Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw but according to research its nutrition value increases just after cooking. They tend to lose some of its nutrition value after cutting from their vines. Hence, it is recommended that they should be consumed fresh.
The fresh sweet potatoes aka yams are the ones which is dark in colour. After they are being plucked from the vines with time the colour fades away. Hence nutritionist also asks us to consume it as fresh as possible.
Otherwise, it might lose some nutrition and won’t be beneficial health wise. There are two things one should keep in mind while choosing sweet potatoes. If it is soft and has wild roots one should avoid it. If it is as hard as wood probably the iron content is more and it won’t taste good.
Sweet potatoes have got an enzyme inhibitor that stops trypsin enzymes from digesting proteins. The higher the protein the higher is the number of the inhibitors which is broken down while cooking. Although sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, it is advisable to boil or steam it before consuming.
Sweet Potatoes were first discovered in 750 BC. They are packed with beta- carotene which our body converts it into vitamin A. Vitamin A is very important for our body, it is a fat-soluble vitamin and increases our body immunity. It also helps us to keep our eyes and skin healthy. They are rich in anti-oxidants and lowers the health hazards related to the heavy metals and free radicals that moves through our digestive tracks. They are anti inflammatory in nature and hence are used to treat arthritis.
There are several benefits of sweet potatoes some of them are listed below: –
- Starch content is high and no saturated fats or cholesterol. It also contains high level of many nutrients such as fibre, anti-oxidants, vitamins and minerals.
- It is packed with carotene which our body converts into vitamin A. It helps to keep our eyes and skin healthy.
- Raw Sweet Potatoes also contains B5, B6, B1, niacin, and riboflavin that helps in metabolic processes.
- Minerals that are present in sweet potatoes helps in preventing lung and oral cavity cancer.
- It contains several minerals that helps in breaking down of carbs, manganese and proteins which are magnesium, manganese and potassium.
- Although it contains sugar but it raises the level of blood sugar at a lower rate. Hence, it highly useful for diabetic people.
- The leaves of the sweet potatoes are very rich in iron, folates, potassium and vitamin C and K. It also has a lower salt rate.
Sweet potatoes vary from different colours which includes orange, purple, pink, tan and cream. They take 2-9 months to mature and are found all year round. They cannot tolerate extremes of climate like frost or drought. It is generally 4 inches long to 2 inches wide. The orange version of sweet potatoes is called yam in south-eastern United States.
Sweet potatoes are underground tubers that are delicious and full of nutrients. Their botanical name is Ipomoea batatas, and they are from the morning glory family. They are rich in carbohydrates which make up 53% of the root vegetables, according to the health line (2019). Also, they are composed of various vitamins, potassium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium, zinc, and fiber that make them essential in the human diet.
This kind of potatoes can be prepared in different ways like steaming, boiling, frying, and baking them. They come in a variety of colors, with white, yellow, and orange being the most common ones. Other colors are Violet, pink, red, and purple.
Sweet Potato Varieties
According to the Food Crops Research Institute, there are numerous varieties of sweet potatoes that function both as food and animal feeds. For instance, they say that the KARLO orange variety is purposes for boosting human health, generating income, and for commercial reasons.
Another variety is the ken spot one which is yellow in color and matures in 5-7 months. The ken spot 2, on the other hand, takes the same time to mature, only that it’s white in color. They add that the ken spots 3,4 and five have the same properties and are orange in color with a maturing span of 5-7 months as well. The finish with the vital, kabode, and Muganda varieties which are all orange in color and mature within 5 months. They vary in size and weight.
However, according to Earnest and Wolfe, sweet potato varieties are above 400 and are created according to personal choice. Some of the most popular varieties include:
. Beauregard: They give a substantial yield and are disease resistant.
. Garnet: They have a dark orange-red cover and are bright purple on the inside. They are most compared to Beauregard and a good choice for baking.
. Okinawan: Came from Japan, Okinawa and had a beige cover and a lavender purple on the inside. Comes with a creamy texture.
. Georgia jet: They do well on the northern sides and take three months to mature. They are also orange in color.
. Bunch Potato Rico: They can grow in a small section, good for baking, take three to four months to mature, and are salmon-colored on the inside.
. Japanese: Originally from Japan, this sweet potato variety has a deep flavor making it good for making dishes. It’s white on the inside but turns yellow after cooking.
. Stokes is also good at making dishes like fries and pie. It’s also purple in color both on the inside and the cover. Hannah, Jewel, and heart of gold are some of the other popular varieties.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Because of their creamy and soft nature, sweet potatoes are usually incorporated in meals like pies, in baking, and even consumed as a dessert. They come in different colors, which bears different nutrients like vitamin A in the orange sweet potatoes attributed to perfecting eyesight. Adding it as part of your meal can be beneficial to your health, and here is why:
1. Source of Vitamin A
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin A to the human body. This is attributed to the presence of beta carotene, which is converted to Vitamin A ones in the liver. Vitamin A helps in promoting good sight and keeping infections at bay.
2. Lowering Stress
Sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium which is known to provide mental stability by reducing anxiety levels. As per studies conducted around this, the lack thereof of magnesium in the human-type diet is playing a huge part in the reported cases of depression around the globe.
Besides, there’s a link between lacking sleep and magnesium. Lack of sleep is also a common factor in stress, anxiety, and depression.
3. Diabetes Management
Despite being rich in carbohydrates, all sweet potato varieties can be claimed by diabetic people. It is because they are known for their anti-oxidant properties, minerals, and nutrients that are beneficial to the diabetic.
They are also rated low when it comes to the glycemic index, which means there’s controlled release of sugar to the bloodstream, which helps bring a balance in the blood sugar. Besides, sweet potatoes like the Beauregard are rich in fibers which are good when it comes to managing diabetes.
You can eat them raw but may not taste as good.