Feature: Multi nutrient rice kernels can fill gaps in rice fortification
By Abbie L. Padrones
MANILA, July 20 (PIA) - Rice fortification in the Philippines began in the early 1940’s.
It was conceptualized by Dr. R.R. Williams, who incidentally also discovered vitamin B1 or thiamine.
Fortifying rice by adding thiamin, niacin, and iron was implemented in the country to alleviate the problem of beriberi or thiamine deficiency.
For instance, after a larger pilot-scale test of fortified rice in Bataan, mortality from beriberi was significantly reduced in the covered areas.
In the following year, mortality from beri-beri was virtually eliminated in covered areas in Bataan.
The success of the rice enrichment experiment in Bataan led to the enactment of the Rice Enrichment Law in 1952, which required all rice millers and wholesalers to enrich rice. Implementing the law had major setbacks, including non-compliance by rice millers to fortify rice.
Since rice millers and traders constitute a formidable sector in the economic and political structure of the country, enforcing the fortification law wavered.
Another hindrance to implementing the law was the high cost of monitoring for compliance throughout the country.
Interest in rice fortification was revived in the early 1980s to help address micronutrient deficiencies. The Food and Nutrition Research Institute-Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST), has been at the forefront of fortification technology developments since then in support to the Philippine Food Fortification Law of 2000 or Republic Act 8976.
The FNRI, for its part, has made significant researches on rice fortification using extrusion technology.
The FNRI developed an iron rice premix designed to alleviate the persisting iron deficiency anemia (IDA) in the country.
Efficacy studies and market trials of the FNRI shows that feeding with iron fortified rice was cost effective and efficient in lowering IDA prevalence.
The institute also developed rice premix enriched with iron and zinc.
The multi-nutrient extruded rice kernels (MNERK) can help reduce iron deficiency anemia (IDA) and the emerging zinc deficiency in the country.
The FNRI identified the optimum formula using a statistical tool that revealed acceptable sensory response from trained taste panelists.
Results of the MNERK study will be the basis for efficacy studies, market trial, and scale-up productions.
Studies are being conducted on the MNERK to estimate the shelf-life of the premix, determine the retention of the nutrients after cooking and investigate the possibility of incorporating vitamins and other minerals to the kernel.
For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Tel/Fax Num: 8372934 and 8373164; email: firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com; FNRI-DOST website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)
Feature: Malunggay jumpstarts good nutrition for better health
By Noelle Lyn C. Santos
MANILA, July 20 (PIA) - Are you missing your kids riding a bike, running around, dancing and jumping during playtime lately?
It is usual to see children tired after doing vigorous activities. But, what if their energy is always on the slump, the sparkle in their eyes disappears and their boisterous laughter starts to wane?
Should you take it as ordinary mood swings or should you start to worry?
Neglecting these “low-batt” signs can possibly lead to serious nutrition problems.
Weakness, fatigue, poor vision and lack of concentration may indicate that your kids are experiencing hidden hunger.
Hidden Hunger: Modernized Micronutrient Deficiencies
Relatively new to the ears of most, hidden hunger has been a persistent antagonist in the public health sector.
Hidden hunger is the modernized term for micronutrient deficiencies that affects infants and children in the country.
According to the 2008 National Nutrition Survey of the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), micronutrients like iron, vitamin A and iodine are commonly lacking in the diet of Filipino children.
These micronutrients, if not supplemented adequately in your child’s diet, may eventually delay normal growth, mental development and overall health.
How will parents protect children from hidden hunger?
Though the government actively supports programs alleviating hidden hunger through food fortification, supplementation and nutrition education, practical solutions that can done at home still need to be developed.
FNRI-DOST’s Plan of Action
Related to this researchers from the FNRI of the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) led by Miss Leah A. Perlas evaluated the consumption of vegetables widely available in the country.
Malunggay: The Wonder Gulay
Moringa oleifera, locally known as malunggay, easily grows in the backyard and is economical.
Often added in soupy Filipino favorite dishes like chicken tinola and chicken binakol, malunggay has evolved in form and use. Leaves may be served raw or dry.
Packed with iron, vitamin A, B-vitamins, calcium and other micronutrients, malunggay is recognized as a potent food source that can help ease micronutrient deficiency.
Thus, malunggay is gaining popularity as the “wonder gulay”.
The malunggay leaves powder (MLP), as used in a study by the FNRI, can easily blend with various dishes without affecting overall flavor.
The study included 121 school children 8 to 12 years who are underweight, anemic or both. The subjects were then divided into two groups.
For 120 days, half of the group was fed with snack foods containing 3 grams of MLP while the other group was given non-MLP, fortified preparations.
Arroz caldo, ginataan mais, macaroni soup, pancit canton and polvoron were the selected snack foods fed to children under the supervision of the researchers to ensure validity and accuracy of feeding.
All foods were weighed before serving.
Those with additional 3 grams of MLP were individually mixed onsite, while polvoron was prepared ahead of time.
After 3 months of feeding, children who consumed MLP fortified snack foods recorded an increase in their vitamin A intake, height, weight, hemoglobin levels and serum and red cell folate compared to those who consumed non-MLP fortified snacks.
Both groups had increased retinol levels while no effect was observed in terms of their riboflavin and calcium parameters. Retinol is pre-formed vitamin A. present only in animal foods.
Nonetheless, more than half of the MLP group that were classified as severely thin improved in nutritional status compared to the non-MLP group.
JUST Add 3 Grams!
The findings of the study support malunggay’s potential in improving the micronutrient levels in a child’s diet.
With malunggay, parents now have a better choice of an additional ingredient in enhancing their child’s health and nutritional well-being.
Just by adding 3 grams of malunggay leaves powder, we can help our children pave the way to a better future.
Of course, it is still best to feed them with a variety of nutritious foods with lots of tender loving care as they grow up to become healthy adults.
For more information, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, FNRI-DOST, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City; Telefax Numbers: 837-2934 and 837-3164; email: firstname.lastname@example.org,gov, email@example.com; website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. (FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service/PIA-Caraga)