The Incredible Truth About Sweet Potatoes
For most of us, the words "sweet potato" are almost always followed by the word "pie". In fact, far from being just a confectionary treat, sweet potatoes have been billed as a superfood and is a favorite staple of athletes and celebrity dieters alike. Doctors, nutritionists, and researchers all agree that sweet potatoes are a powerful tool in one's healthy eating arsenal. So what makes this orange root so special and how to you get more of it into your diet?
Fighting Early Childhood Disease
Scientists in Mozambique have been able to cut rates of diarrhea in children by nearly fifty percent simply by encouraging local farmers to grow sweet potatoes. Diarrheal diseases are the second most common killer of children under the age of five world-wide. By eating one, small, sweet potato, children are able to get a full day's serving vitamin A. By avoiding vitamin A deficiency, children, as well as adults, are able to stave off diarrheal diseases as well as other infections.
Sweet potatoes are also a powerful ally in the fight against cancer. They contain a host of phytochemicals. These are potent, plant based compounds that are found in unprocessed foods. They can be powerful antioxidants that both protect the DNA in your cells from oxidation damage as well as inhibit the growth of cancer cells. Sweet potatoes contain over 600 of these compounds.
Sweet potatoes also contain a protein called sporamin. Sporamin has been proven to inhibit cancer cell growth as well as restrict metastasis. That means that it not only keeps cancer cells from growing but also prevents them from spreading. And while that sounds great in a lab, we know that most proteins are broken down during digestion. Not sporamin! Sporamin has been found in the blood stream of people who eat sweet potatoes, intact, without triggering an immune response. Luckily, 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is sporamin, making it one sweet little soldier in the fight against cancer.
If you are eating to avoid inflammation, then sweet potatoes should be a staple food for you. This is especially true for the dark, deep purple ones. People who suffer from arthritis and asthma should make sweet potatoes a part of their lives.
Diabetics and pre-diabetics can also benefit from adding sweet potatoes to their repertoire because it ranks low on the glycemic index and has less of an effect on blood glucose levels.
Just as important as WHY you should eat more sweet potatoes is HOW you eat them. We all know we shouldn't boil vegetables until soft or charm the meat. But how do you find recipes that will give you the most nutritional benefit?
Sweet potatoes are sweet. If you need to add sugar or syrup you may not loose the nutrition but the added calories and spike in blood sugar levels may counteract the good you've done.
Don't hold the fat.
Research suggests that a little fat increases your vitamin A uptake. This can be a table spoon of olive oil or butter.
Steaming and Boiling
Steaming and boiling is better than roasting or frying. Keep the nutrients intact by choosing to steam or boil your sweet potatoes.
Top 5 Routes for "Sweet Potato"
- Health.com A large list of more than 25 Sweet Potato recipes that are all considered to be healthy. Includes video tutorials.
- Dave and Tracy Instructional article on how to use sweet potato in a green smoothie. Learn about the nutritional contents and health benefits of this interesting receipe.
- Paleo Grubs A list of 12 sweet potato recipes. All considered healthy and friendly to make.
- Diabetic Living Many diabetic friendly sweet potato recipes. From pies to mains, this is a great resource for diabetics looking to stay compliant.
- One Green Planet Vegan friendly sweet potato dinners that are best made in the fall season.