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Eat Purple Sweet Potato And Live To 100!

Updated on September 27, 2016
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I am an idealist, an optimist, a romantic, often a traditionalist. I like to see and write about the good, or how things can become better.

Is Purple Sweet Potato The Secret To Longevity?

Purple Sweet Potato Will Help You Live To 100!
Purple Sweet Potato Will Help You Live To 100! | Source

The diet of the residents living on the Japanese island of Okinawa has long been one of interest to scientists, dieticians, health practitioners and researchers, due to the world's highest concentration of healthy 100 year olds living there.

That is not to say that Okinawa has necessarily produced the world's oldest person - France takes that official credit with the greatest fully authenticated age to which any human has ever lived in 122 years and 164 day old Jeanne Louise Calment, who was born on 21 February 1875 and died on 4 August 1997. (1)

Okinawa does however have an impressive average life expectancy that continually lures researchers who are in search of the secret ingredient of old age. Whilst the average life expectancy of Americans is 79 years old, it is 84 years old in Japan, and five times more Okinawans live to 100 years old than their other Japanese counterparts. (2) So, finding the secret to the Okinawa fountain of youth is compelling.

The humble purple sweet potato is featuring more and more often in research findings, to the point that it is now heavily favoured to be the answer to the Okinawan long-life mystery.

Source (1) - http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/oldest-person

Source (2) - https://draxe.com/okinawa-diet/

What Makes Purple Sweet Potato So Age-Defying?

The super ingredient in Purple Sweet Potato is the antioxidant, anthocyanin.

Anthocyanins have twice the antioxidant power of Vitamin C (3), and this super antioxidant power helps fight against the oxidative damage that causes toxicity and decay in our brains and bodies.

Sweet potatoes of all varieties and colours are high in Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Manganese. They are also a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, potassium and iron. But the super dose of anthocyanin in Purple Sweet Potato is believed to slow aging by boosting learning and memory; reducing cholesterol; improving heart health; and, it may also prevent cancer.

Source (3) - http://www.naturallivingideas.com/7-reasons-to-eat-more-anthocyanins-and-top-foods/

The Okinawa Diet Consists Of 70% Purple Sweet Potato

The Okinawa Diet Consists Of 70% Purple Sweet Potato.
The Okinawa Diet Consists Of 70% Purple Sweet Potato. | Source

Purple Sweet Potato Is The Daily Staple Of The Okinawa Diet

The people of Okinawa eat up to half a kilogram of Purple Sweet Potato a day. (4)

Whilst we might think that the typical Japanese diet consists largely of rice and raw fish, the Okinawan diet stands apart from it's Japanese counterparts with a predominance of 70 percent Purple Sweet Potato, followed by 12 percent rice, seven percent grains and wheat, six percent soy and legumes, four percent other vegetables, three percent fruit, two percent oils, one percent nuts, one percent seaweed, one percent sugar, one percent fish, one percent dairy, one percent eggs, one percent meat,and one percent alcohol and flavourings. (5)

The Okinawan diet is overall 98 percent vegetarian and 96 percent vegan. It consists of 30 percent of the usual Japanese sugar intake, and only 15 percent of the usual Japanese grain intake. (6) So it actually is significantly different from the relatively healthy typical Japanese diet, and considerably different from most Western eating habits.

It would seem apparent that there are clear lessons to learn from the Okinawan dietary example - contributing to their high life expectancy, they have a low mortality from cardiovascular diseases and cancers, and a 1995 study found that an average Okinawan was eight times less likely to die from coronary heart disease; seven times less likely to die from prostate cancer; six and a half times less likely to die from breast cancer; and two and a half times less likely to die from colon cancer than an average American of the same age. (7)

Source (4) - http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/p03q0lnd

Source (5) - https://www.flickr.com/photos/centenarian-diet-research/13896009837

Sources (6) and (7) - Willcox, B. J.; Willcox, D. C.; Todoriki, H.; Fujiyoshi, A.; Yano, K.; He, Q.; Curb, J. D.; Suzuki, M. (October 2007), "Caloric Restriction, the Traditional Okinawan Diet, and Healthy Aging: The Diet of the World's Longest-Lived People and its Potential Impact on Morbidity and Life Span".

Hara Hachi Bu In The Okinawan Diet

The Confucian practice of Hara Hachi Bu also plays a major role in the Okinawan diet philosophy.

Hara Hachi Bu is a self-imposed practice of calorie restriction, where the Okinawans eat until they feel 80 percent full. Their calorie consumption is approximately 1800 calories per day and an elderly Okinawa's body mass index (BMI) is about 18 to 22, compared to a typical BMI of 27 for American adults over the age of 60. (8)

The practice of Hara Hachi Bu helps the stomach stretch receptors recognise the feeling of fullness, and hence the combination of mental willpower and physical satiety limits food consumption. A lack of self control and always eating until completely full, results in a constant stretching of the stomach, which in turn, increases the amount of food required to create a feeling of fullness - a viscious circle of overeating.

Source (8) - Smolin LA; Grosvenor MB (2004). Basic Nutrition. Infobase Publishing. p. 134.

How To Eat Purple Sweet Potato - My Three Favourite Recipes

Fresh Purple Sweet Potatoes-2LBS
Fresh Purple Sweet Potatoes-2LBS

Obviously the first ingredient you will need is the Purple Sweet Potato!

Unfortunately, they aren't always as readily available in our grocery stores as they should be, so if you cannot find them locally, you can order them online and have them on your doorstep as quickly as within 24 hours.

You can buy them in two pound or four pound orders, and this supplier has a an excellent rating of 98 percent over the last 12 months, especially from customers who know their product and what to expect from Purple Sweet Potatoes.

 

Recipe No. 1

Purple Sweet Potato Coconut Mash

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds or .75 kilograms Purple Sweet Potato
  • 15 ounce or 400 millilitre can Coconut Milk
  • A pinch of Cinnamon
  • A pinch of Sea Salt

Instructions

  1. Peel Purple Sweet Potatoes into small cubes.
  2. Boil for approximately 30 minutes until soft and dark purple in colour.
  3. Drain water.
  4. Add coconut milk, pinch of cinnamon to taste, and pinch of sea salt to taste.
  5. Mash until completely smooth.
  6. Serve immediately.

Preparation and Cooking Time

Preparation Time = 10 minutes

Cook Time = 30 minutes

Servings

Servings = 6

Recipe No. 2

Purple Sweet Potato Buttery Mash

Ingredients

  • 1.5 pounds or .75 kilograms Purple Sweet Potato
  • 8 ounces or 250 grams Butter
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Peel Purple Sweet Potatoes into small cubes.
  2. Boil for approximately 30 minutes until soft and dark purple in colour.
  3. Drain water.
  4. Add butter, and salt and pepper to taste.
  5. Mash until completely smooth.
  6. Serve immediately.

Preparation and Cooking Time

Preparation Time = 10 minutes

Cook Time = 30 minutes

Servings

Servings = 6

Recipe No. 3

Purple Sweet Potato Baked Chips

Ingredients

  • 1 Purple Sweet Potato
  • 1 tablespoon Olive Oil
  • Sea Salt to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 250 degrees Farenheit or 120 degrees Celsius.
  2. Line baking tray with baking paper.
  3. Slice Purple Sweet Potato (with skin on) into thin round chips.
  4. Pour olive oil in a bowl and gently mix Purple Sweet Potato chips through oil to lightly coat.
  5. Place chips on baking tray and sprinkle with salt.
  6. Bake for approximately 50 minutes until chips curl at edges and are crisp.

Preparation and Cooking Time

Preparation Time = 10 minutes

Cook Time = 50 minutes

Servings

Servings = 2

What To Eat If You Can't Buy Purple Sweet Potato

Blueberries also have the age-defying antioxidant, anthocyanin.
Blueberries also have the age-defying antioxidant, anthocyanin. | Source

The magic age-defying ingredient in Purple Sweet Potatoes, anthocyanin, is what gives the bright red-orange to blue-violent colour in fruits and vegetables.

So if your supermarket doesn't stock Purple Sweet Potato to keep you kicking into your hundreds, you can still get anthocyanin in other fruit and vegetables - not to the same high levels, but definitely to a level that will benefit your health and longevity. Try blueberries, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, black currants, grapes, eggplant, purple cauliflower, purple onions and red cabbage.

Purple Sweet Potato still has 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries (9), but an American six year neurological study of 16,000 female patients in their 70s and older, found that blueberries and strawberries specifically, can delay mental aging by up to two and a half years. (10)

So, the moral of the story is - eat your red and purple fruits and vegetables, and it's never too late to start!

Sources (9) and (10) - http://www.naturallivingideas.com/7-reasons-to-eat-more-anthocyanins-and-top-foods/

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© 2016 AJ

Is Purple Sweet Potato In Your Diet?

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    • AudreyHowitt profile image

      Audrey Howitt 14 months ago from California

      So good to know--I knew that Okinawans lived much longer but was unsure of the reasons why--

    • Rangoon House profile image
      Author

      AJ 14 months ago from Australia

      I hope the Farmer's Market delivered June, and you can enjoy your cooking and age-defying healthy eating!

    • Rangoon House profile image
      Author

      AJ 14 months ago from Australia

      That's a pleasure Dora. I hope you find it easily and can reap the benefits.

    • MsDora profile image

      Dora Weithers 14 months ago from The Caribbean

      Thanks for the information on the purple sweet potato. I'm interested and will go searching for it.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 14 months ago from New York

      OMG. Thank you so much! How thoughtful you are! Even though purple is such a beautiful color, we tend to shy away from it when we see in on our plate. LOL. Even though, I am looking for this delicacy in our area. Hopefully, will find some at the Farmer's Market next weekend. Thanks again.

    • Rangoon House profile image
      Author

      AJ 14 months ago from Australia

      Hi June. I'm glad you enjoyed reading about the seemingly miraculous Purple Sweet Potato. I might have been a bit quick to publish, but have listed more recipes for you today.

    • Kailua-KonaGirl profile image

      June Parker 14 months ago from New York

      Really interesting article. I would be interested in more recipes for the purple sweet potato including Japanese and Okinawan recipes. I will have to Google for some and keep an eye out for any new recipe Hubs you may create on the subject. Thanks for the info.