The small pelagic fish caught in the freshwaters of Africa are mostly sundried and used in meal preparation. They are not generally used in weaning foods. With a view to incorporating fish into weaning diets, the nutritional quality of fish samples from the lakes along the Rift Valley in Africa was assessed.
Fish are good sources of protein, ash, and fat. They are poor in vitamins A and E and their contribution to the diet will depend on the amount eaten. Fish lipids are good sources of essential fatty acids. Docosahexaenoic acid and eicosapentanoic acid which are important in brain development are present in substantial amounts. Fish is generally low in thiamine and pyridoxine but high in niacin. The content of calcium in whole fish is very high and there are appreciable quantities of zinc and iron. The amino acid profiles are in good agreement with the FAO provisional pattern and to the requirements of infants. The limiting amino acid is tryptophan.