NUTRITION CORNER: Malunggay – very promising health food

The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) reported a decline in vegetable consumption from 1993-2003, resulting in the low and almost unchanged level of intake of vitamins and minerals.

The low intake of vegetables may lead to micronutrient malnutrition, like vitamin A, iron and iodine deficiencies. This may result to low physical and mental productivity and increased risks of mortality and morbidity, especially among the vulnerable groups, such as the children, pregnant and lactating women.

The possible contribution to micronutrient deficiency alleviation of malunggay known scientifically as Moringa oleifera, is now well-recognized. This suggests that increased consumption and utilization of malunggay could improve the micronutrient content of the Filipino diet, which in turn could help reduce the prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies.

The malunggay leaves powder processed at the FNRI is a fine powder, 100 mesh in size, dark green in color, has 5% moisture, ph of 5.9 and water activity of 0.299. The low water activity in malunggay leaves powder is desirable because microbial proliferation is unlikely to occur, making it shelf-stable even in storage at room temperature, according to Ms. Rosemarie Garcia, Senior Science Research Specialist.#