Florence Habwe, Mary Walingo, Mary Abukutsa:
Copper and Ascorbic Acid Content of Cooked African Indigenous Vegetables


1Maseno Unviersity, School of Public Health and Community Development, Kenya
2Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology, Horticulture, Kenya

Increasing prevalence of micronutrient deficiency in developing countries is burdening the national and household resources. Changes in dietary patterns has contributed to the higher prevalence of micronutrient deficiencies. Indigenous foods especially plant foods are being replaced by high-fat, energy"=dense diets with increased intake of animal foods and yet plant based foods especially African Indigenous Vegetables (AIVs) are rich in many micronutrients needed for healthy living. Diversification of diets through increased utilisation and consumption of these vegetables would go a long way in alleviating hidden hunger and malnutrition. The main objective of this research was to formulate recipes of African indigenous vegetables using traditional salt (lye) and evaluate their copper and ascorbic acid contents. This research sought to identify the effect of cooking on copper and ascorbic acid contents of AIVs. Four priority AIVs including: African nightshade (Solanum scabrum), vegetable amaranth (Amaranthus blitum), slenderleaf (Crotalaria ochroleuca) and cowpea (Vigna unguiculata) were randomly selected to formulate six more vegetable combinations where each vegetable had a probability of being combined with another. The four single and six combinations of AIVs were boiled for 10 minutes with or without traditional salt (lye), then fried using onions thus giving rise to twenty vegetable recipes. The formulated recipes were evaluated for copper contents using Atomic Absorption Spectroscopy (AAS) and vitamin C content using titration method. Data obtained were analysed using descriptive and inferential statistics. Cooking significantly increased copper content (p < 0.05), however, fried AIVs had higher content compared to the boiled ones. There were insignificant mean differences in copper content between AIVs prepared with and those prepared without traditional salt (p > 0.05). Fried AIVs recorded higher mean for ascorbic acid content compared to the boiled ones, while raw AIVs had slightly higher ascorbic acid content compared to AIVs boiled with traditional salt. Copper and ascorbic acid in these recipes were adequate to supply the recommended daily allowances (RDA). If AIV consumption is increased, this could reduce micronutrient deficiencies among vulnerable population.

Keywords: Ascorbic acid, copper, indigenous vegetables, lye, recipes

Full paper: http://www.tropentag.de/2010/abstracts/full/127.pdf


Contact Address: Florence Habwe, Maseno Unviersity, School of Public Health and Community DevelopmentP.o Box 333 - 40105-, Maseno, Kenya, e-mail: habwerence@yahoo.com
Andreas Deininger, October 2010