Sweet Potatoes are native to Central and Southern America. They are part of the Convolvulaceae or morning glory plant family. A popular myth is that sweet potatoes are yams. As with other myths this is simply not true. This food item is one of the world’s richest source of Vitamin A rivalling leafy green vegetables. The food is readily available, affordable, versatile as well as very tasty. Sweet potatoes have been consumed since the prehistoric period as far back as 10,000 years ago, in Peru. Christopher Columbus was responsible in bringing this vegetable to Europe post his 1492 voyage. In the 16th century the Spanish brought it to the Philippines while the Portuguese bought the vegetable to Southern Asia, India, Indonesia as well as Africa. China is the world’s leading producer of sweet potatoes.
HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATOES
- Aids in weight loss
This vegetable has a low glycaemic index. That means it doesn’t cause blood sugar spikes linked to weight gain after a meal. Also, the food is rich in fibre giving it a slow burning property. In other words, its caloric energy is used much more slowly and efficiently compared to a low fibre carbohydrate. The food when consumed fills up the stomach leading to lower food and calorie intake.
- Effective against cancer
Sweet potatoes have powerful antioxidants that destroy free radicals which are harmful elements that elevate the risk of cancer. Regular consumption of the food is linked with decreased risk of breast, stomach as well as kidney cancers.
- Excellent for the eyes
The vegetable is rich in Vitamin A, C and E which promote eye health and help prevent degenerative damage to the eyes.
- Good for diabetes patients
The food has the capability to help regulate blood sugar especially in type 2 diabetes patients. According to research the food item can boost levels of adiponectin a protein hormone generated by the fat cells to regulate the manner in which insulin is metabolized and reduce insulin levels when required.
- Benefits Prostrate Health
Sweet potato stops the growth as well as progression of prostate cancer cells. The beta carotene found in the vegetable offers protection against prostate cancer.
If you have experienced any other benefits of including this food in your diet, please share them with us so that others may benefit.