The orange-fleshed sweet
potato is high in carotenes
compounds, and is an ideal
food for dieters to ward off
Sweet potatoes have a creamy texture and a sweet, slightly spicy flavor. There are two varieties, one with white-cream flesh—also called yams—and the other with orange flesh. The orange variety contains the most nutrients and is the variety referred to here. Sweet potatoes are richer in nutrients than potatoes and lower on the glycemic index, and so are of benefit for diabetics and dieters and for regulating blood sugar levels. They also contain plant sterols and pectin that can help lower “bad” blood cholesterol. They are extremely high in beta-carotene as well as being an excellent source of vitamin E, magnesium, and selenium.
- Carotenes have strong anticancer action.
- Sterols and pectin content help reduce “bad” cholesterol.
- Low glycemic index—good for dieters.
- Antioxidants and vitamin E help improve skin conditions.
- High potassium content helps regulate body fluids and prevent fluid retention.
Sweet potatoes can be substituted for normal potatoes in many recipes but, unlike potatoes, their skins are often waxed or treated with chemicals and are therefore not always suitable for eating. They can be added to curries, pasta, casseroles, and soup, or roasted, mashed with oil, and baked, halved, and served drizzled with oil. The addition of oil helps carotene absorption.
DID YOU KNOW?
Research has found that sweet potatoes are one of the oldest foods in the world, existing since prehistoric times. They contain naturally occurring substances that can crystallize, and people with kidney or gall bladder problems may be advised not to eat them.