Little or nothing is known about the nutritional and medicinal values of some of the vegetables eaten in Enugu state of Nigeria. This study aimed to quantify the total antioxidants as phenols, total flavonoids, vitamin C content and reducing properties of six vegetables [Teltaria occidentals (ugu), Gnetum africanum (ukase), Piper quineense (uziza), Gongronema latifolium (utazi), Achyranthes spendens (awa), Occimum grattissimum (nchegnwu)]. Colorimetric method was performed using Gallic acid and rutin standard reagents for total antioxidants (phenols) and total flavonoids, respectively. The vitamin C and reducing properties contents were also determined using 2, 6-dichilorophenol indophenols (titrimetric) and trichloroacetic acid colorimetric methods, respectively. The result reveals that G. africanum (ukazi) ranked the best of all the vegetables assayed for total flavonoids (0.58 mg/g), total antioxidants (49 mg/g) as phenols, vitamin C (0.91 mg/100 mL) and reducing property (64 mg/g) followed by A. spendens (awa) (total flavonoids, 1.57 mg/g; total antioxidants; 50 mg/g; vitamin C; 0.43 mg/100 mL and reducing property. 81 mg/g), T. occidentalis (ugu), (total flavonoids, 0.58 mg/g; total antioxidant; 49 mg/g; vitamin, C 0.69 and total reducing property 64 mg/g), O. grattissimum (nchanwu) (total flavonoids, 0.36 mg/g; total antioxidant, 45 mg/g; vitamin C, 0.60 mg/100 mL; and total reducing property 80 mg/g) while P. guineense (uziza) (total flavonoids, 0.71 mg/g; total antioxidants, 36 mg/g; vitamin C, 0.40 mg/100 Ml and total reducing property, 42 mg/g) and G. latifolium (utazi) (total flavonoids, 0.36 mg/g; total antioxidant, 8 mg/g; vitamin C, 0.33 mg/100 Ml and total reducing property, 81 mg/g) are the least. However, the result of the study have highlighted the nutritional and medicinal richness of these vegetables and encourages the increased consumption of them to compensate nutrient deficiency and therefore could be a useful source to prevent or attenuate damages such as lipid peroxidation, glycation of proteins and inactivation of enzymes caused by free radicals.
Key words: Vegetables, total antioxidants, flavonoids, vitamin C, reducing properties.