Friday, March 30, 2012

Root crops keep bad cholesterol down, DOST study says

By Framelia V. Anonas, S&T Media Service

If you want to control your cholesterol level, better include camote or its cousins in your daily fare. In a study by the Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute, it was found that root crops abundant in the country can keep bad cholesterol level down.

 Led by DOST-FNRI’s Dr. Trinidad Trinidad, the study team discovered that daily intake of root crops significantly lowers  bad cholesterol levels in the body.

“Root crops are able to lower bad cholesterol levels because of their dietary fiber content,” said Dr. Trinidad. Dietary fiber or roughage is that part of the vegetable or fruit that is not digested and not absorbed in a human's digestive tract.

“Dietary fibers come from a family of carbohydrates that ferments in the colon, turning into short-chain fatty acids that release energy,” Trinidad explained. “These fatty acids include butyrate, which prevents the risk of colon cancer, and propionate which helps prevent cholesterol synthesis.”

Aside from dietary fiber, root crops also contain vitamin C, calcium, phosphorus, and iron.

The study involved subjects aged 30-55 years, physically and mentally fit, and with moderately-raised serum cholesterol levels.  The subjects were non-smokers and were not under any medication. They were all fed with test food for two weeks.

The team used various root crops such as camote (sweet potato), gabi (taro), tugi (lesser or Chinese yam), ube (purple yam), and cassava.

At the end of the study, the researchers found that the cholesterol level of the subjects remained stable. Trinidad’s team concluded that root crops, due to their cholesterol-lowering effect, would be important in the proper control and management of chronic diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases.

In individual analysis, the team found that all the root crops used in the study decreased the level of bad cholesterol, especially cassava and camote. The team also discovered that tugi, a root crop abundant  in the north, even increased good cholesterol.

In another study, researchers found that corn is good for the heart. It contains
folate that lowers the level of homocysteine, a kind of amino acid that damages the lining of arteries and may make blood clot more easily than it should. High homocysteine levels may lead to heart attack.

Corn also has thiamin and pantothenic acid that help in producing energy for the body and in reducing stress.

Root crops and corn are traditional Filipino foods that, in some parts of the country, serve as staple food. For the average Filipino, root crops and corn are best eaten as snacks—tasty, filling, and inexpensive.

So if you want to keep your cholesterol down, junk the grease and go back to eating boiled corn, camote, and cassava. “These foods used to be labeled as ‘pagkain ng mahirap’ (food for the poor) but now it is also for the rich,” quipped Trinidad.

Even that sweet camote que is good, “as long as there’s not much sugar in it and you eat in moderation,” Trinidad advised.

Bishop calls for end of criminality

MALOLOS CITY—A ranking Church official here called on the government to show political will in fighting criminality instead being preoccupied by the impeachment trial.

He also urged the Philippine National Police (PNP) to not just find out who are behind the crimes, but prevent it from happening.

Bishop Jose Oliveros of the Diocese of Malolos said increasing crimes in the country must be addressed by both national and local government.

“What’s happening in Bulacan is now isolated, it’s a picture of crisis today that is happening all over the country,” Oliveros said.

He added, “Ano ba talaga ginagawa ng gobyerno, may political will ba to fight criminality in our midst.  Ang problema naka-concentrate sa impeachment, pero ang daming patayan, nakikidnap, ninanakawan araw araw in other parts of the country.”

Oliveros was referring to crime incidents in Bulacan and in other parts in country specially Mindanao, Visayas and Metro Manila.

He said that crime incidents in Bulacan is nothing compared with incidents reported everyday.

On Wednesday, a church worker was killed in this city following the spate of killings that and other crimes that led Gov. Wilhelmino Alvarado to convene the Provincial Peace and Order Council (PPOC), as Bulakenyos especially businessmen expressed apprehension.

In the said PPOC meeting, the provincial police office said Bulacan remain general peaceful noting that crimes recorded in 2011 is lower than those recorded in 2010.

The provincial police office also reported that crimes reported in the first two months of 2012 is lower than crimes reported in the same period last year.

However, Alvarado said the PPOC must convene at least four times a year to address increasing crime incidents in the province that may deter businessmen in investing in the province.

Alvarado also expressed alarmed over the audacity of criminals who committe crimes in broad day light.

This include the killing of Cristina Roxas, a businesswoman from Paombong town who was shot dead just meters away from the capitol compound here; and the killing of a lawyer in the City of San Jose Del Monte.

Both crimes were committed at mid day last month.  (Dino Balabo)

50% of PHL ODA comes from Japan

BALAGTAS, Bulacan—Close to 50 percent of overseas development assistance (ODA) to the Philippines are coming from Japan, Public Works Secretary Rogelio Singson said.

The disclosure came during the inauguration of an interchange here along the North Luzon Expressway (NLEX) which also opened the 6.87 kilometer Plaridel by-pass road.

Singson and other and some businessmen said continued flow of ODA to the country is a sign of confidence to the Aquino presidency.

“At least 44 percent of overseas development assistance that we are receiving are coming from Japan,” said Singson noting that it will be spent for more infrastructures projects in the country like road, bridges and flood control projects.

He said that Japan is willing to fund more projects in the country  and insinuated that it’s a sign of continuing confidence to the current administration which introduced ‘wise spending’ of funds since 2010.

Singson said that Japan International Cooperation Agency (Jica) has vowed to finance new infrastructure projects in the country through ODA.

This include the packages two to four of the 24.61 kilometers arterial road project in the province that will link the NLEX to the Philippine-Japan Friendship Highway located in San Rafael town.  The 6.87 kilometer package one of the project has been completed and is now known as the Plaridel By-pass road.

Aside from the said project, Singson said disclosed that Jica is also ready to finance the proposed Central Luzon Link Expressway (CLLEx) that will link the Subic-Clark Tarlac Expressway (SCTEX) in La Paz town in the province of Tarlac to Cabanatuan City in Neuva Ecija.

This was affirmed by Akio Yonezawa, the second secretary on economic affairs of the embassy of the Japan in the Philippines.

He said that aside from the CLLEx, the Japanese government though the Jica is also ready to finance the proposed alternate road project to Dalton pass in Nueva Vizacaya.

“Once the feasibility study and design is ready, we will be willing to finance it because we want to help the Philippines, Yonezawa said in an interview.

According to Siongson, Jica has earlier other road projects in Central Luzon including widening of the MacArthur Highway from Bulacan  to Tarlac, and the Gapan-Olongapo road that traverses the provinces of Nueva Ecija, Pampanga, Bataan and Zambales.

This developed, Antonio Tencgo and Rudy Calalang, both members of the Bulacan Chamber of Commerce and Industries (BCCI) hailed Jica’s assistance in Central Luzon.

They said that it will not only fasttrack development in rising urban centers in the region, but will spur economic growth in remote areas in the region.  (Dino Balabo)