Sweet Potato Nutrition
Sweet potato nutrition was compared to other vegetables in a study by the Center for Science in the Public Interest in 1992. Sweet potatoes ranked highest on the list with 184 points, considering protein, vitamins A and C, minerals, complex carbs and fiber content.
Sweet Potato Facts:
▪ Sweet potatoes were consumed in pre historic times as proven by relics in Peru dating back ten thousand years.
▪ They originated from Central America and were brought to Europe by Christopher Colombus after his first voyage in 1492.
▪ China is the largest sweet potato producer, it provides 80% of world supply, but half of that is used for feeding livestock.
▪ Sweet potatoes and potatoes do not come from the same family, sweet potato is a root where carbohydrates are stored by the plant while potato is a stem.
▪ Yam is the tuber of a tropical vine and is not even distantly related to the sweet potato. Yams have a higher moisture content and they contain more sugar than sweet potatoes. They have an unusual earthy taste and are starchier and drier.
▪ There are different sizes- long and thin to short and blocky and colourvarieties- purple, orange, yellow and white of sweet potatoes.
▪ Sweet potato juice is mixed with lime juice to make a cloth dye. Every shade from pink to purple to black can be obtained by different proportions of the juices in the mixture.
▪ Sweet potatoes are sold as street food during winter in China and Dominicans have them for breakfast.
Sweet Potato Nutrition and Health Benefits:
• Sweet potato nutrition : Excellent source of vitamin A, very good source of vitamin C and manganese, and a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.
• Beta carotene- crayola is an antioxidant that converts to vitamin A and is responsible for producing new skin cells in your body. Sweet potatoes may help you have a great, smooth and healthy looking skin.
• Antioxidants in sweet potatoes are proven to strengthen the immunityof your body against infections.
• It is great for those that exercise a lot, since sweet potatoes are high in vitamins and minerals. They give you an energy boost and can also help prevent injuries and cramps thanks to their potassium content.
• Potassium does help in stress management by normalizing the heartbeat, regulating the water balance in your body and sending the oxygen to your brain.
• Sweet potatoes have high fiber content and they help reduce the risk of constipation, hemorrhoid, colon and rectal cancers.
• Due to being low to medium GI, high in fiber and low in fat they can be efficient in weight loss and weight management.
• They have a high folate content, which is important for healthy fetal cell and tissue development.
• As sweet potatoes help stabilize blood glucose and lower insulin resistance, they are suitable for diabetics.
• They may save smokers’ lives due to Vitamin A content. A common carcinogen in cigarettes, benzoapyrene, may induce vitamin A deficiency. Some smokers don’t develop emphysema and live very long, possibly because of their vitamin A rich diets.
• Sweet potatoes are great for lowering blood pressure, proper blood flow and blood purification- owing to iron and calcium.
Sweet Potato Glycemic Index:
The glycemic index measures how quickly certain foods release carbohydrates into the body. High-GI foods cause blood sugar levels to spike, while low-GI foods release glucose slowly into the bloodstream. Sweet potato is a low to medium- glycemic index (GI) food, which could be good news for diabetics.
Storage and Serving to Maintain Sweet Potato Nutrition:
• Choose darker sweet potatoes-high carotene content, that are firm and bruise or crack free.
• Don’t buy those in the cold/ fridge section of supermarkets as they don’t taste as good when stored at cold temperature. But keep them in a cool ventilated place away from stove or oven, they will last up to 10 days.
• Organic sweet potato’s skin is suitable for eating but not the usual- conventionally grown ones as the skin is sometimes treated with dye or wax.
• Roasting or a wet heat cooking- steaming should be preferred over boiling to avoid the water soluble nutrients leeching excessively.
• Unfortunately, when sweet potatoes begin to go off, you cannot just cut away the bad part, since the damage will be reflected in the flavor of the entire potato.
Ensminger AH, Esminger M. K. J. e. al. Food for Health: A Nutrition Encyclopedia. Clovis, California: Pegus Press; 1986 1986. PMID:15210.
Ensminger AH, Ensminger, ME, Kondale JE, Robson JRK. Foods & Nutriton Encyclopedia. Pegus Press, Clovis, California 1983: Sweet Potato Nutrition .
Terahara N, Konczak-Islam I, Nakatani M, et al. Anthocyanins in callus induced from purple storage root of Ipomoea batatas L. Phytochemistry 2000 Aug;54(8):919-22 2000. PMID:13870.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sweet_potato – Sweet Potato Nutrition .
Consultative Group on International Agricultural Research: cgiar.org/impact/research/sweetpotato.html.