September 17, 2012

Veggie Fact of the Day

Photo Courtesy: Holistically Haute
Sweet Potatoes are the 6th principle food crop in the world with 90% of it being grown in various parts of Asia. Yet, Vardaman, MS claims to be the Sweet Potato Capital of the World :) !! 

Sweet potato remains have been found in South America that date back to 8000 BC. The edible part of the sweet potato is a tuberous root, much like white potatoes, to which it is only distantly related. 

The tuber is rich in carbohydrates, dietary fiber (when eaten with the skin on), and vitamins B6, C and E. The rich orange color of the flesh is due, much like carrots, to a high level of beta-carotene .. a Vitamin A equivalent - and they contain five times the RDA for Vitamin A in one sweet potato. They are also a rich source of copper, manganese, potassium and iron. Sweet potatoes have recently been reclassified as an 'antidiabetic food' i.e. can be consumed by diabetics despite the sugar content.

Sweet potatoes are often called Yams, although mistakenly so, as they are two different vegetables. Sweet potatoes are root tubers and have been used by man since prehistoric times. They are a fall staple and are often found on Thanksgiving tables. Interestingly, sweet potatoes aren't always orange colored but sometimes can be a brilliant purple color, due to anthocyanins. Another interesting fact about sweet potatoes, is that it is important to have some fat with sweet potatoes in order to get the full benefits of beta-carotene, as fat increases its uptake.

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