Sweet Potato: The Super Food By Fr. Anselm Adodo, OSB

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sweet potato health benefits

I like to describe the sweet potato as the underrated super food in Nigeria and Africa. A high-calorie starch food, it contains no saturated fats or cholesterol and is a rich source of dietary fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamins, and minerals. Sweet potato’s calorie content mainly comes from starch, a complex carbohydrate.

I have heard many diabetic patients say that they do not eat sweet potato because it is sweet and may raise their sugar levels. Nothing could be further from the truth.

Sweet potato has higher amylose to the amylopectin ratio than that in Irish or white potatoes. Amylose raises the blood sugar levels very slowly, unlike simple fruit sugars (fructose, glucose etc.) and therefore, it is recommended as a healthy food item for diabetics.

I have recommended sweet potatoes for hundreds of diabetic patients with positive results. l repeat: Sweet potatoes do not cause blood sugar spikes. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting, but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes that cause fatigue and weight gain.

Sweet potato is an excellent source of flavonoid phenolic compounds such as beta-carotene, and Vitamin A. These compounds are powerful natural antioxidants. Vitamin A is required for the human body to remain healthy and vibrant. If you want your skin to glow and be without wrinkles, then eat sweet Potatoes regularly. Sweet potatoes also provide a good amount of essential minerals such as iron, calcium, magnesium, manganese, and potassium that are very useful for enzyme, protein, and carbohydrate metabolism.

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The vibrant orange colour of sweet potatoes indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta-carotene and other carotenoids, which are the precursors to vitamin A in the body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity. They are potent antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of ageing.

Some nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes may be easier to achieve if you use steaming or boiling as your cooking method. Recent studies show excellent preservation of the phytochemicals in sweet potatoes with steaming, and several studies comparing boiling to roasting have shown better blood sugar effects with boiling. In other words, it is better to cook your sweet potato than to fry it.

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One part of the sweet potato plant that is often overlooked is the leaves. In fact, the leaves of Sweet potatoes are more nutritious than the tubers. 100 g of fresh leaves of sweet potato carry more iron, vitamin C, folates, vitamin K, and potassium than its tuber. For those who are anaemic, I advise that they blend two handfuls of fresh leaves of sweet potato in one litre of water and drink two glasses daily for five days.

Those suffering from Sickle-cell and low blood level should take potato leaves regularly. You can also dry the leaves and grind into powder. Add two teaspoons of the powdered leaves in a teacup of hot water and allow to infuse for 10-15 minutes, then drink.

Encourage your friends and those you love to follow paxherbals and tap from Nature’s wisdom. The more you share, the more you have.

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