Sweet potato is an economical food with bunch of health benefits. Filipinos are very lucky because we have ample source of “camote” in our country. So, what are you waiting for? Read its sweet facts and enjoy the abundant blessing of eating this simple, affordable, yet nutritious food.
The Sweet Truths
Why should we junk sweet potato in favor of expensive, eye-appealing desserts? Here are 14 sweet truths about sweet potatoes:
- Fiber. It helps the body rid itself of toxins and lowers the risk of constipation and colon cancer. And “when eaten with skin on, sweet potatoes have more fiber than oatmeal.”
- Protein. It provides anti-oxidant activities that come from the root storage protein.
- Saturated fat content. Sweet potato is almost fat-free! It is also low in sodium content.
- Vitamin A. Sweet potato has the highest vitamin A among the root vegetables category. Eating the yellow- or orange-flesh color (directly linked to beta-carotene content) can lead to healthy skin and healthy surface linings of the eyes and the respiratory, urinary and intestinal tracts. Vitamin A fights infections very effectively and protects the walls of the arteries and veins against hardening.
- Vitamin C. A cup (200 grams) of cooked sweet potato is better than broccoli and cabbage in vitamins A and C, iron and calcium content. Because these nutrients are anti-inflammatory, they help reduce the severity of asthma, osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vitamin B6. It helps transform homocysteine into harmless molecules.
- Anti-oxidants. A purple-fleshed potato has higher concentration of anti-oxidants called anthocyanins and is 3.2 times higher than that of blueberry variety. Anti-oxidants help the body protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
- Lowest in glycemic index. Among the root vegetables, sweet potato has the lowest glycemic index. It also digests slowly, causing a gradual rise in blood sugar (from complex carbohydrates into glucose). To lose weight, eat sweet potato! That feeling of fullness helps control food intake. For diabetics, research shows that sweet potatoes stabilize blood glucose levels and enhance the response to insulin.
- Anti-aging properties. Fight aging with sweet potato.
- Potassium. It regulates blood pressure levels and helps prevent heart attack, stroke, muscle cramps and injury. Stressed? Eat sweet potato because of its potassium content.
- Copper. Sweet potato contains copper that is important for enzyme reactions, energy production and growth.
- Manganese. It keeps bones healthy and strong.
- Calcium. Sweet potato contains calcium for bone density, muscle contraction, blood vessel contraction and expansion, the secretion of hormones and enzymes, and sending messages through the nervous system.
- Iron. Sweet potato contains 1.4 mg of iron which is very good when compared to green leafy vegetables like cabbage that has 1.8 mg per serving (170 g).
To keep its nutrients intact, roast, bake or steam rather than boil sweet potato. Submersing it in water may take out the water-soluble nutrients. Most of sweet potato’s nutrients are near the skin, so eat it with the skin.
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