Filipinos are becoming more health-conscious, thus the conclusion of a study conducted by Kantar Worldpanel, a leading provider of research-based information on shoppers’ purchase and usage behavior in several countries. The study, which covered 2,000 households in urban areas, showed that in the past 10 years (2001-2010), Filipinos were increasingly becoming health-conscious, with 93 percent, up from 83 percent in 2005, buying healthy foods in 2010. “Filipino consumers learned to read the labels, with 90 percent making sure they were getting really healthy foods before buying.” The study also found that convenience had become a valued consideration for Filipinos, with products such as ready-to-drink teas, coffees, and cereal beverages claiming at the top three spots.

Given the health-conscious trend among Filipinos, researchers from the Cordillera Administrative Region Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CIARC) of the Department of Agriculture (DA), developed a food product the combines both convenience and health benefits. They call it, “Adsoy Blend”.


Adsoy: 2-in-1 health product

“It could have been called “Adsoy” or “Solai” but the point is to come up with a name that will capture both commodities: adlay and soybean,” said Dr. Magdalena T. Wanawan, CIARC manager.

Adsoy is a cereal meal and a hot beverage rolled into one.

“Initially, the aim was to develop a product that targets the health-conscious Filipinos with great consideration on the ease of preparing it, especially to those people who are always on the go, always in a hurry. We developed Adsoy as a cereal meal and as a hot beverage. Getting the right consistency will depend on the amount of water and mixture,” explained Dr. Wanawan.

The main ingredients of Adsoy are roasted adlay grains and roasted soybeans. A dash of roasted sesame seeds was also added into the blend for flavor. “If you want to utilize Adsoy as cereal food, you have to add hot water, milk, and sugar to taste. If you want to use it as tea or hot beverage, you have to add more hot water or milk and sugar as preferred. We did not add sugar into the blend because some diabetic patients drink it without the sugar.”

According to Dr. Wanawan, Adsoy was developed in April 2014 and was first introduced to the public during the National Agriculture and Fisheries Technology Forum and Product Exhibition, organized by the Bureau of Agricultural Research (BAR) in August 2014 at SM Megatrade Hall, SM Megamall. Funding for this CIARC’s research initiative is part of the Adlay R&D fund from BAR.

Many products have been recently claiming the same thing, that they are both healthy and easy to prepare, what makes Adsoy different from these products? Dr. Wanawan revealed that, “Adsoy is organic! The blend contains adlay and soybeans which are both organically-grown here. Kami talaga sa CIARC ay maka-organic! [We at CIARC are into organic!]”.

Although, Adsoy has been already been introduced to the public through tech fora, Dr. Wanawan admitted that they are still perfecting the product in terms of taste and consistency. “We need to improve on the taste by conducting public taste test and also improve the product packaging,” said Dr. Wanawan.

Healthful benefits from AdSoy

“We developed it because of the health benefits from adlay and soybean. Both are high in nutrients, containing both energy and protein which are essential needs of our body. Another reason is that both crops are easy to grow and produce,” explained Dr. Wanawan.

Adlay, scientifically known as Coix lacryma-jobi L. belongs to the family Poaceae or the grasses, the same family to which wheat, corn, and rice belong. It produces good yield in areas where rice and corn hardly grow like the highlands. Just like rice, farmers grow adlay as their staple crop for its good eating quality. It bears tear-shape grains which when matured and are harvested, pounded, threshed, and winnowed, cooked and served steamed just like rice.

As a food source, adlay is as versatile as rice. It can be cooked and processed as main ingredient for Filipino food products including maja blanca and sinukmani. The grains can be ground into flour and used to make breads, pastas, and porridge.

Studies showed that eating 100 grams per serving of adlay, one is less likely to feel hungry after awhile compared to eating rice or corn. This is because adlay has the highest food energy content (356 kcal) compared to corn, white rice or brown rice. It is also superior to its staple counterparts when it comes to carbohydrate content (73.9 g), protein (12.8 g), and fat (1.0 g). Adlay is also packed with other minerals including calcium (25 mg), phosphorus (43.5 mg), iron (5 mg), niacin (4.3 mg), thiamine (0.28 mg), and riboflavin (0.19 mg).

The other component of Adsoy blend is the soybean, considered as a wonder crop due to its resilience, versatility, and its nutritive value. Locally known as utaw, it has been widely used to meet the protein need of Filipinos with a great potential in helping alleviate hunger and poverty in the country.

Soybean seeds contain approximately 40-45 percent protein, 20-25 percent edible vegetable oil, and a significant amount of vitamins A and E, as well as minerals and micronutrients making it a valuable component in many food items both for humans and for animals.

There is a widely-held public perception that eating soybeans can increase the risk of gout and can potentially trigger acute attacks for those already suffering from the disease. Most people believed this because beans are high in protein, concluding that consumption of high protein leads to high uric acid in the blood leading to gout. This is not true as revealed by numerous scientific studies. In fact, according to Elmer E. Enicola, researcher from the Institute of Plant Breeding, University of the Philippines Los Baños (IPB-UPLB), there is no reason why the public, with or without gout, should avoid eating soybeans and soy-based foods because they provide plentiful amounts of high-quality protein.

This health fact on soybean was reiterated by Rose Mary Aquino, senior agriculturist at the DA-Cagayan Valley Integrated Agricultural Research Center (CVIARC) in Region 2 citing that soybean is known as a good source of dietary fiber and it contains anti-cancer and anti-inflammatory factors, and components that aid in the prevention of osteoporosis, heart diseases, and diabetes.

Among the legumes, soybean has the highest protein content. Aside from its numerous health benefits, soybean is also an important crop in an agricultural system because of its capability to fixate nitrogen that is present in the air. “The symbiotic relationship between the nitrogen-fixing bacteria [in the root nodules] and the host legume plant provide nitrogen to the agricultural system,” explained Aquino. ### (Rita T. dela Cruz)

For more information, please contact:
Dr. Magdalena T. Wanawan
Manager/Adlay Project Leader
Cordillera Integrated Agricultural Research Center
Department of Agriculture-CAR
Baguio Dairy Farm, Sto. Tomas Rd., Baguio City
Tel No. (074) 443-8986