Sweet Potatoes & Vitamin A

Did you know that a sweet potato is not actually a potato? Sweet potatoes are a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, convolvulaceae. This easy to grow large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root does not belong to the nightshade family. Sweet potatoes are so easy to make. You can steam them, mash them, bake them or put them in a stew. Here’s a basic nutrient profile below. Look at the vitamin A load!

3.5 oz baked sweet potato

  • Carbohydrates: 20 grams
  • Fiber: 3.3 grams
  • Protein: 2.0 grams
  • Vitamin A:  120% DV
  • Vitamin C: 24% DV
  • Vitamin B6: 22% DV
  • Manganese: 24% DV
  • Potassium 10% DV

Benefits of a diet rich in vitamin A as listed in WebMD

  • Vitamin A deficiency. Taking vitamin A by mouth is effective for preventing and treating symptoms of vitamin A deficiency. Vitamin A deficiency can occur in people with protein deficiency, diabetes, over-active thyroid, fever, liver disease, cystic fibrosis, or an inherited disorder called abetalipoproteinemia.
  • Breast cancer. Premenopausal women with a family history of breast cancer who consume high levels of vitamin A in their diet seem to have lower risk of breast cancer. It is not known if taking vitamin A supplements has the same benefit.
  • Cataracts. People who consume high amounts of vitamin A in their diet seem to have a lower risk of developing cataracts.
  • Measles. Taking vitamin A by mouth seems to reduce the risk of measles complications or death in children with measles and vitamin A deficiency.
  • Ability to see in low-light conditions. Taking vitamin A during pregnancy seems to reduce night blindness by 37% in malnourished women. Vitamin A might work better for this condition when taken with zinc.
  • White patches inside the mouth that are usually caused by smoking (oral leukoplakia). Research shows that taking vitamin A can help treat precancerous lesions in the mouth.
  • Death from any cause. Most experts agree that high-dose vitamin A supplementation reduces the risk of death in children 6-59 months of age who are at risk for vitamin A deficiency. Taking vitamin A does not seem to reduce the risk of death in healthy adults.
  • Complications after childbirth. Taking vitamin A, during, and after pregancy reduces diarrhea after giving birth in malnourished women. Taking vitamin A before and during pregnancy also seems to reduce the risk of death by 40% in malnourished women.
  • An inherited eye condition that causes poor night vision and loss of side vision (retinitis pigmentosa). Taking vitamin A can slow the progression of an eye disease that causes damage to the retina.
  • A type of inflammatory bowel disease (ulcerative colitis). Some research shows that taking vitamin A daily for 2 months can reduce symptoms and help the intestine to heal in adults with ulcerative colitis.

So back to eating and cooking. Typically I slice and steam or bake sweet potatoes. They take about 20 minutes. I test them with a fork. If I can poke the center and it slides out easy then they are done. Here’s a great recipe and more facts!

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