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ARS Home » Plains Area » Houston, Texas » Children's Nutrition Research Center » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #334617

Research Project: Nutritional Metabolism in Mothers, Infants, and Children

Location: Children's Nutrition Research Center

Title: Minerals, vitamin C, phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant activity of Amaranthus leafy vegetables

item JIMENEZ-AGUILAR, DULCE - Baylor College Of Medicine
item Grusak, Michael

Submitted to: Journal of Food Composition and Analysis
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 1/9/2017
Publication Date: 1/12/2017
Citation: Jimenez-Aguilar, D.M., Grusak, M.A. 2017. Minerals, vitamin C, phenolics, flavonoids and antioxidant activity of Amaranthus leafy vegetables. Journal of Food Composition and Analysis. 58:33-39. doi:10.1016/j.jfca.2017.01.005.

Interpretive Summary: Amaranthus is a plant that is grown as a leafy vegetable for human consumption. There are a number of diverse Amaranthus species grown throughout the world. To understand the nutritional diversity of this group of plants, we grew different Amaranthus types in a common growth chamber environment and analyzed leaves for minerals, vitamin C, phytochemical concentrations and antioxidant activity. Across the species, we identified a wide range of mineral and phytochemical concentrations. We also calculated the percent contribution of various nutrients that a single serving would deliver from the different Amaranthus types. Amaranth leafy vegetables contain a number of important essential human nutrients and can be considered a good dietary source for several of these nutrients.

Technical Abstract: The objective of this study was to evaluate mineral, vitamin C, phenolic and flavonoid concentrations and antioxidant activity levels in 15 leafy Amaranthus species. Across species, the concentration ranges of Ca, K, Mg, P and phenolics, and activity ranges of antioxidants in amaranth leaves were 1.5–3.5 mg/g, 5.5-8.8 mg/g, 1.8–4.5 mg/g, 0.5–0.9 mg/g, 3.2–5.5 mg gallic acid equivalents/g, and 38–90 µmol Trolox equivalents/g (all values on a fresh weight [FW] basis), respectively. Amaranthus acanthochiton had the highest concentrations of Ca, Mg, Ni, Zn, and A. deflexus and A. viridis had the highest concentrations of Fe. A serving of any of the Amaranthus leaves (1 cup; 30 g FW) would contribute from 13 to 34% of the daily value (DV) of Mg (DV = 400 mg; as established by the US Food and Drug Administration), and up to 68% of the DV of vitamin C (DV = 60 mg). In addition, A. acanthochiton would be considered a good source of Ca, Mn and Mo (10%–19% of the DV), and an excellent source of Mg and vitamin C (20% or more of the DV). Amaranth leafy vegetables should be promoted as a dietary source of essential nutrients and health-beneficial compounds.