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Int J Food Sci Nutr. 2001 Nov;52(6):485-99.

Micronutrient composition and nutritional importance of gathered vegetables in Vietnam.

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  • 1Department of Rural Development Studies, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Department of Medical Sciences, Nutrition, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden.


This article presents the nutrient composition and nutritional contribution of naturally occurring vegetables (NOV) in four villages in Vietnam. The frequency of consumption and quantities eaten were evaluated within the overall diet of 101 and 110 women in the Mekong Delta (flood period and rainy season, respectively) and of 103 women in the Central Highlands (rainy season). The concentrations of Ca, Fe and Zn were analysed in 28 species, and presence of tannins and phytic acid in 19 species. Provitamin carotenoids were determined in 11 species. Over 90% of the women consumed NOV, and they contributed 43, 72 and 75% (Central Highlands, Mekong rainy and Mekong flood period, respectively) of the total quantities of vegetables eaten. Aquatic species such as lpomoea aquatica and Limnocharis flava, and terrestrial vegetables such as Schismattoglottis calyptrata, were among the most commonly consumed vegetables. They were eaten in mean daily quantities exceeding 50 g and had high concentrations of Ca, Fe and beta-carotene. Other major aquatic vegetables included the stems of Eleocharis sp., Nelumbo nucifera and Nymphea lotus, all of which were used as salad vegetables and had relatively low nutrient density. The problems of assessing the current role of NOV due to lack of data on intakes in the context of the overall diets, as well as data on their composition, are addressed.

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