Tuesday, October 07, 2014

Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, manganese, fiber, B vitamins, potassium and even iron. It also contains Beta Carotene which conbverts to Vitamin A. In fact, Whole Foods considers sweet potatoes one of the healthiest vegetables we eat. A
medium sized sweet potato contains more than your daily requirement of vitamin A, nearly a third the vitamin C you need, almost 15 percent of your daily dietary fiber intake and 10 percent of the necessary potassium. Sweet potatoes may even protect cigarette smokers and those who live with them from emphysema by virtue of its vitamin A, as cigarette smoke creates a deficiency of this vitamin.  Antioxidants abound in sweet potatoes, which also have anti-inflammatory properties. The beta-carotene and vitamin C in these tubers work together to rid the body of cancer-friendly free radicals. Free radicals are necessary for some biological functions, including vascular tone control. However, free radicals can also cause damage in reactions with DNA, and antioxidants work to lessen and then repair damage caused by these free radical exchanges. Vitamins A and C are also anti-inflammatory, making sweet potatoes an excellent food for those suffering from either form of arthritis or asthma.  Diabetics can eat sweet potatoes without worry as these tubers have a low glycemic index. The glycemic index of a food reflects the food's effects on a person's blood glucose level. Fast glucose absorption, a rise in blood sugar and its resulting dive happens with high-glycemic foods and is not desirable. It's better for the body to slowly absorb any gluclose, sustain a moderate rise in sugar levels and experience a gradual return to the regular level. Since white potatoes, rice and flour have a high glycemic rating, diabetics will benefit from eating sweet potatoes instead. Choose organically-grown sweet potatoes whenever possible and eat them with their skin, which contains nutrients. Conventionally-grown sweet potatoes are often treated post-harvest and should be peeled before eating. Organically grown sweet potatoes are free from the harmful effects of chemical fertilizers, pesticides and inorganic sprays. Consider growing your own sweet potatoes if you have a garden plot or even large containers for small-space food growing. 

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Copyright 2015 Judie C. McMath and The Center for Unhindered Living

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