DETERMINATION OF MINOR MINERAL ELEMENTS IN Telfairia Occidentalis SEED…

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Chapter one

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Introduction

Vegetables are the edible parts of plant that are consumed wholly or in parts, raw or cooked as part of main dishes or salad (Asaolu et al, 2012). They are valued mainly for their carbohydrate, vitamins, protein, fats, and mineral contents which may be edible roots, stems, leaves, fruits or seed. Leafy vegetables are important items of the diet in many Nigerian homes and valuable sources of nutrients especially in rural areas where they contribute substantially to protein, mineral, vitamins, fiber and other nutrients which are usually in short supply in daily diets (Mosha and Gage, 1999). Although, there is low level of protein in vegetables, there is increasing awareness of the importance of vegetables, in maintaining health, particularly

where animal protein is scare (Baker and Griffin, 1997). According to Oke and Ojofeitimi (2004), vegetables contain low calories and negligible quantities of utilizable energy, hence are ideal for obese people who can satisfy their appetite without consuming much carbohydrate (Chionyedua and Anuoluwa, 2009). Nigeria is the largest country in West Africa, with an area of 928200km2 and a population of about 140million.

The coastal area is swampy and at sea level. This is adjoined by a rain forest zone along the southern part, where it is evergreen. In the Northern part it is the open grass land or savannah, where the grass is lush, but this area becomes more narrow towards the north, where there is shrub vegetation (Oke, 2004). There are two seasons, wet (rainy) and dry. The diet is largely vegetarian, roots and tubers being the staple in the south and cereals in the north.


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