Sweet potatoes are a favorite food the world over. Historically, they were cultivated in Latin America and used as an important source of starch for Mesoamerican civilizations before European settlement- including the Aztecs.
Today, sweet potatoes are widely consumed throughout North America and Asia- where they're often turned into chips or fries. However, they're also known to be a staple food crop among the Igbo tribe of Nigeria- where they're known as kugba.
One popular variety is the Okinawan sweet potato, which is purple inside and prized for its sweetness. The crop was historically cultivated by imperial decree because of its high nutritional value so that soldiers could have a ready source of energy to draw upon during battle.
What Nutrients Do Sweet Potatoes Have?
Vitamins: sweet potatoes are particularly rich in Vitamin A, being amongst the top natural food source of the vitamin on the planet. It's also one of the few vegetables rich in B-Complex Vitamins like folate and niacin (vitamin B3), and also a generous amount of vitamin C.
Minerals: Sweet potatoes are also rich in Calcium, Iron, Copper, Potassium, Zinc, and Magnesium.
Phytonutrients- Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, alpha-carotene which can help prevent macular degeneration due to its ability to reduce oxidative stress on the retina. It's also known for being a good source of various flavonoids like beta-caryophyllene, ferulic acid, quercetin, and kaempferol which act as powerful antioxidants.
What Can Organic Sweet Potatoes Do For You?
Eye Health- One of the major selling points of sweet potatoes is the presence of high levels of beta-carotene, which reduces oxidative stress on the retina and inhibits free radical activity. This means better preservation of eye health over time, including reducing the risk of age-related macular degeneration.
Gut Health- another important benefit of sweet potatoes is their prebiotic fiber through their high resistant starch content, helping nourish the probiotic cultures residing in our gut. Having adequate levels of gut flora is not just important for regular bowel movements, but can also improve gastrointestinal motility and help reduce constipation. Plus- probiotic bacteria are an integral part of the immune system so it serves you well to ensure they are taken care of.
Diabetes Management- the low GI nature of sweet potatoes means a slow release of sugar into the blood, which is beneficial to people battling diabetes.
Benefits The Cardiovascular System- fiber, potassium, and a high density of anti-oxidant vitamins are extremely beneficial for vascular health and the prevention of thrombotic episodes.