Julio Garay Barrios
Life-changing Bites

How to fight childhood anemia: Peruvian engineer creates a cookie that will change children’s lives

The agroindustrial engineer from Ayacucho, Peru, created a life-changing cookie that seeks to fight childhood anemia.

Julio Garay Barrios is looking to change the world one bite at a time. The Peruvian native is an agroindustrial engineer who has created a cookie that is looking to improve the health conditions of children by building up their immune defense with healthy doses of iron and protein. The cookies, called Nutri H, were created with the purpose of fighting childhood anemia, something that affects people across the world. Julio’s history-making cookie helped him win the History Channel’s Latino show Una Idea Para Cambiar La Historia — a show that highlights innovations that have the potential to change the world.

Julio Garay Barrios©Galletas Antianemicas Peru
Julio Garay Barrios won first place on the show Una Idea Para Cambiar La Historia with his Nutri H cookie

According to Medscape, a 2019 study conducted by James L Harper, MD, and Marcel E Conrad, MD, showed that iron deficiency “ranged from 7.2 to 13.96 per [every] 1,000” and that “iron deficiency anemia is 6-8 times more prevalent than in North America and Europe” in countries that had little access to meat for their daily dietary needs. Julio’s cookies, which are said to be delicious, are looking to lower those numbers and include a whopping 16.5% iron and 4.32% protein. The amount of protein and iron in these cookies are something that can turn the tide for many children that live in rural areas where meat can be expensive. “This Peruvian idea will [change] Latin America and the world,” he explained to local outlets.

Julio Garay Barrios©Galletas Antianemicas Peru
Julio was inspired by his own battle with anemia as a child and found inspiration in that to create his cookies

His award-winning Nutri H cookies are made of quinoa, cacao and bovine hemoglobin by the way of cow blood (yep, you read that correctly). The cookies state that if consumers eat one cookie per day, they will be cured of their anemia (a local focus group test showed that 50% of participants experienced this result). About five in every ten children in Peru suffer from anemia, and Julio briefly had his bout with anemia growing up, which prompted him to help find a solution for the issue. It took him three years to come up with an edible (RE: appetizing) cookie that he could share with the world. When asked how it felt to win the competition (Julio won a prize of $50,000), the engineer shared, “I’m very emotional and happy because Nutri H is a family [affair]. The base of every project and sacrifice is family.”

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