Nutritive values of healthy Thai foods

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Nutritive values of healthy Thai foods
(คุณค่าอาหารไทยเพื่อสุขภาพ)

Thailand has undergone the nutrition and health transition during the past decade due to a
shift of eating pattern from a traditional practice to a more westernized one. The Thai staples and side dishes are being replaced by diets containing a higher proportion of fats and animal meats and less vegetables and fruits leading to a rising burden of diet-related chronic degenerative diseases such as cardiovascular disease, obesity, diabetes mellitus, hypertension and certain cancers. These problems are largely related to less awareness of the heath benefits of the traditional Thai diet. Therefore, this study was aimed to explore and select the commonly consumed Thai dishes to further develop the reference recipes in regard to appropriate proportion of the ingredients and maintaining the unique taste and characteristic of each dish. The methodological approach of this study was a combined qualitative and quantitative survey design by interviewing 500 adult. Thai subjects from 4 region including Bangkok to obtain a list of commonly consumed Thai dishes as well as by in-depth interview with Thai food experts. The recipes of selected Thai dishes were developed and evaluated by focus group sensory test and the nutritive values of each developed Thai dishes were determined. Twenty one Thai dishes; oneplate dishes, snake and main side dishes, were developed and tested for acceptability from the panel. Results from the nutrient analysis of all dishes demonstrated a wide variation of nutritive values of the Thai dishes especially energy level. Most developed Thai dishes showed satisfactorily energy distribution from carbohydrate protein, and fat. Each dishes had its own characteristic in terms of nutritional quality and quantity that can be recommended to suit
different physiological condition and requirements. Low energy and low fat dishes were northern style Thai noodle (kanomjeen nam-ngiew). Rice with Thai style vegetable soup (keang liang) or with hot and sour vegetable soup (kaeng som) or with hot and spicy prawn soup (tom yum koong). Thai foods with high iron content were northern Thai style noodle (kanomjeen namngiew), central Thai style noodle (kanomjeen nam-ya), rice with Thai style mixed vegetable soup (keang liang), or with hot and sour vegetable soup (kaeng som), or with steamed curry custardlike with fish (hor mok pla). Thai dishes with moderate to high calcium content were rice mixed with shrimp paste (kaow klook kapi), Thai style fried noodle (pad thai), rice shrimp paste dip,vegetable and fried mackerel (kaow nam prik kapi pla too tod). Most Thai dishesalso had considerable amount of dietary fiber as well as other nutrients known as the most powerful antioxidant nutrients such as vitamin E, vitamin C and β-carotene. Thai dishesare also contain various type of phytochemicals from spices and fresh herbs.

In conclusion, traditional Thai dishes showed potential to be considered as healthy diet in
terms of both nutritional quality and health benefit from phytochemicals. Publicity and education through various channels is urgently needed in helping people aware of the health benefit of Thai diet. A range of efforts from government, scholar and private sector should be taken to retain healthful dimension of the traditional Thai diet. More systematic research should be undertaken to establish reference recipes of traditional Thai dishes with unique identity of Thai diet as well as modified Thai recipes for nutritional and health purposes. A research on relationship between health and Thai food is also encouraged in order to promote healthy Thai food for consumption and export to the international market.

ที่มา : Food R&D

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