Sa lahat ng gamit ng bitamina A sa katawan, pinakasikat na yata ang pampalinaw ng mata. Ngunit alam nyo ba na kailangan din ang bitaminang ito para labanan ang iba't ibang impeksiyon at para sa maayos na paglaki ng mga bata?
Ang bitamina A ay kailangan upang mapanatili ang normal na dami ng cells at matiyak na sapat ang mucous na nagpapanatiling basa at malagkit ang mga ilang bahagi ng katawan. Katulad nito ay ang gilid sa loob ng ating baga, lalamunan at bituka, pinagdadaanan ng ihi at ang ating mga nervous at reproductive systems. Ang mucous na galing sa mga cells ay may mga sangkap na nakapupuksa ng mga mikrobyo, kaya lumalakas ang resistensya at nalalabanan ang impeksiyon ng katawan. Kapag may kakulangan sa bitamina A, madaling dapuan ng sakit katulad ng sakit sa baga (respiratory infection) at pagtatae. Maaari ding lumala ang tigdas lalo na sa mga bata kung kulang sa bitamina A.
Bukod dito, ang bitamina A ay kailangan din para sa maayos na paglaki. Tumutulong ito sa paglaki ng mga buto o bone growth. Ang bitamina A ang nagpapanatili sa pagiging flexible ng mga buto para madali at normal ang paglaki nito.
Upang magkaroon ng sapat na bitamina A sa ating katawan, ugaliing kumain ng mga pagkaing mayaman sa bitaminang ito. Kabilang na dito ang atay, itlog, keso, dilis, mga lamang dagat tulad ng tahong at tulya, dilaw at berdeng gulay, at dilaw na prutas. Halimbawa ng dilaw at berdeng gulay ay carrot, kamatis, kalabasa, dahon ng malunggay, kamote, kangkong, pechay at saluyot. Ang mga prutas tulad ng mangga, papaya, saging at melon naman ay halimbawa ng mga dilaw na prutas. Marami na ring mga pagkain ang dinagdagan o fortified ng bitamina A tulad ng noodles, mga inumin, sawsawan, mantika at asukal. Piliin ang mga pagkain mayroong Sangkap Pinoy Seal (SPS) dahil ito ang mga pagkain dinagdagan ng bitamina A.
Kaya sa susunod na kakain ng mga pagkaing mayaman sa bitamina A, isipin ninyo na ito'y para mapanatiling malinaw ang mata at lumakas rin ang inyong resistensiya.
Eggs are widely enjoyed as breakfast entrée. Some would like their egg poached to perfection. Others would prefer plain scrambled egg or with vegetable, meat, seafood or a combination of a whole lot more. Still others would like a simple hard cooked egg where the eggshell is intact and without crack, the yolk and the white are solid and firm.
Others would like a soft cooked egg almost coagulated yet it has the ability to “quiver” a bit. While the optimistic who faithfully wakes up in the morning to see the bright side of life would positively desire the sunny side up.
But can we eat egg every day? Egg is high in cholesterol and it has been blamed as the culprit that causes the accumulation of plaques in the arteries resulting to constricting blood flow, reducing the elasticity of the arteries, and consequently elevating the blood pressure.
On the other hand, egg contains essential minerals and vitamins except vitamin C needed by the body. It is a good source of quality protein, meaning egg contains the right quality of essential amino acid to build tissues. Chicken egg is readily available in the market and the cost is cheap.
Weighing the good side and the bad side of egg consumption, doctors and dietitians agreed to recommend eating 2-3 pieces of eggs per week.
In the study, “The Effects of Egg Consumption on Lipid Profile Among Selected 30–60 Year-Old Filipino Adults” headed by Dr. Celeste C. Tanchoco, Scientist III, of the DOST-FNRI, she suggested that, “eating one egg a day is unlikely to have substantial increase in blood lipid.” Dr. Tanchoco advocates a stronger message regarding other aspects of lifestyle such as weight maintenance, regular exercise and support the necessity of dietary guidelines and lifestyle approach to disease risk reduction as lifelong endeavor.
If we can eat egg everyday, how can we make its preparation exciting? How do we cook eggs right? Here are some practical steps to cook eggs to perfection.
An excellent poached egg guarantees that it is made from fresh eggs. Start off by using only fresh eggs. Poached egg is cooked in water at a simmering temperature, about 85-98OC, the temperature below boiling point, when bubbles form slowly and collapse below the surface. The eggshell is carefully broken with caution, keeping the yolk whole. Slowly glide the egg into the simmering water. Allow the egg white to set at a desired degree. When done, remove eggs using a slotted ladle. Drain and serve at once.
Hard cooked eggs and soft cooked eggs may be cooked in the same saucepan. Remove eggs from the refrigerator at least 30 minutes before cooking. It is important to have the eggs at room temperature because the sudden extreme change in temperature will cause the eggshells to break. It is also important to have all the eggs in saucepan immersed in water. Cook the eggs at simmering temperature. Soft cooked egg is done after simmering for 5 minutes while hard cooked egg needs 15 minutes. To achieve the desired results, cooked eggs must be dip in cold water to prevent over cooking. A fast egg spin distinguishes the hard cooked egg from the soft cooked one.
Sunny side-up and over easy are fried eggs. Eggs are broken out of the shell then pan fried in cooking oil. Cook the egg until the white is set and the yolk thickens but not hard. The yolk may be baste with hot oil to have an over easy fried egg.
The scrambled egg is prepared by whipping the whole egg. Milk is oftentimes added to achieve a softer product. A good scrambled egg is evenly coagulated but not tough nor burned. Scrambled eggs easily turn into omelets by adding sliced tomatoes, onions, mushroom, cheese, bacon, red or green pepper, meat, sea foods and endless combination. This fun-filled omelet is what my grandmother fondly calls “torta”.
“A food-based micronutrient supplementation of complementary food blends increases availability and intake of nutrients commonly insufficient in the daily diet of young kids, thereby helping improve their nutritional status.”
An estimated one-third of children five years old and below in developing countries like the Philippines are stunted.
Stunting is when a child is short in height compared to other children of the same age.
Indicative of past malnutrition, stunting is the result of long-term undernutrition, like years of inadequate intake of nutrients that stagnates growth and development.
Also, a large proportion of children are deficient in one or more micronutrients, according to the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF, 2015).
Based on the results of the 2013 National Nutrition Survey (NNS) of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the (DOST-FNRI), undernutrition persists among Filipino children.
From 2008 to 2013, there was an increase in the number of underweight children, the FNRI NNS revealed.
The 2013 NNS also revealed that anemia prevalence was at 55.7 percent (%) and was highest among infants 6 to 11 months old.
Appropriate complementary feeding starting six months of age and continuous breastfeeding up to two years is critical for children’s optimal growth and development.
Related to this, the DOST-FNR developed complementary food blends to address protein-energy malnutrition. Complementary food is any nutrient-dense food given to babies starting six months of age until two to three years old, while breastfeeding is continuous.
At six months, breastmilk alone is not enough to meet the increasing nutritional needs for proper growth and development of the baby.
Complementary food blends can be enhanced with the multi-nutrient growth mix (MGM) containing vitamins and minerals.
Three MGM variants were developed using locally-grown fruits and vegetables rich in vitamins and minerals.
These fruits and vegetables were individually processed and blended in different proportions until three MGM variants were acceptable.
Acceptable formulations were selected based on sensory evaluation, raw material cost, and estimated nutritional content.
The formulations were then standardized and stored at room temperature to determine shelf-life.
A series of sensory evaluation were conducted during trials, optimization, standardization runs, and storage study of the products.
Chemical, physico-chemical, and microbiological analyses were also done during the storage study.
The three MGM variants developed are Carrot-Anchovies, Yellow Sweet Potato-Spinach and Squash-Banana blends.
The percent recommended energy and nutrient intakes (RENI) contribution for one to three year-old children are 6 percent energy, 15 percent protein, 37 percent vitamin A, 25 percent calcium, 3 percent iron, 8 percent zinc, and 75 percent iodine for Carrot-Anchovies blend.
Sensory panelists rated the blends “like slightly” to “like moderately”.
Packed in laminated foil, the MGM was stable after one year of storage under room temperature.
A pack of 15 grams costs P24.45 for Carrot-Anchovies, P9.16 for Yellow Sweet Potato-Spinach and P10.72 for Squash-Banana.
Differences in costs are attributed to the cost of raw materials used in the formation of each variant.
Locally grown fruits and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins and minerals but are not available daily in most Filipino meals due to seasonality and short shelf-life.
Development of the multi-nutrient growth mixes using fruits and vegetables in ready-to-use sachets can help address availability and perishability.
The MGM blends can always be available to mothers and caregivers in convenient form.
Vitamins and minerals from local plants naturally fortify the ordinary “lugaw” or rice porridge usually given to young children to complement the protein and energy-dense blends also developed by the FNRI.
The MGM is a mixture of affordable, locally available and culturally acceptable food based add-on to complementary food.
Underweight children six months to two years old, mothers and caregivers of underweight children, barangay health and nutrition workers, as well as small and medium scale enterprises can benefit from these technologies.
The MGM technology is ready for adoption by interested entrepreneurs, local government units (LGUs) and non-government organizations (NGOs).
This strategy will also provide farmers with livelihood by planting local crops used in producing MGM.
A food-based strategy is a sustainable approach because it allows the mother, caregivers and household to take responsible control of the quality of food by growing their own nutrient-rich foods.
Who could not recognize the song Bahay Kubo? A classic Filipino nursery song with lyrics of which mention many different local vegetables (...Ang halaman doon ay sari-sari...). Filipinos use, mix and cook vegetables in different methods and call them in different terms. Want to start singing the song?
Filipinos like vegetables cooked most often through sauteing (gisa), boiling, or cook with coconut milk (ginataan). Across the country, there are similarities among the dishes served at home and in canteens or restaurants.
For example, dinengdeng, and law-uy, are two dishes of Ilocano and Visayan origin, respectively. These vegetable dishes, however, both include several leafy and fruit vegetables as ingredients, cooked by boiling and without the use of cooking oil. For dinengdeng, leafy vegetables (e.g. saluyot, ampalaya leaves, squash flower, stringbeans tops, malunggay, etc.) are mixed together. Grilled fish is commonly added and fish paste (bagoong) is used to taste the dish. As for law-uy, leafy and fruit vegetables (okra, eggplant, alugbati, kangkong, etc.) are mixed, and fish is also often added using salt to taste.
Ginisa is a much used method of cooking by Tagalogs in preparing vegetables. Fruit vegetables such as upo, sitaw, kalabasa, puso ng saging, sayote and carrots, among others are often sautéed. Vegetables are cooked in a small portion of oil with garlic and a small amount of meat, shrimp or small fish then seasoned with salt or fish sauce to taste.
Vegetables cooked with coconut milk are more commonly prepared by Bicolanos and Visayans. Famous examples of vegetables cooked in coconut milk are gabi for laing, and nangka. Ginataang nangka is sometimes called salad na nangka by Visayans.
Another common method of cooking vegetables is by adding scrambled egg (torta) such tortang talong and ampalaya fruit. In general, Filipinos are not meeting the required intake of vegetables in their diet. Based on the latest National Nutrition Survey in 2013 of the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), vegetable intake made up only 13.3 percent of the total food intake compared to 12.8 percent in 2008.
Vegetables are needed for proper regulation of body processes. They are rich sources of several vitamins and minerals. Green leafy vegetables like kangkong, camote tops, malunggay, gabi, ampalaya and others are rich sources of beta-carotene, iron, vitamin B complex, vitamin C, calcium and other minerals. Yellow vegetables such as squash, carrots and tomatoes are also rich in beta-carotene. Vegetables are rich in dietary fiber, which prevent constipation by providing roughage for easier bowel movement. They are also rich sources of anti-oxidants to prevent certain diseases like cancer.
Three servings of vegetables, about one-half cup cooked per serving, are suggested for daily consumption. Two messages of the 2012 Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos recommend eating a variety of food and to eat more of vegetables and fruits everyday. These messages can be realized if the vegetables in the song Bahay Kubo are eaten regularly. This is especially true for children, whom we teach the song. At least it would make them appreciate and become more familiar with the vegetables in the song. Now, try singing Bahay Kubo and think which vegetable you will eat in your next meal.
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