Sweet potatoes are among one of the healthier food choices one can make. The two main Vitamins found in sweet potatoes are Vitamin A, in the form of beta carotene, and Vitamin C.Beta carotene is used by the body to produce vitamin A and is therefore called "Provitamin A”.
- As an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and a very good source of vitamin C, sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant food. Both beta carotene and vitamin C are very powerful antioxidants that work in the body to eliminate free radicals. Free radicals are chemicals that damage cells and cell membranes and are associated with the development of conditions like atherosclerosis, diabetic heart disease, and colon cancer. This may explain why beta carotene and vitamin C have both been shown to be helpful for preventing these conditions.
- Since these nutrients are also anti-inflammatory, they can be helpful in reducing the severity of conditions where inflammation plays a role, such as asthma, osteoarthritis, and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Vitamins A and C contribute to healthy eyesight, hair and skin.
- Sweet potatoes also contain vitamin E, another anti-oxidant and also vitamin B6.
- The intensity of the sweet potato's yellow or orange flesh color is directly correlated to its beta-carotene content. Sweet potato varieties with dark orange flesh have more beta-carotene than those with light colored flesh and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem.
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