Breastfeeding still best for babies even during emergencies


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Calamities are pressing people’s physical and economic resources. The recent calamities that struck the country have displaced thousands of families and the aftermath is much worse as illnesses began to spread.

Infants and young children are the most vulnerable. Having weak immunity, they are the ones who easily get sick when staying in crowded evacuation centers.

Undoubtedly, breastfeeding is the best for babies. Breastmilk is the perfect food for newborns and infants because it provides all the nutrients that are needed for healthy development.

Today, as families are in emergency situation and where basic infrastructure has been compromised, breastmilk provides a safe food for babies. Breastmilk contains antibodies that help protect them from common childhood illnesses like diarrhea, pneumonia and malnutrition.

Moreover, breastmilk is readily safe, available and affordable. This helps to ensure that infants get adequate sustenance at the time when they need it, even in emergency situations.


Feeding infants and young children with milk formulas may pose dangers to their nutrition and health status. First, safe water needed for the preparation of milk formula and for cleaning and sterilizing materials such as bottles and nipples may not be available in the area. Water in evacuation centers may be contaminated to cause diarrhea, cholera and other water-borne diseases.

Water should be put to a rolling boil for at least 3 minutes if it is to be used to prepare milk formulas. Bottles and nipples should be boiled longer to make them sterile.

This poses the problem of not only safe water but also fuel source, which may also be scarce in evacuation centers.

Storage equipment, like a refrigerator, is most of the time not available and the hot environment in evacuation areas make milk formulas easily spoil.

In a situation where economic activities of a household are disrupted, income and savings, if there are any, are exhausted, and thus, milk formulas become inaccessible.

Mothers who are under stress may have stopped lactating for a day or so, but this can be overcome with good support.

It is a myth to think that because mothers are under stressful situations, they would not be able to breastfeed. They only need support for re-lactation.

The other myth is that because mothers are undernourished or are sick, they cannot breastfeed or the milk is of poor quality. This is not true because even very malnourished mothers can produce good milk.

Under these conditions, breastmilk may be in lower amount but it is still the best source of nourishment for the baby. Mothers, if undernourished as in such case, should be given the nutritional support that she needs.

Indeed, breastfeeding is a life saving intervention. It is best for babies in normal and emergency situations.

For more information on food and nutrition, contact: Dr. Mario V. Capanzana, Director, Food and Nutrition Research Institute, Department of Science and Technology, General Santos Avenue, Bicutan, Taguig City. E-mail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., Telefax: 837-2934 and 827-3164, or call: 8372071 local 2296 or visit our website:

FNRI recommends using iodized salt in meat products



The Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) recommends using iodized salt in processed foods like ham, tocino, tapa, hotdog, sausage, langgonisa and the like.

These are all-time favorites of the young and grown-ups alike for meals and snacks.

Using iodized salt in processing meat products may increase the iodine available in the diet of consumers patronizing processed food items.

Availability of iodine in the diet may help maintain optimum nutrition, as this micronutrient helps prevent goiter, impaired mental function, retarded physical development, and congenital anomalies among children.

Food fortification is one of the strategies in preventing micronutrient deficiency in the population.

The FNRI believes that universal salt iodization (USI) is the recommended strategy to eliminate iodine deficiency disorder (IDD) in the population by using salt to carry iodine in the diet.

Related to this, the FNRI-DOST conducted a study on the quality of salt in the Philippines, led by the group of Ms. Marcela C. Saises, Senior Science Research Specialist of the Food Research and Development Group.

The study found that salt produced in Pangasinan and Occidental Mindoro are safe for human consumption.


Eggs: Pinoys' most consumed protein-rich food


Kumain ng itlog, pagkaing pampalusog,” parents and teachers would often say to encourage children to eat eggs.

Indeed, eggs, specifically chicken eggs, are on the list of the most commonly-consumed foods.

Eggs top the most consumed protein-rich foods in the Philippines, based on the food consumption survey conducted in 2008 conducted by the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of the Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST).

Chicken eggs ranked eighth among the most commonly-consumed foods, next to rice, sugar, coconut oil, salt, instant coffee, garlic, and bombay onion.

Among the protein-rich food sources, egg is followed by powdered choco milk drink, powdered filled milk, canned fish sardines and galunggong.


Drinking coffee may be healthier than you think!



According to American scientists, coffee probably contributes more healthy antioxidants to your diet than fruit and vegetables.

Scientists measured the antioxidant content of more than 100 different foods including vegetables, fruits, nuts, spices, oils and beverages. Based on the findings and from the data of the US Department of Agriculture, coffee was the biggest source of antioxidants per serving and level of consumption. It was followed by black tea, banana, dry beans and corn. According to Professor Joe Vinson, head researcher from Scranton University in Pennsylvania, Americans get more of their antioxidants from coffee than any other dietary source. Both caffeinated and decaffeinated coffee appeared to provide similar antioxidant levels.

Antioxidants help rid the body of harmful free radicals, destructive molecules that damage cells and deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA). They are linked to a number of health benefits, including protection against heart diseases and cancer. Studies have associated coffee drinking with a reduced risk of liver and colon cancer, type 2 diabetes and Parkinson’s disease.


What diabetic persons should know about diabetes


Recent studies on large numbers of people with diabetes show that those who keep their blood sugar under tight control best avoid the complications of diabetes like heart disease, blindness, kidney failure, and lower extremity amputations. Experts agree that what works best for people with diabetes – and everyone for that matter – is regular exercise, little saturated and trans fatty acids, and a high–fiber diet. Carbohydrates break quickly during digestion and can raise the blood sugar to dangerous levels.

Glycemic index (GI) ranks foods on how they affect our blood sugar levels. This index measures how much our blood sugar increases after we eat. When diabetic patients make use of the glycemic index to prepare healthy meals, it keeps their blood sugar levels and weight under control. Many carbohydrate-rich foods have high glycemic indexes, and they certainly are not good in any substantial quantity for people with diabetes. Other carbohydrates like complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber break down more slowly, releasing glucose gradually into our blood streams and are said to have lower glycemic indexes which are good for diabetic patients.

Studies on glycemic indexes by experts showed that many of the starchy foods we eat a lot produce the highest glycemic response. These are white bread, some breakfast cereals, e.g. cornflakes, rice and baked potatoes but complex carbohydrates present in potatoes are digestible. Low glycemic foods include beans, barley, pasta, oats, apples, oranges, peaches, peanuts, strawberries, sweet corn and carrots. Likewise, vinegar, and lemon juice help reduce glycemic load, the amount of carbohydrate in a serving of a particular food.



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