Friday, 21 March 2014


Sweet potato nutrition facts

Sweet potato, not only is just sweet to your taste buds but also good for your cardiovascular health. This starchy root vegetable is rich source of flavonoid anti-oxidants, vitamins, minerals, and dietary fiber that are essential for optimal health.
Botanically, this starch-rich tuber belongs to the family of Convolvulaceae, and named botanically as Ipomoea batatas.
It is grown throughout the tropical and warm temperate regions. The crop requires just sufficient water and attention for their cultivation. The tuberous root features oblong/elongated shape with tapering ends and has smooth outer skin whose color ranges from red, purple, brown, and white, depending up on the variety.

Today, camote (SWEET POTATO) should be part of your diet even if you have more money to buy or prepare expensive dishes. Camote is the world’s healthiest food, this is according to statement of North Atlantic Human Nutrition Research Center on Aging. The (SWEET POTATO) is indeed healthy due to following reasons.

1) Superior fiber content
Sweet potatoes contain almost twice as much fiber as other types of potatoes. Contributing close to 7 grams of fiber per serving, they make an excellent starchy addition to any meal. The high fiber content gives them a "slow burning" quality. This basically means their caloric energy is used more slowly and efficiently than a low-fiber carbohydrate.

2) Good for diabetics. It helps stabilize blood sugar levels by increasing adiponectin, an important factor of insulin metabolism. It has moderate glycemic index of 50.

3) High in dietary fiber and low fat content. Good for the heart and tummy. Fibers help reduce bad cholesterol and ease bowel movement.

4) Deep colored yellow sweet potato contains lutein and beta carotene... antioxidants to prevent rapid aging and maintain good eyesight. Eat yellow camote instead of taking eye supplement.

5) Have lots of essential minerals and vitamins. Manganese, copper, potassium, iron, Vitamin – E, C, B6, B2, and A. It's like a combination of rice and vegetables in a single package. But eating camote repeatedly is boring, have an alternate or try to mix it with other healthy foods.

6) An effective detoxifying agent. It adsorbs heavy metals and take it out of the system. Metals such as lead, arsenic and mercury accumulate in our body due to consumption of commercially processed foods. They should be taken out before harming any tissues.

Other amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes are :

  • Sweet potato is one of the average calorie starch foods (provide just 90 calories/100 g vs. 70 calories/100 g of potato). The tuber, however, contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is rich source of dietary fiber, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals.
  • Its calorie content mainly comes from starch, a complex carbohydrate. Sweet potato has higher amylose to the amylopectin ratio than potato. Amylose raises the blood sugar levels slowly on comparison to simple sugars and therefore, recommended as a healthy food supplement even in diabetes.
  • The tuber is an excellent source of flavonoid phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene and vitamin A (100 g tuber provides 14187 IU of vitamin A and 8509 µg of β-carotene). The value is one of the highest among the root-vegetables categories. These compounds are powerful natural antioxidants. Vitamin A is also required by the body to maintain integrity of healthy mucus membranes and skin. It is a vital nutrient for acuity of vision. Consumption of natural vegetables and fruits rich in flavonoids helps to protect from lung and oral cavity cancers.
  • The total antioxidant strength of raw sweet potato measured in terms of oxygen radical absorbance capacity (ORAC) is 902 µmol TE/100 g.
  • The tubers are packed with many essential vitamins such as pantothenic acid (vitamin B-5), pyridoxine(vitamin B-6), and thiamin (vitamin B-1), niacin, and riboflavin. These vitamins are essential in the sense that body requires them from external sources to replenish. These vitamins function as co-factors for various enzymes during metabolism.
  • Sweet potato provides a good amount of vital minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium that are very essential for enzyme, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.
  • Sweet potato leaves are indeed more nutritious than the tuber itself. Weight per weight, 100 g of fresh leaves contain more iron, vitamin C, folates, vitamin K, and potassium but less sodium than the tuber.

Selection and storage

sweet potatoes in a market
Sweet potatoes in a market.
Although sweet potato leaves are being eaten in some parts of the world, the root that is the toast of sweet potato lovers. In the store, buy fresh tubers with intact smooth skin and firm to woody consistency. Go for organic varieties for best taste and nutrition levels.
Avoid soft, flabby, or wilted roots. As in potatoes, sprouting would make them lose flavor and less desirable.
Wash them in clean running water to remove sand and soil. They should be stored in a cool, dark, and well-ventilated place.

Preparation and serving methods

To prepare, wash the root in cold water. It can be eaten raw with skin. However, for baking preparations, its skin may be peeled off before or after cooked.
sweet potato piesweet potato soup
Sweet potato pie!
Photo courtesy: andycoan
Delicious sweet potato soup.
Photo courtesy: exfordy
Here are some serving tips:
  • Fresh sweet potatoes can be eaten raw.
  • Baking in water with a pinch of salt would give rich taste to them. Peel the skin before eating.
  • Camote, sweet potato known in the Latin world, is used extensively in the Mexican cuisine.
  • Camote cue, where in the tuber deep-fried and caramelized with brown sugar, is a popular street food in the Philippines.
  • It sweet flesh used in soups, curries, stews, and in confectionary to make cakes, pie...etc.
  • The tuber also used to prepare different kinds of baby foods.
  • Sweet potato chips are enjoyed as favorite snacks.

Safety profile

Sweet potatoes contain oxalic acid, a naturally occurring substance found in some vegetables that may crystallize as oxalate stones in the urinary tract in some people.
It is, therefore, individuals with known history of oxalate urinary tract stones may have to avoid eating them. Adequate intake of water is therefore advised to maintain normal urine output in these individuals to minimize stone risk. (Medical disclaimer).

What do you think? send in your comments and share this vital health tips with your friends and family members ..

Source: Healthy living US, Nutrition and you.