July is Nutrition Month by virtue of Presidential Decree 491. This year’s theme, “New Normal na Nutrition, Sama-samang Gawan ng Solusyon,” calls for more dynamic and creative actions in promoting nutrition, ensuring a fit and healthy lifestyle despite living with theCOVID19 pandemic.
For today’s Marine Monday, we feature the Sea Grape (Caulerpa lentillifera), a nutritious seafood salad locally called as “Lato”.
The Lato is a member of the Family Ulvophyceae (green algae) that occur in the coastal regions of the Indo-Pacific including the Philippines growing on rocks and coral rubble. These seaweeds resemble bunches of little grapes on a vertical ‘stem’, as well as strings of fish eggs (caviar) that’s why others call it Green Caviar with colors ranging from bright green to bluish and olive-green. These species are now commercially farmed and planted in muddy mangrove ponds and lagoons, ready for harvest in two months’ time.
In coastal communities, lato is favorite seafood with its soft, succulent texture. It can be eaten fresh with or without sauce (sawsawan) made of coco vinegar (suka-tuba). They are high in minerals and rich in vitamins A and C boosting collagen production for skin hydration and rejuvenation. They also have antibacterial and antifungal properties and can prevent high blood pressure and rheumatism.
Let’s continue to be informed of our nutritious foods based on natural sources, truly a Gift From Nature.