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Proximate composition and mineral content of two edible species of Cnidoscolus (tree spinach)


Proximate composition and mineral content of raw and cooked leaves of two edible tree spinach species (Cnidoscolus chayamansa and C. aconitifolius), known locally as 'chaya', were determined and compared with that of a traditional green vegetable, spinach (Spinicia oleraceae). Results of the study indicated that the edible leafy parts of the two chaya species contained significantly (p<0.05) greater amounts of crude protein, crude fiber, Ca, K, Fe, ascorbic acid and β-carotene than the spinach leaf. However, no significant (p>0.05) differences were found in nutritional composition and mineral content between the chaya species, except minor differences in the relative composition of fatty acids, protein and amino acids. Cooking of chaya leaves slightly reduced nutritional composition of both chaya species. Cooking is essential prior to consumption to inactivate the toxic hydrocyanic glycosides present in chaya leaves. Based on the results of this study, the edible chaya leaves may be good dietary sources of minerals (Ca, K and Fe) and vitamins (ascorbic acid and β-carotene).

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Kuti, J., Kuti, H. Proximate composition and mineral content of two edible species of Cnidoscolus (tree spinach). Plant Foods Hum Nutr 53, 275–283 (1999).

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  • Cnidoscolus aconitifolius
  • Cnidoscolus chayamansa
  • Spinicia oleraceae
  • Chaya
  • Mineral nutrients
  • Nutrient composition