Sweet potatoes are native to Central America. These are some of the oldest vegetables known in history. As a matter of fact, they were a meal staple dating back 10,000 years ago as evidenced by relics found in Peru.
By definition, the sweet potato is a large, starchy and sweet-tasting root vegetable. In certain parts of the world, it is known as camote, kamote, goguma and man thet. China is the world’s largest supplier, providing roughly 80% of the world’s supply.
Sweet potatoes are rich in complex carbohydrates, dietary fibre, beta carotene and vitamins C and B6. A study made in 1992 by the Center For Science In The Public Interest rated these vegetables as having the highest nutritional value when considering fibre, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron and calcium.
As a matter of fact, sweet potatoes provide a whopping 438.1% of the daily nutritional value for vitamin A, with vitamin C (37.2%) and manganese (28.4%) a distant second and third, respectively.
Even though it is labelled as “sweet,” some studies indicate the sweet potato may even be a beneficial food source for diabetics. The preliminary studies featured animals as subjects and the results revealed it actually stabilises blood sugars and lowers insulin resistance.
In line with this, sweet potatoes have a low glycaemic index rating, or level of impact on blood sugar. Because of this, this vegetable promotes lasting, stable energy and satiation between meals and snacks.
Here is a summary of its wonderful health benefits:
1. Vitamin A profile—sweet potatoes are abundant in vitamin A, which is necessary for good vision, cellular growth and development and integrity of the immune system.
2. High vitamin B6 content—this vitamin helps reduce the levels of homocysteine in the human body. It has been linked to several degenerative diseases including heart attack.
3. Good vitamin C source—vitamin C also plays a role in bone and tooth formation, digestion and blood cell formation.
4. Vitamin D content—helping this vitamin is crucial when it comes to energy levels, moods and thyroid gland support.
5. Iron source—aside from energy, this mineral helps with red and white blood cell formation, stress resistance and proper immune function.
6. Magnesium profile—this mineral is also known as the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. It is also essential for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle and nerve function.
7. Lowered heavy metal and oxygen radical risk—recent research has shown that when passing through the digestive tract, sweet potato cyanidins and peonidins may be able to lower the potential risk posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
If you are still struggling to find a snack source that packs a powerful nutritional punch, sweet potatoes may just be right up your alley!