Utilization and medicinal value of indigenous leafy vegetables consumed in urban and peri-urban Nairobi

Type Journal Article - Ajfand online
Title Utilization and medicinal value of indigenous leafy vegetables consumed in urban and peri-urban Nairobi
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2007
URL https://tspace.library.utoronto.ca/bitstream/1807/55381/1/nd07032.pdf
Indigenous African leafy vegetables have recently been attracting research
attention not only in terms of their inherent nutrition quality but also the healing
power of some of these plants. Diversification of diets through increased
utilization and consumption of these vegetables would go along way in alleviating
hidden hunger and malnutrition. The main objective of this survey was to
determine the consumption patterns and medicinal use of indigenous African
leafy vegetables by the residents of urban and peri-urban Nairobi. A descriptive
cross-sectional survey was conducted and the survey subjects included
populations from all socio-economic strata and income levels. Probability
proportional to size stratified sampling was used to select a representative
sample of 800 households (600 urban and 200 peri-urban). Data were collected
through structured questionnaires, focus group discussions and an observation
checklist guide. A picture guide consisting of all foods available on the Nairobi
markets was prepared, and used by the researchers to help the respondents to
identify the vegetables they consumed. Ethnic origin was found to greatly
influence consumption of indigenous African leafy vegetables. There was no
significant relationship between household income and education level and
choice or use of indigenous leafy vegetables. Some of the reasons for not
consuming the vegetables included prohibitive costs and not knowing how to
cook them especially those from other tribes. More than 60 percent of the
respondents reported that the vegetables had a medicinal value attached to it
and some were said to cure more than one disease. About half of those who
used them also said the vegetables were healthy. It was concluded that dietary
diversity of indigenous African leafy vegetables in addition to providing essential
nutrients presumably offers broad benefits to health. The findings support
interventions to promote use of indigenous African leafy vegetables as a foodbased
initiative towards alleviation of micronutrient deficiencies and poverty
through premium value addition incentive strategies.

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