Nutrient Content of Four Lesser – Known Green Leafy Vegetables Consumed by Efik and Ibibio People in Nigeria
Leaves of four lesser – known leafy vegetable species (Heinsiacrinita, Lasiantheraafricana, Colocasiaesculenta and Ipomeabatatas) used for traditional food preparations by the Efik and Ibibio ethnic groups in Nigeria were analyzed for proximate composition, amino acid profile and mineral contents. The leaves were washed, cut (2-3mm width) and dried in a conventional oven at 50oC prior to analysis. Crude protein, crude lipid, ash, crude fibre, available carbohydrate and caloric value ranged from 17.15 – 20.73%, 3.67 – 4.66%, 11.50 – 13.75%, 17.98 – 19.36%, 43.78 – 47.23% and 289.62 – 299.98 kcal/100g, respectively. The total amino acids, total essential amino acids and percentage total essential amino acid to total amino acid ranged from 59.58 – 72.24g/100g protein, 27.52 – 31.01g/100 protein and 41.36 – 46.19%, respectively. The K, Ca, Na, Mg, Fe and Zn contents in the leaves ranged from 62.55 – 395.26mg/100g, 127.38 – 763.90mg/100g, 25.59 – 75.69mg/100g, 102.38 – 140.68mg/100g, 7.36 – 18.59mg/100g and 57.65 – 65.35mg/100g, respectively. The result of the study reveals that the four vegetable species contained appreciable levels of crude protein, mineral and crude fibre but low crude lipid. The high crude fibre content suggests that the vegetables may be used in the management of diabetes, obesity and gastrointestinal disorders.
Keywords: Heinsiacrinita, Lasiantheraafricana, Colocasiaesculenta, Ipomeabatatas, proximate composition, amino acids.