The nutritive and antinutritive compositions of S. dulcificum pulp were analysed to augment the available information on the anti-diabetic effect of the plant. Biochemical parameters like liver function enzymes (ALT, AST, ALP) and bilirubin concentrations,serum total protein, serum albumin and globulin, kidney function parameters (creatinine and urea concentrations), blood glucose, serum lipid profile and lipid peroxidation were determined in rats that were administered different concentrations of the methanolic extract to ascertain their effects. The internal organs (liver and kidney) were also removed and used for histopathological studies. From the result of the study, the proximate composition shows that S. dulcificum contains 7.75% protein, 59.55% moisture content, 4.36% ash, 6.24% crude fibre, 3.26% fat and 18.84% carbohydrate.The result of the mineral analysis shows thatS.dulcificum pulp contains 100 mg/g calcium, 24.20 mg/g iron, 9.49 mg/g zinc, 6.22 mg/g copper, 0.01 mg/g chromium and 0.01 mg/g cobalt. Vitamin analyses shows that the S. dulcificum pulp contains 0.04% vitamin A, 22.69% vitamin C, 0.01% vitamin D and 0.02% vitamin K. Antinutrient analyses of the pulp show 5.67% oxalate, 0.03% phytates and 0.02% hemagglutanin. Amino acid profile shows that S.dulcificum pulp contains 8.055% tryptophan, 1.35% phenylalanine, 0.7% isoleucine, 0.5% tyrosine, 1.05% methionine, 0.4% proline, 0.69% valine, 1.1% threonine, 0.4% histidine, 0.5% alanine, 1.02% glutamine, 1.6% glutamic acid, 0.7% glycine, 0.3% serine, 1% arginine, 0.1% aspartic acid, 1.23% asparagine, 0.6% lysine and 0.6% leucine. Quantitative phytochemical analysis shows that the pulp contains 3.45% saponins, 57.01%`flavonoids, 7.12% tannins, 0.0001% alkaloids, 0.0001% glycosides, 0.0003% resins, 0.0002% terpenoids, 0.0001% steroids and 0.0003% cyanogenic glycosides.
The worsening food crisis and the consequent widespread prevalence of malnutrition in developing and under-developed countries have resulted in high mortality and morbidity rates, especially among infants and children in low-income groups (Enujiugba and Akanbi, 2005). Food has been defined as any substance containing primarily carbohydrates, fats, water, protein, vitamins and minerals that can be taken by an animal or human to meet its nutritional needs and sometimes for pleasure. Items considered as food may be sourced from plants, animals or fungus as well as fermented products like alcohol. Food is also anything solid or liquid that has a chemical composition which enables it provide the body with the material from which it can produce heat or any form of energy, provide material to allow for growth, maintenance, repair or reproduction to proceed and supply substances, which normally regulate the production of energy or the process of growth, repair or reproduction. Food is therefore, the most basic necessity of life (Turner, 2006).
Nutrition is the science that deals with all the various factors of which food is composed and the way in which proper nourishment is brought about. The average nutritional requirements of groups of people are fixed and depend on such measurable characteristics as age, sex, height, weight, degree of activity and rate of growth. Good nutrition requires a satisfactory diet which is capable of supporting the individual consuming it, in a state of good health by providing the desired nutrients in required amounts. It must provide the right amount of nutrients and fuel to execute normal physical activity. If the total amount of nutrients provided in the diet is insufficient, a state of under- nutrition develops.