Health Benefits Of Sweet Potato and Leaves

Potato Roots and TubersThe edible root tuber is long and tapered, with smooth skin, and colors ranging between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. The health benefits of the sweet potato and its leaves have been touted as having high nutritional benefits.

The plant was most likely spread by local people to the Caribbean, and South America by 2500 BCE

Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, It has large, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous roots that are used as a root vegetable. The young shoots and leaves are sometimes eaten as greens.

What Is Sweet Potato

A native of the tropical regions of the Americas, sweet potato is a species of approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of Convolvulaceae, and Ipomoea batatas.

The sweet potato plant is a herbaceous vine that can live for more than two years, bearing alternate triangular-shaped or palmately lobed leaves
and medium-sized fused petals.

The stems crawl on the ground and form roots from any non-root tissue. The leaves grow along the stems from leaf stalks about 5 to 20 inches long.

The leaf blades have characteristics of changing and are about 5 to 13 cm (2.0 to 5.1in) long., They sometimes display a heart-, kidney, egg-shaped, rounded or triangular, and spear-shaped.,

The edge-shaped leaves can be entire, toothed, or often three to seven times lobed, cut, or divided. Most of the leaf surfaces are bare, rarely hairy, and the tip is rounded to pointed.

The leaves are mostly green but are sometimes darker depending on the variety. The stem can grow to a total length of anywhere between 0.5 and 4 meters. Some cultivars also form shoots up to 16

The hermaphroditic plant, has five-fold, short-stalked flowers that can bloom as single or multiple that arise from the leaf axils and stand upright. Some varieties rarely or never produce flowers. The flowers open before sunrise and stay open for a few hours. They close again in the morning and begin to wither.Plant Variety

The edible root tuber is long and tapered, with smooth skin, and colors ranging between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige.

Its flesh ranges from beige to white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potatoes can be cultivated in varieties with white or pale yellow flesh that are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink, or orange flesh.

Nutritional Values Of Sweet Potato

Baked sweet potato is 76% water, 21% carbohydrates, and 2% protein, and contains negligible fat In a 100-gram reference amount. This makes them the perfect treat for your health benefits.

Baked sweet potato provides 90 calories, and rich contents (20% or more of the Daily Value, DV) of vitamin A (120% DV), vitamin C (24% DV), manganese (24% DV), and vitamin B6 (20% DV). It is a moderate source (10-19% DV) of some B vitamins and potassium.

Sweet potato cultivars with dark orange flesh have more beta-carotene (converted to a higher vitamin A content once digested) than those with light-colored flesh.

Their increased cultivation is encouraged in Africa where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem. Sweet potato leaves are edible and can be prepared like spinach or turnip greens.

The content of these nutrients differs according to harvesting period and variety. The use of sweet potato leaves as a vegetable and for food processing should be encouraged.

Sweet potato leaves are an excellent source of antioxidative and polyphenolics, including anthocyanins and phenolic acids.

Culinary Uses Of Sweet Potato

The starchy tubers of the sweet potato are by far the most important part. Its leaves and flowers are also edible.

In some tropical areas, they are a staple food crop. The tuber is often cooked before consumption, increasing its nutrition and digestibility. Research has shown that the American colonists in the Southeast
ate raw sweet potatoes as a staple food.

The vines’ tips and young leaves are edible as a green vegetable with a characteristic flavor. The older growths may be used as animal fodder.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potato And Leaves

The roots of Sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrates. In addition, its leaves and stems contain nutritional components in higher concentrations than in many vegetables.

The leaves are cooked as a vegetable in many parts of the world. They are rich in vitamin B, ß carotene, iron, calcium, zinc, and protein.

Sweet potato cultivated crop is more tolerant of diseases, and pests and can withstand high temperatures than many other leafy vegetables.

Because sweet potato tops can be harvested several times a year, it lends way to a much higher annual yield than many other green vegetables.

A versatile plant, sweet potato can be used as food, livestock feed, starch, and alcohol production.

The tops can be cooked together with other ingredients in various dishes or can be dried and stored for later use as a boiled or fried vegetable.

Sweet potato leaves contain more total polyphenols than any other commercial vegetables, including sweet potato tubers.

Antioxidative and Antimutagenicity Cancers occur through such processes as initiation, promotion, and progression in body cells.

Sweet potato leaves are a good supplementary resource of antioxidants and antimutagenic compounds. A Study was conducted to examine the effects of 82 kinds of vegetable juice and plant components on the division and multiplication of cancer cells, and it was found that sweet potato has especially high cancer-checking rates.

Anti-­Diabetes The latter stage of noninsulin­-dependent diabetes mellitus (NIDDM), one of the major diseases of adults, is caused by the decrease in the secretion of insulin by the pancreatic Langerhans cells. Prevention of NIDDM and inhibition of its serious side effects such as retinopathy, neuropathy, and cataracts are important subjects for researchers.

The current diabetes mellitus population worldwide is increasing. Diabetes contributes to the death of a vast amount of people across the globe and is the leading cause of heart disease, blindness, and kidney failure.

Foods with anti­diabetic effects that are desired for diet therapy are sweet potato leaves as they have anti­diabetic compounds that reduce blood glucose content significantly as shown by research.

Conclusion

Preparation of sweet potato tops and leaves for Consumption is best done by boiling, steaming, or stir-frying to preserve nutrients.

While cooking vegetables leads to slight nutrient losses, heat also helps to activate some plant enzymes, vitamins, and antioxidants.

To get the most from your sweet potato leaves, store them properly and cook for short periods of time while reserving cooking liquids for later use.

Food also loses vitamins to air, so it’s best to use your sweet potatoes immediately for the best results.

When shopping for sweet potatoes choose the ones with dark flesh and deep green leaves to get the most nutrients.

I hope you enjoy this post and if you ever have a question, please feel free to drop a comment below and I will be more than happy to help you out.

MazieT

2 thoughts on “Health Benefits Of Sweet Potato and Leaves”

  1. Valuable post, thanks, Mazie!

    I didn’t know that sweet potatoes also grow in the tropical regions of the Americas. Here in the northern parts of the Philippines, it’s pretty easy to grow sweet potatoes. In fact, we used to plant them in our rice fields during off-rice seasons. We can even grow them in our backyards and we gather their tops for a healthy vegetable dish. ☺

    I always knew that sweet potatoes have a lot of nutritional value. This is why we attribute our old folks’ long life to eating organic foods like sweet potatoes instead of the commercial people consume these days.

    During community gatherings, we always serve boiled or steamed sweet potatoes for snacks, along with organic brewed coffee. You should try it sometime; they are really good together. ☺

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  2. I love sweet potatoes, even more than regular potatoes and there is so much you can do with them, including the tastiest recipes. I knew they were healthy, but didn’t realize that the leaves were consumable as well and healthy for people! I heard about sweet potatoes being good for the gut as well, and if you cool them down, it becomes resistant starch, which is good for a number of things as well. Interesting information there!

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