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Nutritional potential of Pakistani medicinal plants and their contribution to human health in times of climate change and food insecurity.

Ali Rehman and Muhammad Adnan

Proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, minerals and water are the nutrients that are essential for life and contribute to the caloric content of the body. Due to rapid population growth and climate change, the demand on conventional plants based food would increase in future. It is therefore, necessary to search for the alternatives in order to meet the growing demand for food. As an example, many medicinal plants are being used as vegetables and fruits in Pakistan. These medicinal plants are low in protein and fat, however rich in carbohydrates. Moreover, they are energy’s high source, as 100 g of plants can give approximately 258 kcal energy. In addition, 100 g plants consumption provide over 10-12% of the daily allowance recommended. Similarly, medicinal plants are a valuable source of insoluble dietary fiber and micronutrients. The amount of iron ranges from 0.043 to 422.5 mg/g while the zinc value ranges from 0.04 to 14.8 mg/g. The ascorbic acid ranges from 0.31 to 2035.7 mg/g. Most of these plants are good source of antioxidant and showing high medicinal value against different ailments. However, certain non-nutritional and anti-nutritional compounds are also being part of such medicinal plants. Hence, detailed information on the nutritional status and traditional uses of the documented medicinal plants is of utmost importance in upcoming era of climate change and food insecurities because it will play a significant role in the overall benefits to the health of people. 

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