.
In short local livestock breeds can be the best tool to combat the effects of climate change on one hand and to reach the goals of food security on the other hand
Camel is integral part of the deserted ecosystems and blessed with special traits/characteristics which give strange potential to this unique animal. In Quran camel is called as strange animal. Here are some strange potential of camels in the ensuing lines.
Protected from Sand
The wide, flat, sponge like cushioned and hoof-less feet can walk across the sand without sinking in.
The long double layered eyelashes protect its eyes from blowing sand and dust. The tear glands continually rinse the eye surface and a thin translucent inner eyelid can be closed to protect their eyes while allowing them to see even in the sand storm.
They can close off their nostrils completely in addition to the thick hairs in the nostrils that help filter the air. Their small ears are also covered with hair inside and out to filter blowing sand and dust.
Desert Ecosystem is Hot and Camel is Heat Protected
The narrow body presents a small surface area for the sun to hit when directly exposed. Camel also incline to turn into the sun when they sit so as to present the smallest possible surface area to the sun. Also camels need little feed and usually avoid eating during the hottest times so as not to generate heat, instead they rest. Camels will sit together in groups in the hotter time of the day when their body’s temperature is lower than that of the air, thus insulating them from the heat. Heavy coarse hair insulates the camel’s back from the heat of the sun. Thin skin on the belly with blood vessels close to the surface help cool the animal.
The strange body feature of camel enable to cope with extreme changes in body temperature. Camels are an average of 2 meters tall at the shoulder and their long legs keep the body away from the heat of the sand. Fifth pad (Chest Pad) and Knees Pad (leathery callus-like pads) grow on the chest and knees of the camel empower him to sit on hot desert sand without direct connection of the skin. The urine splatters the rear legs when it falls also cooling the creature.
Camel Withstands Dehydration
Camels store water for days or weeks and their system is so efficient that the dung is almost completely dry and the urine a thick concentrate. In the cool season a camel can go for two months without drinking; in the hot season they need to drink every week. The thick hair also prevents evaporation of sweat. They can survive dehydration of up to 25 to 30 % of their body’s weight (most mammals will die at 12-15% loss) When thirsty a camel can consume 100 liters (~25 gallons) in 10 minutes.
The fatty tissue of their hump is also a great energy reserve which permits them to do the long arduous treks across desert areas and the bye-product of fat utilization in energy is water. Fats are more water than water.