Why is tinola one of the most loved soupy Pinoy dishes? Three things: (1) It's easy to cook, (2) it's a delicious and savory comfort food even kids want to eat, and (3) each ingredient has health benefits, especially for soon-to-be moms. Let's break down this food's health benefits.
Chicken is rich in protein
The main star of this dish is the protein-rich chicken. Essential to growing kids and pregnant moms, protein helps the body generate new cells and repair existing ones. Plus, chicken meat is low in saturated fat, which is one of the causes of heart diseases.
Malunggay is a superfood
Superfoods are natural foods that contain high doses of vitamins and minerals. Malunggay is local a super gulay that's loaded with vitamins A, B, and C, which collectively help bring balance to the body's cholesterol level. Apart from that, it also has calcium, protein, and potassium. Diabetics also benefit from a regular intake of malunggay leaves as it helps normalize blood sugar levels.
Adding another layer of flavor to tinola is the papaya. It is known to be rich in antioxidants, substances that help fight against deterioration and damaging free radicals inside the body. Papaya is also a good source of fiber and magnesium, which promotes healthy nerve and muscle development.
Sayote has folate
Folate helps strengthen the body's cardiovascular system, the organ system that carries blood, nutrients, and oxygen throughout the body. It even lowers uric acid levels. If papaya is not available, sayote is definitely a healthy alternative.
Allium vegetables can reduce the risk of cancer
Also known as garlic and onions, these "starter kit" veggies may seem like minor ingredients but aside from adding natural flavors to tinola, they also have antioxidant properties and have been known to help reduce breast and colon cancers.
Ginger soothes the throat and tummy
Having a bad stomach and sore throat can cause severe stress for a pregnant mom. Some of ginger's health benefits are the ability to alleviate digestive discomfort and nausea and fight inflammation caused by something like a sore throat.
Hot soup is comfort food
Usually when people feel sick, eating a hot bowl of soup can instantly help one feel better. The temperature warms up the insides just right, and the soup itself is full of nutrients that are easy to swallow and digest. So, even if kids push off the tinola vegetables from their plate but slurp up the soup, you can be assured they ate something nutritious.
With all these great health benefits, tinola should be a regular fare in your meal planning. It may be a simple dish, but it has excellent nutritional and taste value.