Local bakers said that they will not raise the prices of their products if the government finds a substitute for wheat-based flour that is cheaper and locally available.
To address that concern, the Food and Nutrition Research Institute of Department of Science and Technology (FNRI-DOST) looked into the potential of using of coconut flour as an ingredient in baking bread, among other foods.
One of the products of coconut is the sapal, or shredded coconut meat left after extracting the coconut milk. The sapal, also called coconut residue, can be made into coconut flour.
According to DOST-FNRI, coconut flour can be used as an alternative to wheat flour, and can be produced using locally available equipment.
DOST-FNRI also said that coconut flour has a total dietary fiber (TDF) content that is greater than the popular dietary fiber sources like oat brand and flaxseed.
Increased intake of high-fiber food was found to be effective in elimination of waste, sugar and fat from the body. It is also suggested for better control of chronic illnesses such as diabetes mellitus, cardiovascular disease and even cancer.
Coconut flour is a readily available source of dietary fiber that is used in products such as extruded snacks, processed meat, breakfast cereals and baked goods, which the masses or ordinary people want to have on their breakfast tables like pan de sal.
The DOST-FNRI said that several scientific studies have been done here and in abroad citing the nutritional and health benefits of other coconut food products.
National Academy of Science and Technology (NAST) academician Dr. Evelyn Mae Tecson-Mendoza said that coconut water is an excellent rehydration medium and has been used to prevent formation of stones in the urinary tract. It is now becoming a popular export product, marketed as a refreshing health drink.
On the other hand, coconut milk or coconut meat extract, called gata in the Philippines, contains proteins, oil and other phytochemicals and is widely used in cooking with vegetables and meat.
Mendoza said that coconut oil has antimicrobial activity against bacteria, yeast, fungi and enveloped viruses.