The Contribution of Wild Plants to Dietary Intakes of Micronutrients (I): Vitamins

  • María de Cortes Sánchez-Mata
  • María Cruz Matallana-González
  • Patricia MoralesEmail author


Scientific literature data about contents of vitamins in wild vegetables and fruits traditionally eaten in Mediterranean regions are related to the most accepted recommendations for vitamins intake. Even taking into account the natural variability, which is expected to occur in biological tissues, there is sufficient evidence to consider many of these edible wild species as interesting vitamin sources. For example, a portion of 100 g of many of them may provide, in many cases, the total amount of vitamins B9 (folates), C, and/or K daily needed by adults. In other cases, 30 % of daily recommendations of vitamins A and E could also be provided.

Mention could be made of nettle leaves as a source of vitamin C and provitamin A; Foeniculum vulgare Mill. and Silene vulgaris (Moench) Garcke young stems with leaves, both as sources of vitamins B9 and K; Cichorium intybus L. leaves as a source of vitamins B9, and K and provitamin A; Asparagus acutifolius L. young shoots as a source of vitamins B9 and E; and many wild Brassicaceae vegetables as good sources of vitamin C.

Wild fruits are usually also good sources of vitamin C, as well as liposoluble vitamins, such as provitamin A and vitamin E. Arbutus unedo L. fruits are remarkable for being a source of vitamin E and Rosa canina L. fruits of provitamin A. Both species are also noticeable for their very high levels of vitamin C.

Although many vegetables are frequently eaten cooked, the cooked product may still retain a remarkable portion of the initial contents of vitamins. Anyway, for fruits and many vegetables, the consumption of fresh products would be advisable, if possible, to retain the great nutritional potential of these wild edible plants, which have been traditionally a part of our diet and deserve a renewed interest in modern diets.


Wild edible plants Vitamin B9 Folates Vitamin C Ascorbic acid Provitamin A β-carotene Vitamin E Tocopherols Vitamin K Phylloquinone 


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© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • María de Cortes Sánchez-Mata
    • 1
  • María Cruz Matallana-González
    • 1
  • Patricia Morales
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Departamento de Nutrición y Bromatología II, Bromatología, Facultad de FarmaciaUniversidad Complutense de MadridMadridSpain

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