A native of America, now grown in various countries including India, sweet potatoes are being hailed as the new super food by dieticians and nutritionists worldwide. Sweet potatoes pack a lot of punch in and beneath their orangey-purplish coats. Scientists believe that they are a store house of essential vitamins and minerals and having at least one every day – preferably roasted - will go a long way in keeping you healthy and fit. Sweet potatoes are a staple on par with rice, wheat, maize etc. in many African countries. Compared to the other staple foods of the world, the content of vitamin A, beta-carotene and sodium is the highest in sweet potatoes. This is one starchy food, which the diabetic can have undaunted. This sweet vegetable can actually stabilize blood sugar levels, if researches are to be believed. An interesting thing about sweet potatoes is that unlike most vegetables, they are grown from slips or cuttings and not seeds.
The Multiple Benefits of the Super food:-
For healthy eyes: A recent research on African children revealed that sweet potatoes meet 35% to 90% requirement of Vitamin A, which promotes eye health.
For building resistance: The iron present in sweet potatoes helps build resistance to stress and assists in proper functioning of the immune system.
For keeping you young: The beta-carotene and other carotenoids present in sweet potatoes lend them anti oxidant properties, which help protect against the effects of ageing.
For a healthy heart: Rich in Vitamin B6, they significantly reduce the risk of cardiovascular ailments. Potassium (337mg/100g) found in sweet potatoes helps in regulating the heartbeat and nerve signals.
For providing energy: A medium-sized sweet potato provides about 24g of carbohydrates. It is also a storehouse of complex carbohydrates, which takes longer to be digested and helps supply the body with energy over a longer period of time. Complex carbohydrates found in sweet potatoes release glucose slowly, which leads to a steady supply of energy.
The low glycaemic index of sweet potatoes is a boon for people with blood sugar. If eaten in moderation, they keep the sugar level in check while helping the diabetic enjoy its other nutritional benefits. Not for nothing is sweet potato being hailed as a super food. Dieticians swear by its blood pressure reducing capacity. It is laden with potassium and magnesium, which play a vital role in maintaining the right level of blood pressure among other things.
Interestingly, sweet potato is known by the name `batata’ in Egypt, while in India’s Maharashtra, white potato is referred as `batata’. In most parts of Northern India, sweet potato is known as shaqarkand. boniato, camote, ubi jalar, satsuma imo, kumara, patata mericana are some other fascinating names by which this superfood is known in different parts of the world.
The names of some of the sweet potato dishes are no less exotic. You can gorge on dishes like Dulce de batata and bubu chacha or you can simply have a gungoguma, roasted sweet potato - have your pick and say yes to a happy and healthy life.