Camote, cassava, peanuts may lower blood cholesterol
WITH the rise of fast food chains and tempting food advertisements, root crops such as camote, cassava, and tugi and legumes such as peanuts and green peas have become unappealing snack options.
There are, however, many reasons why people should switch mindsets.
Root crops are rich in carbohydrates- -affordable and main source of energy. Legumes are also good substitutes for meat as protein source.
But aside from being carbohydrate and protein sources, respectively, root crops and legumes are functional foods. Both are good sources of dietary fiber, a food component associated with the prevention of several chronic diseases such as cardiovascular diseases, colon cancer, and control of diabetes.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology in a recent study determined the effects of local root crops and legumes in bringing down cholesterol levels among humans with moderately raised cholesterol levels.
Five root crops and six legumes were studied. People under the study were given 50 grams available carbohydrates from the test foods for 14 days, and venous blood samples were collected for analysis of total cholesterol, triglyceride, and HDL/LDL cholesterol. Results showed that camote and cassava significantly decreased the total cholesterol levels of the subjects.
In the same study, consumption of legumes like peanut, abitsuelas, green peas, mungbean, pigeon pea, and chick pea showed similar results--with peanut showing effects of marked decrease in total cholesterol levels among the subjects.
The study also showed that cassava, abitsuelas, and peanut significantly decreased low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (LDL-c) levels of the subjects while camote, tugi and mungbean significantly decreased triglyceride levels. The study concluded that root crops and legumes may have a significant role in reducing lipid biomarkers like total cholesterol, LDL-cholesterol, and triglyceride due to their high total dietary fiber content.
How does dietary fiber reduce blood cholesterol? Cholesterol is the main component of bile acids secreted during digestion in the intestine. Dietary fiber coats the bile acids in the intestine and excreted from the body. The body then draws cholesterol from the blood to form bile acids, thus, reducing blood cholesterol level.
FNRI's Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos suggest the consumption of root crops and legumes. So, why not boiled camote or peanuts for the next snack? (Charina Javier)
|Ipomoea Batatas L.|
The plant is a tropical annual vine that does not tolerate frost. Depending on the variety and conditions tubers mature in 3-9 months. Sweet potatoes rarely flower outside of the tropics and are primarily propagated by cuttings and tubers. Some variants are sold as house plants.
Sweet potatoes are believed to have originated in South America and spread throughout the tropical Americas into the Caribbean and across the South Pacific to Easter Island. Very likely the tuber drifted across the sea in a manner coconuts still do today.
Because the general Polynesian word for the sweet potato is kumara, and the South American word is kumar, it was originally thought that this was evidence of cross-Pacific contact between South America and Polynesia. However, linguists have determined that kumara and kumar are totally unrelated and have nothing to do with each other. This therefore cannot be considered as evidence of pre-Magellan trans-Pacific crossings.
Farmers in the Southern United States started using the term "yam" to distinguish between the softer orange variety and the drier white variety. The true yam is rarely found in the United States except as an import and the orange variety must be labeled "yam sweet potato".)