Put yourself at ease by protecting those you love
05 July 2018
In the book Food of the Philippines, Corazon S. Alvina writes, “Filipinos break bread together on special occasions and at every excuse. The humblest peasant shares his meal with a stranger. That sharing attitude toward food – so expressive of human bonds – ensures the survival of Philippine cuisine.”
Is it any wonder then that it is incredibly difficult to eat healthy when food is so central to the concepts of family and community? It might be impossible to shun the deliciousness of Filipino dishes, but there are ways to make them better for your health.
Kare-kare is a peanut-based stew thought to have originated from the curry dishes brought on by traders or migrants from Southeast Asia. It is usually made up of beef or tripe and loaded with vegetables. It is served with a side of bagoong to add depth of flavor to an already thick and rich sauce.
To make kare-kare healthy for the heart, try skipping the meat and instead use all vegetables. Meat can be high in saturated fat, which can raise cholesterol levels. On the other hand, vegetables commonly used in kare-kare like banana hearts and eggplants are high in soluble fibers. High fiber food can lower bad cholesterol by binding with it in the digestive system and eliminating them from the body.
Sinigang is a versatile soup dish flavored by a souring agent. The ingredients are boiled, with no need to add extra oil. It also calls for vegetables like radish, okra, eggplant, and kangkong. The choice of proteins is wide, with fish or shrimp as top choices.
A dish like sinigang is inherently good for the heart. But, contemporary versions of sinigang relies on prepackaged instant mixes to add flavor. These are usually high in sodium and preservatives that might not be the best choice when trying to eat healthy.
To stay true to the heart-friendly nature of sinigang, put away the mix and use natural ingredients instead. Options like kamias or the juice of calamansi are just as convenient. Simply toss in the ingredients in the pot, the same way you would a ready-made mix.
When it comes to heart health, the best kind of proteins are fish because they are not as fatty as red meats or even poultry. Pesang isda, a ginger-based stew, should already be a top choice. But, there are still some ways to improve an already-good thing.
Instead of using dalag, the fish commonly used for pesa, choose a type of fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids. Examples of these are mackerel and salmon. The omega-3 won’t lower bad cholesterol, but it does provide other heart benefits like helping reduce blood pressure and lessening the risk of blood clots.
There are few things more comforting than a bowl of bulalo on a rainy day. The tender meat of the beef shanks and the melty goodness of the marrow is a luxury. But, what is good for the taste buds might not be good for the rest of the body. The high levels of saturated fat can raise cholesterol in the blood, which can lead to heart disease.
To help reduce the fat in this Filipino favorite, double boil your stock. This is a similar technique to the way Koreans achieve the light broth of galbi tang, a soup dish made from ribs. Cook your meats for about 10 minutes, then strain them out. Rinse out your pot to remove fat clinging to the sides. Cook as your bulalo as you normally would. The resulting broth is much lighter, but just as flavorful.
Filipino food is all about comfort and familiarity. Even adobo, with its humble ingredients of vinegar and soy sauce, can conjure up memories of meals with family or friends. You do not have to miss out on those moments to improve cholesterol levels and overall health.
Like these meal modifications, BPI AIA’s Wellness Series, a roster of life insurance products, is based on the idea that small changes can make a big difference on your health. Avail of Life Ready Plus, a unit-linked life insurance plan powered by AIA Vitality. It has the unique feature of helping you evaluate your health through the AIA Vitality Health Review and other health assessments.
You can know your cholesterol numbers and other health factors. With the help of AIA Vitality Partners, you can come up with a plan to live better and achieve your health goal. At each step, you earn points you can exchange for rewards like additional insurance coverage and discounts from partner establishments.
Taking care of your heart is not just about good nutrition. It is also about more opportunities for happy memories with loved ones around the dinner table by having protections in place. Find out how by going to a nearby BPI branch and talk to a Bancassurance Sales Executive or learn more about the BPI AIA Wellness series here.
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