Monday, July 5, 2010

Okra –known as the ‘’lady’s fingers’’ called ‘’gumbo’’ in U.S. and called ‘’kingombo’’ in Spanish and Dutch, in French called ‘’gombo or bamya’’ Okra, grows well throughout the year in warm tropical climate, even during harsh weather conditions, a drought-heat tolerant vegetable amongst all vegetables. Okra, at their best and must be harvested while young within days to about a week, longer than a week okra taste fibrous, chewy and woody. Okra, contain vitamin A, B, C, iron, fiber and calcium. Flavor and taste of okra is similar between asparagus and eggplant. In Philippines okra is available in supermarkets fresh produce section and at your local market near you. And for all of us living abroad, okra is available in supermarkets, health food stores and markets. Okra can be boiled, used in stews, soup, stir-fried with other vegetables. Asian cuisines used okra for consistency, to thicken stews and soups.

Pechay – in English, Snow Cabbage (Chinese cabbage) a green leafy vegetable widely used in Asian cuisine. Pechay, is Pak Choy or Bok Choy in Chinese high source of vitamin A, C. Good source potassium and fiber. Pechay, lower the risk of breast and colon cancer. Pechay can be prepared in a range of ways stir-fried, steamed, stuffing, steamed and boiled. Pechay is available all-throughout the year.

Sitaw –Batong in Cebuano, in English, commonly called ‘’String Bean’’ or ‘’Haricots’’ and some people call it ‘’Snap Beans’’. String beans (due to the fact, the fibrous string run all the way down to the green pods seam) Snap Beans (the sound that comes off it, when you ‘’snap’’ the beans in desired sizes for home-cooked meals) Green beans varies in range of sizes ( falls in the same family category of the red kidney beans and black beans ) Yes. The sassy-jazzy- sexy ‘’string beans’’, high source of vitamin A, C, K, iron, fiber, potassium, calcium, magnesium, protein, thiamin, niacin and omega 3. If you are lacking in iron, add beans in your food consumption, also great for menstruating women, pregnant or lactating women. It is advisable to cook beans with care (lose some of its nutrients when over-cooked) as stir-fry, vegetable soup (sinigang in Tagalog, sinangag in Cebuano) Simmering or steaming beans till tender-crisp, makes them taste good. Beans are available in supermarkets and at your local market near you all-year-round, in Philippines. Choose good quality beans without the blemishes.

Repolyo –Cabbage in English. Cabbage, a substantial source of vitamin A, calcium, antioxidants and fiber, reduces the risk of cancer, strengthens nervous system, excellent source of beta-carotene, therefore good for your vision, heals ulcers, reduces heart disease, rheumatism and skin problems. Cabbage, a rich source of vitamin A, B6, B12, C, E, K, thiamin, niacin and folic acid. Cabbage, also a high source in minerals with the likes of iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, phosphorous, selenium and zinc, keeps you in upbeat spirit because cabbage provides energy. Cabbage, cauliflower and broccoli are of the same vegetable family. Grown for decades, the rapid rise of consumption is staggering. Prioritize, have cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, carrots, cucumber and tomatoes as salad served for serving trays on parties with dips. Especially the fresh famous coleslaw, I love it. Health conscious consumers realize the high nutritional value of these vegetables.

Kangkong – in Tagalog, water spinach or glorybind in English, Tangkong in Cebuano (kankon in Japanese, ong choy in China, ung choi in Cantonese Chinese, toongsin tsoi in Mandarin Chinese) Commonly used vegetable in Filipino dishes (generally in Asia) Kangkong, high source in iron, calcium, vitamin B and C. Mild in flavor, all parts of young kangkong are preferred, edible from the shoot (stem) to the leaves. Great for stir fry meat, soup stews (sinigang kangkong) Strip all the leaves off the stem, slice the stem they go in first for a period of 2 to 3 minutes before adding the leaves. Kangkong also used for salad. Blanch or boil kangkong for 5 minutes….drain add vinegar, calamansi, dash of salt & pepper, onion and tomato.

AMPALAYA( gamit sa tagalog)

Amargoso (Kastila)
Palia, Palya (Ifugao)
Paria (Ilokano)
Bitter gourd, Bitter melon
Balsam pear, Balsam apple, African cucumber (Ingles)

Bumubunga buong taon. Pangkaraniwang tinatanim sa buong Pilipinas para sa kanyang nakakaing mapait na bunga.

Dahon, ugat at bunga

Almoranas: Ang pinulbos na dahon o pinakuluang ugat ay magagamit sa almoranas.

· Ang katas ng dahon ay ginagamit para sa ubo, pagpupurga ng bulati, at sa pagsasara at paghilom ng sugat.

Kalusugan: Ang dahon at bunga ay nagbibigay ng vitamin C, iron, calcium at iba pang importanteng mineral. Ang katangiang kapaitan ay mababawasan kung ibababad ang bunga sa maalat na tubig bago lutuin. Ang ampalaya ay ginagamit na rin na isang inumin para sa likas at kalusugan ng katawan. Maraming naniniwala na ang kapaitan ay katumbas sa pagkabisa ng ampalaya. May ilang pagaaral na nagmumungkahi ng iba pang kagalingan ng ampalaya: ang pagtulong sa pagaalis na mga toxin at mga lason sa katawan (gaya ng nicotine), ang pagpapatibay ng katawan (Immune system), at regulasyon ng pagbubuntis.

Diabetes: Ang ampalaya ay bagong kinikilalang halamang medisinal sa labas ng Pilipinas para sa paggagamot ng kasakitang Diabetes Mellitus. Inimumungkahi ng ilang sayantipikong pagaaral ng ang ampalaya ay nagtataglay ng isang sangkap na parang "insulin" na tumutulong sa pagbababa ng mataas na asukal sa diabetes. Ang paggamit ng ampalaya ay madalas na ngayong ipinapayo na pangdagdag na paggagamot sa diabetes.

· Pasingawan o pausukan ng kumukulong tubig ang talbos ng dahon ng ampalaya at kainin ang kalahating tasa dalawang beses sa isang araw.
· Magpakulo ng anim na kutsara na tinadtad na pinong dahon ng ampalaya sa dalawang baso ng tubig sa mahinang apoy (15 minutos). Uminom ng 1/3 na tasa, tatlong beses maghapon, 30 minutos bago kumain. Gumamit ng palayok o enamel na lutuan; iwasan ang lutuang aluminyo.

Ampalaya (Bitter Gourd) : Natural Weapon Against Disease

Perhaps not too many people know that there are natural weapons against diseases which can be grown right in the garden or farm. One such weapon is the wrinkly green vegetable with a distinctive bitter taste called ampalaya. Known in the science world as ‘Momordica charantia,’ it is called bitter gourd or bitter melon.

In terms of nutritional contents, the fruits and leaves of the ampalaya are reportedly rich in minerals and vitamins, notably iron, calcium, phosphorus and Vitamin B. In the Philippines, it is prepared into various dishes: it be stir-fried with ground beef and oyster sauce, or with eggs and diced tomato. A very popular dish from the Ilocos region is the ‘pinakbet,’ which consists mainly of ampalaya, eggplant, okra, string beans, tomatoes, lima beans, and other various regional vegetables stewed with a little bagoongbased stock.
Philippine traditional medicine attributes many medicinal properties to ampalaya. Books and articles on Philippine medicinal plants list several diseases where ampalaya is apparently beneficial. Reportedly, the extract from the leaves or roots shrinks hemorrhoids. The leaf juice is supposedly a good antitussive (i.e., it stops cough), antipyretic (i.e., for fever), purgative and anthelmintic (i.e., against roundworms).

Ampalaya is also used to treat sterility in women and it can supposedly alleviate liver problems. Likewise, it is claimed that ampalaya has some antimicrobial activity and can help infected wounds.

“Commonly known as ampalaya in the Philippines, researchers refer to it as a vegetable, fruit, or herb,” wrote Frank Murray in his book, ‘Ampalaya: Nature’s Remedy for Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes.’ “It is indigenous to Asia, but is cultivated around the world, where it goes by almost 90 different names.”

Yes, ampalaya has been considered as nature’s answer to diabetes. Today, almost ioo studies have demonstrated the blood sugar lowering effect of this bitter fruit. Dr. A. Raman and Dr. C. Lau, who reviewed over 150 pre-clinical and clinical studies on amplaya’s antidiabetes properties and phytochemistry, concluded that, “Oral administration of fruit juice or seed powder (of bitter melon) causes a reduction in fasting blood glucose and improves glucose tolerance.”

In the Philippines, Dr. William Torres, former director of Bureau of Food and Drugs, came up with this conclusion after reviewing several studies done on ampalaya: “Ampalaya fruits, leaves, seeds and other parts, when used as dry powders, extracts, decoctions, fresh or cooled, have clearly demonstrated hypoglycemic activity.”

Researchers have identified the key compounds present in ampalaya, notably polypeptide-P, a plant insulin found only in the ampalaya. Similar to animal insulin, polypeptide-P lowers elevated blood sugar levels. Dr. Torres maintains that ampalaya, when taken regularly, helps to increase glucose tolerance and “potentiate insulin.”

Even ampalaya leaves have some blood sugar lowering effect among diabetics, according to Dr. Eduardo G. Gonzales, of the College of Medicine at De La Salle University. “This effect is noticeable regardless of how the leaves are prepared – boiled then eaten, or in the form of extract, tea, capsule or tablet.”

Dr. Gonzales, however, warned diabetics not to be “overly enthusiastic in replacing their proprietary medicines with ampalaya teas, capsules or tablets.” As he wrote in his column published in a national daily: “None of the studies so far conducted on ampalaya and diabetes can be labeled conclusive. All were done using a very limited number of human subjects, and most are not controlled.”

He further cautioned: “Ampalaya should be considered, at best, just an adjunct in the treatment of type 2 diabetes mellitus that could possibly reduce the dose of antidiabetic drugs that responsive patients need. It should not be regarded as a stand-alone treatment that can take the place of established medicines.”

Recently, the Bureau of Food and Drugs approved the first ampalaya tea in the country — Charantia Ampalaya Tea — as ideal for diabetics’ special dietary needs. However, diabetics who wish to try ampalaya need not spend money on the tablet, capsule or tea forms of the plant. They can cultivate the plant or buy it from the market and make their own preparation.

To prepare ampalaya extract, the Department of Health says the following steps should be followed: Wash and finely chop leaves. Add six tablespoons of the chopped leaves in two glasses of water. Boil the mixture for 15 minutes in an uncovered pot. Cool down and strain. Drink 1/3 cup of the solution 3 times a day. Alternately, ampalaya tops can be steamed and eaten (1/2 cup 2 times a day).

But the Philippines is not the only country promoting ampalaya against diseases. China, too, is doing several studies. In the book, ‘Zhong Yao Da Ci Dian (Great Dictionary of Chinese Medicines),’ ampalaya (or ‘ku gua’) is described as bitter and cold and entering the heart, spleen, and stomach channels, or, alternatively, the heart, liver, and lung channels.

“Its traditional functions are that it clears summer heat and flushes heat, brightens the eyes, and resolves toxins,” the book states. “It has been traditionally indicated for heat disease vexatious thirst leading to drinking, summer heat stroke, dysentery, red, painful eyes, welling abscesses, swellings, and cinnabar toxins, and malign sores.”

In China, several studies have shown that ampalaya have cholesterollowering effects. In one study, elevated cholesterol and triglyceride levels in diabetic rats were returned to normal after to weeks of treatment. In another study, results showed that bitter melon extract reduced triglyceride and lowdensity lipid (LDL) levels, and increased high-density lipid (HDI.) levels.
In yet another Chinese study, HDLs (the so-called good cholesterols) were consistently elevated by dietary bitter melon both in the presence and absence of dietary cholesterol, indicating an ability of bitter melon to prevent or protect against atherosclerosis.

Though it has been claimed that ampalaya’s bitterness comes from quinine, no evidence could be located supporting this claim. Ampalaya is traditionally regarded by Asians, as well as Panamanians and Colombians, as useful for preventing and treating malaria. Laboratory studies have confirmed that various species of the bitter fruit have anti-malarial activity, though human studies have not yet been published.

Recently, laboratory tests suggest that compounds in ampalaya might be effective for treating HIV infection. As most compounds isolated from bitter melon that impact HIV have either been proteins or glycoproteins lectins, neither of which are well-absorbed, it is unlikely that oral intake of ampalaya will slow HIV in infected people. It is possible oral ingestion of ampalaya that could offset negative effects of anti-HIV drugs, if a test tube study can be shown to be applicable to people. In one preliminary clinical trial, an enema form of ampalaya extract showed some benefits in people infected with HIV.

“It is only now that modern science is beginning to investigate the plant’s many medicinal uses,” Lito Abelarde, president of the Chamber of Herbal Industries of the Philippines Inc., told a national daily.

Facts You’d Like To Know About Ampalaya

Ampalaya is one of the most widely-cultivated vegetables in the Philippines. Despite its harsh bitter flavor, Filipinos are very fond of eating this vegetable. In the Philippines, it is usually sauteed with pork and egg and is considered as a main ingredient in pinakbet, a special cuisine among Ilocanos. Its bitter taste is attributed to the presence of momordicin, a compound found to be effective in treating diabetes.

The results of different researches showed that ampalaya may also help in liver problems and even HIV. Because of its ability to treat and prevent various diseases and promote over-all health, this vegetable is highly recommended by different government and non-government organizations as one of the best herbal medicines available today.

1. Lowers sugar levels in blood and urine, reducing the incidence of diabetes mellitus
2. Treats blood disorders like blood boils and itching due to toxins
3. Helps cure cholera
4. Improves energy and stamina level
5. Stabilizes sleeping patterns
6. Helps alleviate eye problems and improves eyesight
7. Treats hangovers
8. Helps cleanse, repair, and nourish liver problems due to alcohol consumption
9. Helps enhance the body’s immune system to protect against infections
10. Helps improve psoriasis condition and other fungal infections like athlete’s foot and ring worm
11. Improves respiratory disorders such as asthma, bronchitis, and pharyngitis
12. Serves as cough and fever remedy
13. Acts as a parasiticide
14. Treats intestinal worms and diarrhea
15. Acts as a purgative and stimulates digestion
16. Alleviates the symptoms of rheumatism and gout
17. Lowers blood pressure levels
18. Helps in disinfecting and healing of cuts, wounds, and burns
19. Helps prevent some types of cancers
20. Serves as an effective antioxidant, antibacterial, and antipyretic

Ampalaya is packed with lots of vitamins and minerals especially important in providing various health benefits mentioned above. It is an excellent source of vitamins B1, B2, B3, and C, magnesium, folic acid, zinc, phosphorus, and manganese. This vegetable high in dietary fiber and very low in calories also contains twice the carotene of broccoli, twice the calcium of spinach, and twice the potassium of a banana. There is also another insulin-like compound present that serves as insulin replacement in some diabetic patients.

Bitter gourd (boiled, drained, no salt)Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)

Energy 20 kcal 80 kJ

Carbohydrates 4.32 g
- Sugars 1.95 g
- Dietary fiber 2.0 g

Fat 0.18 g
- saturated 0.014 g
- monounsaturated 0.033 g
- polyunsaturated 0.078 g

Protein 0.84 g
Water 93.95 g

Vitamin A equiv. 6 µg 1%
Thiamin (Vit. B 1) 0.051 mg 4%
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) 0.053 mg 4%
Niacin (Vit. B3) 0.280 mg 2%
Vitamin B6 0.041 mg 3%
Folate (Vit. B9) 51 µg 13%
Vitamin B 12 0 µg 0%
Vitamin C 3.0 mg 55%
Vitamin E 0.14 mg 1%
Vitamin K 4.8 µg 5%
Calcium 9 mg 1%
Iron 0.38 mg 3%
Magnesium 16 mg 4%
Phosphorus 36 mg 5%
Potassium 319 mg 7%
Sodium 6 mg 0%
Zinc 0.77 mg 8%
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.