How do you make your plate GLOW?
According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, glow means “to shine with”.
Because of the vibrant colors of fruits and vegetables, a way to shine your plate is by adding more of these foods. Adding these to your plate can also make your own health “glow”. Fruits and vegetables or “glow” foods, in general, are rich in vitamins and minerals that can help strengthen the immune system.
Several published studies show that regular consumption of vegetables and fruits helps lower risks of cardiovascular diseases, certain cancers, and bone fractures. These foods that are rich in fiber help in normal bowel movement and in lowering blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Thus, fruits and vegetables can indeed help prevent lifestyle diseases such as diabetes and heart diseases, as well as vitamin and mineral deficiencies.
Despite the proven health benefits of regularly eating recommended amounts of food from the Glow or body-regulating food group, consumption remained low through the years.
Based on the National Nutrition Surveys (NNS) conducted by Department of Science and Technology’s Food and Nutrition Research Institute (DOST-FNRI), household fruit consumption in the country declined from 54 grams in 2003 to only 34 grams in 2018-2019.
On the other hand, vegetable consumption slowly increased from 111 grams in 2003 to 127 grams in 2018-2019.
To address this phenomenon, the DOST-FNRI developed the Pinggang Pinoy and the Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos that promote the regular consumption of fruits and vegetables.
In the same way, the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) declared 2021 as the international year of fruits and vegetables to raise awareness on their important role in improving human nutrition.
Regular consumption of fruits and vegetables for adults means eating one piece of medium size fruit or one slice of big fruits such as watermelon, papaya or pineapple and 1.5 cups of vegetables for male and one of cup vegetables for female in every meal.
Here are some tips to achieve this:
- Make sure that in every meal, half of your plate is composed of vegetables and fruits, with slightly more vegetables than fruits.
- Eat fruits and/or vegetables during snacks.
- Drink fresh fruit juices.
- Start a fruit and vegetable garden at home.
- Parents should be a model to children in showing them that fruits and vegetables should be eaten regularly.
Furthermore, the DOST-FNRI has several initiatives to help promote fruit and vegetable consumption. The institute developed recipes utilizing indigenous vegetables.
These recipes can be downloaded via the DOST-FNRI website, while the procedure of some recipes can be watched on the DOST-FNRI YouTube channel.
To further promote awareness on the importance and value of eating more fruits and vegetables and to encourage vegetable consumption especially among children, DOST-FNRI has made available educational games and puppet videos.
Taking the extra mile, the DOST-FNRI has a model urban vegetable garden in its office known as Oh My Gulay (OMG)! sa FNRI aimed at encouraging vegetable gardening in offices.
With these initiatives, DOST-FNRI hopes to help promote Glow foods. So, let your plates glow with fruits and vegetables daily!