Sweet Potato Health Benefits For Healthy Living
About the Potato
The sweet potato is the sister to the ever so popular white potato, commonly known as Irish or Idaho potatoes. The sweet potatoes health benefits is one to be excited about. The sweet vegetable with red skin, yellow, orange or purple flesh might not be as popular as the white potato, but is delicious and nutritious non-the-less. In recent years there have been many studies conducted that show its numerous health benefits. Its nutrients are essential to optimal health performance and should be included in our diets.
As one of the oldest foods in the world. Evidence exists that the potato dates back 10,000 years. First discovery was in the Peruvian caves, and was first grown in Central America. It was Christopher Columbus who introduced it to the New World in 1492.
Sweet Potato Nutrition
The sweet potato nutrition starts with with beta-carotene. To some, this delicious food item is medicine, yet who would complain about such tasty medication. The question is, how important is beta-carotene? Also known as vitamin A or retinol this very important vitamin is essential for night vision and healthy skin. Beta-carotene is also very essential in the prevention of cancer formation and other diseases by boosting the immune system.This is due to its very powerful antioxidant properties. We can safely say that the sweet potato is a super food.
The benefits of this root vegetable do not stop with there, it also has the valuable vitamin C which is another very powerful anti-oxidant which is used to strengthen the immune system and fight free radicals.
Manganese, Copper, potassium and iron are minerals contained in sweet potatoes.
Anthocyanin is a pigment found in this food and is known for it's anti-inflammatory properties.
The phytonutrients in sweet potatoes are known to reduce inflammation in the brain and nervous tissues throughout the body.
Another important function is the regulation of blood sugar levels by increasing adiponectin in people with type two diabetes. Adiponectin is produced by our fats cells as a protein hormone and plays a very important role in the modification of the metabolism of insulin.
Including this tasty vegetable in the diet can only enhance your health. There are many ways to prepare it including entrée, desserts, soups and salads. Pick some up in the green isle while grocery shopping.
Some popular sweet potato dishes
The sweet potato is very tasty and the truth is I am not sure if I prefer this one to the white one but I know that this one might be a a little more diverse in its uses than the white potato because of its flavor and color.
Here are ways in which the sweet potato can be used:-
- potato wedges
- potato pie
- sweet potato pudding (a Jamaican specialty)
- candied potatoes
- sweet potato salad
- mashed (mash with cheese for added zip)
- sweet potato loaf
- crisp or chips
- simple baked sweet potato
The truth is you can use this vegetable however you like in whatever dishes you like. Experiment and create your own dishes, The greatest thing to remember is its benefit to your health.