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| By Dr. Robert Cordell. (http://www.ncsweetpotatoes.com/cordell.htm) |
What would you do to reduce your risk of stroke, heart disease, and cancer? You could do one simple thing that could provide protection from these diseases. Eat more sweet potatoes.
This modest root vegetable is often overlooked and underrated. But if you''re interested in living a longer, healthier life, consider following the example of the people of Okinawa, Japan. These people have the longest disability-free life expectancy in the world and have the highest percentage of centenarians anywhere. They are physically active, do not smoke, and eat seven servings of vegetables and grains daily and sweet potatoes are prominent in their diet. A Sweet Potato a Day Keeps the Doctor Away
An endorsement of sweet potatoes as a nutritious food helpful in the prevention of disease comes from the North Carolina Stroke Association, American Cancer Society, and the American Heart Association. And they''re not the only ones noticing the attributes of sweet potatoes.
In 1992, the Center for Science in the Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to all other vegetables. Considering fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A and C, iron, and calcium, the sweet potato ranked highest in nutritional value. According to these criteria, sweet potatoes earned 184 points, 100 points over the next on the list, the white potato. The Center strongly recommends eating more sweet potatoes since a nutritious diet is one that is high in fiber, provides many nutrients, is rich in complex carbohydrates, and is low in fat.
Antioxidants are essential for good brain functioning and in delay in the effects of aging on the brain. A low level of vitamin E has been linked with memory loss. A Columbia University study showed a delay of about seven months in the progression of Alzheimer''s disease when subjects consumed high levels of vitamin E. This fat-soluble vitamin is found mainly in high-fat foods such as oils, nuts, and avocados. Only the sweet potato provides vitamin E without the fat and calories.
Sweet potatoes contain 30 mg (50,000 IU) of beta-carotene (vitamin A) in one cup, which is four times the USRDA. You would have to eat 23 cups of broccoli to consume the same amount of beta-carotene. Health professionals believe that carotenoids give protection from the formation of free radicals and are chemoprotective against cancer.
The Finnish study of 10,000 smokers, reviewed in the New England Journal of Medicine in 1994, tested the effects of taking beta-carotene supplements to prevent lung cancer. It was based on the earlier finding that individuals who have higher blood levels of beta-carotene have a lower incidence of lung cancer. To the researchers'' horror, those who took the supplements actually had a higher rate of lung cancer and the study was discontinued. Researchers concluded that beta-carotene has a protective effect only when consumed in food, the original and best source. The nutrient-packed sweet potato is the richest source of this protective substance.
Low Glycemic Index
Excellent Source of Potassium
"A more frequent part of our regular diet"
Naturally low in calories and high in nutritional value, the sweet potato is Mother Nature''s best work.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes: