Sweet potatoes help us to lose weight, treat respiratory problems like asthma and bronchitis and also fight arthritis and stomach ulcers. Consumption of this vegetable helps to maintain a healthy blood pressure and even prevents the onset of various forms of cancer. This vegetable is high in fiber content and thus prevents constipation. In addition to all these functions, sweet potatoes also improves body immunity, helps in digestion and also control diabetes.
Sweet potatoes which are often wrongly referred to as yam belong to the Convolvulaceae or morning glory plant family. Sweet potatoes have more natural sugar and lesser calories than regular potatoes. Sweet potatoes are basically tuberous crops and the colour of the tuber varies from purple or red to pale yellow and white. The plant is a perennial vine and it bears heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves. They have a number of health benefits and are consumed widely.
Sweet potato has high content of water and almost no fats. It is high in carbohydrates and also contains substantial quantities of proteins. Sweet potatoes have many nutritional benefits and this can be attributed mainly to the presence of rich quantities of Vitamin C, Vitamin B6 and potassium. Small amounts of minerals like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and zinc and vitamins like Vitamin E, folate, thiamin and riboflavin are also present. The orange shade of this vegetable can be attributed to the the presence of an important anti-oxidant called beta-carotene.
Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index and consuming it may help to regulate the secretion and functioning of insulin. Sweet potatoes have high content of fiber which helps to blood glucose levels in people suffering from Type 1 diabetes. The same fiber content also help to improve levels of blood sugar, lipids and insulin levels in people with Type 2 diabetes.
Purple coloured sweet potatoes are more effective than orange ones in limiting growth of cancer cells. The beta-carotene in orange sweet potatoes help to prevent or reduce the risks of breast cancer in premenopausal women and ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women. The presence of Vitamin C in this vegetable also helps to prevent or delay various types of cancer like those of colon, kidneys, prostate, intestines and other internal organs.
Iron, when consumed from plant sources, helps to increase fertility in women of childbearing age. The beta-carotenes in sweet potatoes, which are converted to Vitamin A inside the body, help in production of hormones during pregnancy and lactation.
Sweet potatoes contain a very important nutrient called choline that is beneficial to us in a number of ways. It is instrumental in regulating bodily functions such as sleeping, muscle movements, learning and memory. Choline also helps to reduce chronic inflammation. Vitamin C, beta-carotene and magnesium in sweet potatoes help to treat both internal and external inflammation.
Sweet potatoes are rich in digestive fiber and also contain minerals like magnesium which help to improve digestion. Due to the presence of starch, sweet potatoes are very easy to digest and it reduces chances of developing constipation and other digestive problems.
Sweet potatoes contain magnesium, a mineral that helps to reduce stress. In addition to maintaining health of your arteries, heart, blood and bones, magnesium also helps to promote relaxation, calmness and also elevates your mood.
It is of utmost importance to build a formidable immune system so that harmful microbes and other foreign particles do not cause any serious damage. Incorporating sweet potatoes in your diet will help to boost your immunity system due to the presence powerful anti-oxidants like beta-carotene, vitamins like Vitamin C and B complex and minerals like iron and phosphorus.
People who want to gain weight can include sweet potatoes in their diet. This is because this vegetable is rich in starch content and also contains many important minerals, vitamins and proteins. These nutrients are very easy to digest and help to add mass to your body.
Sweet potatoes have certain nutrients that help to warm up the body. This helps to treat bronchitis and other related complications like congestion. This positive effect can be attributed to the concentration of Vitamin C, iron and nutrients.
Sweet potatoes contain B-complex vitamins, Vitamin C, calcium, potassium and beta-carotene which help to effectively treat stomach ulcers. Sweet potatoes contain high content of dietary fiber which adds bulk to the stool and facilitates its easy expulsion. This helps to prevent gas formation, constipation and thereby reduces the chances of acid formation and development of ulcers.
Sweet potatoes can be used to enhance skin health and also to prevent hair fall. Baked sweet potatoes are a delicacy when served with butter, salt and pepper. Sweet potato chip and fries are also tasty snacks. Sweet potatoes can also be used to help people quit addictions like smoking, drinking and other addictions.
People with heart disease and on beta-blockers medication should avoid consuming this vegetable. This is due to the fact that beta-blockers cause potassium levels to increase and further consumption of potassium-rich sweet potatoes may create complications. Again, sweet potatoes should be avoided by people with kidney problems as it is necessary to remove excess potassium from the blood which, otherwise, can prove fatal. Excess consumption of sweet potatoes can make your skin and nails to appear a little orange.
Sweet potato is one of the oldest vegetables ever known to mankind. It is believed that this vegetable was cultivated in Central America thousands of years ago. Christopher Columbus took this vegetable to Europe after his first voyage to the Americas in 1492. It was introduced to China in the late 16th century and it spread to Asia, Africa and Latin America during 17th and 18th centuries.
The sweet potato is actually a warm season crop and it grows well in tropical areas. The plant grows best in loamy and well-drained soil that is not too rich. They are very sensitive to cold weather and require a soil pH range of 5.8- 6.2. Historically the sweet potato has been a poor soil crop and it tended to produce a decent harvest in imperfect soil. However, if you add some fertilizers 2 weeks after planting, the plant will do much better.