Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Nomad People Baffle with Good Health in Spite of Malnourishment

17.05.2010
Nutritionists of Jena University (Germany) Analyze the Diet of the Maasai

The human body is a true miracle. For that Nadja Knoll found new proof in the nomad people of the Maasai in Kenya in Eastern Africa. For her thesis the nutritionist from the Friedrich Schiller University Jena (Germany) analyzed the diet of a nomadic tribe in the Kajiado District. The surprising results of the field study show that the Maasai are in a good health status in spite of a one-sided and poor diet.

The blood investigations showed that there is a high content of healthy omega-3 fatty acids in their erythrocyte membranes, the cell walls of the red blood cells, even though they are not ingested. “We were surprised by these results. They are proof for the enormous adaptability of the human organism”, says Prof. Dr. Gerhard Jahreis of the Department of Nutritional Physiology, under whose guidance the study was conducted.

Yet another finding was the outcome of the fieldwork in Africa. Nadja Knoll´s study shows that the traditional story patterns about the Maasai diet are wrong. Travelers in Africa like Gustav Adolf Fischer (1848-1886) and the Englishman Joseph Thomson (1858-1895) spread the image of the blood thirsty Maasai. According to their reports the herdsmen consume mainly meat, milk and blood. A particularly high percentage of fermented milk – a kind of yoghurt – was also said to be part of their diet. Nadja Knoll´s findings paint a very different picture. The scientist of Jena University discovered that the Maasai have strongly sweetened milk tea for breakfast. Some Maasai eat a kind of “porridge” in the morning, a liquid mixture of cormeal, water, some milk and sugar.

For lunch there will be milk and “Ugali”, a kind of polenta being made from cormeal and water. “Dinner is similar to lunch”, says Knoll who points out that she did her field study at the end of the dry season. There may be slightly different results in the – remarkably shorter – rainy season, because then the Maasai livestock produces more milk. This milk will then ferment in calabashes. The outcome of the fermenting process will be a yoghurt-like drink that might have pro-biotic benefits.

It is clear though that meat features only rarely on the Maasai menu. The main part - more than 50 percent - consists of vegetarian food. The preferred meat is that of sheep and goats, whereas the meat of traditional Zebu cattle is only rarely eaten. “A cow will only be slaughtered for ritual festivities by the Maasai”, says Knoll.

Knoll conducted her study together with colleagues of the Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology of Juja/Nairobi (Kenia). Before the fieldwork could begin an ethics commission had to give their approval. Given the high HIV rate in the country especially the planned blood tests were questioned.

The achievements of the Jena nutritionists will be published in an international, renowned scientific journal.

Contact:
Nadja Knoll/Prof. Dr. Gerhard Jahreis
Institute of Nutrition of the Friedrich Schiller University Jena
Dornburger Straße 24
D-07743 Jena
Phone: +49 (0)3641 / 949610
Mail: nadja_knoll[at]gmx.de / b6jage[at]uni-jena.de

Stephan Laudien | idw
Further information:
http://www.uni-jena.de

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Biofilm discovery suggests new way to prevent dangerous infections
23.05.2017 | University of Texas at Austin

nachricht Another reason to exercise: Burning bone fat -- a key to better bone health
19.05.2017 | University of North Carolina Health Care

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Turmoil in sluggish electrons’ existence

An international team of physicists has monitored the scattering behaviour of electrons in a non-conducting material in real-time. Their insights could be beneficial for radiotherapy.

We can refer to electrons in non-conducting materials as ‘sluggish’. Typically, they remain fixed in a location, deep inside an atomic composite. It is hence...

Im Focus: Wafer-thin Magnetic Materials Developed for Future Quantum Technologies

Two-dimensional magnetic structures are regarded as a promising material for new types of data storage, since the magnetic properties of individual molecular building blocks can be investigated and modified. For the first time, researchers have now produced a wafer-thin ferrimagnet, in which molecules with different magnetic centers arrange themselves on a gold surface to form a checkerboard pattern. Scientists at the Swiss Nanoscience Institute at the University of Basel and the Paul Scherrer Institute published their findings in the journal Nature Communications.

Ferrimagnets are composed of two centers which are magnetized at different strengths and point in opposing directions. Two-dimensional, quasi-flat ferrimagnets...

Im Focus: World's thinnest hologram paves path to new 3-D world

Nano-hologram paves way for integration of 3-D holography into everyday electronics

An Australian-Chinese research team has created the world's thinnest hologram, paving the way towards the integration of 3D holography into everyday...

Im Focus: Using graphene to create quantum bits

In the race to produce a quantum computer, a number of projects are seeking a way to create quantum bits -- or qubits -- that are stable, meaning they are not much affected by changes in their environment. This normally needs highly nonlinear non-dissipative elements capable of functioning at very low temperatures.

In pursuit of this goal, researchers at EPFL's Laboratory of Photonics and Quantum Measurements LPQM (STI/SB), have investigated a nonlinear graphene-based...

Im Focus: Bacteria harness the lotus effect to protect themselves

Biofilms: Researchers find the causes of water-repelling properties

Dental plaque and the viscous brown slime in drainpipes are two familiar examples of bacterial biofilms. Removing such bacterial depositions from surfaces is...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

AWK Aachen Machine Tool Colloquium 2017: Internet of Production for Agile Enterprises

23.05.2017 | Event News

Dortmund MST Conference presents Individualized Healthcare Solutions with micro and nanotechnology

22.05.2017 | Event News

Innovation 4.0: Shaping a humane fourth industrial revolution

17.05.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Scientists propose synestia, a new type of planetary object

23.05.2017 | Physics and Astronomy

Zap! Graphene is bad news for bacteria

23.05.2017 | Life Sciences

Medical gamma-ray camera is now palm-sized

23.05.2017 | Medical Engineering

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>