Healthy Foods You Haven’t Heard Of (Yet): The Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Database

A new database compiles nutrition information on over 185 neglected and underutilized food species and varieties, researched by partners of the Biodiversity for Food and Nutrition Project, an initiative coordinated by Bioversity International in Brazil, Kenya, Sri Lanka and Turkey.

Have you tried sherbet made from the Brazilian fruit Yellow Mombin?

Or a Turkish omelet containing Corky-fruited Water-dropwort leaves?

How about a Sri Lankan white curry with Vegetable Hummingbird pods?

These local foods represent neglected and underutilized species that are notable for more than their unusual names – they hold valuable qualities of Vitamin A, beta-carotene and iron, respectively. A single serving of “Yellow Mombin” (Spondias mombin) pulp contains a third of your daily recommended intake of Vitamin A.

Despite contributing to more sustainable and healthy food systems, this tantalizing diversity of leafy vegetables, fruits, tubers, grains, wild edibles and more is at risk of disappearing. Although many of these species have been historically part of indigenous cultures and traditional diets, most people today are simply not aware of their value. Therefore, it is critical to collect pre-existing knowledge and conduct new food composition analyses, to offer a clear evidence base that can ensure continued appreciation, conservation and sustainable use of these natural resources.