The current surge in the prevalence of chronic diseases has necessitated the call for the increased consumption of fruits to curtail the phenomenon. The dietary fibre fractions, ascorbic acid and proximate composition of edible portions of four underutilised fruits namely; Annona muricata (soursop), Irvingia gabonensis (African mango), Artocarpus altilis (breadfruit) and Annona squamosa (sweetsop) were studied. Dietary fibre fractions were determined by an enzymatic-gravimetric method, ascorbic acid by titrimetry while proximate compositions were also by standard methods. Total dietary fibre obtained for the samples was least in sweetsop (11.50 g/100 g) and highest in African mango pulp (22.70 g/100 g). The soluble fractions ranged from 2.28 (soursop) to 7.35 g/100 g (African mango seeds) while the insoluble fractions ranged from 8.01 (breadfruit) to 18.00 g/100 g (African mango pulp); obtained fractions being higher than that reported for most fibre-rich foods. Ascorbic acid content of fruit mesocarps ranged from 20.33 (sweetsop) to 63.67 mg/100 g (soursop). Proximate contents were in the range of 2.63 - 6.71, 2.44 - 4.00 and 0.65 - 23.24% for protein, ash and carbohydrate, respectively. The findings suggest these underutilised fruits may serve as rich sources of dietary fibre and ascorbic acid to significantly impact health of consumers in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases. The appreciable ash and carbohydrate content will significantly supplement the overall nutrient needs of consumers. Thus, these fruits could be exploited for optimum health benefits of the populace.
Key words: Dietary fibre, ascorbic acid, proximate composition, underutilised fruits.
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