[en] Dietary assessment ; Food composition ; Food composition data ; Traditional foods ; Minerals ; Trace elements ; Mineral intake ; Nutritional assessment ; Tibet Autonomous Region ; Food analysis
[en] Traditional foods play a major role in the diet of rural people living in the Tibet Autonomous Region of the People's Republic of China. Because these foods are mainly derived from local agriculture as well as artisanal production, their mineral composition may show significant discrepancies when compared with food composition data. This study aims at providing relevant data on the mineral composition of the main Tibetan foods. Sixteen different foodstuffs were sampled, including water, concentrated brewed black tea, chang, tsampa, wheat flour, dried cheese, dried yak meat, dried mutton, blood sausage, dried wild peaches, dried Chinese radish, and dried nettles. They were analyzed by inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) for 19 minerals: Na, K, P, Ca, Mg, Fe, Zn, Mn, Cu, Ni, Se, Mo, Al, As, Cr, Co, Cd, Pb, and V. The validity of the results was ensured by the use of standard reference materials. A statistical comparison of the mean mineral contents of the analyzed foods against food composition data from the China Food Composition (CFC) table was carried out. It revealed significant discrepancies, emphasizing the importance of food analysis for nutritional assessment in Tibet autonomous region. To the best of our knowledge, the mineral compositions of some traditional Tibetan foods are here reported for the first time.