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Phytochemical profile of some green leafy vegetables in South East, Nigeria

E U Onyeka
I O Nwambekwe


The potential of eight common green leafy vegetables (GLV) in the raw and cooked forms as natural source of phytochemicals was assessed. The vegetables studied
were the common ones found in southeast Nigeria and they included Ugu, Nchanwu, Okazi, Utazi, Oha, Nturukpa, Ahihara, and Onugbo. The vegetables were assessed for the following phytochemicals: alkaloid, steroid, tannin, anthocyanin, carotenoids and flavonoid.
The phytochemical content of the vegetables varied significantly (p=0.05) among the GLV. Onugbo had the highest steroid content of 0.27g/100g while nchanwu had the lowest (0.07g/100g). Oha followed by ahihara was the most enriched with respect to the tested
phytochemicals. Differences in phytochemical content between raw and cooked GLV were not significant (p=0.05), with the exception of flavonoid and alkaloids. Generally the GLV showed a low content of anthocyanin and carotenoids while alkaloid was most abundant in them. Alkaloid content of the GLV in raw and cooked forms were 1.28 -2.96g/100g and 0.30 –0.84g/100g respectively. The assessed GLV offer a cheap but rich source of a
number of phytochemicals having health protective properties. The production and consumption of a mixture of GLV is recommended.

Keywords: Phytochemical, green leafy vegetables, cooking, nutrient, antioxidant

Nigerian Food Journal Vol. 25 (1) 2007: pp. 67-76

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eISSN: 0189-7241