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Abstract, Foods, 2019

Malnutrition has been a serious issue in Ghana and Africa as a whole. However, the potential of many indigenous fruits to combat it has not yet been tested. Therefore, this study aimed to determine the nutritional characteristics of four underutilized wild fruits (Gardenia erubescensSclerocarya birrea, Diospyros mespiliformis, and Balanites aegyptiaca) of dietary interest in Ghana. The nutritional and antinutritional characteristics of the fruits were analyzed according to standard methods (laid down by the Association of Official Analytical Chemists and other well-known researchers) on a dry weight (dw) basis. The nutritional value of the fruits was high enough to contribute to the nutrient requirements of humans, with their iron (0.34–1.46 mg/100 g), zinc (0.81–2.97 mg/100 g), vitamin A (0.84–2.03 mg/100 g), and β-carotene (64.84–176.89 mg/100 g) contents worth special mention. The antinutrient content also ranged between 0.06–1.82 mg/g. Therefore, it is evident from the study that the fruits, although containing some levels of antinutrients, are nutrient-dense, suggesting their potency in fighting malnutrition in humans.

Keywords: malnutrition, underutilized, wild forest fruits, nutritional value