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The contributions of forest foods to sustainable diets
The article discusses the contributions of forest foods to sustainable diets. Traditionally, policy-makers have focused on energy-rich staple crops such as wheat, rice and maize in the quest for national and global food security. Forest foods such as wild fruits, nuts, vegetables, mushrooms and animal products contribute in many ways to food security. The dietary quality of many forest foods is high. Many of the micronutrients provided by forest foods have important health and developmental functions, and their absence in diets therefore has important health implications. Even though the nature of much of the available evidence is circumstantial, a growing body of data indicates that increased agricultural and forest biodiversity leads to a more varied diet, which in turn improves human health. Animal-based foods supply many important micronutrients in much higher amounts or with higher bioavailability than most plant-based foods.