Nine reasons to eat more sweet potatoes
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Ipomoea batatas is native to the tropical regions in America. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, I. batatas is the only crop plant of major importance—some others are used locally, but many are poisonous. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and does not belong to the nightshade family.
The genus Ipomoea that contains the sweet potato also includes several garden flowers called morning glories, though that term is not usually extended to Ipomoea batatas. Some cultivars of Ipomoea batatas are grown as ornamental plants; the name “tuberous morning glory” may be used in a horticultural context.
The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sized sympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato varieties with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.
In certain parts of the world, sweet potatoes are locally known by other names. In New Zealand English, the Māori term kūmara (also spelled kūmera) is commonly used. Although the soft, orange sweet potato is often called a “yam” in parts of North America, the sweet potato is botanically very distinct from a genuine yam (Dioscorea), which is native to Africa and Asia and belongs to the monocot family Dioscoreaceae. To add to the confusion, a different crop plant, the oca, Oxalis tuberosa (a species of woodbind), is called a “yam” in many parts of Polynesia, including New Zealand. To prevent confusion, the United States Department of Agriculture requires sweet potatoes labeled as “yams” to also be labeled as “sweet potatoes”. The sweet potato is North Carolina’s state vegetable.
(NaturalNews) Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrition. They are a great source of minerals such as manganese, folate, copper, and iron. The darker-colored variety is a great source of carotenes (precursor of vitamin A), vitamins C, B2, B6, E and biotin. Sweet potatoes are also a fantastic source of dietary fiber. Here are nine reasons you should be eating more sweet potatoes:
Nine Reasons Why You Should Eat Sweet Potatoes
1. Sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants, which work in the body to prevent inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, and many more.
2. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of carbohydrates for those with blood sugar problems. These fibrous root vegetables can help regulate blood sugar levels and prevent conditions like insulin resistance.
3. Sweet potatoes are healthy for the digestive tract. Being rich in digestive fiber, especially when the skin is also consumed, it helps to relieve constipation and may prevent colon cancer.
4. Sweet potatoes are good for those who are pregnant or trying to conceive because they are high in folate, which is essential for the healthy development of fetal cell and tissue.
5. Packed with important vitamins and other nutrients, eating sweet potatoes can boost immunity by supporting the needs of the body.
6. Sweet potatoes are good for preventing heart disease. High in potassium, sweet potatoes can help prevent the onset of heart attack and stroke. Potassium also helps to maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body, which is important for stabilizing blood pressure and regulating heart function.
7. Sweet potatoes are good for alleviating muscle cramps. Potassium deficiencies are a leading cause of muscle cramps, as well injuries. By making sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet (along with proper exercise), you can expect an energy boost and fewer muscle cramps and injuries.
8. Sweet potatoes are good for treating stress-related symptoms. The body tends to use a lot of potassium and other important minerals when it is under stress. Sweet potatoes provide important minerals that will help maintain balance throughout the body during times of stress.
9. Sweet potatoes ranked number one in nutrition out of all vegetables by the Center for Science in the Public Interest because they are such a rich source of dietary fiber, natural sugars, complex carbohydrates, protein, carotenoids, vitamin C, iron and calcium.