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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2006 Aug-Sep;57(5-6):314-24.

Coping strategies and nutritional health in rural Niger: recommendations for consumption of wild plant foods in the Sahel.

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  • 1Center for Advanced Study of International Development, Michigan State University, East Lansing, Michigan 48823, USA.


People who live in food and water deficit regions of Sahelien West Africa employ various coping strategies as they attempt to meet their food and water needs. In this paper we discuss various coping strategies employed by rural Nigeriens living in the Tanout and Mirriya administrative regions of central Niger. In rural Niger people often harvest or buy wild plant foods to eat. Laboratory studies of the nutritional content of these plants indicate that there are benefits to eating wild plant foods. In this study we summarize the results of field research conducted during the summer of 2002 on the use of wild plant foods in three regions of rural central Niger. Comparing local use of various wild plant foods with major nutrition-related health problems including protein deficiency, essential fatty acid deficiency, iron deficiency and iron deficiency anemia, calcium deficiency rickets, and zinc deficiency, suggests potential recommendations for consumption of these plants. However, further research on the bioavailability of these nutrients is needed to confirm the potential benefits of these plants.

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