keywords: Cocoyam, caloric value, mineral, proximate composition, nutrients
The proximate, mineral composition, vitamins and antinutrient content of two varieties of Cocoyam (Colocasia esculenta and Xanthosoma sagittifolium) grown in Bayelsa State, Nigeria, was investigated using standard analytical methods with a view of ascertaining nutritional and health promoting values and possibly dispel the myth associated with its cultivation and consumption. Proximate analysis indicated that C. esculenta had significantly greater (p<0.05) contents of moisture, lipid and ash content while the X. sagittifolium had statistically higher (p<0.05) values of carbohydrate, protein and fibre. The macro-mineral contents of both varieties are in the order of Ca>Mg>Na>K, the micro-minerals are in the order Fe>Cu>Zn>Mn. The vitamins concentration trend is ascorbic acid>retinol>niacin>riboflavin>thiamin. The trend for the antinutrients is oxalate>phytate>cyanide. The X. sagittifolium had statistically higher (p<0.05) concentration of mineral content, vitamins, caloric value and antinutrients compared to the C. esculenta. The dietary aspersion and myth associated with Cocoyam consumption should be discouraged owing to the fact that the nutritional value of Cocoyam is far over that of other major root and tuber staples of tropical developing countries, particularly with respect to their protein digestibility, mineral composition and vitamins.