Several studies have shown that fruits and vegetables contribute to protect against degenerative pathologies such as cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and cancer, mainly due to the presence of dietary fiber (DF) and polyphenols. Taioba (Xanthosoma sagittifolium) is an edible aroid widely grown in many parts of Africa, America, and Asia. The tubers portions of taioba are widely consumed; however, the leafy portions are generally discarded, despite their high nutritive value. In this study, we have partly characterized the DF of lyophiized taioba leaf (LTL), and assessed the possible protective effects on biochemical parameters and on bile acid (BA) production in colon and cecum, when fed to healthy rats for 4 wk. Forty-five Wistar rats were assigned to either of 5 groups: group 1 received AIN 93G diet (CG: Control); group 2 received AIN 93G containing 2.5% of cellulose + 2.5% inulin (CEIN_5%); group 3 received AIN 93G containing 2.5% of cellulose + 2.5% taioba fiber (CETA_5%); group 4 received AIN 93G containing 5% cellulose + 2.5% taioba fiber (CETA_7.5%); group 5 received AIN 93G containing 5% cellulose + 2.5% of inulin (CEIN_7.5%). LTL showed high contents of total fiber, predominantly comprising insoluble DF with glucose as the major monomer. Rats receiving LTL had increased fecal mass and fat excretion, and improved BA profiles by diminishing the proportion of secondary acids, thus suggesting that consumption of taioba leaf may have the property of lowering the risk of colon cancer.
The present study gives new and valuable information about nutrient composition and some of the in vivo functional properties of taioba leaves. The results of this research showed that the taioba leaf contributed to the removal of dietary fat, and reduced the concentrations of colon and cecum secondary bile acids, which are associated with colon cancer. The positive effects may be related to a synergy between the fiber and other bioactive substances.