Sweet potatoes are one of the most common energy-giving foods that people have today. They are usually eaten for breakfast or as snacks for energy.
Their scientific name is Ipomoea batatas. The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant which belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. Read on to find out about the health benefits and simple recipes for sweet potatoes.
One health benefit of eating sweet potatoes is vitamin A. This vitamin promotes vision, skin and mucus membrane integrity. Another “superior ability” of the potato is to improve blood levels of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes were found to have between 100 to 1,600 micrograms of vitamin A, which is seen as capable of meeting 35 percent of all vitamin A needs.
Another health benefit of sweet potatoes is vitamin C. Vitamin C raises the body’s immune system function, protecting it from infections and illnesses. Moreover, vitamin C improves the function of collagen, a cement-acting substance that helps bind loosely connected cells and tissues. It helps delay the signs of skin aging, such as fine lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps to speed up wound healing and it plays a vital role in blood cell formation, bone and tooth formation, and digestion. What is more, this vitamin also helps protect the body from toxins that may lead to cancer.
Besides the word “sweet,” it ironically helps manage diabetes mellitus. Sweet potatoes have low glycemic index and they help lower episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with the disorder. The natural sugars in sweet potatoes are slowly released into the bloodstream, preventing sugar spikes associated with weight gain.
Moreover, sweet potatoes contain fiber, which helps lower blood sugar and blood cholesterol. Fiber also helps the body to get rid of unwanted agents like toxins and free radicals. In addition, it also adds roughage and bulk to stools, facilitating better elimination and preventing digestive problems like constipation, hemorrhoids, and diverticulitis. One medium-sized sweet potato contains six grams of fiber.
Sweet Potatoes Soup
One healthy recipe that uses sweet potatoes as ingredients is Curried Carrot, Sweet Potato,and Ginger Soup. To make this soup you need three cups of half-inch cubed peeled sweet potato, one cup and a half of one-fourth inch sliced peeled carrots, one tablespoon of grated ginger, two tablespoons of curry powder, three cups fat-free and low-sodium chicken broth, two teaspoons of canola oil, half a cup of chopped shallots, and half a teaspoon of salt.
To prepare this recipe, you need to heat oil in a large saucepan on medium-high heat. Next, add the shallots and saute them for three minutes or until they become tender. Then, add the carrots, potato, ginger, and curry and cook this for two minutes. Once done, add the broth and bring it to a boil. Cover the broth, reduce the heat, and then simmer for 25 minutes or until the vegetables become tender. Add some salt. Pour half of the soup in a food processor and pulse it until it becomes smooth. Repeat the procedure with the remaining soup.
With its health benefits, sweet potato is considered as very healthy. Thus, you can easily add it to various meal menus for families and friends.