BAGUIO CITY, Sept. 25 (PIA) – – Utilization of indigenous vegetables (IVs) and other plants help mitigate malnutrition, advocates Dr. Divina Jose of the Bureau of Plant Industry (BPI).
During the 3rd Quarter Regional Nutrition Committee (RNC) meeting held recently, Jose explained that IVs are vegetables that are native to the locality or those which were introduced but have been naturalized or adapted for a long period in a locality.
IVs include sweet potato (camote), taro ( gabi), cassava, black nightshade (amti), amaranth (kalunay), chayote, edible fern (pako), beggartick (puriket), spinach, water cress, Ceylon spinach (alugbati ), water cabbage (kangkong), waterleaf (talinum), wild cherry tomato, winged bean (sigarilyas/pallang), jute mallow (saluyot), horseradish leaves and pods, sesbania (katuray), among others.
Aside from being served as food and sources of vitamins, minerals, fiber and protein, 50 percent of the IVs are also utilized by rural communities in the prevention and cure of diabetes, chronic bronchitis, colds, bowel disorders, chronic fever, boils, wounds, kidney and liver trouble, hypertension, arthritis, diarrhea, urinary tract infection, scurvy, ulcer, mumps, sore eyes, cough, among others, according to Jose.
Some are used as mouthwash, antiseptic, disinfectant, and even antidote for snake bite, she added.
Meanwhile, Jose reported that based on the 2008 National Nutrition Survey by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute, among the reasons for low consumption of vegetables include culture, preference for meat, vegetables are sometimes expensive, fear of chemicals/pesticides, more time to prepare vegetables, lack of supply and lack of knowledge on the nutritional and health benefits of vegetables.
Jose said that in order to help lower malnutrition in the region, she encouraged the promotion of vegetable gardening at the community, home and school, proper cooking and presence of vegetables on the table, increase clean vegetable consumption, increase protein rich food consumption, breastfeeding and complementary feeding ( for babies), play and exercise.
Data show that CAR had a low participation(63.70%) in the Food Production Program or “Gulayan ng Masa” program of the government.
According to Jose, the health benefits of eating a vegetable-rich diet are as follows; may decrease bone loss as vegetables decrease the amount of Calcium excreted in the urine, help maintain healthy weight because vegetables are low in calories, vegetables do not contain cholesterol, prevent non-communicable diseases (heart disease, cancer, diabetes, obesity) and micronutrient deficiencies and contain anti-oxidants and protectants. (JDP/MAWC – PIA CAR)