Functional food products provide health benefits other than their nutritional value.
Functional foods like oats, soy and garlic, are now becoming popular because they have substances that reduce the risk of heart diseases.
Malunggay is a functional food because it is not only a good source of vitamin A, calcium, iron and zinc, but also a rich source of antioxidants.
Foods rich in antioxidants may protect our cells from the effects of free radicals which can contribute to the development of heart disease, diabetes, cancers and other diseases.
Because of its high nutritional content and functional properties, malunggay food products like malunggay juice, tea and noodles are now available in the market.
The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) developed malunggay leaves powder (MLP) from which various functional food products can be based.
The FNRI-DOST included MLP as ingredient in ready-to-cook veggie soup, ready-to-cook veggie sauce, breakfast cereal and malunggay fish sausage.
Based on a sensory evaluation done by trained taste panelists, the acceptability of the said food products with MLP ranged from “like slightly” to “like moderately”, mostly attributed to the dark green color of MLP.
The food products were also subjected to shelf-life studies where all were stored at room temperature except for the sausage which was stored under frozen condition.
All products were found stable up to four months of storage.
One serving of 250 milliliters of soup with MLP meets 24 percent of the Recommended Energy and Nutrient Intakes (RENI) per day for vitamin A for Filipino children 7-9 years old. A serving of 333 milliliters of veggie sauce satisfies 29 percent of the nutrient for this group of children. On the other hand, a 25 gram serving of breakfast cereal with MLP provides 17 percent of the RENI while 100 grams of sausage provides the most at 69 percent of the recommended vitamin A.
The food products also contributed significant amount of the calcium requirement per day of the same age group.
Nutritionists at the FNRI recommended using these food products in feeding programs to augment the vitamin A and calcium requirements of children.
The research on the Development of Functional Food Products from Malunggay (Moringa Oleifera) Powder will be presented on July 4-5, 2011 during the 37th Annual FNRI Seminar Series.
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. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org, Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call: 8372071 local 2296 or visit our website: http://www.fnri.dost.gov.ph. FNRI-DOST S & T Media Service: Press Release – CELINA ANN Z. JAVIER