Food Science and Technology Research
Online ISSN : 1881-3984
Print ISSN : 1344-6606
Development of Functional Foods in the Philippines
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Volume 13 (2007) Issue 3 Pages 179-186

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Filipinos have traditionally recognized that some foods have benefits beyond nutrition although the term “functional foods” is new to them. Various studies show the nutritional and medical benefits of common Philippine foods. This paper reviews the functional attributes of selected traditional Philippine foods such as rice (Oryza sativa L.), coconut (Cocos nucifera L.), legumes [mungbean [Vigna radiata L. Wilczek]) and indigenous legumes], selected native vegetables (Momordica charantia and Moringa olifeira), root crops (sweetpotato (Ipomoea batatas), greater yam (Dioscorea alata) and taro (Colocasia esculenta)] and fruits [mango (Mangifera indica), papaya (Carica papaya), banana (Musa sp.) and pineapple (Ananas comosus)]. Processed food products with functional attributes include nata de coco and achara or pickled grated papaya. Germination and fermentation processes have been shown to improve the health benefits of some foods. Increasingly becoming popular are food products promoted with health benefits such as fermented milk drinks, yoghurt with lactobacillus, spirulina cereal, ganoderma coffee, milk with Bifidobacteria, etc. Evaluation of food products that qualify as functional foods on a scientific basis is done under the existing regulations of the Bureau of Food and Drugs of the Philippines Department of Health. Concerned government agencies have been involved in technical consultation meetings in the Asian region aimed at harmonizing the standards for regulating functional foods in the region. From this review, more studies are recommended on the functional attributes of Philippine traditional foods and newly developed ones, to establish their health benefits and determine the recommended amount and frequency of intake needed to obtain the benefits. An information campaign on functional foods among consumers and the general public should be conducted to enable them to enjoy the benefits of food “beyond nutrition.”

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© 2007 by Japanese Society for Food Science and Technology
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