Native veggies might stop coronary heart illness, most cancers, even getting older – Well being and Way of life
Not all vegetables eaten are created equal.
Vegetables commonly eaten in the Philippines vary widely in terms of phenol content and antioxidant capacity. This simply means that the nutritional or health value of vegetables, when exposed to chemical reactions or processes, can either increase, decrease, or stay the same.
The elderly rightly say not to overcook the vegetables, as cooking can significantly affect the phenol content and antioxidant capacity of up to 92% and 88%, respectively. This suggests that vegetables, especially leafy green vegetables, require minimal heating to prevent loss of antioxidants. This is based on the study by a team of researchers at the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
The research team assessed the total phenol content (TPC) and antioxidant capacity of 47 locally grown vegetables, both in raw form and in a state in which they are normally consumed. These vegetables come from the provinces of Benguet, Bulacan, Isabela, Nueva Ecija and the mountainous province of northern and central Luzon.
Phenolic compounds are water-soluble antioxidants found in plants that are important because of their potential for preventing and treating cancer. Aside from cancer, antioxidants could also be used to treat and prevent arteriosclerosis, heart failure, neurodegenerative disorders, aging, diabetes mellitus, and other diseases.
The researchers wanted to estimate the phytochemical content and antioxidant capacity of the vegetables in the form they are normally eaten in order to gain insight into how these plant foods can be used as a source of phytochemicals that can promote health.
Based on the study by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), Filipinos consume half a cup (114 g) of cooked vegetables per day or for the three main meals per day Teenagers in public schools in Metro Manila consume even less (81 g). In fact, these consumption patterns are below the DOST-FNRI-recommended Pinggang Pinoy, a local food guide recommended consumption of three-quarters to a cup of raw or cooked vegetables per meal.
“National data shows that our country is a country where chronic diseases such as cardiovascular disease and cancer continue to affect many people and that prevention needs to be promoted by eating inexpensive health foods such as vegetables, because that is better and better more sustainable approach than expensive medical treatment, ”said Rosaly V. Manaois, who leads the research team.
The results of the researchers’ study show that the following vegetables, when consumed raw, have the highest TPC among the samples tested: turmeric (Luyang Dilaw), red coral salad, sweet potato tips (Talbos ng Kamote), chili leaves (Talbos ng Sili), jute ( Saluyot), lowland water spinach (Kangkong), green eggplants (Talong na Bilog) and purple eggplants (Talong na Haba). These samples also had the highest antioxidant capacities among the 47 vegetables tested.
Cooking, on the other hand, is one of the most common cooking methods in the Philippines. It is known that phenols are destroyed during cooking due to their thermal instability. However, some samples still showed the highest TPC among the samples tested after boiling. These are turmeric, chili leaves, lowland water spinach, and purple eggplant. They remained powerful antioxidants even after cooking. In addition, turmeric contains the phenolic compound curcumin, which has been extensively studied and reported to have high antioxidant capacity as well as various other biological functions and medicinal effects.
The study, which only focused on water-soluble antioxidants, also recommends evaluating fat-soluble antioxidants like beta-carotene and lycopene in vegetables. The other members of the research team besides Manaois are John Edward I. Zapater and Amelia V. Morales of the Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division of the Philippine Rice Research Institute.
A full version of this study will be published online shortly and published in the Philippine Journal of Science, the country’s oldest science journal, published by the DOST Science and Technology Information Institute (DOST-STII). (W&T Media Service, Geraldine Bulaon-Ducusin)