Most of the hungry in the world have a main staple food, such as rice, which provides carbs and some protein plus some of the electrolytes and a paucity of vitamins and minerals. To move them out of hunger, which foods should we provide or encourage them to grow first?
In addition to their staple food of rice, or maize, or a root vegetable:
1. Amaranth: complete protein, twice the protein of white rice, high in electrolytes, iron, selenium, biotin, folate, choline, betaine, squalene, phytosterols, soluble and insoluble fiber, and contains more fat that most staple foods. Use to supplement or eventually replace the current staple food.
2. Vegetable oil: dietary fat is lacking in the diets of all the hungry, as the staple foods are all low in fat. Adding 4 or 5 tablespoons of vegetable oil adds total calories as well as an essential macronutrient (fat). The type of vegetable oil should have both omega-3 and omega-6 fat, such as canola or soybean oil. Both of those oils are also high in vitamin K.
3. Carrots: just one ounce (28 g) of orange carrots will prevent vitamin A deficiency blindness in children, and reduce risk of a number of diseases in adults.
4. Orange Bell Peppers: provides vitamin C and a range of carotenoids; exceeds other color Bell Peppers in the amounts and types of carotenoids; high in vitamin C. Red bell peppers are a close second in nutrition.
5. Peanuts: provides protein and dietary fat, as well as niacin, biotin, and other B vitamins.
6. Pumpkin with hulless seeds: The seeds provide protein and fat, and are high in tryptophan (an essential amino acid). The flesh is high in vitamin A, alpha- and beta-carotein, and potassium. The hulless seed type saves the work of removing hulls.
7. Soybeans: high in protein and heathy fat (omega-3 and -6).
Note on preventing vitamin A deficiency blindness: just one teaspoon of Paprika powder (made from red peppers) provides 1130 IU of vitamin A. This spice can be mixed with any staple food and fed to children, to prevent blindness. It also adds a nice color and flavor.
More foods are needed for a complete and healthy diet, and a vitamin supplement will be needed if additional foods are lacking. But the above foods are sufficient to move a population from starvation or hunger to a minimally sufficient diet.