Sweet Potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) aka: Kumara, Louisiana Yam, Yellow Yam, and Yam (though not to be confused with actual yams), are an oval shaped root of many colors and kinds. Typically having a thin brown skin, the flesh can be white, yellow, and most commonly, orange.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- Protection Against Heart Disease
- Alleviation of Cardiovascular Disease
- Alleviation of Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Osteoporosis Protection
- Stroke Prevention
- Reduced Risk of Type II Diabetes
- Reduced Frequency of Migraine Headaches
- Alleviation of Premenstrual Syndrome (PMS)
- Antioxidant Protection
- Prevention of Epileptic Seizures
- Prevention of Alopecia (Spot Baldness) Sweet potatoes do not spike your blood sugar, unlike white or "Irish" potatoes, and in fact, may help regulate insulin and blood sugar levels. As such, sweet potatoes are more filling and will not increase type II diabetes risk. Sweet potatoes also have antibacterial and fungicidal properties.
*Some of these health benefits are due to the nutrients highly concentrated in Sweet Potatoes, and may not necessarily be related to Sweet Potatoes.
How to choose Sweet Potatoes
You want to pick sweet potatoes with a smooth outer skin that are hard to the touch. Watch out for any wrinkling, as this is a sign of aging. Also, give the potato a good smell. Really fresh sweet potatoes will smell like the earth, or like a root you just dug out of the ground, these are the kind you want to buy!
Climate and origin
First cultivated in Peru, sweet potatoes thrive in tropical climates with lots of rain and are grown worldwide.
Taste depends on variety and preparation. White sweet potatoes impart a nutty taste and flour-y texture. Yellow and orange sweet potatoes will be moist and sweet, becoming sweeter the longer your cook them and let the sugars caramelize. Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw and tend to taste like a starchy carrot.
Substitutes with more vitamins
Sweet potatoes are actually unrelated to white or "Irish" potatoes and come from the Binweed, or Morning Glory, family. Cultivated for centuries in medieval times the sweet potato was thought to be an aphrodisiac, however, results of this claim are varied.
Similar tasting produce
Natural vitamins, minerals, and nutrients found in Sweet Potatoes + Complete Nutrition FactsCarbohydrates | Vitamin B1 (Thiamin) | Vitamin B5 (Pantothenic Acid) | Vitamin B6 | Dietary Fiber | Magnesium | Phosphorus | Manganese | Potassium | Copper | Click here to compare these nutrition facts with other vegetables.
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