Rice is a daily staple for Filipinos. A meal feels incomplete without the satisfaction that comes from eating rice. Per capita annual consumption of rice among Filipinos in 2019 was estimated at 110 kilograms (PSA, 2020).
Despite the nutrients that comes with consuming this staple, the carbohydrates and sugar deduced from white milled rice can become detrimental to one’s health when consumed beyond the normal amount. Rice is found to have high glycemic index, which can lead to higher risks of acquiring diabetes, stroke, and antherosclerosis.
Health-conscious people are looking for natural alternatives to the typical white milled rice they have been used to. Consuming whole grains is becoming a trend due to the complex carbohydrates and fiber they contain. One of these is adlai.
Adlai belongs to a grass family that grows in tropical areas in Asia, including the Philippines. Adlai’s production in the Philippines is mostly concentrated in Mindanao.
Some people call adlai as “Job’s Tears” because of its tear-like grains. It’s tastes is closer to rice but is slightly nutty in flavor. It is slightly chewy but can be adjusted depending on the manner of cooking. Some adlai fanatics refer to adlai as super grain because of its high nutritional value.
According to the Philippine Food and Nutrition Research Institute (FNRI), adlai is an energy- and nutritionally-dense food and it makes one feel “full” longer. Adlai is rich in protein contributing 14% to its micronutrient composition. Carbohydrates and fats can also be seen in adlai by contributing 83% and 3%, respectively, to its composition.
Given the high fiber content of adlai, it removes bad cholesterol from the body as well as slows down absorption of glucose. Adlai is also found to be high in calcium that helps maintain bones and teeth, and is very important in nerve signal transmission, normal blood clotting, and muscular functions.
Adlai’s glycemic index is considered low at 35 as compared to milled rice 75 (sciencedirect.com, n.d.). According to FNRI, carbohydrates with low GI (55 or less) are more slowly digested, absorbed and metabolized, and cause a lower and slower rise in blood glucose. This makes it safer to those who are watching their blood sugar levels. Moreover, adlai is a good alternative to those with allergy as it is gluten-free.
Recognizing these health benefits, Glow Corp launched its newest product “Adlai” in 2020. It is currently helping indigenous communities in Bukidnon who are suppliers of the product. Adlai is now marketed online through Lazada and Shopee as well as in Waltermarts under the Prime Organic brand.
This initiative is expected to help alleviate livelihood conditions of indigenous communities in Bukidnon.