What are Sweet Potatoes Good for?
Explained by Dr Mercola:
"The deep orange color is more than just different than white potatoes; it's one of the indications of beta-carotene presence, shown by numerous studies to be especially rich in sweet potatoes. The vitamin A per serving even rivals that of green leafy vegetables (yams only have 3%!), providing 769% of the daily value per serving. In fact, the only food that has more vitamin A is three ounces of beef liver! The 65% daily value of vitamin C and 29% DV of vitamin B6 isn't too bad, either.
Two key antioxidant enzymes in sweet potatoes are copper/zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase. One study showed purple sweet potatoes to have more than three times the antioxidant activity than that of one type of blueberry.
Especially in light of their high sugar content, a surprising fact about sweet potatoes is their ability to help regulate blood sugar, even in type 2 diabetes patients. Research has verified that sweet potato extract can increase blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone produced by your fat cells, to regulate the way your body metabolize insulin, and even lower insulin levels when needed.
Studies Done on Sweet Potatoes
Studies show that heat processing methods for sweet potatoes, such as steaming, baking, or boiling as opposed to raw, not only releases beta-carotenes, but also makes them more accessible to the body, possibly because heat causes a disruption in the microstructure of the tissue.
Other studies have demonstrated that sweet potato extract has anti-obesity and anti-inflammatory potential, reducing inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body.
Anthocyanidins, responsible for the pigmentation of deeply hued vegetables like purple sweet potatoes, contain flavonoid and antioxidant wound-healing properties. Studies have attributed anthocyanidins for suppressing stomach, colon, lung, and breast cancer cell growth. Because they also prevent platelets from sticking together, they prevent blood clots, which may in turn help fight heart disease.
Other polyphenols in purple sweet potatoes include cyanidins and peonidins, which studies indicate have strong counter effects on cancer cell growth. Interestingly, these anti-cancer compounds are more concentrated in the sweet potato itself than the skin and may also lower the dangers posed by heavy metals and oxygen radicals, including mercury, cadmium, and arsenic.
Research in another study showed both benign and cancerous colorectal tumors to multiply in the presence of substances such as pyridine, (structurally related to benzene and ammonia) and dimethylhydrazine (a rocket propellant), but these toxins were inhibited by introducing purple sweet potato. The results "clearly demonstrated" that purple sweet potato has the capacity to reduce colorectal carcinogens.
Sweet Potatoes Fun Facts
Sweet potatoes were transported to Spain, probably by Columbus, in about 1500. Several varieties, including purple and red, were cultivated there by the mid-16th century. Other Spanish explorers carried the orange and purple-hued tubers to the Philippines and East Indies, and from there cultivation spread to India, China, and beyond, via Portuguese voyagers.
In 1740s, "sweet" potatoes became known as such in the American colonies to distinguish them from white "Irish" potatoes."
Gluten Free, Sweet Potato Fries Recipe
Sweet potatoes are a great non-starchy carb, plus they contain more vitamin C than regular potatoes, which our bodies need and utilise every day.
When sweet potatoes really come into their own is when they’re cut into wedges and baked into crispy fries. Seasoned with paprika, cayenne pepper or turmeric powder, these fries are spiced and sweet all at once, and far healthier than the shop-bought ones. Plus, they’re organic and a real favourite with the kids, so get them to help you make them, too.
You'll never look back once you try them.
There are only 5 ingredients and it's are so simple to make! And the best part? They are healthy!
Recipe by Dr Josh Axe, Functional Medicine
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients--antioxidants, potassium, vitamin B6, fibre and more.
- 700g sweet potatoes, chopped into strips about 1/2” wide
- ½ tsp. Himalayan pink salt
- 1 tsp. paprika, cayenne pepper or turmeric powder
- ½ tsp. cinnamon
- ¼ cup grapeseed or coconut oil or organic, grass-fed butter
- Preheat oven to 220 degrees.
- Peel potatoes and cut into strips about 1/2” wide on each side.
- Place all ingredients in sealable plastic bag and shake until potatoes are completely coated.
- Place seasoned sweet potatoes in large glass bowl. Cook for 30-45 minutes, turning every 10 minutes.
- Transfer immediately to a paper towel-lined plate and serve warm.
Health Benefits: Sweet Potatoes: packed with vitamins, minerals, fibre, full of phytonutrients, including beta carotene, which helps the body with free radical damage, promotes anti-aging, and fights cancer and heart disease, as well as Vitamin B6, which promotes energy in the body. Paprika: filled with antioxidants Celtic sea salt: full of minerals and trace minerals, especially magnesium, calcium, and chloride Cinnamon helps balance blood sugar levels, prevent diabetes, energy, high in antioxidants Grapeseed oil: contains higher heat threshold, does not oxidize
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