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All-Star of the Day: Sweet Potatoes

Posted Nov 13 2009 10:02pm

The potato’s more exotic counterpart has taken a backseat for a while, but after knowing its secrets, I’m sure you’ll agree it deserves the spotlight.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamins A and C, two antioxidants that help prevent cells from damage that often leads to cancers and other mutations. Vitamin C also has anti-inflammatory properties, making it particularly helpful in decreasing risks of arthritis and cardiovascular disease.

Vitamin A is particularly helpful in maintaining our respiratory system in order. The latest research indicates that the cells lining the lungs of people with low intakes of vitamin A lose the ability to battle disease-causing microorganisms.

Smokers – pay special attention! A chemical in cigarettes known as benzapyrene has been linked to vitamin A deficiency, thus leaving lungs and bronchii especially vulnerable. Although everyone needs vitamin A, smokers in particular need to monitor their intake.

A medium sweet potato only packs 100 calories, but provides 438% of our vitamin A and 37% of our vitamin A needs and, when eaten with its skin, 5 grams of fiber (15% of the recommended daily amount). And, by contributing 18% of the daily potassium we need and practically no sodium, it is definitely a vegetable to have in your “anti-hypertension” arsenal.

To clarify some confusion, the terms “yam” and “sweet potato” are (incorrectly) interchanged. Many grocery stores refer to sweet potatoes as yams. A real yam looks has a rough exterior and, insider, is white and very starchy.

Baked sweet potatoes with a little olive oil and salt (or cinnamon if you want to bring out its sweetness) are quick, delicious snacks.

For a sinless treat, cut a sweet potato into thin wedges, drizzle with olive oil, flavor with salt and pepper, toss on a cookie sheet and heat in the oven at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

Prepare to taste just how sweet healthy eating can get!

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No CommentsAll-Star of the Day, antioxidants, fiber, hypertension, sweet potatoes, vitamin A, vitamin C

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