The government is encouraging Filipinos to diversify their diet to include more root crops and corn as studies have shown that root crops are good sources of carbohydrates and contain dietary fiber, Vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron, while corn is a good source of dietary fiber, B-Vitamins, folate, and phosphorus.
The Department of Agriculture (DA) has initiated programs to encourage the planting of high-value and indigenous crops such as cassava (kamoteng kahoy), taro (gabi), yam (ube), and sweet potato (kamote). Root crops are good substitute staples when rice is not available. Calcium-rich kamote and cassava are essential for bone growth, iron-rich taro helps body fights infection, and tannic acid-rich yam has anti-bacterial, anti-enzymatic, and astringent properties.
The World Health Organization reported that chronic diseases account for 57 percent in the Philippines. At least 80% of premature heart sickness, and Type-2 diabetes, as well as 40% can be prevented through a healthy diet that includes root crops, physical activity, and avoiding tobacco products.
A study by the Food and Nutrition Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) showed that eating root crops significantly decreases the total cholesterol levels of adults and can prevent colon tumor formation and diseases such as cardiovascular disease, chronic respiratory disease, and diabetes. FNRI-DOST also said that Folate present in corn is good for the heart because it lowers the level of homocysteine, an amino acid responsible for damaging the blood vessels and increasing blood clotting, which may lead to heart disease. Corn also contains carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin, which aids in lowering the chances of lung disease.
We wish the Department of Agriculture headed by Secretary Proceso J. Alcala and Food and Nutrition Research Institute Director Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, all the best and success in their collaborative efforts to promote a healthy lifestyle among Filipinos. CONGRATULATIONS AND MABUHAY!