BY PET MELLIZA/ The Beekeeper
No rice? Eat camote.
That line is not an insult but a friendly message to Ilonggos who want good health and longevity.
Fastfood restaurants, commercially processed foods, cigarettes and pollution exposes us to toxins like lead, formaldehyde and cadmium, among others that may cause cancer.
We can reduce that risk by adopting a healthy lifestyle and advocating ecological balance. An example of the former is eating healthy foods like camote because they helps us detoxify or expel those poisons from our system.
Western Visayas which comprises the provinces of Iloilo, Capiz, Aklan, Guimaras, Antique and Negros Occidental, nearly doubled its rice output for the first semester of this year over the same period last year.
From 430,000 metric tons in the first half of 2010, the region’s rice production jumped to 735,000 MT in the same period of 2011, reports Department of Agriculture (DA) Larry Nacionales.
Nacionales is upbeat that W. Visayas will meet the target 2.2 MT by the end of this year because of favorable weather.
Despite antiquated irrigation facilities, the region remains in the top-five slot throughout the Philippines in rice production. Western Visayas has no reservoir-type dam that can water fields at the height of the dry months. All its irrigation system comes from diversion dams, those that can deliver water only during the wet season, when rivers are flooded.
The DA aims to make the country self-reliant in rice and by 2013, which means, it will stop importing rice by that time.
Even if that goal could not be reached due to unpredictable weather, Larry Nacionales is not worried. In one episode of “Kape kag Isyu”, a cable-TV talk show every Saturday morning hosted by fellow opinion writer Peter Jimenea, he said there were alternatives to rice which we must turn to. “Our goal is not just rice self-sufficiency but food self-sufficiency.”
The alternative crops will not only fend off hunger, but also make Ilonggos healthy. One of them is crops is camote or sweet potato which, he says, is more nutritious than rice.
Yours truly cannot agree more. Browsing through the world wide web (WWW), particularly http://www.foodrecap.net/health/camote-healthiest/ an author opines that “camote should be part of diet even if you have more money to buy or prepare expensive dishes.” The writer based its opinion on the study by the North Atlantic Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. It vouches that camote is superior to other food crops including rice for the following reasons:
1) It packs energy; its carbohydrate contents is high that can replace rice. If you want to reduce your rice intake, eat at least two pieces of steamed camote tubers along with rice during breakfast.
2) It is Good for diabetics as it raises adiponectin, an important component in insulin metabolism, that helps stabilize blood sugar levels. Its “glycemic index” of 50 is “moderate’. A glycemic index refers to the speed of the breakdown of carbohydrates during digestion and the release of glucose sugar into the blood stream.
3) It has high dietary fiber and low fat content which is good for the heart and the intestines as fibers help reduce bad cholesterol and ease bowel movement.
4) It has antioxidants that slow down aging and maintain good eyesight. Deep yellow camote has lutein and beta carotene. So, instead of taking eye supplement, better go for the cheaper and better remedy of eating deep yellow camote;
5) Have lots of essential minerals and vitamins. Manganese, copper, potassium, iron, Vitamin – E, C, B6, B2, and A are found in camote. When you eat it, it’s like ingesting essential minerals and vitamins or a combo of rice and vegetables in one meal.
6) It is an “adsorbing” substance, thus an effective cleansing or detoxifying agent. “Adsorption” is the process of binding other substances to the surface, which is different from “absorption”. Camote “adsorbs” heavy metals and take it out of the system — lead, arsenic and mercury that accumulate in the body from consumption of commercially processed foods.