Title: Vitamin A content of traditional leafy vegetables consumed by the Luo people of western Kenya

Authors: Francis O. Orech; S.K. Jensen; H. Friis; B.A. Estambale

Addresses: Center for Food Science and Technology, University of Maryland Eastern Shore, Princess Anne, MD, 21853, USA. ' Faculty of Agricultural Sciences, Department of Animal Health and Bioscience, University of Aarhus, Blichers Allé 20, P.O. Box 50 DK-8830 Tjele, Denmark. ' Faculty of Life Sciences, Department of Human Nutrition, University of Copenhagen, Rolighedsvej 30 DK 1958, Frederiksberg, Denmark. ' Institute of Tropical and Infectious Diseases, University of Nairobi, P.O. Box 19676 KNH 00202, Nairobi, Kenya

Abstract: Vitamin A deficiency (VAD) causes numerous health problems in developing countries, including the sub-Saharan Africa. VAD is one of the major causes of morbidity and mortality in children, and also affects lactating mothers and the elderly. The main objectives of the study were to identify, collect and analyse traditional, leafy vegetables for pro-vitamin A carotenoids and tocopherols. A total of 15 domesticated and 36 wild traditional leafy vegetable species were collected and analysed. The species that contained the highest amounts of -carotene, lutein and -tocopherol was Erythrococca bongensis Pax (5.3, 60.7 and 220.7 mg/kg DM, respectively). The results showed that wild plant species generally contained higher levels of pro-vitamin A carotenoids than the domesticated vegetable species and varieties. The study concluded that traditional, leafy vegetables (domesticated and wild) have the potential to prevent or combat VAD amongst the general rural population in developing countries.

Keywords: vitamin A deficiency; traditional vegetables; leafy vegetables; Kenya; rural population; developing countries.

DOI: 10.1504/IJFSNPH.2011.044626

International Journal of Food Safety, Nutrition and Public Health, 2011 Vol.4 No.2/3/4, pp.237 - 247

Published online: 27 Nov 2014 *

Full-text access for editors Full-text access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article