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Local veggies contain anti-hypertensive components

 
Singarilyas, balatong, kamote

Aside from their popular use on Filipino dishes, Sigarilyas, balatong, and kamote hold bioactive peptides that could help in treating hypertension, as recent studies revealed.

Dr. Mary Anne Torio from the Institute of Chemistry, University of the Philippines Los Baños shared her pioneering research on anti-hypertensive activity of locally available vegetables, during the 62nd annual convention of the Philippine Association for the Advancement of Science (PHILAAS).

Dr. Torio focuses on hypertension, a condition characterized by abnormal high blood pressure, which may block the flow of blood and result into heart attack. The condition can also break weakened blood vessels and cause a bleeding in the brain, which leads to stroke. According to World Health Organization (WHO), one out of three adults has high blood pressure, causing half of all deaths from stroke and heart disease.

In pursuit of potential treatment for hypertension, Dr. Torio and her team examined the components of vegetables such as winged beans (sigarilyas), mongo beans (balatong), and sweet potato (kamote).

These vegetables were found to contain bioactive peptides, components with 2-9 amino acid residues which must be removed from the bigger protein to be biologically active. While bioactive peptides are known for being antioxidant and antimicrobial, bioactive peptides from local vegetables also show potential on lowering blood pressure by inhibiting an enzyme (known as angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE), which could decrease the tension of blood vessels and help arteries to relax.

Among the local veggies, bioactive peptides from sigarilyas have the highest percent of inhibiting activity which is 91.82% after purifying it. While peptides from balatong have 83.95% inhibition, sweet potato’s peptides display 77.39% inhibition.

These biologically active peptides from readily available sources have great potential for medicinal studies, which could also increase the commercial value of plant sources in the country, as Dr. Torio emphasized.

Dr. Torio expressed her gratitude to the Philippine Council for Health Research and Development (PCHRD) for funding her research.