Type of pots used in cooking may influence the iron content of commonly consumed vegetables in Nigeria: A laboratory based comparative study

Kayode Ajayi, Oluwafemi K. Fabusoro, Israel O. Dada, Justina Y. Talabi, Risikat I. Fadare


Iron deficiency anemia is a major public health problem, especially in resource-poor countries. Cooking pots may contribute some appreciable amount of trace metals into food by way of leaching. The effects of iron and aluminum cooking pots on iron content of two commonly consumed vegetables were investigated. The pH content was determined using pH meter while the moisture was determined using a moisture content analyzer. The iron content was determined using Atomic Absorption Spectrophotometer (AAS). The mean difference in the pH of African spinach (VA) 7.2±0.0 and Lagos spinach (VL) 7.2±0.0 was not significant (p>0.05). The mean moisture content of African spinach and Lagos spinach were 8.7±0.0 g/100g and 18.2±0.1 g/100g respectively. The difference in the moisture content was however statistically significant (p<0.05). The iron content of African spinach boiled in aluminum pot [VA (Al)] (5.9±0.0 mg/100g) was statistically different from the fresh sample of African spinach, VA (12.7±0.2 mg/100g) (p<0.05) but the amount of iron lost as a result of boiling in aluminum pot was 6.8mg / 100g. The iron content of African spinach boiled in iron pot [VA (Fe)] (15.9±0.0 mg/100g) was also statistically different from the fresh sample of African spinach (p<0.05). However, the amount of iron added (leached) as a result of boiling was 3.2 mg/100g. The same trend was observed in the Lagos spinach boiled in aluminum and iron pots. However, the iron lost as a result of boiling in aluminum pot (0.2 mg/100g) was not significant (p>0.05) while a greater amount of iron (5.5 mg/100g) was added (leached) when Lagos spinach was boiled in iron pot. Cooking in iron pots will conserve iron during boiling and improve iron intake from the vegetables.

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