Loco For Local Superfoods
Superfood such as acai, quinoa and chia seeds may be the white-hot trend at the moment, but we need not go far or spend a lot to enjoy superfoods that have always been hanging around our backyard or palengke. The following local superfoods are guaranteed to help you looking and feeling your best without breaking the bank:
Dark Leafy Greens
Chock-full of fiber and nutrients that prevent chronic diseases, dark greens are stuffed with anti-inflammatory, cancer-fighting carotenoids. Aim to add a serving with every meal: soups, salads, smoothies and stir-fries.
Dr. Jaime Galvez-Tan, former Health Secretary and Integrative Medicine advocate, shared a powerful salad recipe, Ensaladang Pilipina, which is a combination of the following: Kamote (camote tops), Kangkong (water spinach), Malunggay (moringana), Saluyot (jute) and Sili (chili leaves).
Instead of consuming it as a salad, I blend a handful of each along with some water, turmeric, white onions and a peeled apple. My husband, who has chronic kidney disease, drinks this concoction every day for breakfast. He was due for a kidney transplant ten years ago but his condition has continued to be stable since and has so far not needed dialysis.
Berries are packed with nutrients and antioxidants which may prevent certain diseases and aid digestion. Wild blueberries and strawberries grow seasonally in Baguio but are also available frozen in supermarkets for adding into baked goods or smoothies.
Beans, lentils, peas, peanuts and alfalfa belong to the legume family. Loaded with nutrients, they help prevent diseases and aid in weight loss.
Sprouted seeds, such as the locally abundant toge (mung bean sprouts), can go up to 500 times their nutritional value. Eat them uncooked in salads or rice toppings, as cooking can damage the enzymes.
Nuts and Seeds
Nuts and seeds such as kasuy, butong pakwan and buto ng kalabasa are full of fiber, protein and good fats. Tasty and satisfying, they can lower your risk of heart disease and promote weight loss.
The health benefits of coconuts are plentiful. Buko juice is high in electrolytes and helps lower blood pressure. Coconut oil is a source of good fat and cholesterol, and is antibacterial, antiviral, antifungal, and immune system-boosting.
Bawang has been used as medicine for ages for good reason—it boosts immunity and lessens the risk of heart disease and some cancers. It is rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as the compound allicin, which lowers cholesterol and relaxes blood vessels.
Agricultural Engineer Dr. Narciso Ragas confirmed that native garlic is more potent in nutrients vs imported garlic—yet another reason to buy local.
Kamote are nutritious powerhouses packed with carotenoids and antioxidants. Satiating, affordable and delicious, these fiber-filled tubers are also good for controlling blood sugar so you can indulge that sweet tooth guilt-free.
The humble kabute is now enjoying superfood status and rightfully so. While nutrient-levels vary among button, portobello, shiitake, cremini or oyster mushrooms, all of them have vitamin A, potassium, fiber, and many antioxidants absent in other food. This tasty meat substitute with the sought-after umami flavor is sustainably grown, too.
Lato or damong-dagat are nutrient-dense sea veggies that are said to prevent chronic diseases such as diabetes and fungal infections, as well as aid in angiogenesis (the development of new blood vessels), as explained in the book “Seaweed in Health and Disease Prevention.”
No palengke? No problem. These local superfoods and more are just a click away and ready to be delivered to your doorstep: The Superfood Grocer (https://www.thesuperfoodgrocer.com/) offers a wide selection of “plant-based alternatives that are kinder to the body, supportive of farmers, compassionate to animals, and gentler on the planet.” The Vegan Grocer (https://www.facebook.com/thevegangrocerph/) is committed to help spread delicious vegan and plant-based products to make healthy living easy and convenient. Dare to go vegan! Try Vegan (https://www.facebook.com/tryveganph/) is Metro South’s first and only 100% plant-based and vegan spot where people can learn about veganism, hangout, eat and buy the best food ever.
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