All fruits and vegetables have particular times of the year when they are at their peak. As a matter of fact, in Nigeria, rarely would you see a fruit out of season on display in the markets – for the reason of unavailability. In the case of sweet potatoes, not only are they readily available and delicious, they have many benefits for your health.
Sweet Potatoes are tuberous crops with the scientific name Ipomoea Batatas. In Nigeria, sweet potatoes are kind of house hold tubers, quite cheap, and readily available most of the year round. It is tropical herbaceous plant which, by the nature of its temperature requirement, can be grown throughout the country. In fact, Nigeria is the third largest producer of sweet potato in the world after China and Tanzania. The colour of the tuber varies from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate, and available minerals.
According to Dr. Joseph Mercola, renowned nutritionist, when consumed in moderation, sweet potatoes can provide a rich concentration of nutrients. They are soothing for the stomach and intestines, so you can avoid any difficulties of digesting them. They are some of the simplest foods to cook and incredibly versatile. You can roast them, steam, bake or grill them. You can as well add them to stews, soups, salads, and even desserts.
Sweet Potato benefits for skin
According to Dr. Josh Axe, an expert nutritionist, eating sweet potatoes can greatly enhance the health of your skin due to the high content of beta-carotene, which helps convert vitamin A in your body that triggers DNA responsible to produce new skin cells. Ever wondered why most of your skincare products have retinoic acid and retinol in them? As your body makes new cells, your old skin is sloughed off and you end up with a vibrant sheen that is more resistant to chemicals and damage.
Sweet potatoes can help manage stress levels
Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for normal body functioning. One of the most important benefits of magnesium is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that an increase in magnesium deficiency in modern diets has resulted in a significant increase in the cases of depression reported across the world.
Good source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A is critical but deficient in most diets in Sub-Saharan Africa. Sweet potatoes are one of the best sources of vitamin A; a large one contains more than 100 percent of the daily recommended intake, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. Vitamin A is an antioxidant powerhouse, and is linked to anti-ageing benefits. Lack of vitamin A deteriorates the outside segment of photoreceptor which eventually breaks normal vision.
Being very rich in beta-carotene, which is a major antioxidant, along with vitamin C and B complex vitamins, iron, and phosphorus, sweet potatoes are excellent immune system boosters that can defend your body from a wide variety of conditions and afflictions.
Lowers blood pressure
Sweet potatoes contain two of the most important minerals that help lowering blood pressure these are potassium and magnesium. The high fibre content of sweet potato also is heart healthy. The potassium which helps to maintain Sodium Potassium ratio in the body is one of the key contributors to lowering the blood pressure of the people who consume more salt on a daily basis.
Source of Energy
Sweet potatoes contain important mineral, such as iron and magnesium that can increase our energy to do activities. Iron stimulates the production of red blood cells for our body so that we will not easily get tired. Iron can increase the oxygen distribution to our body.
Inflammation: Choline, present in sweet potatoes is a very important and versatile nutrient; it helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as mopping up free radicals.
A good source of vitamin C
While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It also helps accelerate wound healing.