Like human beings, even veggies have distant cousins. Sweet Potato is a humble cousin of yam, but it is extremely high in nutrition, low in carbs and calories, and easier to use and cook.
Talk of colour and sweet potato impresses with its wide variety – purple, red, white to pale yellow. The tuberous crop first cultivated in Central America is loaded with several minerals such as potassium and magnesium, iron, calcium, manganese. When you come to know of vitamin content in it, you will be surprised to find out that sweet potato meets more than 400% of your daily needs of vitamin A.
Sweet potato is versatile in its cooking function. It can be roasted, steamed, puréed, even baked, or grilled. Add them to soups and stews, or put the grilled sweet potato on top of leafy greens and you will a healthy looking sumptuous salad.
Historical Look at Sweet Potato
Sweet potato has been a native to Central and South America. It is also one of the oldest vegetables known to mankind, having been consumed since prehistoric times.
Interestingly, it was Christopher Columbus who brought sweet potatoes to Europe in 1492. It was in the 16th century that it was taken to the Philippines and then to Africa, Indonesia, India, and southern Asia by the Portuguese.
During the same time period, the cultivation of sweet potato started in the USA which went on to become a staple food. Africa is the largest producer of sweet potatoes that churns out 14 million tons on an annual basis.
Nutritional Analysis of Sweet Potato
Take a look at what a medium sized sweet potato offers for your health:
Whenever you are eating a sweet potato, keep its skin on as it has high amounts of potassium, fiber and quercetin.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Once again, it is the presence of beta-carotene, magnesium, vitamin B complex and zinc that plays a helpful role in managing and treating arthritis, whether it is in youngsters, adults or aged people.
Whether it is nose congestion or congestion of lungs or bronchi, the smell of sweet potatoes is helpful in curing acute asthmatic problems.
The high concentration of vitamin C, iron and other nutrients is effective in treating bronchitis. Consumption of sweet potato is believed to warm up the body, partly because of its sweetness quotient. This property is helpful in treating bronchitis and chest congestion.
God bless the antioxidant beta-carotene, the anti carcinogenic substance found in sweet potato that actively contributes in treating cancer of the colon, prostate, intestines, kidneys as well as other internal organs of the human body.
It’s a common belief that sweet potato is not beneficial for diabetic patients. The good part is that it helps regulate blood sugar levels by facilitating proper secretion and functioning of insulin in your body.
As per studies, type 1 diabetics who eat a diet rich in high-fiber have lower levels of blood glucose, whereas type 2 diabetics have chances of improved blood sugar, insulin and lipids. Which is why, sweet potato is a healthier option to eating rice and rich carbohydrates.
As compared to common and ordinary potatoes, sweet potatoes have more fiber content. The presence of magnesium in sweet potatoes further helps in making digestion of foods simpler. This also proves to be soothing enough for the stomach and intestines.
The vitamin A found in sweet potatoes (taken as beta-carotene which subsequently gets converted into vitamin A in the body) is essential for pregnant mothers and during lactation period in order to synthesise hormones.
Sweet potato resembles common potato in its anti-inflammatory features. This is due to the presence of beta-carotene, magnesium and vitamin C that helps cure internal and external inflammation in the body.
Sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C and B complex vitamins, phosphorus and iron that make it an excellent immunity booster from a wide variety of infections and inflammations.
10. Stomach Ulcers
The roughage present in sweet potatoes helps in preventing constipation, thereby reducing your chances of getting ulcers. Moreover, the anti-inflammatory properties of sweet potato drastically reduce the pain caused due to ulcers.
11. Miscellaneous Benefits
– Sweet potato should be your obvious choice when it comes to being healthy and fit. It is very helpful in quitting and giving up bad habits such as smoking, drinking or drug addiction.
– This potato form is good for maintaining the health of your arteries and veins, and also helps in protecting the walls of your arteries from hardening up.
– The high amount of beta-carotene and phosphorus in a sweet potato is very helpful in maintaining your vision and cardiac health. The antioxidant vitamins C and E found in sweet potatoes in studies done have been shown to support eye health and also prevent degenerative damage.
Whenever you buy sweet potato, make sure it has no wrinkles, cracks or spots. In order to bring out and restore its natural flavour, it is a nice idea to roast sweet potatoes.
There is no need to add dollops of butter to it. In order to bring a touch of spice to this otherwise sweet dish, you can sprinkle a bit of cinnamon, curry or cumin powder.
Cooking it in microwave is the fastest way to making a sweet potato recipe, if you want a healthy alternative to oil-based cooking.
Recipe for Sweet Potato Tikki (Navratri Vrat Recipe)
Now start including sweet potato in your diet and welcome the taste and nutritional effects of it.