Nutritional and mineral analysis of the ultimate wild food plants of Lotkuh, Chitral, the Eastern Hindukush Pakistan.Heliyon. 2023 Mar; 9(3):e14449.H
Wild food plants (WFPs) are designated as functional foods owing to their nutritional potential and as a source of bioactive compounds vital for human health. In times of geopolitical upheaval and nutritional imbalance in mountainous areas of the world, the contribution of WFPs is extraordinary. Lotkuh is a remote mountainous region in the Eastern Hindukush that supports distinctive global plant biodiversity. The documentation and nutritional analysis of the wild edible plants have not yet been subjected to scientific investigation, even though WFPs make up a significant component of the inhabitant's diet. The current study is the first scientific investigation of the nutritional profile of 16 WFPs in the Hindukush region of Pakistan. Plants were collected from different parts of the study area and were subjected to proximate analysis adhering to the standard protocols of AOAC international. Proximate analysis revealed higher moisture in Rheum webbianum (91.5 g/100 g FW) and Oxyria digyna (90.5 g/100 g FW), while Elaeagnus angustifolia had the lowest (25.4 g/100 g FW). Mentha longifolia and Pinus gerardiana had (23.2 g/100 g) and (14.0 g/100 g) protein, whereas Berberis lyceum contained (3.6 g/100 g). Pinus gerardiana had the highest lipid (56.50 g/100 g), followed by Hippophae rhamnoides (45.50 g/100 g), and Berberis lyceum (0.91 g/100 g). Crataegus songarica with high carbohydrate (87.50 g/100 g) was followed by Eremurus stenophyllus (80.83 g/100 g), whereas Berberis lyceum had the least (18.51 g/100 g). High crude fiber (19.33 g/100 g) was found in Ziziphora clinopodiodes followed by Cotoneaster nummularia with (15.50 g/100 g). Pinus gerardiana and Prunus prostrata had low fiber of 1.387 and 1.377 g/100 g. Vitamin C was high in Mentha longifolia (90.63 mg/100 g), Eremurus stenophyllus (86.96 mg/100 g), and Ziziphora clinopodiodes (90.45 mg/100 g). Ca concentration was (948.33 mg/100 g) in Oxyria digyna followed by Cotoneaster nummularia whereas the lowest Ca (20.03 mg/100 g) was recorded in Diospyros lotus. Mg was high in Oxyria digyna (994.00 mg/100 g) and lowest (10.01 mg/100 g) in Diospyros lotus. Berberis lyceum (54.30 mg/100 g), Oxyria digyna (34.33 mg/100 g), and Rheum webbianum (26.04 mg/100 g) had the maximum iron. Mn was high in Berberis lyceum (14.33 mg/100 g), Pinus gerardiana (6.33 mg/100 g), and Elaeagnus angustifolia (4.60 mg/100 g). Prunus prostrata (12.16 mg/100 g), Oxyria digyna (10.30 mg/100 g), and Pinus gerardiana (4.16 mg/100 g) were the leading in Zn concentration whereas Ziziphora clinopodiodes (0.22 mg/100 g). The current study establishes the hitherto unidentified nutritional profile of the WFPs in the area. The prospect of nutritional research on WFPs in the Eastern Hindukush is established by this study.