n Indilinga African Journal of Indigenous Knowledge Systems - The consumption of indigenous fruits and vegetables and health risk in rural subjects of Limpopo province, South Africa

Volume 12, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1683-0296



Indigenous foods contain phytochemicals that are linked to protection against the development of diseases such as cancer, diabetes and hypertension1. Some of these indigenous foods have been chemically analysed and contain active compounds such as organic sulphur, hypoglycaemic alkaloids, flavonoids, phytosterin glycosides and polyacetylenes. The article is based on an explanatory study that was carried out to determine the consumption of indigenous fruit and vegetables, and health risk in rural subjects. Subjects were selected from twenty-four (24) villages in the five former districts of Limpopo Province. In Phase One, dietary consumption of the indigenous fruit and vegetables was collected from 703 subjects and health risk and presence of other chronic diseases of lifestyle were determined in the subjects. The study was done during 2002-2005. Phase Two is underway where the identified foods are being analysed for phytochemical composition. Sixteen indigenous vegetables were consumed by between 33% and 92.5% while 15 indigenous fruits were consumed by 32.3% to 81.5% when in season and accessible. There was no significant difference in health risk in subjects (p<0.05). Group one consisted of subjects who reported having consumed indigenous fruits and vegetables at least once a week (frequently) while group two consisted of those who consumed them occasionally (once in three months or seasonally).

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