sweet potatoes
Sweet Potatoes: Rich in vitamin A, sweet potatoes improve the body's immunity and help fight inflammation. Take 2-3 sweet potatoes and poke holes in them using a fork. Wrap them in a tin foil and bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes till they’re soft and tender. Cool them and cut lengthwise. Add a pinch of salt for taste. Have them twice daily for three days to decrease nasal congestion.

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are nutritious, fibrous tubers that not only taste delicious, but also have numerous health benefits.

Studies show that sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that neutralize free radicals, thus helping decrease the risk for cancer. They can decrease fasting blood glucose and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and also increase insulin sensitivity. The ones that are purple in color have the highest antioxidant activity, which is three times higher than certain types of blueberries.[1,2,3,4,5]

Sweet Potatoes For Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A plays a vital role in our body and a deficiency can lead to temporary or permanent damage of the eyes and even blindness, in severe cases. A prolonged deficiency of vitamin A can suppress immunity and increase mortality, especially among children and pregnant and lactating women.[4,6]

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene that is transformed into vitamin A in our bodies. The intensity of the orange or yellow color of the sweet potato is directly linked to the beta-carotene content.[7]

In comparison to other beta-carotene sources, orange sweet potatoes have a better ability to raise the blood levels of vitamin A as they contain the ‘trans’ variety of beta-carotene that is easily utilized in the body.[8]

How To Take It
Include a generous helping of sweet potatoes in your diet to get your daily fix of vitamin A.

Here are some simple and delectable sweet potato recipes that you can try.

Image Source: Shutterstock

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1. Ludvik B, Neuffer B, Pacini G. Efficacy of Ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) on diabetes control in type 2 diabetic subjects treated with diet. Diabetes Care. 2004 Feb;27(2):436-40. PubMed PMID: 14747225.

2. Ludvik B, Waldhäusl W, Prager R, Kautzky-Willer A, Pacini G. Mode of action of ipomoea batatas (Caiapo) in type 2 diabetic patients. Metabolism. 2003 Jul;52(7):875-80. PubMed PMID: 12870164.

3. Miyazaki Y, Kusano S, Doi H, Aki O. Effects on immune response of antidiabetic ingredients from white-skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.). Nutrition. 2005 Mar;21(3):358-62. PubMed PMID: 15797679.

4. Adelia C. Bovell‐Benjamin. Sweet Potato: A Review of its Past, Present, and Future Role in Human Nutrition. Advances in Food and Nutrition Research. Volume 52, 2007, Pages 1–59

5. Cevallos-Casals, B.A. and Cisneros-Zevallos, L.A. (2002). BIOACTIVE AND FUNCTIONAL PROPERTIES OF PURPLE SWEETPOTATO (IPOMOEA BATATAS (L.) LAM). Acta Hortic. 583, 195-203 DOI: 10.17660/ActaHortic.2002.583.22 http://dx.doi.org/10.17660/ActaHortic.2002.583.22

6. West KP Jr. Vitamin A deficiency disorders in children and women. Food Nutr Bull. 2003 Dec;24(4 Suppl):S78-90. Review. PubMed PMID: 17016949.

7. Michael A Ameny1, and Paul W Wilson. Relationship between Hunter Color Values and β-Carotene Contents in White-Fleshed African Sweetpotatoes (Ipomoea batatas Lam). Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture. Volume 73, Issue 3, pages 301–306, March 1997.

8. Jalal F, Nesheim MC, Agus Z, Sanjur D, Habicht JP. Serum retinol concentrations in children are affected by food sources of beta-carotene, fat intake, and anthelmintic drug treatment. Am J Clin Nutr. 1998 Sep;68(3):623-9. PubMed PMID: 9734739.

Armed with a PhD in Alternative Medicine, a graduate degree in Biotechnology, an MSc, and an MBA in Clinical Research and Clinical Pharmacology, Dr Jonathan is a certified practitioner of Alternative Medicine and is actively involved in patient education initiatives. He is also the author of the bestselling book, Outsmart Diabetes. Dr Jonathan loves to share his passion for herbs and other alternative medicinal practices with others through his writing.