Contributed by Cherie Joyce V. Flores, PIA
SCIENCE CITY of MUÑOZ, Nueva Ecija – Philippine Rice Research Institute (PhilRice) encourages the public to try healthier rice to help address the health and nutritional challenges of the country.
“We are facing several health and nutritional challenges that contribute to the incidence of diseases that are considered as the leading causes of death in the Philippines,” PhilRice Rice Chemistry and Food Science Division Chief Marissa Romero said.
Leading causes of death in the country are cardio vascular, cancer and diabetes.
“The major factor that contributes to these diseases is our diet and according to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute the typical daily diet of a Filipino covers low healthier kinds of food,” Romero said.
“It shows that the typical daily diet of a Filipinofor vegetables is only 13 percent and 5 percent for fruits and it’s not surprising that rice comprises the most of our diet. Rice is really a good staple food because it is an excellent source of carbohydrates for our energy requirement,” she added.
“Unfortunately, the common form of rice that we eat is white rice and of course if you have excessive intake of white rice, that will lead to obesity and other alarming diseases,” Romero furthered.
To help improve the nutritional status of Filipinos, PhilRice works on the development of healthier rice varieties and other rice-based products.
These include Brown rice which is high in fiber, vitamins and minerals; Germinated Brown rice which is an excellent source of gamma-Aminobutyric acid that is good for brain metabolism; Pigmented rice with a very high amount of antioxidants; Beta-carotene enriched rice; High-iron rice; High-zinc rice; Low-protein rice and Rice with high resistant starch and dietary fiber targeting lower glycemic index rice.
“We are enjoining everyone to be RICEponsible, meaning to have a right amount and form of rice intake and make healthier rice a part of our diet and to support research and promotion of healthier rice,” she emphasized.