Sweet Potato – The New Food for Longevity

By: Dr. Alwyn Wong | Healthy Eating | Monday, December 31, 2012 - 10:11 AM

feel youngerConsuming lots of fruits and vegetables in our diets is important for good health and we shouldn’t overlook the sweet potato.   Many fruits and vegetables are known as “super foods”.  Super foods have a significantly higher nutritional value than most foods and provide various health benefits.  Sweet potatoes are a fantastic super food, not only providing sweetness into our diets, but providing numerous health benefits as well.

Sweet Potatoes in Diets

Sweet potatoes are low in sodium and low in saturated fats and cholesterol.  They are also high in dietary fibre, vitamin B6, potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C and manganese.  According to www.nutritiondata.self.com, 200g of sweet potato contain 180 calories, with only 3 calories coming from fat.  In the search for optimal health, adding sweet potatoes as well as other fruits and vegetables that are super foods into our diets is a logical first step.

Sweet potatoes have a number of components that make them such a great super food, including:

  1. Antioxidants – sweet potatoes, like many fruits and vegetables, are packed with antioxidants.  Sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A, with one medium sweet potato providing the recommended daily allowance of this vitamin.  Vitamin A helps to prevent certain types of cancer and also helps to protect your skin from sun damage.  It is also important for eye health, and may help to protect vision loss and macular degeneration.  Sweet potatoes are also rich in Vitamin C and E which help with disease prevention.
  2. Vitamin A, Vitamin C and Vitamin E all help to maintain a beautiful complexion and gorgeous hair. In addition to Vitamin A, Vitamin C and E, purple-fleshed sweet potatoes also contain cyanidins and peonidins.  These two antioxidants may help to lower the potential risk
    of heavy metals and oxygen radicals as they pass through the digestive tract.
  3. Anti-inflammatory agents – sweet potatoes contain phytonutrients that help to reduce inflammation in the body.  These phytonutrients may also have a positive impact of fibrinogen which is a glycoprotein that is required for blood clotting in the body.

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  1. Manganese – consumption of sweet potatoes in our diets helps to improve blood sugar regulation, even in people that have Type II diabetes.  This is the result of the high level of manganese that is found in sweet potatoes.  Manganese also helps to generate energy and helps the body to utilize antioxidants.
  2. Fibre – sweet potatoes have a high fibre content which will help to satisfy your hunger and the energy you get from eating a sweet potato is used more slowly than low-fibre food options.
  3. Vitamin B6 and Potassium – the high content of Vitamin B6 helps to keep blood vessels healthy and unclogged, allowing blood to flow easily through them.  The potassium that is found in sweet potatoes helps to play a role in lowering blood pressure and helps to rid the body of un-needed sodium which helps to regulate fluid balance in the body.  Potassium is also important for regulating a normal heart rhythm, and helps to maintain brain and nervous system function.

Adding Sweet Potatoes to Our Diets

A simple way to add this super food into our diets is to replace regular potatoes with sweet potatoes.  Sweet potatoes can be substituted in most potato recipes and you may find that you end up preferring this nutrient rich potato to your regular choice. Adding sweet baked potatoes into our diets instead of baked white potatoes is simple.  The sweetness of the sweet potato may allow us to skip seasoning it with butter and sugar.  This will lead to decreased calories in our diets from fat and sugars.  Try adding this delicious super food to your diet, you’re sure to love it.

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