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Filipino Superfoods you must add to your diet!
If you are looking to lose weight or generally improve your diet, then you have no doubt heard about superfoods. These are fruits and vegetables that have a high concentration of vitamins and antioxidants. Along with superfoods, there has been a steady rise in the popularity of Filipino cuisine in the UK, which has mirrored a growing trend for more exotic foods.
Put these two together, and you have people wanting to try the most beneficial superfoods from that corner of the world.
The Original Fusion Food
You can describe that Foods from the Philippines as a fusion of many influences, including Asian and European. For example, you can often find coconut, chilies, lemongrass, and shrimp paste in Filipino cooking along with tomato sauce and cheese.
Chinese traders brought with them a knowledge of stir-frying and steaming that have become part of the Filipino cooking tradition. Subsequent colonization from the Spanish, then the United States changed things further by introducing olive oil, paprika, and fried rice along with hamburgers, fried chicken, and sandwiches. This colorful mix makes Filipino cooking one of the most diverse you will find.
These influences have led to many restaurants appearing in the Philippines, with a diverse menu. Their use of fresh fruit and vegetables makes them a pretty healthy option, though restaurant owners will need to think about having enough storage to keep the food fresh and the right equipment to prepare these ingredients with the respect that they deserve.
Here are the Top 12 Filipino Superfoods;
Otherwise known as Chinese Spinach or Amaranth, this green vegetable has a lot of goodness packed within it. As well as high levels of protein, Kulitis also has vitamins A, C, E, K, B5 and B6 along with Iron and calcium.
It has traditionally been seen as beneficial for those with high blood pressure and cholesterol, but it is also thought to help with diabetes and some cancers. To get the best from Kulitis you can add it to soups, stews and salads.
2] Guyabano (Guyabano Health Benefits)
Also known as Soursop, this fruit has a reputation as being good for cancer. It is packed with vitamin C as well as potassium and vitamin B6.
Guyabano has many health benefits including the prevention of anemia, migraines, constipation, water retention, and pregnancy-related problems. If that wasn’t enough, it also has benefits for heart health and bone strength. While this fruit isn’t the sweetest, it does make a good addition to smoothies or as a snack if it suits your taste.
Otherwise known as vine spinach, it is a green plant that is high in calcium, folic acid, iron and vitamins A, B and C.
As the name suggests, it is often seen as a good alternative to spinach and can help with anaemia, ulcers, headaches, osteoporosis and constipation. There are other reports that suggest it helps protect against cancer of the colon as well as cardiovascular disease.
4] Malunggay (Malunggay Health Benefits)
Moringa Oleifera is the other name for this plant or ‘miracle tree.’ It is highly nutritious and has the added benefit in that the whole plant can be eaten either raw or cooked. You can find Malunggay anywhere in the Philippines.
The benefits of this plant cannot be understated, with its high levels of protein, amino acids, vitamins, minerals and antioxidants, it can help to treat a variety of ailments including:
- Skin Disorders
- Joint Pain
Malunggay is traditionally used as herbal medicine.
5] Mangosteen (Mangosteen Health Benefits)
Last on the list is what some call the “queen of fruits” the tropical mangosteen. Quite a lot of this plant can be used including the juice, bark, rind, twig and of course, the fruit itself. Among the ailments this superfruit can cure include:
- Urinary Tract Infections UTI’s
- Menstrual Disorders
This fruit is considered so beneficial, that you can buy it as a health drink in many supermarkets and pharmacies.
6] Mango (Mango Health Benefits)
The golden fruit of the Philippines is a cholesterol-free, low-fat and low-calorie superfood loaded with Vitamins A and C, dietary fiber and antioxidant compounds. Including these nutrients in your diet helps ward off serious medical conditions.
Research has shown that mango flesh contains prebiotic dietary fibre which can help to feed the good bacteria in the gut. One cup of sliced, raw mango gives you 89 micrograms of Vitamin A, or 13 percent of the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s suggested daily intake of the vitamin.
7] Coconut (Coconut Health Benefits)
The coconut, a “power fruit,” is a rich source of Vitamins B1, B3, B5, B6, C and E. It is also abundant in fiber, calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorous, selenium and sodium. Coconut is now used in a large variety of products from milk to soaps and for good reason.
There are now known to be numerous health benefits from eating coconut and using it on the skin. Some of the benefits include boosting good cholesterol, fighting the effects of Alzheimer’s disease, boosting liver health, aiding digestion, and acting as a soothing salve for burns.
8] Papaya (Papaya Health Benefits)
Bursting with vitamin C, the papaya was once described by Christopher Columbus as ‘the fruit of the angels.’ Today, many people eat it because it has so many health properties. It has been shown to lower cholesterol, boost your immunity, help the eyes because of its vitamin A and protect against arthritis.
Adding more papaya to your diet may boost your heart health. Studies show that fruits high in lycopene and vitamin C may help prevent heart disease . The antioxidants in papaya may protect your heart and enhance the protective effects of “good” HDL cholesterol.
Although the pineapple looks very exotic, it can now be found in any supermarket and grocery shop. It is a key ingredient in everything from cakes to pizzas and it has a number of health benefits as well.
It has high levels of vitamin C as well as vitamin B6, potassium and folate. Pineapples also contain bromelain, a compound with protein-digesting enzymes that are thought to help with digestion. Because of this, it is a great antioxidant but can also aid digestion, reduce the risk of cancer, ease arthritis and reduce inflammation.
10] Camote or Sweet Potato (Health Benefits of Camote)
Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C and vitamin B6, which is important for brain and nervous system health. They’re also a good source of potassium and magnesium, which help improve heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure.
Even better, Sweet potatoes are incredibly rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for the vegetable’s bright orange color.
In fact, one cup (200 grams) of baked orange sweet potato with skin provides more than seven times the amount of beta-carotene that the average adult needs per day
Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in your body and used to form light-detecting receptors inside your eyes.
Camote or Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 and vitamin C, which is essential for brain and nervous system health. They’re also a good source of magnesium and potassium, which help improve heart health by helping to regulate blood pressure.
11. Kangkong (Health Benefits of Kangkong)
Kangkong, Water Spinach (Ipomoea aquatica) is a semiaquatic, tropical plant that flourishes naturally in water and moist soil. Kangkong is an edible plant harvested as a leaf vegetable.
Water spinach (kangkong) leaves are very nutritious, being rich in vitamins and minerals. It is naturally rich in dietary fiber, protein, calcium, iron, vitamin A and vitamin C. Kangkong is also rich in the several B-complex group of vitamins such as riboflavin (8%), niacin (5.5%), vitamin B-6 (pyridoxine-7%), folic acid (14%), etc, that play a vital role in the metabolic functions.
Kangkong greens are abundant sources of health benefiting nutrients which when consumed on regular basis found to prevent osteoporosis, iron deficiency anemia, and vitamin-A deficiency, and believed to protect from cardiovascular diseases, and colon and prostate cancers.
12. Garlic (Health Benefits of Garlic)
This common household spice is high in vitamins and minerals, with 100 grams giving you 95% of your RDA’s Vitamin B6, and 73% of the required manganese. Studies say that Allicin, the compound in garlic that gives its strong scent, reduces cholesterol and blood vessel stiffness.
Studies also say that garlic as a whole lowers the risk for colo-rectal, gastric, and prostate cancer. Garlic is also one of the most powerful antibiotics. Before considering antibiotics from the pharmacy, you might want to try garlic first.
The amazing fruit and vegetables that can be found in the Philippines are only matched by the wonderful cuisine. So, if you are thinking of improving your diet, consider one of these Filipino Superfoods.
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