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Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos

1. Eat a variety of foods every day. Eat a variety of foods, to provide all the nutrients required in the proper amount and balance as the human body needs more than 40 different nutrients for good health.

2. Breast-feed infants exclusively from birth to 4-6 months and then give appropriate foods while continuing breast-feeding for up to 2 years of age or longer.

3. Maintain children’s normal growth through proper diet and monitor their growth regularly. A well-nourished child is healthy, strong, and alert, has good disposition, and grows at a normal rate.

4. Consume fish, lean meat, poultry or dried beans. Including them in the daily meals will not only enhance the protein quality of the diet but also supply highly absorbable iron, preformed vitamin A and zinc. They are low in saturated fats, which are linked to heart disease.

5. Eat more vegetables, fruits and root crops. The consumption of more vegetables, fruits and root crops is encouraged to help correct the micronutrient deficiencies consistently noted in national nutrition surveys. Eating root crops will add dietary energy to the meal.

6. Eat foods cooked in edible/cooking oil daily. In general, the total fat and oil consumption in a Filipino diet is low. Fats and oils are concentrated sources of energy which are also essential for absorption and utilization of fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamin A. To ensure adequate fat intake, Filipinos should be encouraged to stir-fry foods in vegetable oil or to add fats and oils whenever possible in food preparation. This will guard against chronic energy deficiency and help to lower the risk of vitamin A deficiency.

7. Consume milk, milk products and other calcium-rich foods such as small fish and dark green leafy vegetables every day. An adequate amount of calcium in the diet starting from childhood all through adulthood will help prevent osteoporosis in later life.

8. Use iodized salt, but avoid excessive intake of salty foods. The regular use of iodized salt in the table and in cooking in addition to taking iodine-rich foods, will greatly help in eradicating goiter and Iodine Deficiency Disorders. Avoiding too much table salt and overly salty foods may help in the prevention and control of hypertension and hence of heart disease.

9. Eat clean and safe food. It is important to buy foods that are safe. Purchase food only from reliable sources. In addition, care must be taken when preparing and serving meals to prevent food-borne diseases.

10. For a healthy lifestyle and good nutrition, exercise regularly, do not smoke and avoid drinking alcoholic beverages. (Reference: Nutritional Guidelines for Filipinos, FNRI, DOST)