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Sweet potato

Sweet potato
Sweet potato is a delicious vegetable with high nutritional value as it is rich in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B6, dietary fiber and is an excellent source of carbohydrates.
Sweet potato has the potential to reduce appetite and food intake which helps control excessive weight gain and also manage digestion related problems. Sweet potato contains vitamin C and beta-carotene that are beneficial for the skin as they help delay the ageing process due to the antioxidant property. Vitamin C present in Sweet potato helps enhance the immune system which prevents the occurrence of various infections. Sweet potato is also considered good for men as it is rich in vitamin A which plays a role in improving sperm quality and reducing the risk of any genetic defects. It can be taken by diabetics also as it has a low glycemic index which helps control the blood sugar level and does not lead to a sudden rise in blood sugar.
Sweet potato may slow down digestion and cause flatulence when eaten raw. Thus, it is advisable to boil, slow cook, bake, steam cook or fry Sweet potato for consumption[1][6][8][9][12][13].

What are the synonyms of Sweet potato?

Mitha alu, Sakarkand, Shakar kanda, Yam, Kumara, Misthi Alu, Ratalu, Genasu, Mathura kizhangu, Ratala, Sakkara valli kilangu, Carkkaraivalli, Ciignikkilangu, Vattaalagn kilangu, Vellikkilangu, Chilakada dumpa[1]

What is the source of Sweet potato?

Plant Based

Benefits of Sweet potato

1. Diarrhea
Diarrhea is known as Atisar in Ayurveda. It is due to improper food, impure water, toxins, mental stress and Agnimandya (weak digestive fire). All these factors are responsible for aggravating Vata. This aggravated Vata brings fluid in the intestine from various tissues from the body and mixes with the stool. This leads to loose, watery motions or diarrhea. Sweet potato is good to control diarrhea when it is taken after boiling in water. It also helps to thicken loose stool and control the frequency of loose motion or diarrhea. This is due its Koushna (not too cold or not too hot) and Vata balancing properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1 cup of boil Sweet potatoes.
b. Have it after taking light food to control diarrhea.

2. Weight loss
Sweet potato is useful in managing weight. Sweet potato gives a feeling of satiety and reduces craving. This is because it takes time to digest due to its Guru (heavy) nature.
Tips:
a. Take 1 cup of boil Sweet potatoes.
b. Have it before food to manage weight.

3. Male Sexual Dysfunction
Sweet potato helps to improve stamina because male sexual dysfunction, as the name itself, suggests, refers to improper functioning of male sexual act this condition can be in form of loss of libido i.e. having no inclination towards a sexual act or when the semen is expelled soon after sexual activity and with minimal penile stimulation. This is also referred to as early discharge or premature ejaculation. Sweet potato helps to correct male sexual dysfunction and also improve stamina. This is due to its Vajikarana (aphrodisiac) property.
Tips:
a. Take 1 cup of boil Sweet potatoes.
b. Have it before food to improve sexual health.

Precautions when using Sweet potato

Advice from Experts
scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is rich in oxalic acid. It may crystallize into oxalate stones in the urinary tract. So it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming Sweet potato or its supplements if you are prone to urinary stone[4].
Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato may cause allergic reaction in people hypersensitive to plant products. It may cause dizziness, nausea, vomiting and tightness in the throat. So it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming Sweet potato or Sweet potato supplements[2].
Patients with diabetes
Important
scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato may decrease the blood glucose level. So it is generally advised to monitor the blood glucose level regularly while taking Sweet potato or Sweet potato supplements (although Sweet potato is safe if taken in food amount) along with anti-diabetic drugs[3].
Pregnancy
scientific
Modern Science View
Although not enough scientific data is available, it is advisable for women who are hypersensitive to food products to avoid or consult a doctor before consuming Sweet potato or Sweet potato supplements[2].

Recommended Dosage of Sweet potato

  • Sweet potato Powder - ½-1 teaspoon once or twice a day.

How to use Sweet potato

1. Sweet potato powder
a. Take ½ -1 teaspoon Sweet potato powder.
b. Add 1 cup milk and sugar as per your taste.
c. Drink it with breakfast to improve stamina.

2. Baked Sweet potato
a. Take 1 cup of baked Sweet potato.
b. Have it before food to manage weight.

Benefits of Sweet potato

1. Anti-wrinkle
Wrinkles are due to aging, dry skin and lack of moisture. According to Ayurveda, it is due to an aggravated Vata. Sweet potato helps in controlling wrinkles and increases moisture content in the skin. This is because of its Snigdha (oily) nature.
Tips:
a. Take 1/2 -1 cup boiled Sweet potato.
b. Make a paste with honey.
c. Apply it on the skin and let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
d. Wash with plain water.
e. Repeat this process once or twice a day for soft and glowing skin.

2. Wound healing
Sweet potato helps in quick healing of the wound, decreases swelling and brings back the normal texture of the skin. This is due to its Ropan (healing) property.
Tips:
a. Take 1/2- 1 teaspoon of boiled Sweet potato or as per your requirement.
b. Make a paste with coconut oil.
c. Apply evenly on the affected area.
d. Let it remain the whole day for quick wound healing.

3. Hair loss
Sweet potato helps to control hair fall and promote hair growth when applied on the scalp. This is because hair fall is mainly due to an aggravated Vata dosha in the body. Applying Sweet potato promotes new hair growth and removes excessive dryness due to its Vata balancing and Snigdha (oily) properties.
Tips:
a. Take 1/2 boiled Sweet potato or as per your requirement.
b. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and honey to it.
c. Add ½-1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mash well.
d. Apply the mixture to damp hair.
e. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
f. Rinse with shampoo.

Precautions when using Sweet potato

Allergy
scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato may cause allergic reaction in people hypersensitive to plant products. It may cause edema of the face and hands. So it is advisable to consult your doctor before consuming Sweet potato or Sweet potato supplements[2].

Recommended Dosage of Sweet potato

  • Sweet potato Pulp - ½- 1 teaspoon a day or as per your requirement.

How to use Sweet potato

1. Sweet potato mask
a. Peel and chop ½-1 Sweet potato and transfer it to a bowl.
b. Add water and place it on medium heat
c. Boil and mash the Sweet potato and let it cook for about 10 minutes.
d. Drain the water and blend the Sweet potato to get a smooth paste.
e. Once cool, add 3 tablespoons pumpkin puree and 3 tablespoons coconut milk.
f. Mix well and add 2 teaspoons honey and 1 teaspoon coconut oil.
g. Add a pinch of cinnamon and mix well.
h. Apply on the face and neck and leave for about 10-15 minutes.
i. Wash it off with normal water and pat dry.
j. Sweet potato face mask can be stored in the refrigerator for upto a week.

2. Sweet potato hair pack
a. Take 1/2 boiled Sweet potato or as per your requirement.
b. Add 1 teaspoon of olive oil and honey to it.
c. Add ½-1 tablespoon of coconut oil and mash well.
d. Apply the mixture to damp hair.
e. Let it sit for 20-30 minutes.
f. Rinse with shampoo.
g. Apply twice a month to control hair loss.

Frequently asked questions

Q. Can I eat Sweet potatoes every day?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is rich in vitamin A, fiber and some essential trace minerals like manganese, potassium and magnesium. Some of the benefits of consuming Sweet potato daily include healthy skin, eyes and bones, better immune system and brain health and increased collagen production. It is also beneficial for diabetics as it does not cause a sudden peak in blood glucose levels. This is due to its low glycemic index.

Q. What happens if you eat a bad Sweet potato?

scientific
Modern Science View
Eating bad or moldy Sweet potato can cause stomach ache, dizziness and diarrhea. In some severe cases, it can also cause liver and lung damage.

Q. Are Sweet potatoes better than Potatoes?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato and Potato contain similar amounts of carbohydrate. However, Sweet potato contains more fibre, vitamin A, beta-carotene and has a low glycemic index (substance that causes low and slow rise in blood glucose level). Thus, Sweet potato is considered healthier for diabetic patients.

Q. Can you eat the skin of Sweet potato?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, the skin of Sweet potato is edible. In fact, it is a rich source of fibre and and potassium. Sweet potato skin can be baked to enhance its flavour.

Q. Is Sweet potato a starch?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is a rich source of starch and fibre. One cup of Sweet potato contains about 16.8 grams of starch.

Q. Is it OK to eat Sweet potatoes on a low carb diet?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato contains more digestible carbohydrates than fibre. A medium-sized Sweet potato contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates. Thus, it is not advisable to consume it on a low carb diet.

Q. Is raw or cooked Sweet potato better?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato produces certain chemicals that may slow down digestion and cause flatulence when eaten raw. It is advisable to boil, slow cook, bake, steam cook or fry Sweet potato as doing so will neutralise those chemicals.
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sweet potato should be consumed only after cooking. This is because cooking makes it light to digest and does not cause heaviness in the stomach.

Q. Is Sweet potato good for diabetics?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is good for diabetes due to its anti-diabetic activity. Sweet potato contains a constituent named ‘Caiapo’ which helps regulate the action of insulin[1].

Q. Is Sweet potato good for cancer?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is good for cancer since it is is rich in anthocyanin such as cyanidin and peonidin. Eating foods rich in anthocyanin helps to reduce the risk of cancer as it is a potent antioxidant[5].

Q. Is Sweet potato good for weight loss ?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is as rich source of carbohydrates and dietary fibre. It produces an enzyme called protease protein inhibitor II which has the potential to stimulate the satiety hormone, reduce appetite and food intake. This thus helps to control excessive body weight gain[6].

Q. Does Sweet potato cause heartburn?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato do not cause heartburn. This is due to its Koushna (not too cold or not too hot) property. But if you have a weak digestion it can cause heaviness due to its Guru (heavy) nature.

Q. Does Sweet potato cause cough?

scientific
Modern Science View
Yes, taking Sweet potato might cause cough. This is because of its Kapha increasing nature. So it is advisable to avoid Sweet potato especially at night if you have any cough related issue.

Q. Is raw Sweet potato poisonous?

scientific
Modern Science View
Although enough scientific evidence is not available, excess consumption of raw Sweet potato may cause temporary neurological defect and extensive liver damage[2].

Q. What are the benefits of Sweet potato for skin?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato contains a high amount of vitamin C and beta-carotene which is very good for the skin. Beta-carotene fights against free radicals and prevents skin ageing. Vitamin C improves the immune system thus preventing further infections[8][9].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Applying Sweet potato paste on the skin helps in quick healing of wounds due to its healing property. An aggravated Vata dosha is responsible for dryness and the aging sign of skin. Sweet potato helps to reduce the aging signs of skin and brings back the natural texture of skin due to its Vata balancing property.

Q. What are Sweet potato leaves used for?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato leaves provide a dietary source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, fibre, and essential fatty acids. Certain constituents present in them improves immune function, reduces damage caused by free radicals, lowers the risk of heart diseases and suppress cancer cell growth. The leaves are also used to manage mouth and throat irritations and skin rashes[10][11].

Q. What are the health benefits of Sweet potato for men?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is good for men as they are rich in vitamin A which improves the quality of sperm. They also contain folic acid which has antioxidant property. It protects the sperm and reduces the risk of any genetic defects[12][13].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sweet potato helps to maintain stamina and reduce weakness when it is added to diet. It improves the quality of sperm to due to its Balya (tonic) property.

Q. What are the health benefits of Sweet potato for babies?

scientific
Modern Science View
Sweet potato is rich in vitamin C, beta-carotene, iron and fibres, due to which it is a good weaning food for the babies.It prevents constipation, improves eyesight, prevents anaemia and acts as an immunity booster.It is generally added in pureed form to baby foods and acts as an excellent first food for babies[14][15].
ayurvedic
Ayurvedic View
Sweet potato is a good food supplement for babies because it helps to improve the overall growth and also fulfills the requirement of necessary nutrition. This is due to its Balya (tonic) property.

Q. Is Sweet Potato good for wound healing?

scientific
Modern Science View
Wound healing activity of Sweet potato is due to the presence of fibres in it.
Studies state that the fibers has a potential to absorb exudate (fluid produced as a part of wound healing process) that comes out from the wounds. The fibers also works as a covering material and protects the wound[7].

References

  1. Milind P, Monika.Sweet potato AS A SUPER-FOOD. Int.J.Res.Ayurveda Pharm. 2015;6(4):557-562.
  2. Velloso A, Baeza M, Tornero P et al.Anaphylaxis caused by Ipomoea Batatas.J Allergy Clin Immunol.2004;113(2):S242.
  3. 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;27(2):436-440.`
  4. Mohanraj R, Sivasankar S.Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam) - a valuable medicinal food: a review. J med food.2014;17(7):733-741.
  5. Sugata M, Lin CY, Shih YC.Anti-Inflammatory and Anticancer Activities of Taiwanese Purple-Fleshed Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam) Extracts.Biomed Res Int. 2015; 2015: 768093.
  6. Olubobokun TH, Aluko EO ,Iyare EE.et.al.Aqueous Extract of Ipomoea batatas Reduces Food Intake in Male Wistar Rats: A Pilot Study.Ann Med Health Sci Res. 2014;4(4): 647–649.
  7. Suzuki T, Tada H, Sato E.et.al.Application of Sweet potato fiber to skin wound in rat.Biol Pharm Bull. 1996 Jul;19(7):977-83.
  8. Schagen SK, Zampeli VA, Makrantonaki E et al. Discovering the link between nutrition and skageinging. Dermatoendocrinol. 2012;4(3):298–307.External Link
  9. Yard N.Foods that heal roots, tubers and rhizome. Neal's Yard Remedies Healing Foods: Eat Your Way to a Healthier Life.Penguin UK: UK ed. edition. 2013.88-89.External Link
  10. Johnson M,Pace RD.Sweet potato leaves: properties and synergistic interactions that promote health and prevent disease.Nutrition Reviews.2010:68(10),604–615.External Link
  11. Liu MCS. The benefits of consuming sweet potato leaves: Helps reduce risk of chronic diseases and promotes health. International Meeting on Traditional and Alternative medicine..J Regen Med. 2018:7.DOI: 10.4172/2325-9620-C3-013.External Link
  12. Adienbo O, Wodu CO, Author O et al.Fertility -enhancing potentials of Ipomoea Batatas (Sweet Potato) in male albino wistar rats. SJIF.2015: 2: 1197-1202. External Link
  13. Stathers T, Low J, Carey E.topic 2-Origin and impact of Sweet potato.Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sweet potato: Reaching Agents of Change ToT Training Manual.vol:1.International Potato Center.2103. 39-40.External Link
  14. Padmja G, Sherrif JT, Sajeev MS.Food uses and nutritional benefits of sweet potato.Food, vegetable and cereal science and biotechnology.2012:6(1):115-123.External Link
  15. Figueria AC,Makinde O,Vieira MC.Process Optimisation of Sweet potato(Ipomoea batatas) Puree as an ingredient in a formulation of weaning food.Food, vegetable and cereal science and biotechnology.2011:5(2):25-34.External Link
Disclaimer
The content is purely informative and educational in nature and should not be construed as medical advice. Please use the content only in consultation with an appropriate certified medical or healthcare professional.

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