Bignay, kalumpit and ubi are high in antioxidant – study
by Dondon Carlo P. Lejano

Fifteen fruits and vegetables which were initially supposed to be high in antioxidant activity were subjected to evaluation through a study titled, “Antioxidant Potential and Components of Philippine Vegetables and Fruits” which was funded by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR).

The 15 fruits and vegetables which were subjected to this study were: malunggay (Moringa oleifera), bignay (Antidesma bunios (L) K. Spreng), squash (Cucurbita maxima), eggplant (Solanum melongena), patola (Luffa spp.), tiesa (Lucuma nervosa), mangosteen (Garciniana mangostana), durian (Durio zibethinus Murr.), kalumpit (Terminalia microcarpa Decne), alugbati (Basella alba L.), ampalaya (Momordica charantia), bago (Gnenum gnemon), sayote (Sechium edule), saluyot (corchorus olitorius), sitao (Vigna sesquipedalis), and ubi (Dioscorea bulbifera).

This project was implemented under the leadership of Prof. Virgilio V. Garcia of the Institute of Food Science and Technology from the University of the Philippines Los Baños (UPLB) in collaboration with the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) under the Department of Science and Technology (DOST).

Garcia and his research team noted that in the recent years, there has been very active research endeavors in the natural antioxidants derived from plants, animals, and microorganisms.

Studies showed that antioxidants play a very significant role in the prevention of oxidative damages to the body. This could lead to cardiovascular diseases, diminished immune functions, and generation of certain cancers.

In addition, it has been recognized that it is necessary to consume diet forms of antioxidants even though all biological systems have their own defense mechanisms in the form of endogenous enzymatic antioxidants.

Various steps in the research process were followed to find out which among these fruits and vegetables have the highest potentials for producing antioxidants. These steps are the preparation of crude antioxidants extracts, screening of antioxidants, and partial separation of antioxidant components.

Meanwhile, another interesting finding produced from this analysis is that high antioxidant activities are also present in the non-edible portion of some fruits, especially the inner and outer pericarp of mangosteen and the seed of tiesa. Results also showed that most green and leafy vegetables exhibited eminent antioxidant activity.

Having initiated the study, relevant data on the antioxidant activities of indigenous fruits and vegetables have been generated. This would serve as a benchmark for other research institutes, universities, and non-governmental institutions who wish to do further research on this subject matter.

Source: Bar Chronicle Vol. 10 No. 5, May 2009cription).

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