Let’s Find Out about Functional Local Foods


Indonesia, as a tropical country, has an abundant amount of local food ingredients. Proper processing of local food ingredients will optimize the function and benefits of the food.

"Getting functional foods from local food ingredients can be done by analyzing the food ingredients and determining the processing techniques. Knowing the characteristics of the ingredients is very important to determine the contents and benefits of the foods. In addition, the proper processing of food ingredients can maintain the contents of the nutrients and active compounds to prevent them from being damaged. This is the basis for getting functional foods, especially those beneficial for health," said the Chairman of the Food Technology Study Program, Ika Dyah Kumalasari, Ph.D.

"Flour from local tubers does not contain gluten protein. That kind of flour is very well consumed by people suffering from allergies and those with autism who cannot consume gluten, unlike wheat flour which contains gluten protein," explained the woman who had studied at Ehnime University, Japan.

Gluten can affect the working system of the stomach, intestines, and often cause allergic reactions in autistic patients. The content of gluten in certain foods, such as whole-grain bread or cereal processed from wheat, can result in the loss of important nutrients for the body. Gluten with peptide compounds can cause immune system disorders, especially for those with high levels of obesity, fatigue, or those who are gluten allergic.

"In Indonesia, there are a lot of local food ingredients that have high functional value, but not yet known by the public, like arrowroot, that can be used as carbohydrate source which is also rich in fiber and probiotic content. Probiotics are good microorganisms or bacteria that can be found in human intestine. It is good for health, both for digestion and improving the immune system. In addition, probiotics are useful to help overcome inflammatory bowel disease, prevent certain allergic symptoms, reduce symptoms of lactose intolerance, and much more," said the lecturer when interviewed at Jl. Prof. DR. Soepomo Sh, Warungboto, Umbulharjo, Kota Yogyakarta.

"Besides, jicama is also good for diabetics because it contains inulin. Inulin can reduce cholesterol level in diabetic patients," said the woman who had studied jicama as an alternative food for diabetic patients when interviewed on Monday (04/09/2018).

Inulin is a polymer of fructose units which generally have a glucose terminal. In the food industry, inulin is widely used as a substitute for fat and sugar in low-calorie food products and as a raw material to make fructose syrup.

He further said that it is better to eat foods by steaming or baking them. This is done to maintain nutrients and active substances contained in these foods. (Ami)