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Health food of the month - Sweet Potatoes

March 2011
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Diet & Supplements Index
Sweet potatoes weren’t nearly so readily available when we were kids, and for many retired people today, they are still not an everyday ingredient. But they are not only incredibly versatile and delicious, sweet potatoes also contain some great nutrients.
Their botanical name is Ipomoea Batatas and they are actually the root of a vine (part of the morning glory family) and native to south America. Their history can be traced back to at least 750BC in Peru.

They reached America well before Europe and sweet potatoes have been a top favourite in the southern US states for a long time and are especially associated with their Thanksgiving celebrations.

sweet potatoesOne quick word of caution, some people think sweet potatoes and yams are the same thing but they are actually two different vegetables.

Along with their lovely taste, it is the goodness in a sweet potato that can be very appealing. They contain those wonderful anti-oxidant properties that can help fight those dreaded free radicals linked to many chronic illnesses.

Their orange flesh gives good indication that they are also a good source of beta-carotene, and recent studies have shown sweet potatoes have an excellent ability to raise our levels of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are also very good sources of iron, calcium and fibre.

It is important not to overcook sweet potatoes, when much of the goodness can be lost. Cut into small chunks and steaming them for about seven minutes is recommended as the best way to enjoy their unique flavor and also maintain maximum benefit from their really beneficial nutrients.


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