• Homegrown Goodness: The Nutritional Benefits of Locally Produced Food

    Can a mango a day keep the doctor away?
    by Bernadette Tan .
  • fruitsWe may think that apples and oranges are best, but according to Marilou Perez, a nutritionist and dietician at the Research Institute for Tropical Medicine, patronizing local fruits over imported ones does not mean sacrificing nutrition.

    Believe it or not, a lot of the Philippines’ locally grown fruits are power-packed with high amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Our national fruit, the mango, is known to be an excellent source of vitamins A and C (foods labeled as an “excellent source” of a particular nutrient provide 20% or more of the Recommended Daily Value), which help enhance vision, the body’s growth and development; heal wounds; and repair and maintain our cartilage, bones, and teeth.

    The typical Filipino line, “Yan na lang, kasi mura yan…,” is often used to refer to our local fruits, but buying these should not be regarded as settling for less. Many Pinoy fruits are packed with huge amounts of essential nutrients.

    With a wide choice of healthy, sweet, succulent fruits to choose from—from the tiniest aratelis to the world’s largest tree-grown fruit, the langka—there is no reason for Pinoys not to have access to good nutrition. Perez gives a list of common local fruits and their nutritional value.

    fruits chart

     

    Fruit substitutes
    For a healthier lifestyle, experts say, “Eat three to four servings of fruits per day,” but for the average Pinoy family that earns just enough for their daily needs, this is not always possible.
     
    Stay-at-home mom Samantha Morin worries that her family might not be getting their daily dietary requirement of vitamins and minerals. With such a tight daily budget, fruits are often excluded from her family’s daily meal since they often cost too much.

    “Serving fruits to your family doesn’t have to be heavy on the budget,” shares Perez.  A lot of our local fruits are a whole lot cheaper, without sacrificing taste and nutritional value.  Substitute the expensive ones, with the Pinoy’s cheaper version.  Here, our local fruits go head-to-head with some top imports:  

    1. Oranges
    PINOY SUBSTITUTE: Dalandan
    EVALUATION: Get more for your money with this fiber-packed favorite, definitely as vitamin-rich as oranges.
     
    2. Pears            
    PINOY SUBSTITUTE: Papaya
    EVALUATION: For half the price, enjoy papaya’s vitamin A, C and folate-rich goodness. One papaya can be shared by a family of five.
     
    3. Kiwi
    PINOY SUBSTITUTE: Pineapple    
    EVALUATION: Not only is pineapple a whole lot bigger than kiwi, it is also rich in vitamin C.
     
    4. Grapes
    PINOY SUBSTITUTE: Lanzones
    EVALUATION: Lanzones is definitely just as good and is packed with essential vitamins and minerals.
     

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    By adding less than P90 to your daily budget, a family of four to five can enjoy two varieties of homegrown fruits enough for three to four servings.  So go for the economical yet nutritious—go Pinoy!

     

    Photography by Jun Pinzon

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