Filipinos eat less vegetable

Recent reports show an alarming trend:  Filipinos on average are eating less and less vegetables per day in the last three decades.  It is said that from 145 grams per day of vegetables in 1978, consumption has decreased to 110 grams per day in 2008.

My take:  “As an advocate of healthy, well-balanced meals, I make sure to eat vegetables everyday.  Aside from its nutritional benefits, vegetables help me maintain/lose weight, avoid constipation, keep a younger-looking skin, and feel light as against feeling heavy and bloated.

During mealtime, I never get tired of coaxing my husband and daughters to eat their vegetables because I know the many benefits of doing so.  Plus, I would rather spend on healthy food than medicines.”

In 2005, a study by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute showed that Filipinos eat very little vegetables due to the following reasons:  influence of family members who do not eat vegetables; dislike for vegetables because of taste and texture; preference for meat than vegetables; cultural beliefs about vegetables such as that eating squash can cause leprosy; vegetables are expensive; fear of chemicals and pesticides; vegetables require more time to prepare; preference for fast foods and instant foods; lack of supply; and lack of knowledge on nutritional and health benefits of vegetables.

As we celebrate Nutrition Month this July, here are some of the health benefits of eating vegetables:  Vegetables as part of a healthy diet can help prevent major non-communicable diseases.  According to the World Health Organization, adequate consumption of fruit and vegetables reduces the risk for cardiovascular diseases, stomach cancer and colorectal cancer.   Studies also report that deficiencies in intakes of calcium, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin and vitamins A and C can be improved through increased vegetable intake.

Tip:  Aim to have 1/3 of your meal composed of vegetables to meet daily requirement.

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