Botanical name: Ipomoea batatas Poir.
Other names: Kumara, Batata, Camore.
Sweet potato is the tuber of the sweet potato plant, Ipomoea batatas Poir., a herbaceous and perennial plant of the botanical family Convolvulaceae. The Spaniards where said to have introduced it to Europe from where it spread to other parts of the world. Today, sweet potato is eaten and cultivated in large amounts in many parts of the world.
Properties of Sweet potato
Below are some of the constituents of sweet potato:
● Sweet potato contains carbohydrates in large amounts, representing about 21% of its total content. These carbohydrates are in form of sugars, primarily saccharose, and starch.
● Even though sweet potato is very rich in carbohydrates, it contains very few amounts of fats and proteins.
● However, sweet potato contains rich amounts of pro-vitamin A (beta-carotene), mainly in the more yellow varieties of sweet potato.
● Sweet potato also contains fiber in reasonable amounts, in form of cellulose. The presence of this fiber is responsible for the soothing effect of sweet potato.
Health benefits / medicinal uses of sweet potato
The highly nutritious content of sweet potato accounts for most of its medicinal properties. Below are some of its indications:
● Circulatory disorders and Arteriosclerosis
The richness of sweet potato in beta-carotene makes them highly recommended in cases of circulatory disorders. Moreover, sweet potato contains no saturated fats as well as sodium, the two most deadly enemies of the circulatory system. Thus, the regular consumption of sweet potato is recommended in cases of:
► Poor blood circulation
Controversial as it may seem, but it is a mere fact that the consumption of sweet potato helps a great deal in cases of obesity. Thanks to its property in providing a great feeling of satiety. With just the consumption of a small quantity of sweet potato, a great sensation of satiety is experienced, and can relieve hunger for several hours.
Even though the consumption of sweet potato is recommended in cases of obesity, it is still advised to regulate the amount of calories you take from it, so as not to exceed the daily recommended caloric intake.
● Energy need
The consumption of sweet potato is greatly beneficial in cases where the need for a great amount of energy is needed. The consumption of sweet potato may be two to three
times a week can be beneficial for:
► The athletes
► those involved in intense physical activities
► Those just regaining health from debilitating diseases.