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Nutrient and phytochemical composition of three traditional soups ( Owo soups, Black soups and Banga soups) commonly consumed in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria. Mbah, B.O., Eme, P.E. and Nwasike E. C. Department of Home Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.

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Nutrient and phytochemical composition of three traditional soups (Owo soups, Black soups and Banga soups) commonly consumed in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria.

Mbah, B.O., Eme, P.E. and Nwasike E. C.

Department of Home Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka

  • There is growing interest in the role of the micronutrients in optimizing health and prevention or treatment of disease (Field, 2002). This stems partly from the increase in knowledge and understanding of the biochemical functions of these nutrients (Shenkin, 2006).
  • Micronutrients have been reported to play an important role in mounting immune response and deficiency of single nutrients alone, or in combination with other nutrients, substantially increase the risk of having a poor immune response to infection (Walker, 2000; Black, 2001).


  • Soup is primarily liquid food generally served warm (but may be hot, cool or cold) that is made by combining ingredients such as vegetable with stock juice water or another liquid (Goltz, 2008).
  • The word ‘soup’ comes from French ‘soupe’ (soup broth) which comes through vulgar Latin ‘suppa’ (bread soaked in broth) from Germanic source from which also comes the word “sop” a piece of bread used to soak up soup or a thick stew (en.Wikipedia org/wiki/soup).
  • In Edo State, soups are influenced by their socio-cultural practices and types of crops commonly available in their environment.


  • The traditional Benin City soup was usually based on the resources that the Benin people were able to gather from their environment such as fish, vegetables etc.
  • Information on nutrient and phytochemical composition of most of their indigenous dishes, particularly their soups is not yet documented. Such information will be used in making nutritional guideline and nutrition education to the people for healthier living
materials and methods

Study design:

  • The study employed experimental design.

Focus group discussion:

  • Focus group discussion was conducted using eight adult women selected purposefully from each of the two communities (Isihor and Enya communities) of Benin City Edo State, Nigeria.
  • Information on the different ingredients and ways of preparing the soups was gotten from focus group participants.

Collection of Raw Materials/samples

  • The ingredients used for the preparation of soups were bought from Nsukka Ogige Main Market, in Enugu State, Nigeria.
materials and methods1

Ingredients and methods used in soup preparation

Owo soup

  • Smoked fish, Fresh tomatoes (ground), Fresh pepper, Crayfish (ground), Palm oil, Kan (potash), Giro (locust beans ), Water, Maggi , Salt
  • The stock was poured into a clean pot, fish and rest of the ingredients except oil were also added into the pot and were cooked for 15 minutes, after 15 minutes the pot was remove from the heat and allowed to cool for 10 minutes, after which oil was gradually stired into the pot till it was thick in consistency and golden yellow in colour



  • Palm fruit, Dried red pepper, Onion, Bush meat, Beef , Dry fish, Locust beans, Orioma (calabash nut), Water, Magi, Salt
  • Palm fruits were washed and poured inside a pot with water enough to cover the palm fruits and cooked until the pulp became soft, palm fruits were sieved to strain the water, it was put inside a mortar and pound with pestle until the skin of the palm fruits separates from the nut.
  • Warm water was added to it and mixed, the sauce was sieved out and poured inside a clean pot. The fish and meat were wash and cooked till it was tender, the meat and fish were added to the sauce with the rest of the ingredients and were allowed to cook for 20 minutes before it was brought down.


Black soup

  • Bitter leaf, Uziza leaf, Fresh pepper, Onions, Crayfish, Beef, Bush meat, Dry fish, Maggi, Locust bean, Water, Salt.
  • Bitter leaf was washed in sufficient water and drained to remove little of the bitter taste, Uziza leaf was also washed without squeezing it.
  • Both vegetables were blended into smooth paste and were put into a clean pot. Stock with meat, fish and other ingredients were added to the blended vegetable and were cooked for 20 minutes.


Chemical Analysis

  • The moisture, ash, fat, protein and crude fibre content of the samples were determined using the method of AOAC (2005) methods. Carbohydrate content was obtained by difference.
  • The AOAC (2005) standard methods were also used to determine iron (using phenanthroline method) and zinc (using dithizone method). Vitamin A content of the samples was determined using the method of Pearson (1976).

Data Analysis

  • The laboratory analysis was done in triplicates. The mean and standard deviation were calculated. Analysis of variance (ANOVA) was done using Duncan’s new multiple range test. Significance was accepted at P< 0.05. All these were done using SPSS (Statistical Packaged for Social Science) version 17

Table 1:Proximate composition of Banga soup, Black soup and Owo soup

Mean ± standard deviation

Mean values of different alphabeths in the same row is significant p<0.05


Table 2: Micronutrient composition of the three soups, Black, Owo and Banga soups.

Mean ± standard deviation

Mean values of different alphabeths in the same row is significant p<0.05


Table 3: Phytochemical composition of Black, Banga and Owo soups.

Mean ± standard deviation

Mean values of different alphabets in the same row is significant p<0.05



  • Dietary studies in developing countries have consistently shown that multiple proximate, micronutrient and phytochemicals deficiencies, rather than single deficiencies are common and that low dietary intake and poor bioavailability of micronutrients account for the high prevalence of these multiple deficiencies (Micronutrient Initiative, 2000).
  • The moisture content of the soups was high (15.60% to 26.82%) which could be attributed to the quantity of water and ingredients added to them during cooking.
  • Banga soup had the highest percentage of fat (11.56%), this may be due to the quantity of palm fruit used because palm fruit contain a lot of palm oil.

Discussion Cont’d

  • The fat content of Owo and Black soups (3.07% and 2.52%) were low when compared with that of Banga soup. This indicates that Banga soup is a better source of fat than the other soup samples.
  • Ash content of Black and Owo soups was high (2.47% and 2.99%) compared to Banga soup (0.59%). This indicates that these soups contain more amounts of inorganic substances necessary for body utilization than Banga soup.
  • Fiber content of the soups were high (4.37% to 8.79%) and it could be anti-hypertensive to consumers. Fibre has some physiological effects in the gastrointestinal tract.

Discussion Cont’d

  • Banga and Black soups had appreciable amount of protein (9.59% and 9.20%), this was followed by Owo soup (7.46%). These soups are usually served with starchy foo-foo meals that are averagely low in protein. This means that a person who takes these soups as components of main meal is supposed to take varieties of other protein rich diets.
  • The carbohydrate content of the soups were very high ranging from (46.02% to 65.84%). Carbohydrate provides energy to the cells in the body, particularly the brain, the only carbohydrate-dependent organ in the body (Effiong, 2009).
  • Iron plays a vital role in the body; it is a component of red blood cells. Banga soup had the highest iron content. The high amount of iron in this soup may be due to combinations of assorted meat, fish and other ingredient added to the soup.

Discussion Cont’d

  • The zinc content of the soups (0.32 to 0.68mg/100g) was generally low. Zinc is also critical to tissue growth, wound healing, taste acuity, connective tissue growth and maintenance, immune system function, sperm production and prostaglandin production
  • Black soup contained higher vitamin A (167.1µg/100g) than the other soups Owo and Banga soups (81.97µg/100g and 29.38µg/100g). This may be as a result of vegetables used in preparation

Discussion Cont’d

  • The contents of saponin (0.04 to 1.28mg/100g) as obtained in this result showed that Black soup had the highest saponin content. Saponins possess a carbohydrate moiety attached to a triterpenoid or a steroidal aglycone (Sridhar & Bhat, 2007).
  • The flavonoids content was very high in the soups. Flavonoids are a group of polyphenolic compounds ubiquitously found in fruits and vegetables. They have multiple biological activities, including antioxidative, vasodilatory and anticarcinogenic (Okwu &Omodamino, 2005)

Discussion Cont’d

  • The tannin content of the soups were within the safe level. Therefore, foods rich in tannins are considered to be of low nutritional value. Incidences of certain cancers, such as esophageal cancer, have been reported to be related to consumption of tannins-rich foods. (Okwu & Omodamino, 2005).
  • Glycoside content ranged lowest among the phytochemicals in the sample.


  • The results of this study showed that the soups commonly consumed in Benin City studied had a good nutrient profile.
  • Consumption of these soups regularly should be encouraged in many households and more studies should be done on standardization of these soups and determination of the storage quality of the soups.