NUTRITION CORNER: Leafy veggies – a must eat for everybody

By Imelda Rivero-Castro


VIGAN CITY, Ilocos Sur, February 13, 2014 – Malunggay leaves should be eaten by everybody for proper nutrition, shared the Ilocos Sur Nutrition Office. As the world is infested by all kinds of lifestyle diseases, everybody must go back to, or must continue, eating as Ilocanos do, the super leafy vegetables.

Amparo Javillonar, the provincial nutrition officer, explained that the super veggies include the Ilocano favorite saluyot, ampalaya (bitter gourd), gabi, and kangkong.

Malunggay leaves, she said,  is the leader in vitamin A and calcium. This veggie makes the body healthy especially the bones and teeth.  A half cup of the cooked leaves is equal in nutrients to that of four and a half cups of cooked cauliflower.

It is easy to propagate malunggay. Cuttings and seeds can be used. Seeds must be planted five meters away from each other, and cuttings must be mature and a meter long.

The favorite of all Ilocanos, the saluyot is a rich source of vitamin A and calcium so it is best for the health of bones, teeth, and nails. Like the malunggay it is best for growing children and the youth. A cup of cooked saluyot is equal in nutrients to five and a half cups of cooked upo.  Planting saluyot in the backyard is through its seeds in any type of soil.

The ampalaya leaves are rich in vitamin A and iron. This veggie makes the skin smooth and the eyes clear. A sure fighter against anemia, it also helps in building resistance against diseases.  A half cup of cooked ampalaya leaves is equal in nutrients to that of 36 and a half cooked cabbages.

All year through, it is easy to plant ampalaya like the malunggay and saluyot.  In our backyard we can plant two to three plants. After 90 to 120 days they mature and continue to bear fruit in the next two months.

The kangkong leaves are first in vitamin A. Kangkong helps in the health of smooth skin, and clear  eyes.  A cup of cooked kangkong is as nutritious as four pieces of mangoes.

Planting kangkong in the backyard is easy in the wet soil or in watery part using the seeds, the stalks or roots. The stems must be 30 cm long and planted 50 cm apart. Harvest time is after 30 days of planting.

Like the ampalaya, gabi leaves are rich in vitamin A and iron. They help make the skin smooth and the eyes clear. The leaves have vitamins and minerals that help prevent night blindness.  A half cooked gabi leaves is as nutritious as 168 cups of cooked eggplants.

Gabi tubers are best  planted near wet soil.#