Unlike American folks, who cook sweet potatoes as a Thanksgiving side dish, Asian people use the vegetable as a staple. Today we will talk about how you can take advantage of its nutritional value for cancer prevention benefits.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which can inhibit abnormal differentiation of epithelial cells that make up the skin covering the whole surface of the body–the frontline defense against bacteria, viruses and other pathogens. Beta-carotene, a so-called cancer-preventative antioxidant, can eliminate carcinogenic free radicals, block binding of carcinogens with the nuclear proteins, and thus prevent cancer.
Beta-carotene is crucial to the production of vitamin A. Your body requires this vitamin, creating it from foods containing beta-carotene. Also, vitamin A is essential for eye health, and sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A. In addition, sweet potatoes are a good source of copper, dietary fiber, vitamin B6, vitamin C, potassium, manganese, and iron. When you obtain well-balanced nutrients, you are unlikely to suffer from nutrition deficiency, and so boost the capability of your immune system.
Eating more sweet potatoes is particularly important for the following groups of people:
1. Vegetarians or those who do not consume red meat. Without animal sources such as beef, liver, or butter, these folks must obtain vitamin A from plants that contain carotenoids.
2. Cigarette lovers and “second hand smokers” with no choice. Because smoking releases trillions of free radicals that cause cell damage, these individuals need to have strong carotenoid and antioxidant defenses. Carotenoids are simply red and yellow pigments in plants and animals. In addition to providing colors, they also act as antioxidants to neutralize free radicals, keep them from damaging cells, and protect the network of other antioxidants.
Two bonuses from sweet potatoes:
1. Fiber-richness, which effectively stimulates intestinal movements, reduces cancer-causing toxin retention, thereby preventing colon cancer – good for those with constipation.
2. Natural sweetness, which makes the sweet potato a dessert without artificial sugar. But those diagnosed with diabetes should be aware of the possibility of increased blood sugar levels.
Can you see sweet potatoes as an important food for overall health and immune benefits?
Photo credit: by NatalieMaynor