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Healthy Diet Plans >>  Therapeutic Value of Different Foods >>  Vegetables >>  Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are one of those rare naturally sweet vegetables available throughout the year, however November and December dominates its availability. Traditionally it is a part of the Thanksgiving season and the most nutritional vegetable around. Sweet potatoes should not be confused with potatoes or yams. One should remember its unique characteristics that include yellow or orange flesh with white, yellow, orange, red or purple skin. The shape can vary from short and blocky, oval or long with tapering ends.
Sweet potato a member of convolvulaceae family may be characterized depending on its texture, but share the same unique sweet and starchy taste. More information on sweet potato diet

Health and sweet potato

  1. Sweet potato as the name suggests is a sweet source of good nutrition. It is rich in vitamin A (beta-carotene form) and is considered as a good vitamin C source, both of which have potent antioxidant properties and healing properties. These antioxidants help to decrease the oxidative stress in the body by scavenging the free radicals that are associated with conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetes and colon cancer. As these nutrients also have anti-inflammatory properties, sweet potatoes is considered as an anti-inflammatory food and helps to relieve the symptoms in conditions like asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis. Besides these antioxidants, sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of manganese, vitamin B6, potassium, copper, iron and fiber.
  2. Proteins present in sweet potatoes have potent antioxidant properties, in fact a study proved that these proteins has 1/3rd antioxidant activity of that of glutathione (body’s internally produced potent antioxidant).
  3. Sweet potato is also classified as an ‘anti-diabetic’ food. This label is attributed due to its possible effects on stabilizing the blood sugar levels and lowering insulin resistance. Researches suggest that the carotenoids present in sweet potatoes are inversely proportional to insulin resistance and high blood sugar levels. However to prove this more scientific research is needed in this area.

Choose firm and fresh sweet potatoes avoid buying the ones with cracks, bruises or soft spots. Store them open in cool, dry and well ventilated place, they are not too fragile and if stored well remains fresh up to ten days. Wash them thoroughly and steam or boil them preferably with the skin as most of its nutrients are present under the skin, so if the skin is peeled remember that the nutrients are peeled too. If peeled then it should be cook immediately as the flesh is very susceptible to oxidation making the outer peeled layer darker in color.

Take care of the oxalates present in sweet potatoes, as they come under the small amount of food that contains measurable oxalates. Especially for people suffering from calcium oxalate stones in the body as oxalates when combined with calcium have a tendency to crystallize and cause health problems.




Submitted on January 16, 2014