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It’s an all-too familiar scenario: when the rains fall and temperatures drop, you find yourself heading to the office pantry, the kitchen, the nearest café, or wherever you can score your fill of munchies.
But what is it about the cold weather that makes us want to consume more calories? Well, according to Executive Chef slash Nutritionist Ma. Lourdes Cruz-Caudal, we tend to eat more during cold weather because our body needs to maintain its normal body heat or temperature. A way to cope with the cold is through eating, since calories are transformed into energy or heat.
But for those who are watching their weight, you don’t need to worry about the keeping the cravings on a tight leash. According to Chef Lourdes, one only needs to make the right food choices.
• Veer away from animal fats in meats like pork and beef, which can be converted to cholesterol that can lead to high blood pressure. Instead, go for the healthier alternative: fruits, vegetables and fish oils, the latter containing heart-healthy essential fatty acids.
• Avoid too much consumption of salty foods, such as junk food as these can cause illnesses like hypertension.
• If you’re fond of spicy food, go for it. Though Koreans thrive in spicy dishes that help warm the bodies, Chef Lourdes warns those with delicate stomachs against its consumption, as spicy food can trigger discomfort and even ulcer in some.
So don’t despair if you’re munching more than usual these “ber” months. Quality matters much more than quantity. When in doubt, you may consult a dietitian or nutritionist to plot out a menu, and compute your required calorie intake, which is according to your height and weight. But if you don’t have the budget, you can D-I-Y your food plan on the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI) website and look for the topic, Food-based dietary guidelines Philippines.

prutas taginit

The Hot and Dry season is the perfect time to indulge in outdoor activities. But the longer we stay under the sun, the more we sweat—resulting to the loss of our body fluids.

This May, we need to be more vigilant, especially since according to PAGASA, the hottest days of the year are experienced this month, with temperatures ranging from 25 to 37 degrees Celsius.

When not properly hydrated, we are more susceptible to health complications such as heat stroke, exhaustion and heat cramps. To replenish electrolytes and fluids in our body, we need to drink 8 to 10 glasses of water, and supplement with water-rich fruits.



Why it’s good for you:
According to the Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), Papaya is a water-rich fruit that’s a good source of antioxidants such as folic acid, fiber, carotene and Vitamin E. Antioxidants promote the health of the cardiovascular system and prevent heart attacks. Papaya also contains vitamins C, which boosts the immune system.

Choose it fresh:
FNRI suggests looking for firm and unblemished skins of papaya. Choose those with yellow-orange skins—an indication of the fruits’ ripeness.


Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan
Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan

Why it’s good for you:
92% of a watermelon is water. It is also a good source of vitamin A, which helps maintain good eyesight, and healthy skin and hair. According to FNRI, recent studies reveal that watermelons contain lycopene that prevents heart disease.

Choose it fresh:
Watermelon should be firm, symmetrical and free of scars. The skin of ripe watermelons should be dark green. Since, it contains 92% water, it should be relatively heavy for its size.


Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan
Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan

Why it’s good for you:
The Philippines takes the 7th spot on the list of major mango-producing countries in the world. According to the National Mango Research and Development Center, we’re also the 6th most prolific exporter of fresh mangoes.

Mangoes are terrific sources of beta-carotene, and vitamins C, B6, E, K and A. They are also rich in potassium and magnesium, niacin, folate and thiamin that contribute to overall health.

You may even be surprised that mangoes can cure acne by opening the clogged pores of the skin. Once the pores are opened, acne formation will gradually stop. Just apply mango pulp on the skin for 10 minutes and rinse it off. Do this on a regular basis.

Choose fresh:
In choosing fresh mangoes, try to squeeze the mango gently; a ripe mango will give slightly. Go for mangoes with a fruity aroma at their stem ends.


Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan
Photo courtesy: Monina Punzalan

Why it’s good for you:
The health benefits of pineapples have been acknowledge throughout Central and South America. They’re rich in Vitamin C, an anti-oxidant that cleanses our body from harmful free radicals.

Pineapples also promote healthy skin. Bromelain is an enzyme found in this tangy fruit, which contribute to skin renewal. And did you know that pineapples can even cure sore throat? Bromelain is also anti-inflammatory, and sore throat is often due to the inflammation of tracheal muscles.

Choose fresh:
Choose plump pineapples with firm bodies and fresh green leaves at the crown. Remember that the color of this fruit’s outer shell is not a good indicator of its maturity or ripeness.

So, this month, don’t just drink up; also remember to eat up the freshest fruits in season. This way, you get your fill of fluids, vitamins and minerals in a delicious, refreshing way!