Nigerian Journal of Nutritional Sciences

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Nutrient and Phytochemical Composition of Some Leafy Vegetables with Medicinal Significance

NM Nnam, JC Onyechi, EA Madukwe


Objective: To determine the nutrient and phytochemical composition of Vernoniaamygdalina, Ocimumgratissimum, Gnetumafricanum and Gongronemalatifolium leaves.
Materials and Methods: Fresh leaves of Vernoniaamygdalina (bitter leaf), Ocimumgratissimum (scent leaf), Gnetumafricanum (okazi leaf) and Gongronemalatifolium (utazi leaf) were separately cleaned and pulverized using GallenKamp mixer kenwood. Standard assay techniques were used to evaluate the fresh leaves for nutrients and phytochemicals composition. Means and standard deviation of triplicate determinations were calculated for all samples.
Results: The leaves contain appreciable quantities of fiber (5.16-15.86%), β-carotene (6,666.67-21,833.33RE), ascorbate (18.64-40.09mg), potassium (97.03-325.90mg), phosphorus (99.36-409.75mg) and calcium (234.30-279.71mg). The phytochemicals present in the leaves include flavonoids (0.04-0.19%), alkaloids (0.27-1.78%), phytosterols (0.08-0.29%), terpenoids (0.02-0.38%) and glycosides ((0.02-0.07%). Vernoniaamygdalina had high levels of β-carotene (21,833.33RE), ascorbate (40.09mg), potassium (325.90mg), phosphorus (409.75mg), iron (3.65mg), calcium (279.71mg) and most of the phytochemicals relative to the other leaves. Conclusion: The vegetables contain significant quantities of β-carotene, ascorbate, potassium, phosphorus,
calcium, flavonoids, alkaloids and phytosterols, which have health promoting benefits. Further work is underway in our laboratory to standardize portion sizes from the vegetables for dietary management of diet related diseases.

Keywords: Nutrients, Phytochemicals, Vernoniaamygdalina, Ocimumgratissimum, Gnetumafricanum,

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