Nutrition Council urges Ilocanos to plant, eat vegetables

LAOAG CITY, July 24 (PIA) — The Provincial Nutrition Council is urging Ilocanos to plant vegetables in their gardens and eat them for a healthier life to mark the 38th Nutrition Month Celebration in Ilocos Norte.

Elma Irapta, provincial nutrition action officer, said this year’s celebration aims to increase vegetable consumption among the public as part of a healthy diet to address micronutrient deficiencies and non-communicable diseases.

“We are urging the public, especially parents to teach the children, to eat more vegetables, particularly the green leafy ones as these are very rich in vitamins and minerals that help fight non-communicable diseases such as heart disease and diabetes,” Irapta said.

Irapta said one way to do this is to plant vegetables in one’s backyard.

“We have lots of land in the province. We can plant in our backyards, gardens, in open spaces or on pots. We could involve our young children to do this and thus, they will be aware of the value of vegetables,” Irapta said.

“Besides, having a vegetable garden could increase supply and availability of vegetables for families,” she added.

The nutrition action officer said vegetable gardening could also be a source of additional income.

Many groups in the barangays and students in public schools in the province plant vegetables in open spaces for consumption and sale.

This year’s Nutrition Month focuses on vegetables with the theme “Pagkain ng gulay ugaliin, araw-araw itong ihain.”

According to a Food and Nutrition Research Institute study, Filipinos on average are eating less and less vegetables per day in the last three decades. From 145 gm per day of vegetables in 1978, consumption has decreased to 110 gm per day in 2008.

However, compared to other regions, consumption of vegetables in Region 1 is higher with 131 grams per person per day, next only to CAR, Region XII, and Region II.

The Department of Health said, “The data is alarming considering that low fruit and vegetable intake is among the top 10 risk factors for global mortality based on a World Health Organization report.”

Every Filipino, according to health experts, is advised to eat at least three servings or more of vegetable in a day to add vitamins and minerals in their diet. One serving is equal to a cup of raw leafy vegetables or half cup of raw or cooked non-leafy vegetables.

“We encourage everyone to eat more vegetables. Let us eat our indigenous vegetables such as saluyot, malunggay, and many others,” Irapta said. (ANL/CPC-PIA 1, Ilocos Norte)

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