Sweet potatoes are native to Central America and are one of the oldest vegetables known to man. It is documented that they may have been consumed since prehistoric times as sweet potato relics have been discovered in some Peruvian caves. Christopher Columbus first brought sweet potatoes to Europe after his first voyage to the New World in 1492.
6 Reasons To Eat Sweet Potatoes
1. They are Versatile. They have a creamy texture with a sweet, warm and a little spicy flavour makes them ideal for savoury dishes. However, they are also great in cakes, cookies, smoothies and even to make ice-cream.
2. They are a vegetable that is readily available, inexpensive, and delicious. Although peak season for sweet potatoes is October to March, they can be found throughout the year. Depending upon the variety, there are around 400 different ones, the skin and flesh of the sweet potato may be almost white, cream, yellow, orange, pink, or deep purple. The Japanese and Korean white/cream and American yellow-orange flesh are most common.
3. Sweet potatoes nutrient dense and healing. Their properties and uses are diverse, and when you choose sweet potatoes as a dietary root vegetable, you are getting a truly unique and superior type of potato. Some of the benefits include; B6, Vitmin C, beta-carotene, some iron and magnesium
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4. Another interesting thing about sweet potatoes is the antioxidant capacity of all their parts. Recent research has shown differences in consuming the flesh versus skin of the sweet potato. Both producing different concentrations of anthocyanin antioxidants. Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes (when you can find them- Asia has them fairly regularly) are a fantastic source of anthocyanins as the darker and more vibrant the colour of a vegetable the more antioxidants they contain. In one study, the antioxidant activity in purple sweet potatoes was seen to be up to 3 times higher than that of blueberries.
5. Since they are not actually a potato they are also not in the deadly nightshade family so actually have a healing effect on your digestive system rather than an irritating one. The fibre in the sweet potato actually feed the bacteria and are classed as ferment-able. Thus creating a more balanced bacterial environment in your digestive system. This gives not only a digestive healing effect, but an immune boosting one too.
6. All kids love sweet potato– it is a great first food and is great in the lunch boxes cold as it is as hot chips at dinner time. Simple way to get some amazing nutrients into kids without too many arguments. Try them in smoothies, juices and soups for a smooth creamy consistency and natural sweetness.
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