In the western Sahel, indigenous plants become important staples when cereal harvests are inadequate to support populations inhabiting that region of Africa. The purpose of this study was to assess the nutrient content of several of these edible wild plants. The leaves of the following seven plant foods were analyzed: Ziziphus mauritiana, Cerathotheca sesamoides, Moringa oleifera, Leptadenia hastata, Hibiscus sabdarifa, Amaranthus viridis, and Adansonia digitata. The fatty acid, vitamin E, carotenoid, selected mineral and amino acid contents of these plant foods were determined. These same analyses were performed on the fruit of the Adansonia digitata. In quantitative and qualitative terms, Amaranthus viridis was found to be an excellent source of protein. Its amino acid composition compared favorably to that of a World Health Organization (WHO) protein standard. It also contained considerable amounts of the two fatty acids that are essential in humans (linoleic and a-linolenic) and a number of minerals including iron, magnesium, calcium and zinc.
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