Or, that consumers just aren't aware of the loaded nutrients in this good `ol homestyle tuber.
Sweet potatoes can be cooked into a sweet or savory dish, roasted with your favorite cut of meat or turned into a delicious pie or pancake. It is a wonderful way to add flavor naturally to your meals throughout the year.
Sweet Potato, scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas
, is the world's seventh-most important food crop, after wheat, rice, maize, potato, barley and cassava. It is a tuberous root, which is a modified lateral root, enlarged to function as a storage organ; thus it has high nutritional value.
Its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves. The color of sweet potatoes varies from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate and minerals. The intensity of the flesh color is directly correlated to the antioxidant capacity and beta-carotene content. Interestingly, the antioxidant activity of the sweet potato skin regardless of the color is almost three times higher than in the rest of the vegetable.
The nutritional value for sweet potato is almost twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A, 42 percent of the recommendation for vitamin C, four times the RDA for beta carotene, and, when eaten with the skin, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal. All these benefits with only about 130 to 160 calories!Now, How sweet does that sound? Nutrition Facts (for one medium sized sweet potato)
Calories - 130
Fat - 0.39 g
Protein - 2.15 g
Net Carbohydrates - 31.56 g
Dietary Fiber - 3.9 g
Calcium - 28.6 mg
Sodium - 16.9 mg
Potassium - 265.2 mg
Folate - 18.2 mcg
Vitamin C - 29.51 mg
Vitamin A - 26081.9 IU
Thiamine - 0.05mg
Riboflavin - 0.3mg
Niacin - 1.4mg
Folic acid - 8.4mcg
Vitamin B6 <1 mg(Source: US Department of Agriculture)
It's believed that including this vegetable in the day's diet, guarantees complete satisfaction not only to your sweet tooth but also to the entire body.Latest research on sweet potatoes unveils a few surprising benefits:
So, the next time don't miss an opportunity to include this unattractive yet healthy and nutritious vegetable in your meals.By. Kanchan Saggi, Dietitian, NutritionVista.com
- Sweet Source of Nutrition
Sweet potato is shown to be a strong performer in terms of the traditional nutrients. This root vegetable is qualified as an excellent source of beta-carotene, a very good source of Vitamin C and manganese and a good source of copper, fiber, Vitamin B6, iron & potassium.
- An Anti-inflammatory and an antioxidant rich food
The storage root proteins of this vegetable are observed to have potent antioxidant properties. In one study, these proteins had about a third of the antioxidant activity of glutathione - one of the body's most impressive internally produced antioxidants. Antioxidants protect the body from oxidative damage induced by free radicals, which are a natural by-product of the body turning food into energy. Excess free radicals are a problem because they attack the body itself, damaging the genetic material and thus leading to cancer. They have also been implicated in premature aging, heart disease, arthritis, etc.
Both Beta-carotene and Vitamin C are very powerful sources of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory nutrients in the body.
Additionally, sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin B6, which helps to reduce the homocysteine, levels in the blood and thereby protects the heart. Increased levels of the homocysteine amino acid are associated with increased risk of heart disease and stroke. Did you know that making vitamin A rich foods like sweet potatoes, part of your healthy way of eating, might save you from complications like lung inflammation and emphysema that result from smoking.
- Diabetic friendly
Contrary to the popular belief, sweet potatoes are beneficial for diabetics (low glycemic index food). Amazingly, they are very effective in regulating blood sugar levels by helping proper secretion and function of insulin. The main job of insulin is to keep the level of sugar in the bloodstream within a normal range, which does not happen in diabetes.
The fiber in sweet potatoes helps lower blood sugar by slowing the rate at which food is converted into glucose and absorbed into the bloodstream. Of course, that does not mean that diabetics should eat them indiscriminately. The idea is to replace rice or carbohydrate intake with sweet potatoes.
- Soothes Stomach Ulcer
Sweet potato has a soothing effect on the stomach and intestines. The vitamins (B-complex and C), beta-carotene, potassium and calcium are very effective in curing stomach ulcers. Moreover, the roughage in sweet potatoes prevents constipation and resultant acid formation, thereby reducing the chance of ulcers. The anti inflammatory and soothing properties of sweet potatoes also reduce the pain and inflammation of the ulcers.
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