Miracle foods: Sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are rock stars of vegetables. A member of the morning glory family, sweet potatoes don’t have anything in common with potatoes or yams.


sweet potato(65214)Credit: wikipedia



They are full of all three well-known antioxidants: vitamins C and E, and beta-carotene (the vitamin A precursor).

 In addition to rich antioxidant content, sweet potatoes contain folate (vitamin B) and vitamin B6. These vitamins are credited with improving our brain performance and helping our bodies to turn food into energy.

Sweet potatoes are ideal food for people with diabetes. They have low glucemic index and are rich in soluble fiber, which helps to slow down the digestion, so it slows the rise of sugar in your blood. Eating sweet potatoes also can help to shed these unwanted pounds, which can be critical for people with diabetes. Majority of people with type II diabetes are overweight or obese. Studies show that loosing just 5 to 10 pounds can normalize blood sugar level. Thanks to dietary fiber and complex carbohydrate content, sweet potatoes are so satisfying you are less likely to overeat, and since they are low in calories, you are more likely to lose weight.

Sweet potatoes should be eaten with skin when possible, because skin contains insoluble fiber. Insoluble fiber helps prevent constipation and hemorrhoids, clean the digestive system and reduce risk of stomach and colon cancer.

 Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin E, which is hard to get from natural resources. Researcher have found that vitamin E plays significant role in preventing LDL cholesterol from sticking to your arteries . Another great study from University of New York in Buffalo found out that high intake of vitamin E can significantly lower the risk of breast cancer in women with a family history risk of breast cancer.

 Beta-carotine, another great antioxidant in sweet potatoes, helps you avoid  macular degeneration. Scientists also linked it with lower rates of heart disease and cancer. Beta-carotine is necessary for healthy skin and it also boosts your immune system.. Scientists are still not sure how beta-carotine works, but they suspect that combination with other carotenoids gives you the most benefits, so it  works best when  is derived from food.

 While buying sweet potatoes, look for smooth, dry roots free of wrinkles, sprouts, soft spots. Choose the ones with the darkest skin; they will have the most intense, orange color. Orange color means high content of beta-carotine. Store in a dark, dry place (not a fridge). Throw away if you see any mold.

 Eat sweet potatoes with a little oil, because beta-carotine requires fat to get through digestive track. The best ways of cooking sweet potatoes without losing its nutritional value are baking, grilling, nuking, or simmering in a little liquid and mashing without draining.