Assessment of Levels of Nutrients in Selected ALVs at Different Harvesting Stages and Locations of Production in Western Kenya
Proper nutrition contributesto declines under-five mortality rates and improves the productivity of adults.Addressing nutritional problems requires adequate information on the diets of individuals and populations. African leafy vegetables (ALVs) are widely consumed and often harvested at different stages after planting with the help of different communities. Four ALVs namely Vigna unguiculata, Amaranthus hybridus, Cleome gynandraand Solanum scabrumare commonly grown vegetables in western Kenya, their potentials have not been evaluated to supply the nutrients. However, nutritional values may vary depending on the species, harvesting stage and location of production. The effects of species, harvesting stages and location of production on the nutritional valueof selected ALVs were evaluated. The trials were laid out in a randomized complete block design in three replicates in Busia, Kisumu, andLela. Leaves were sampled at different harvesting stages and analyzed for N, P, K, Na, Ca, Mg, Mn, Fe, andZn levels. Amaranthus hybridushad significantly (P≤0.05) higher levels ofP,Ca,Zn, Mn, andNa.TheN, P,K, Ca,Mg, Zn and Fe levelssignificantly (P≤0.05) increased then decreased with harvesting stage.The levels of nutrients significantly (P≤0.05) varied with location of production except forNa. The ALVs from Kisumu site hadsignificantly(P≤0.05) higher levels of N, P, K, Ca, Mg and Zn, ALVs from Lela site had higher levels of Mn and Na while ALVs from Busia site had higher levels of Fe. Amaranthus hybridusis a better contributor of-ofP, Ca, Zn, Mn, andNa. The Fe, Mg and Zn levels were above the Recommended Dietary Allowance and may be used to alleviate deficiencies associated with such nutrients. Harvesting the ALVs at the stage the nutrients attain their optimum levels is recommended. There is a needfor the developmentof regional food composition tables for all ALVs in Kenya.
SubjectAfrican leafy vegetables; harvesting stages ; locations of production; nutrients; recommended dietary allowances; western ; Kenya.
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