Nutritional quality of important food legumes
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Abstract: The proximate composition, mineral constituents and amino acid profile of four important legumes (chickpea, lentil, cowpea and green pea) were studied in order to evaluate their nutritional performance. Significant (P < 0.05) variations existed among the legumes with respect to their proximate composition, mineral constituent and amino acid profile. Lentil was found to be a good source of protein, while cowpea was good in ash among the grain legumes tested. All four types of legumes were also better suppliers of mineral matter, particularly potassium, phosphorus, calcium, copper, iron, and zinc. However, the concentrations of various mineral constituents was not in good nutritional balance. It was concluded that the four legumes tested were rich in lysine, leucine and arginine and can fulfil the essential amino acid requirement of human diet except for S-containing amino acids and tryptophan. In order to make good, the deficiency of certain essential amino acids in legume protein, they must be supplemented with other vegetables, meat and dairy products (e.g., Whey, yogurt).