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Bulalo: a healthy perspective

Republika

BY LOUISE NICHOLE P. LOGARTA

Though its origin has become somewhat unclear with many saying that it began in Batangas, home to numerous plays on the dish, or that it was borne of ingredient availability amid Tagaytay’s bovine abundance, the savory comfort dish native to Southern Luzon known as Bulalo is a popular staple in Filipino cuisine and everyday consumption.


Many are enamored by the delicious, light broth made from cooking beef shanks and marrow bones to tender perfection for three to four hours, along with the various vegetables that add in splashes of color to the dish.


So with veggies thrown into the mix of boiled meat and marrow, and with soup that’s soaked up nutrients from the dish’s components, is bulalo a healthy meal that one can consume without worry? The answer, much like the stereotypical contrast between protein and vegetation, is a bit of both yes and no.


Apart from the obvious benefits consumption of the dish provides such as protein, fiber, and carbohydrates essential to the human body, a study conducted by the American Chemical Society back in 2019 determined that bone broth may help ease inflammation, joint pain, and promote a healthy gut.


Collagen and other proteins with health benefits, are apparently released during the simmering process of animal bones, and broken down into peptides that may act as antioxidants, though these claims need further research for irrefutable validation.


On the other hand, however, for all of bone marrow’s popular taste, it poses risks to cardiovascular health due to the cholesterol content.


Too much cholesterol can lead to hypertension, or increased blood pressure that may lead to a stroke. As such, experts advise consumption of cholesterol heavy dishes to be limited to once a month.


Given the benefits as well as the costs of enjoying a nice, hot serving of bulalo, the saying “all in moderation” strongly applies here.

Photo: Panlasang Pinoy


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