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Sweet Potato Yellow

15 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, According to Science


Sweet potatoes are nutritious and delicious root vegetables. The sweet potato is creamy and soft enough to be an ingredient in several pie recipes, and most people think of the vegetable as merely a dessert ingredient. However, scientists have found that sweet potatoes are among the best sources of Vitamin A (1). Sweet potatoes are also naturally packed with vitamin B5, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids due to their naturally orange colour.

The sweet potato, also known as the Ipomoea batatas, not only contains many nutrients, but it is also packed with medicinal benefits. Scientists have determined that sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties (2). Most sweet potatoes are orange in colour, but there are others that come in purple, yellow, white, pink, and red. The following are some of the health benefits that you can accrue from including sweet potatoes in our regular diet.

  

1.Sweet potatoes help prevent Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is a serious issue especially in developing nations around the world. The health repercussions of a vitamin A deficiency are grave and can include decreased resistance to infectious disease, increase in infectious morbidity, dry eyes as well increased mortality for both pregnant and lactating women and their children (3).

Sweet potatoes are an extremely important source of Vitamin A because they contain high levels of beta-carotene (45). Beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A in our livers, with every molecule of beta-carotene producing two molecules of Vitamin A (6).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are a natural and abundant source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential in helping the body fight off infections, and remain resistant to any further infections.

2.Sweet potatoes can also help manage diabetes

Sweet potatoes are categorized as low to high on the glycaemic index scale, and several studies have indicated that it can minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance and low blood sugar levels, as well as high blood sugar in people who are suffering from diabetes (7).

Their relatively low glycaemic index means that the sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream slowly, unlike other starchy foods. This steady release of sugar is what aids in controlling the blood sugar levels of individuals so that it does not go low or high. Thus, the sweet potatoes can be used in the regulation of blood sugar levels especially in people with diabetes. This regulation is witnessed in both types of diabetes, i.e. type I and type II.

Studies into the varieties of sweet potatoes have revealed that the Beauregard is the most effective sweet potato variant when it comes to blood glucose regulation (7). In addition, the variant has been shown to have similar protein patterns to Caiapo, which is an extract from white sweet potatoes. Caiapo has been documented as improving the glucose and cholesterol levels of individuals with type II diabetes, and is thus used as dietary management of this disease (8).

The fiber in the sweet potato is also hypothesized to be beneficial for diabetes management. The sweet potato is a high fiber food, which has been shown to lower the blood sugar levels of individuals suffering from type I diabetics (9). 10-15% of the fiber in a sweet potato consists of soluble fibers such as pectin, which are effective in reducing food consumption and spikes in blood sugar (10).

Approximately 77% of the fibers in sweet potatoes are insoluble, and they have their own role to play in the fight against diabetes. Insoluble fibers are essential in promoting insulin sensitivity, which then helps in regulating the amount of sugar in the blood (1112).

Furthermore, sweet potatoes are an important source of magnesium, which has also been shown to minimize the risk of individuals developing type II diabetes (12).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain essential fibers and magnesium that are critical in the prevention and management of diabetes. The vegetables also have a moderately low glycaemic index that also aids in the regulation of blood glucose levels.

3.Sweet potatoes can help manage stress levels

Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for normal body functioning (13) . One of the most important benefits of magnesium is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety (14). Studies have shown that an increase in magnesium deficiency in modern diets has resulted in a significant increase in the cases of depression reported across the world (151617). For instance, some controlled studies have indicated that magnesium deficiency increases depression in women experiencing premenstrual symptoms (1617).

Magnesium deficiency and depression are linked because they both feature cell-mediated immune responses and body wide inflammation. Studies done on animal models have shown that an increase in magnesium intake protects the brain from anxiety and/or depression after a traumatic injury (14). Furthermore, studies on animal models have shown that a decrease in magnesium will result in an increase in anxiety-related behaviours as well as depression in mice (18).

In addition, magnesium has been found to reduce insomnia in older individuals (19). Insomnia is a trigger for stress, depression, and anxiety, which is unfortunate as more than 50% of elderly people suffer from some form of lack of sleep.

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are an important source of magnesium, whose deficiency has been reported to be linked with a higher risk of depression, stress and anxiety. Thus, sweet potatoes can replenish the body’s magnesium levels and help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviours in individuals.

4.Sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory activity

Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamins, most of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Studies carried out on the purple sweet potato have conclusively shown that the extracts from the vegetable variant had the capability of inhibiting the production of active inflammatory components in the body (21).

Furthermore, sweet potatoes have a high concentration of choline, which is a very versatile nutrient. One of the main benefits of choline is that it reduces inflammatory responses in the body resulting in less inflammation (22). Studies on animal models have shown that choline is effective in therapeutically restraining incidences of systemic inflammation in the body (23).

Other studies have indicated that extracts from the purple sweet potato contained anthocyanin’s, which proved essential in reducing and preventing inflammation in colon cancer cells as well the reduction of cell proliferation in specific cancer cells (24).

Bottom Line: The presence of anthocyanin’s and choline in sweet potatoes make the vegetables an essential dietary source in the prevention and reduction of chronic inflammation in the body.

5.Sweet potatoes can help protect/prevent/manage cancer

Studies have also shown that the purple-fleshed sweet potato is especially effective in the fight against cancer (21). This variation of the sweet potato has elements that are able to inhibit growth of specific cancers that include breast cancer, gastric cancer, and colon cancer by inducing the cell death of these cancer cells. The vegetable’s high anthocyanin content is believed to be the reason behind the sweet potato’s anti-cancer activity when it comes to gastric and breast cancers (20).

Other studies have conclusively shown that extracts from different parts of the sweet potato can also induce cell death in prostate cancer cells, ensuring that the cancer does not grow and spread to other parts of the prostate (20). Scientists have concluded that the anti-cancer activity of sweet potatoes when it comes to controlling prostate cancer is due to their high polyphenol content.

The presence of carotenoids such as beta-carotene in sweet potatoes has also been reported as having a significant effect on reducing the risk of men becoming afflicted with prostate cancer (25).

Beta-carotene has also been found to be effective in preventing and reducing the risks of individuals developing colorectal cancer (2627).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid, which is essential in protecting men from developing prostate cancer. In addition, extracts from different parts of sweet potatoes have been shown to accelerate the death of breast, gastric, colorectal, and prostate cancers, limiting the growth and spread of these cancers.

6.Sweet potatoes can help guard against ulcers

An ulcer occurs when an inflamed tissue is shed from the mucous membrane or from the skin, and it can be quite painful. Studies on animal models have shown that the methanol extract from the root of a sweet potato can protect the gastrointestinal tissues from aspirin-induced ulcers (28). The results of these studies have proved that the sweet potatoes can be used in the treatment and management of peptic ulcers.

Another study showed that the flour in the roots of the sweet potatoes helped in the prevention of ethanol-related ulceration in the stomach in animal models (29). The flour from the vegetable is reported to suppress gastric ulceration b reducing swelling in the surrounding tissues, and protecting the gastric wrinkles.

In addition, extracts from the vegetable have been shown to have free radical scavengers, which are important in the healing of wounds inside the body.

Bottom Line: Studies on the extracts from sweet potatoes have shown that the vegetable has chemicals that can help heal wounds and ulcers in the stomach. Thus, dietary consumption of sweet potatoes can be an effective treatment plan against major types of ulcers including ethanol and aspirin-induced ulcers.

7.Sweet potatoes can help in minimizing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Oxidation in the body results in complications such as atherosclerosis, which in turn can lead to the development of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Leaf extracts from sweet potatoes were tested and scientists found that the high levels of polyphenols in the leaf extracts were able to suppress oxidation in humans, decreasing the chances of development of cardiovascular disease (30)

Scientists believe that the leaves of the vegetable have considerable antioxidant properties because of their relatively high levels of radical scavenging activity, as well as a high amount of polyphenol compounds. The scavenging activity and the high levels of polyphenols contribute to its antioxidant properties and help in minimizing the risk of one developing a cardiovascular disease.

Other scientific studies have shown that the high levels of anthocyanin in the purple-fleshed sweet potato contributed to the vegetable’s ability to reduce the chances of coronary disease (31).

In addition, sweet potatoes contain soluble dietary fibers, which have been strongly linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases (32).

Bottom Line: The fibers, anthocyanin, polyphenols, and high radical scavenging activity contained in sweet potatoes are all important in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.

8.Sweet potatoes contain antimicrobial properties

Despite the fact that studies on the antimicrobial properties of sweet potatoes are limited, a number of scientific reports have concluded that the sweet potato does have some level of antimicrobial activity (20). Some studies have found that the ethanol and acetone extracts from sweet potato leaves possess antimicrobial properties against bacteria that cause pneumonia, and typhoid (33).

The fiber in sweet potatoes has also been documented to inhibit the growth of foodborne bacteria.

Other studies have found that sweet potato leaf powder, and its water, ethanol, and peptone extracts possess antimicrobial activity against Salmonella typhiE.coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae (34).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes and their extracts possess antimicrobial activities, which can be used in the prevention and treatment of a variety of bacterial pathogens and infections.

9.Sweet potatoes can help improve hair and skin

As mentioned above, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A (14). The vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C (35) and Vitamin E (36).

Studies have shown that dietary consumption or supplementation of Vitamin E has the potential of significantly increasing hair numbers in individuals who are suffering from hair loss (37). This is because Vitamin E contains antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress, a major cause of alopecia.

Vitamin C has been known to be an effective dermatological treatment that can be used in the treatment of photo aging and hyperpigmentation (38). Vitamin C is also effective at neutralizing the oxidative stress caused by exposure to UV light. In addition, the combination of Vitamin C and E can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer in individuals. Vitamin C is also essential in the synthesis of collagen, which is the main structural protein of the skin. A number of studies have also shown that Vitamin C contains anti-inflammatory properties. This means that the vitamin can help manage skin diseases such as acne, as well as promoting healing of wounds on the skin.

Vitamin A has been proven to be effective in the treatment and management of sun-damaged skin (39). In addition, the studies have shown that the vitamin is also effective in the treatment of skin cancer along with chemotherapy, and other treatment solutions (40).

Other studies have shown that Vitamin A is an effective stimulant of collagen, making it useful in decreasing the rate of natural cell aging as well as inhibiting photo aging of our skin (41).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of Vitamin A, C, and E, all of which are useful in the promotion of proper skin and hair health. These vitamins are useful in repairing skin that is damaged due to exposure to UV light. The vitamins also slow down the cell aging process in the skin helping you retain a youthful look for longer. In addition, vitamin E is especially useful in the prevention and treatment of alopecia, and maintaining good hair health.

10.Sweet potatoes are good for digestion

Sweet potatoes contain large amounts of fibers, which have long been known for improving the health of the gut as well as digestion (32). Many laxatives in use today are made from fibers, meaning that consumption of sweet potatoes can increase your intake of fibers needed to promote proper digestion. The high fiber content of the sweet potatoes can also aid in preventing constipation in both children and adults.

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes contain significantly high amounts of fibers, which are essential in promoting a well-functioning digestive tract, as well as preventing constipation.

11.Sweet potatoes can help in regulating blood pressure

Sweet potatoes can help in controlling blood pressure because they are rich in both magnesium and potassium. Studies have shown that a higher intake of potassium results in a decrease in blood pressure (42), which then significantly reduces the chance of an individual developing a stroke or a coronary problem.

Magnesium is also considered an effective dietary component in the prevention of hypertension, as well as its reduction in both pregnant and non-pregnant patients (43). In addition, other studies have found that magnesium deficiency in the body increases the risk factors for the development of hypertension (44).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain considerable amounts of both magnesium and potassium, both of which are essential in the fight against hypertension. They also help regulate the blood pressure, which reduces the chances of individuals suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

12.Sweet potatoes can boost fertility

The high doses of Vitamin A in sweet potatoes makes the vegetable ideal for consumption by women of childbearing age to enhance their fertility. Studies on animal models have shown that Vitamin A plays an integral role in improving reproductive performance (45). Research has also shown that a deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to secondary infertility in women of childbearing age (46).

Sweet potatoes also contain a healthy dose of iron (47), which is a crucial mineral in promoting fertility in women of childbearing age. Reports indicate that anaemia, or iron deficiency, is a cause of infertility among women (48). These reports have shown that treating the iron deficiency by increasing dietary intake of iron usually results in women being able to conceive a few months to a year after the treatment. Other studies have found that an increase in dietary iron intake reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility (49).

Bottom Line: Iron is essential in the promotion of fertility amongst women. An important source of dietary iron is sweet potatoes. Studies have shown that an increase in dietary intake of iron from food sources such as sweet potatoes can help reverse secondary fertility, as well as reduce the chances of women ending up suffering from ovulatory infertility.

In addition, sweet potatoes contain high doses of vitamin A, which is essential in improving reproductive performance in women of childbearing age.

13.Sweet potatoes are important for good vision

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of vitamin A, and most of us know that vitamin A is good for our vision, but we may not know in exactly which way the vitamin improves our vision. Studies have shown that the vitamin is essential in the formation of the pigments responsible for light absorption (50). In addition, vitamin A is also essential in maintaining the proper structure of the retina. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in poor vision, and in some instances blindness. Deficiency in the vitamin can also lead to night blindness (5152).

Furthermore, other eye diseases including the dryness of the cornea, the ulceration of the cornea, and conjunctiva, have also been linked to a deficiency in vitamin A (52).

Sweet potatoes are also a significant source of both Vitamin C and E. A study carried out in India showed that there was a significant relationship between Vitamin C deficiency and the development of cataracts (53). Other studies have found that both vitamin C and E could be effective in the fight against oxidative stress, which most often leads to eye cataracts (5455).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A, C, and E, all of which are integral in promoting good vision. Deficiency of vitamin A results in night blindness, total blindness, as well as malformation of the retina. Deficiency in vitamin C is mostly associated with the development of cataracts.

14.Sweet potatoes can help in weight management

Sweet potatoes contain soluble and fermentable fiber that increase satiety and offers the body a natural, self-sustaining mechanism for body weight regulation (56). Studies have shown that one of the major soluble dietary fibers in sweet potatoes, pectin, is effective at reducing food intake , reducing weight gain, and also increasing the activity of satiety hormones in the body.

Scientific studies have also shown that a higher intake of fibers is strongly correlated to reduced body weight (32). An increase in consumption of sweet potatoes will result in an increase in fiber intake, which will in turn, lead to a lower body weight.

Bottom line: The fiber in sweet potatoes can help in maintaining satiety, as well as reducing the overall weight of an individual. The fuller you feel throughout the day, the less you will snack, which will help you manage your weight effectively.

15.Sweet potatoes are also memory-enhancing foods

Studies have shown that the anthocyanin contained in the purple sweet potato possess memory enhancing properties (57). The underlying belief here is that the antioxidant properties of the anthocyanins are what make sweet potatoes memory enhancing agents.

Bottom Line: Consuming sweet potatoes regularly can help enhance your memory.

 

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Sweet Potato Red

15 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, According to Science 




Sweet potatoes are nutritious and delicious root vegetables. The sweet potato is creamy and soft enough to be an ingredient in several pie recipes, and most people think of the vegetable as merely a dessert ingredient. However, scientists have found that sweet potatoes are among the best sources of Vitamin A (1). Sweet potatoes are also naturally packed with vitamin B5, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids due to their naturally orange colour.

The sweet potato, also known as the Ipomoea batatas, not only contains many nutrients, but it is also packed with medicinal benefits. Scientists have determined that sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory, anti-diabetic, and anticancer properties (2). Most sweet potatoes are orange in colour, but there are others that come in purple, yellow, white, pink, and red. The following are some of the health benefits that you can accrue from including sweet potatoes in our regular diet.

 

1.Sweet potatoes help prevent Vitamin A deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency is a serious issue especially in developing nations around the world. The health repercussions of a vitamin A deficiency are grave and can include decreased resistance to infectious disease, increase in infectious morbidity, dry eyes as well increased mortality for both pregnant and lactating women and their children (3).

Sweet potatoes are an extremely important source of Vitamin A because they contain high levels of beta-carotene (45). Beta-carotene is transformed into vitamin A in our livers, with every molecule of beta-carotene producing two molecules of Vitamin A (6).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are a natural and abundant source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential in helping the body fight off infections, and remain resistant to any further infections.

2.Sweet potatoes can also help manage diabetes

Sweet potatoes are categorized as low to high on the glycaemic index scale, and several studies have indicated that it can minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance and low blood sugar levels, as well as high blood sugar in people who are suffering from diabetes (7).

Their relatively low glycaemic index means that the sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream slowly, unlike other starchy foods. This steady release of sugar is what aids in controlling the blood sugar levels of individuals so that it does not go low or high. Thus, the sweet potatoes can be used in the regulation of blood sugar levels especially in people with diabetes. This regulation is witnessed in both types of diabetes, i.e. type I and type II.

Studies into the varieties of sweet potatoes have revealed that the Beauregard is the most effective sweet potato variant when it comes to blood glucose regulation (7). In addition, the variant has been shown to have similar protein patterns to Caiapo, which is an extract from white sweet potatoes. Caiapo has been documented as improving the glucose and cholesterol levels of individuals with type II diabetes, and is thus used as dietary management of this disease (8).

The fiber in the sweet potato is also hypothesized to be beneficial for diabetes management. The sweet potato is a high fiber food, which has been shown to lower the blood sugar levels of individuals suffering from type I diabetics (9). 10-15% of the fiber in a sweet potato consists of soluble fibers such as pectin, which are effective in reducing food consumption and spikes in blood sugar (10).

Approximately 77% of the fibers in sweet potatoes are insoluble, and they have their own role to play in the fight against diabetes. Insoluble fibers are essential in promoting insulin sensitivity, which then helps in regulating the amount of sugar in the blood (1112).

Furthermore, sweet potatoes are an important source of magnesium, which has also been shown to minimize the risk of individuals developing type II diabetes (12).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain essential fibers and magnesium that are critical in the prevention and management of diabetes. The vegetables also have a moderately low glycaemic index that also aids in the regulation of blood glucose levels.

3.Sweet potatoes can help manage stress levels

Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of magnesium, which is an essential mineral for normal body functioning (13) . One of the most important benefits of magnesium is that it helps reduce stress and anxiety (14). Studies have shown that an increase in magnesium deficiency in modern diets has resulted in a significant increase in the cases of depression reported across the world (151617). For instance, some controlled studies have indicated that magnesium deficiency increases depression in women experiencing premenstrual symptoms (1617).

Magnesium deficiency and depression are linked because they both feature cell-mediated immune responses and body wide inflammation. Studies done on animal models have shown that an increase in magnesium intake protects the brain from anxiety and/or depression after a traumatic injury (14). Furthermore, studies on animal models have shown that a decrease in magnesium will result in an increase in anxiety-related behaviours as well as depression in mice (18).

In addition, magnesium has been found to reduce insomnia in older individuals (19). Insomnia is a trigger for stress, depression, and anxiety, which is unfortunate as more than 50% of elderly people suffer from some form of lack of sleep.

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes are an important source of magnesium, whose deficiency has been reported to be linked with a higher risk of depression, stress and anxiety. Thus, sweet potatoes can replenish the body’s magnesium levels and help alleviate the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviours in individuals.

4.Sweet potatoes contain anti-inflammatory activity

Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of vitamins, most of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Studies carried out on the purple sweet potato have conclusively shown that the extracts from the vegetable variant had the capability of inhibiting the production of active inflammatory components in the body (21).

Furthermore, sweet potatoes have a high concentration of choline, which is a very versatile nutrient. One of the main benefits of choline is that it reduces inflammatory responses in the body resulting in less inflammation (22). Studies on animal models have shown that choline is effective in therapeutically restraining incidences of systemic inflammation in the body (23).

Other studies have indicated that extracts from the purple sweet potato contained anthocyanin’s, which proved essential in reducing and preventing inflammation in colon cancer cells as well the reduction of cell proliferation in specific cancer cells (24).

Bottom Line: The presence of anthocyanin’s and choline in sweet potatoes make the vegetables an essential dietary source in the prevention and reduction of chronic inflammation in the body.

5.Sweet potatoes can help protect/prevent/manage cancer

Studies have also shown that the purple-fleshed sweet potato is especially effective in the fight against cancer (21). This variation of the sweet potato has elements that are able to inhibit growth of specific cancers that include breast cancer, gastric cancer, and colon cancer by inducing the cell death of these cancer cells. The vegetable’s high anthocyanin content is believed to be the reason behind the sweet potato’s anti-cancer activity when it comes to gastric and breast cancers (20).

Other studies have conclusively shown that extracts from different parts of the sweet potato can also induce cell death in prostate cancer cells, ensuring that the cancer does not grow and spread to other parts of the prostate (20). Scientists have concluded that the anti-cancer activity of sweet potatoes when it comes to controlling prostate cancer is due to their high polyphenol content.

The presence of carotenoids such as beta-carotene in sweet potatoes has also been reported as having a significant effect on reducing the risk of men becoming afflicted with prostate cancer (25).

Beta-carotene has also been found to be effective in preventing and reducing the risks of individuals developing colorectal cancer (2627).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, a carotenoid, which is essential in protecting men from developing prostate cancer. In addition, extracts from different parts of sweet potatoes have been shown to accelerate the death of breast, gastric, colorectal, and prostate cancers, limiting the growth and spread of these cancers.

6.Sweet potatoes can help guard against ulcers

An ulcer occurs when an inflamed tissue is shed from the mucous membrane or from the skin, and it can be quite painful. Studies on animal models have shown that the methanol extract from the root of a sweet potato can protect the gastrointestinal tissues from aspirin-induced ulcers (28). The results of these studies have proved that the sweet potatoes can be used in the treatment and management of peptic ulcers.

Another study showed that the flour in the roots of the sweet potatoes helped in the prevention of ethanol-related ulceration in the stomach in animal models (29). The flour from the vegetable is reported to suppress gastric ulceration b reducing swelling in the surrounding tissues, and protecting the gastric wrinkles.

In addition, extracts from the vegetable have been shown to have free radical scavengers, which are important in the healing of wounds inside the body.

Bottom Line: Studies on the extracts from sweet potatoes have shown that the vegetable has chemicals that can help heal wounds and ulcers in the stomach. Thus, dietary consumption of sweet potatoes can be an effective treatment plan against major types of ulcers including ethanol and aspirin-induced ulcers.

7.Sweet potatoes can help in minimizing the risk of cardiovascular diseases

Oxidation in the body results in complications such as atherosclerosis, which in turn can lead to the development of a number of cardiovascular diseases. Leaf extracts from sweet potatoes were tested and scientists found that the high levels of polyphenols in the leaf extracts were able to suppress oxidation in humans, decreasing the chances of development of cardiovascular disease (30)

Scientists believe that the leaves of the vegetable have considerable antioxidant properties because of their relatively high levels of radical scavenging activity, as well as a high amount of polyphenol compounds. The scavenging activity and the high levels of polyphenols contribute to its antioxidant properties and help in minimizing the risk of one developing a cardiovascular disease.

Other scientific studies have shown that the high levels of anthocyanin in the purple-fleshed sweet potato contributed to the vegetable’s ability to reduce the chances of coronary disease (31).

In addition, sweet potatoes contain soluble dietary fibers, which have been strongly linked to reduced risk of cardiovascular diseases (32).

Bottom Line: The fibers, anthocyanin, polyphenols, and high radical scavenging activity contained in sweet potatoes are all important in the fight against cardiovascular diseases.

8.Sweet potatoes contain antimicrobial properties

Despite the fact that studies on the antimicrobial properties of sweet potatoes are limited, a number of scientific reports have concluded that the sweet potato does have some level of antimicrobial activity (20). Some studies have found that the ethanol and acetone extracts from sweet potato leaves possess antimicrobial properties against bacteria that cause pneumonia, and typhoid (33).

The fiber in sweet potatoes has also been documented to inhibit the growth of foodborne bacteria.

Other studies have found that sweet potato leaf powder, and its water, ethanol, and peptone extracts possess antimicrobial activity against Salmonella typhiE.coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae (34).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes and their extracts possess antimicrobial activities, which can be used in the prevention and treatment of a variety of bacterial pathogens and infections.

9.Sweet potatoes can help improve hair and skin

As mentioned above, sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A (14). The vegetables are also rich in Vitamin C (35) and Vitamin E (36).

Studies have shown that dietary consumption or supplementation of Vitamin E has the potential of significantly increasing hair numbers in individuals who are suffering from hair loss (37). This is because Vitamin E contains antioxidant properties that help reduce oxidative stress, a major cause of alopecia.

Vitamin C has been known to be an effective dermatological treatment that can be used in the treatment of photo aging and hyperpigmentation (38). Vitamin C is also effective at neutralizing the oxidative stress caused by exposure to UV light. In addition, the combination of Vitamin C and E can significantly reduce the risk of skin cancer in individuals. Vitamin C is also essential in the synthesis of collagen, which is the main structural protein of the skin. A number of studies have also shown that Vitamin C contains anti-inflammatory properties. This means that the vitamin can help manage skin diseases such as acne, as well as promoting healing of wounds on the skin.

Vitamin A has been proven to be effective in the treatment and management of sun-damaged skin (39). In addition, the studies have shown that the vitamin is also effective in the treatment of skin cancer along with chemotherapy, and other treatment solutions (40).

Other studies have shown that Vitamin A is an effective stimulant of collagen, making it useful in decreasing the rate of natural cell aging as well as inhibiting photo aging of our skin (41).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain high levels of Vitamin A, C, and E, all of which are useful in the promotion of proper skin and hair health. These vitamins are useful in repairing skin that is damaged due to exposure to UV light. The vitamins also slow down the cell aging process in the skin helping you retain a youthful look for longer. In addition, vitamin E is especially useful in the prevention and treatment of alopecia, and maintaining good hair health.

10.Sweet potatoes are good for digestion

Sweet potatoes contain large amounts of fibers, which have long been known for improving the health of the gut as well as digestion (32). Many laxatives in use today are made from fibers, meaning that consumption of sweet potatoes can increase your intake of fibers needed to promote proper digestion. The high fiber content of the sweet potatoes can also aid in preventing constipation in both children and adults.

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes contain significantly high amounts of fibers, which are essential in promoting a well-functioning digestive tract, as well as preventing constipation.

11.Sweet potatoes can help in regulating blood pressure

Sweet potatoes can help in controlling blood pressure because they are rich in both magnesium and potassium. Studies have shown that a higher intake of potassium results in a decrease in blood pressure (42), which then significantly reduces the chance of an individual developing a stroke or a coronary problem.

Magnesium is also considered an effective dietary component in the prevention of hypertension, as well as its reduction in both pregnant and non-pregnant patients (43). In addition, other studies have found that magnesium deficiency in the body increases the risk factors for the development of hypertension (44).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain considerable amounts of both magnesium and potassium, both of which are essential in the fight against hypertension. They also help regulate the blood pressure, which reduces the chances of individuals suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

12.Sweet potatoes can boost fertility

The high doses of Vitamin A in sweet potatoes makes the vegetable ideal for consumption by women of childbearing age to enhance their fertility. Studies on animal models have shown that Vitamin A plays an integral role in improving reproductive performance (45). Research has also shown that a deficiency in Vitamin A can lead to secondary infertility in women of childbearing age (46).

Sweet potatoes also contain a healthy dose of iron (47), which is a crucial mineral in promoting fertility in women of childbearing age. Reports indicate that anaemia, or iron deficiency, is a cause of infertility among women (48). These reports have shown that treating the iron deficiency by increasing dietary intake of iron usually results in women being able to conceive a few months to a year after the treatment. Other studies have found that an increase in dietary iron intake reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility (49).

Bottom Line: Iron is essential in the promotion of fertility amongst women. An important source of dietary iron is sweet potatoes. Studies have shown that an increase in dietary intake of iron from food sources such as sweet potatoes can help reverse secondary fertility, as well as reduce the chances of women ending up suffering from ovulatory infertility.

In addition, sweet potatoes contain high doses of vitamin A, which is essential in improving reproductive performance in women of childbearing age.

13.Sweet potatoes are important for good vision

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of vitamin A, and most of us know that vitamin A is good for our vision, but we may not know in exactly which way the vitamin improves our vision. Studies have shown that the vitamin is essential in the formation of the pigments responsible for light absorption (50). In addition, vitamin A is also essential in maintaining the proper structure of the retina. A deficiency of vitamin A can result in poor vision, and in some instances blindness. Deficiency in the vitamin can also lead to night blindness (5152).

Furthermore, other eye diseases including the dryness of the cornea, the ulceration of the cornea, and conjunctiva, have also been linked to a deficiency in vitamin A (52).

Sweet potatoes are also a significant source of both Vitamin C and E. A study carried out in India showed that there was a significant relationship between Vitamin C deficiency and the development of cataracts (53). Other studies have found that both vitamin C and E could be effective in the fight against oxidative stress, which most often leads to eye cataracts (5455).

Bottom Line: Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of vitamin A, C, and E, all of which are integral in promoting good vision. Deficiency of vitamin A results in night blindness, total blindness, as well as malformation of the retina. Deficiency in vitamin C is mostly associated with the development of cataracts.

14.Sweet potatoes can help in weight management

Sweet potatoes contain soluble and fermentable fiber that increase satiety and offers the body a natural, self-sustaining mechanism for body weight regulation (56). Studies have shown that one of the major soluble dietary fibers in sweet potatoes, pectin, is effective at reducing food intake , reducing weight gain, and also increasing the activity of satiety hormones in the body.

Scientific studies have also shown that a higher intake of fibers is strongly correlated to reduced body weight (32). An increase in consumption of sweet potatoes will result in an increase in fiber intake, which will in turn, lead to a lower body weight.

Bottom line: The fiber in sweet potatoes can help in maintaining satiety, as well as reducing the overall weight of an individual. The fuller you feel throughout the day, the less you will snack, which will help you manage your weight effectively.

15.Sweet potatoes are also memory-enhancing foods

Studies have shown that the anthocyanin contained in the purple sweet potato possess memory enhancing properties (57). The underlying belief here is that the antioxidant properties of the anthocyanins are what make sweet potatoes memory enhancing agents.

Bottom Line: Consuming sweet potatoes regularly can help enhance your memory.

 

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Baby Potato

10 Reasons To Eat Baby Potatoes - Upcountry


When children run away in the name of vegetables, this is the only vegetable that they love to eat. Baby potatoes are one of such vegetables that are available throughout the year and are also economical.

So, eating baby potatoes can be fun. You may wonder what's the fun part in eating baby potatoes, as it will only lead to weight gain, isn't it?

 

 

Also Read: Health Benefits Of Cluster Beans

Now, "potatoes make you fat" is a backdated idea. Researchers have proved that there are various benefits of eating baby potatoes, as they are rich in all types of amino acids and several nutrients.

You'll be surprised to know that potatoes are good for losing weight. Yes, you read it absolutely right!

So, now is the time to know about the reasons to eat baby potatoes and include them in your diet. Another benefit of having potatoes is that you can make several yummy recipes with it.

Also Read: Beat All Hair Problems With Potato Juice

If your kids love to have something crunchy, you can easily make French fries in an air fryer, wherein you'd not need much oil and all the benefits of baby potatoes are still intact.

Hence, listed here are some benefits of having baby potatoes, which you must take a look at.

 

  1. Potato Juice Heals Rheumatism:

If you take 2 tsp of raw potato juice every day before meal, you can keep yourself safe from the attack of rheumatism. Your pain and discomfort will be healed if you maintain the routine.

  

  1. Controls Your High BP:

A medical research has shown that if you consume a potato every day, you can keep your high blood pressure under control, which is possible by having oats too. Due to the presence of potassium, baby potatoes work on your BP.

  

  1. Prevents Cancer:

This is one of the most important benefits of eating baby potatoes. Potatoes contain lectins, which stop the growth of free radicals. So, keep potatoes in your regular diet and build a shield to protect yourself.

  

  1. Strengthens Your Bones:

Yes, baby potatoes also strengthen your bones and teeth. For developing kids, potatoes are a must and this vegetable also keeps the risks of osteoporosis away, as it contains calcium, magnesium, iron, phosphorus and zinc.

  

  1. Takes Care Of Your Heart:

This is one of the most important reasons to eat baby potatoes. As it is a rich source of dietary fibres, potassium, vitamin C and B-6, baby potatoes reduce the risk of cardiovascular diseases.

  

  1. Keeps Cholesterol Under Control:

Potatoes are rich sources of dietary fibres. That's why, they help lower the level of bad cholesterol (LDL) in your body and maintain a good balance of good cholesterol (HDL) and bad cholesterol.

  

  1. Helps To Lose Weight:

You may feel super surprised, but it is true! Several international researches have proved that the soluble fibre in potatoes not only helps in losing weight but also keeps you feeling full for longer and reduces food craving.

  

  1. Takes Care Of Your Nerves:

Consider this among the crucial reasons to eat baby potatoes. It contains vitamin B to support adrenal function and also helps maintain a healthy nervous system. Vitamin B6 in baby potatoes enhances the production of neurotransmitters that maintain a good communication between the brain and nerve cells.

  

  1. Makes Your Skin Healthy:

It contains vitamin C which boosts up the production of collagen, thereby keeping your skin supple and wrinkle free. So, you can say goodbye to untimely ageing by including baby potatoes in your diet.

  

  1. Potatoes For Muscles:
While looking for the reasons to eat baby potatoes, this is the most important. After working out in a gym, you need carbohydrates to recover the energy. Instead of having market-made meals, have some smashed pot
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Potato Purple - Raja Ala
Raja Ala grown in Sri Lanka - Tropical Yams
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Potato - Sri Lanka

Wonder full 11 Incredible Benefits Of Potatoes


Potatoes are one of the most common and important food sources on the planet, and they contain a wealth of health benefits that make them all the more essential as a staple dietary item for much of the world’s population. These health benefits include their ability to improve digestion, reduce cholesterol levels, boost heart health, protect from polyps, prevent cancer, and manage diabetes. They strengthen the immune system, reduce signs of aging, protect the skin, increase circulation, reduce blood pressure, maintain fluid balance, reduce insomnia, and aid in eye care.

 

What are Potatoes?

The term potato can refer to either the plant or the entire tuber, which is rather shapeless and ugly, in most varieties. Its scientific name is Solanum tuberosum, and it is actually a member of the nightshade family. These vegetables are native to the Americas, most likely in the Andes, Peru, and Bolivia. [1] They have been cultivated somewhere between 7,000 and 10,000 years ago in the central and south American region.

Children around the world often refuse to eat vegetables but they like potatoes. This is the strange and magical quality of potatoes; you will rarely find anyone who dislikes them or refuses to eat them. They are on almost every major continental diet in some form and they can be prepared in dozens of ways, including baked, fried, sliced, mashed, and many more.

Wild potatoes still grow in some parts of the Americas, but they got introduced to other parts of the world only 400-500 years ago. These vegetables now dominate the world as the 4th largest food crop, and more than 1/3 of the world’s potatoes are actually now grown in China and India, where they represent an essential part of their cuisine, as well as the cuisine of many of their neighbouring countries.

Today, it’s difficult to imagine a diet without potatoesThey have somehow become one of the most popular and recognized foods on the planet. Potato lovers (including me), and even those who don’t like them (yet), will be equally delighted to know that potatoes have nutritional components that go far beyond carbohydrates and calories, and they can be an extremely beneficial addition to any dietary plan.

First, let’s explore the nutrition facts of these widely accepted vegetables, before we dive into knowing the health benefits of this world-famous vegetable!

Potatoes Nutrition Facts

The reason potatoes have spread across the globe so quickly and have been so widely accepted is because they are a storehouse of energy and nutrition, including vitaminsminerals, and essential organic compounds. [2]

Mineral Content: If you eat potatoes regularly, you ensure a good supply of water and ions in your body. This is because they are rich in potassium. The concentration is highest in the skin and just beneath it. So, eating the potato with its skin is always beneficial. They also contain calciumiron, and phosphorus.

Vitamin Content: Potatoes are known for the large amounts of vitamin C present in them. [3] Typically, a 100 gm serving will contain about 17 mg of vitamin C. In addition to this, they also contain vitamins A and B (source: USDA National Nutrient Database).

Water Content: Potatoes may look huge, but water accounts for about 70-80 percent of their weight. So the belief that you become fat by eating potatoes is a misconception. Of course, if your potato servings contain large quantities of butter, or if you can’t keep away from those high-fat and high-cholesterol French fries, then you are bound to gain weight.

 

Starch Content: Potatoes contain about 17% starch and they are one of the best natural sources. However, you should avoid eating sprouted potatoes as sprouting leads to the conversion of starch into sugar.

Note: Most of the nutrients in a potato are just beneath its skin [4], as confirmed by a study conducted in the UK. If you eat the skin along with the inside part, you get all these nutrients or else what you primarily end up eating is just carbohydrates!

Health Benefits of Potatoes

Health benefits of potatoes include the following:

Nutrition Facts

Potatoes, boiled, cooked in skin, flesh, without salt

 

Nutrient

Value

Water [g]

76.98

Energy [kcal]

87

Protein [g]

1.87

Total lipid (fat) [g]

0.1

Carbohydrate, by difference [g]

20.13

Fiber, total dietary [g]

1.8

Sugars, total [g]

0.91

Calcium, Ca [mg]

5

Iron, Fe [mg]

0.31

Magnesium, Mg [mg]

22

Phosphorus, P [mg]

44

Potassium, K [mg]

379

Sodium, Na [mg]

4

Zinc, Zn [mg]

0.3

Vitamin C, total ascorbic acid [mg]

13

Thiamin [mg]

0.11

Riboflavin [mg]

0.02

Niacin [mg]

1.44

Vitamin B-6 [mg]

0.3

Folate, DFE [µg]

10

Vitamin B-12 [µg]

0

Vitamin A, RAE [µg]

0

Vitamin A, IU [IU]

3

Vitamin E (alpha-tocopherol) [mg]

0.01

Vitamin D (D2 + D3) [µg]

0

Vitamin D [IU]

0

Vitamin K (phyllo Quinone) [µg]

2.2

Fatty acids, total saturated [g]

0.03

Fatty acids, total monounsaturated [g]

0

Fatty acids, total polyunsaturated [g]

0.04

Fatty acids, total trans [g]

0

Cholesterol [mg]

0

Caffeine [mg]

0

Sources include : USDA [3]

 

Promote Weight Gain

Potatoes are primarily made of carbohydrates and contain protein and are low on fats. When they team up with foods like cheese, butter or cream, it makes them an ideal diet for lean and thin people who want to put on weight. This is confirmed with a study conducted by the Department of Biochemistry, University of Sydney, Australia. [5]The vitamin content includes vitamin C and B-complex, which also help in proper absorption of carbohydrates. That is one of the reasons that potatoes make up a large part of the diet of sumo wrestlers, as well as many other athletes who need large energy reserves in order to compete!

Easy to Digest

Since potatoes predominantly contain carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and they also facilitate digestion. [6] This property makes them a good diet for babies or for those who cannot digest hard food, but need energy. However, remember that eating too many of them on a regular basis may cause acidity over time. Potatoes also contain a considerable amount of fiber or roughage, which is more in raw potatoes and cold ones than boiled or hot ones. This stimulates peristaltic motion and increases secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion and prevents conditions like constipation.

while protecting the body from serious conditions like colorectal cancer. Fiber is also connected with scraping cholesterol out of the arteries and blood vessels, thereby improving heart health.

Skin Care

Vitamin C and B-complex, as well as minerals like potassium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc, are good for the skin. [7] Apart from that, the pulp obtained from crushed raw potatoes, when mixed with honey, can work well in skin and face packs. This even helps cure pimples and spots on the skin. Again, this pulp, if applied externally on burns, provides quick relief and faster healing. Smashed potatoes and even water in which they have been washed are very good for softening and cleaning dark skin, especially around the elbows.

Treat Scurvy

A study conducted by Chrystelle Andre et al. published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that potatoes had high levels of vitamin C and carotenoid. [8] The vitamin C present in potatoes can help prevent scurvy, which is characterized by cracked lip corners, spongy and bleeding gums, and frequent viral infections. Although it is not found in first and second world countries as they have a ready access to vitamin C, it still exists in certain nations of the world, so the prolific presence of potatoes helps with this problem.

Treat Rheumatism

There are two parts to the effect of potatoes on this condition. Vitamins like calcium and magnesium help provide relief from rheumatism. [9] Also, water obtained from boiling potatoes can relieve the pain and inflammation of rheumatism. However, due to high starch and carbohydrate content, they tend to increase body weight which may have adverse effects on rheumatic people.

Reduce Inflammation

Potatoes are very effective in reducing inflammation, both internal and external, according to a research paper published by Janet King and Joanne Slaving from the Oakland Research Institute, California. [10] Since they are soft, easily digested, and have a lot of vitamin C (a very good antioxidant that repairs tissue wear and tear), potassium, and vitamin B6, they can relieve any inflammation in the intestines and the digestive system. They are a very good dietary element for those who have mouth ulcers as well. Therefore, people who suffer from arthritis and gout can use potatoes for their anti-inflammatory impact. However, potatoes can add to weight gain, which exacerbates these conditions, and are commonly eaten with meat and other rich foods that make gout worse, a fine balance must be struck.

Lower Blood Pressure

Since high blood pressure can occur for a number of reasons that include diabetes, tension, indigestion, nutrient balance, diet, and many others, different treatments are required. Luckily, potatoes can alleviate multiple possible causes and can be used to relieve high blood pressure due to tension. [11] They can also treat indigestion due to an abundance of vitamin C and fiber within, but they should be avoided if the high blood pressure is a result of diabetes. The fiber present in them is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improving the functioning of insulin in the body, which aids in the lowering of blood pressure. This is because there is a direct relationship between blood pressure and the glucose level in the blood; insulin helps regulate that glucose level. Furthermore, the potassium found in potatoes (46% of daily requirement per serving) lowers blood pressure, since it functions as a vasodilator. [12]

Proper Functioning of Brain

Proper functioning of the brain depends largely on the glucose level, oxygen supply, various components of the vitamin-B complex, and certain hormones, amino acids and fatty acids like omega-3. [13] Potatoes cater to almost all the needs mentioned above. They are high in carbohydrates, and thereby maintain good levels of glucose in the blood. This prevents the brain from letting fatigue creep in and it keeps your cognitive activity and performance high. Next, the brain needs oxygen, which is carried by the haemoglobin in the blood; its main constituent is iron.

Potatoes contain iron as well. Therefore, they help deliver oxygen to the brain as well. There are a wide variety of vitamins and minerals in potatoes that positively affect the function of the brain, including phosphorus, zinc, and the B complex vitamins. The vasodilation properties of potassium have also been connected to stimulation of brain function due to increased blood flow to it.

Prevent Heart Diseases

Apart from the vitamins (B-complex and C), minerals, and roughage, potatoes also contain certain substances called carotenoids (lutein and zeaxanthin). Carotenoids are beneficial for heart health and the functioning of other internal organs. Again, since potatoes raise the glucose level in the blood and their over-consumption may cause obesity, which puts pressure on your heart, you must be careful about how often you use potatoes for this health benefit. This method of preventing heart diseases is not recommended for obese people or diabetics[14]

Treat Kidney Stones

Kidney stones, also known as renal calculi, are caused mainly due to increased levels of uric acid in the blood. In such cases, foods high in protein should be avoided, particularly animal proteins such as meat, turkey, shrimp, fish, eggs, and milk, as well as spinach, raw plantain, black grams, and certain beans, which drastically increase the level of uric acid in the blood. Iron and calcium also contribute to the formation of stones. Potatoes are rich in both of these so logically, they wouldn’t fit in as a preventative measure for kidney stones, but they also contain magnesium, which inhibits the accumulation or deposition of calcium (calcification) in the kidney and other tissues, thereby proving beneficial for the treatment of renal calculi. [15]

Treat Diarrhea

Potatoes are an excellent component of an energy-rich diet for those suffering from diarrhea since they are easy to digest and contain mild roughage. [16] However, eating too many potatoes can cause diarrhea due to the excessive ingestion of starch.

Other Benefits

Potato juice is a good treatment for burns, bruises, sprains, skin problems, ulcers, effects caused by narcotics, prostate cancer, uterine cancer, and the formation of cysts or tumors.

Does Potato Prevent Cancer

Certain types of potatoes, particularly red and russet ones, contain high levels of flavonoid antioxidants and vitamin A, like zeaxanthin and carotenes, and they can protect you against many types of cancer. [17] Also, a study at the Agricultural Research has shown that potatoes contain a compound called quercetin, which has been proven to have anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties. Finally, the high levels of vitamin A and C, both have antioxidant properties that can protect your body from the devastating effects of cancer.

Another animal study suggests that anthocyanin rich purple potatoes may demonstrate anticancer and anti-inflammatory potential. [18] More scientific evidence and research is needed to prove the benefit.

However, recent study published in Nutrition and Cancer suggests that high intake of potato may increase the risk of colorectal cancer, and colon cancer[19]

Note: Always consult your doctor before making any dietary changes to avoid any side-effects and risks.

Word of Caution: It is also important to keep a check on the consumption of potatoes. Green potatoes are often poisonous, and so are potato leaves and fruits, as they contain alkaloids like solanine, chaconine, and arsenic. An overdose of those chemicals could easily prove fatal. Moreover, the glycaemic index (in simple words, the energy or sugar content) of potatoes is very high (above 80), so people who are obese, trying to lose weight or suffering from diabetes should avoid eating potatoes. If eaten, potatoes are healthier when baked, rather than raw or fried.

However, don’t worry; these health risks affect only a small part of the population. If you are fine and healthy, don’t forget that a bit of fat is not bad for you; it’s actually beneficial. Don’t be afraid to enjoy some potato chips and french-fries while watching TV. You won’t become a couch potato if you eat in moderation!

Tips to Reduce Loss of Nutrients in Potato

Here are some tips that will help you in reducing the loss of potato nutrients:

Avoid peeling the potatoes before cooking them. The outer shell provides a good protection against nutritional loss during the cooking process. The protein and mineral content beneath the skin is very high, so if you cook them after peeling them, most of these proteins and minerals will be lost.

When you boil potatoes, first heat the water to its boiling point and then add them. This will reduce cooking time and help you maintain the vitamin C content.

Minimize frying of potatoes, as 75% of vitamin C is lost during frying. You can use other cooking methods such as baking and steam cooking.

On a delicious note, have you ever tried barbecue roasted potatoes? Go and grab some!

 

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Manioc

26 Amazing Benefits of Cassava for Skin, Hair, And Health


Ever came across a single ingredient that can take care of your skin, hair and health, all at a time? And what if that very ingredient is also a poison? Perplexed, aren’t you? Well, we are talking about cassava here! How it benefits your skin, hair and healthy is simply beyond imagination!

And coming to its seemingly poisonous nature, there are certain foods and ingredients that are supposedly poisonous, but when eaten right can offer a number of benefits. Cassava is one of those!

Want to know more about cassava and how it can benefit your skin, hair, and health? Then relax and give this post a read!

 

Cassava – A Brief

Cassava is a tropical root vegetable that can be used along with potatoes, carrots, radishes and other tubers. Cassava is also used in flour, which is a kind of starch required in kitchens around the globe. Dry cassava flour can also be bought from grocery stores. Finding fresh roots of cassava plants is almost impossible because they tend to rot very quickly.

The leaves of this veggie can be used to prepare food as well. Compared to other green vegetables, the nutritional value of cassava is a little low. The leaves of this plant have higher protein content when compared to the nutrients found in the roots of cassava.

Cassava needs a comfortable environment to grow well. The best part of this plant is that it can survive for very long in soil that is poor in quality.

There are two kinds of cassava plants: sweet and bitter. Bitter cassava plants have a higher level of cyanide, and they have to be washed and crushed well before they are cooked. This will remove all harmful toxins. Once that has been done, you can grind the roots of cassava plants into flour to prepare different kinds of dishes.

Sweet cassavas, on the other hand, contain lower levels of cyanide, and you may eat them as traditional root veggies.

Cassava Benefits

Cassava is known for its amazing benefits. Let’s go through a few of them!

Skin Benefits Of Cassava

  1. Smoothens And Brightens Your Complexion

The peel of cassava plants can be used as a skin exfoliator. You can split the peels, make a fresh paste out of it and use it as a scrub. Brush the face well for a few minutes and wash it off with cold water. Do this thrice a week to get good results.

  1. Great Face Mask

Cassava plants also act as great face masks. Before you prepare your face mask, make sure you have washed your face with warm water. This will help in opening up the pores. The cassava mask will easily get absorbed and improve the texture and condition of your skin. Once you have washed your face, wait for it to dry completely. You may now rinse with cold water so that the pores close. Use your fingers to dry them. Doing this thrice a week will prevent and eliminate scars and impart a healthy glow in return.

  1. Hydrates The Skin

Cassava can also hydrate your skin tone and make it smooth and soft. You will have to prepare a mask for this one at home. Take cassava plant roots with some honey or olive oil. You can combine it with a fruit too. A few drops of lemon will also do.

  1. Removes Scars And Spots

Cassava starch water can help in healing wounds and scars if you apply gently all over the affected area around twice a day.

Hair Benefits of Cassava

It is not only your health and skin that will be on the receiving end of benefits when it comes to cassava! Using cassava roots and leaves will also help you see changes in the quality of your hair.

  1. Helps Your Hair Grow Faster

If you are tired with the condition of your hair, especially because of its slow growth, I would definitely recommend Cassava. Its roots and leaves can be used to make a fresh paste that can be applied on oiled hair an hour before you rinse it. Doing this twice a week will help you see changes.

  1. Controls Hair Fall

Women have often complained about hair fall. They are tired of talking about it, and we are tired of hearing about it! A simple, quick and effective solution to this problem is cassava. This will nourish your hair from the roots to the tips, hydrate it and control hair fall.

  1. Provides Nourishment

Cassava plants are a powerhouse of nourishment. If you have hair that is dry or damaged, consider this plant and let it help repair all the damage.

Health Benefits Of Cassava

The tubes and roots of the cassava plant contain calories, proteins, fat, carbohydrates, iron, Vitamin B and C and also starch. The leaves contain calcium, iron, fats and protein too. No wonder they have been proved to be beneficial for your health, body and mind. With that said, let’s go through some of the major cassava health benefits.

  1. Helps You Lose Weight

Cassava is very important for all those who are trying to shed those excess pounds that have accumulated over the years. It is found in rice and bread and is low in calories too. The high fiber content in cassava helps you stay full for a longer period and prevents binge eating.

  1. Good For Your Digestive System

Cassava contains fibers, which are not soluble in water. It helps in the absorption of toxins that enter your intestines. In that way, it improves your digestive health and keeps it chugging along nicely.

  1. Helps in Overcoming Headaches

Most of us suffer from headaches, and for some, it can become unbearable. But you can treat it with the help of cassava! All you have to do for this is take 60 grams of cassava roots or leaves and soak it in water for a couple of hours. Make fresh juice using a blender and then drink it down twice a day. And banish those killer headaches!

  1. Prevents Cancer

Here comes an amazing benefit of Cassava. Cassava helps in preventing life-threatening diseases such as cancer. The B17 content in these leaves helps in stimulating the content of red blood cells, the loss of which often leads to cancer.

  1. Treats Diarrhea

Cassava addresses conditions such as diarrhea too. You may take several pieces of cassava and boil it in water. Wait for it to come to room temperature. Drink this liquid twice a day to feel the difference.

  1. Good For The Eyes

Cassava is rich in Vitamin A and compounds such as bakarotennya that improve the health of your eyes and in the future prevents blindness or poor eyesight.

  1. Cure Fever

Cassava leaves are also effective in treating fever. To get the best results, use the stem as well as the leaves of cassava to make a decoction. In order to make this, you have to boil the root and the leaves instead of steeping them in warm water. Simply take 400 grams of cassava leaves and 80 grams of the stem and boil them uncovered in a litter of water. When the volume of water is reduced by half, take it off the heat and cool.

  1. Help Treat Rheumatic Diseases

Rheumatic diseases refer to diseases pertaining to the muscles and joints. Osteoporosis, arthritis, spondylitis and lupus are some examples. Cassava leaves are rich in magnesium. In fact, a diet high in magnesium leads to lowered blood pressure levels that reduces the chances of rheumatic diseases throughout life (1).

Cassava supplies more than a third of your daily magnesium requirement per serving. To make an all-natural rheumatic medication, take 150 grams of cassava leaves, some lemongrass and salt along with 15 grams of ginger root. Boil these ingredients in a litter of water until the volume has reduced to about 400ccs. Drink this potion every morning to keep rheumatic diseases at bay.

  1. Heal Wounds

Cassava leaves are great for healing injuries and wounds. It has plenty of nutrients that can help in quickly healing such injuries. Crush cassava leaves in a little amount of Aloe Vera gel and make a smooth paste. Smear this paste on the wound. You can also use the stem of cassava in healing wounds. From the smooth paste made from the leaves and the gel, grate some of the cassava root. If the wound is from a burn, squeeze the pulp out of cassava rhizomes and apply it daily to the wound.

  1. Clear Up Worms

This benefit of cassava leaves is sourced from some solid research. It has been found that cassava leaves reduce nematode infection in the GI tract. An experiment was done on young goats that were fed a steady diet of fermentative additives of rice and cassava leaves. It was found that the supplementation drastically reduced the symptoms of nematodes infestation.

To take cassava to eliminate worms, you can buy cassava supplements found in pharmacies. You can also make a paste of cassava leaves and eat that as a whole.

  1. Develops Appetite

Cassava is full of benefits, among which appetite restoration is one. If you are feeling averse towards food, cassava leaves will restore your appetite. To do this, make a concoction of cassava leaves with ginger and drink it every morning right after waking up.

  1. Beneficial for Pregnant Women

Pregnant women need lots of vitamin C and folate(2). In fact, these two supplements are prescribed right from the beginning of the gestation period. Now, these two are also found aplenty in cassava leaves. A cup of cassava contains 15 percent of your daily folate requirement and 47 percent of the daily calcium requirement. Cassava leaves have a bland taste, so chop the leaves and cook them with meat and vegetables in a stew. This way, you will make a great meal out of the healthy leaf.

  1. Help Fight Kwashiorkor

Cassava leaves are full of lysine protein (3). This makes the leaves perfect for fighting against protein deficiency conditions like Kwashiorkor. However, depending on cassava as the sole source of protein can be harmful if the leaves are not cooked properly. There is evidence suggesting cassava containing cyanogenic glucosides. This can lead to loss of eyesight and cyanide poisoning. So the tuber and leaves must be washed properly, and cooked well before eating.

  1. Strengthens Immunity

Folate and vitamin C, both found in plenty in cassava leaves, are very good for the body’s immune system. Vitamin C helps the immune system by attacking the nucleus of virus and bacteria, rendering them dead. It also maintains bone health. It is also a good antioxidant that eliminates free radicals in the body. Free radicals are known to have links with cancer. Folate helps in the production of cells in our body, thereby helping in making the genetic material for life and preventing DNA mutations.

  1. Boosts Energy and Improves Brain Function

Since cassava flour is high in carbohydrates, it helps in boosting energy. Not only that, your brain will begin to work more efficiently when you add cassava flour to your meals. Every serving contains 80% of carbohydrates, which is more than enough for your daily consumption.

  1. Beneficial for Nerve Health

Some experts believe that cassava flour is essential for a balanced nervous system. Not only does it fight stress and anxiety, but also provides support to your overall health.

  1. Maintains Healthy Muscles

If you are health conscious, cassava flour will definitely help you build strong and lean muscles. It contains protein that maintains your muscle health and nourishes the tissues. One serving contains 2 grams of protein, which is enough to meet your daily requirements.

  1. Lowers Blood Pressure

Another amazing benefit of cassava flour is that it significantly lowers blood pressure. This is again because it is high in dietary fiber. Every cup of cassava flour increases your fiber intake by 4 grams. This significantly contributes towards the ideal fiber intake recommended for women on a regular basis.

  1. Makes You Less Prone to Diseases

With cassava flour, you can lower the chances of diseases such as osteoporosis. This is because it contains essential minerals such as copper and magnesium that promote a healthy lifestyle. One cup of cassava contains only 206 grams of copper, which covers around 24% of your daily requirement.

Nutritional Value of Cassava

The table below will give you a clear idea on the nutritional value of cassava.

One cup of raw cassava contains:

Calories: 330

Total fat: One gram

Cholesterol: Zero percent

Sodium: 29 grams

Carbohydrates: 78 grams

Dietary fiber: 4 grams

Sugars: 4 grams

Protein: 3 grams

Uses of Cassava

Cassava plants can also be put to several uses. You can prepare soups and stews by using this as the core ingredient. This will fill up your stomach and help you stay full for a longer period. Since it is a starchy vegetable, it contains an element of thickness that stimulates the appetite and also lasts for a long time. However, be careful while you are using this plant. Excessive consumption brings you one step closer to nutritional deficiencies and diseases.

Word of Caution

This popular tuber also has some side effects that you should be aware of. Here are a few of them:

Cassava contains a toxin called Linamar in. When eaten raw, the human digestive system converts this toxin into cyanide, which can prove to be fatal.

The cassava root rots quickly, which leads to depletion in its nutritional value. It can also cause fungal and bacterial infections.

The toxic substances in cassava are known to affect the pituitary gland and impact the functioning of liver and kidneys.

Now, don’t let these side effects scare you away! If you peel, clean, and cook cassava well, there is no reason why you cannot enjoy its goodness without worrying about toxins! Cleaning and cooking flush out all the toxins from cassava and makes it completely eatable.

Nature is miraculous, isn’t it? Something that is toxic can turn into a health boon! Amazing! Plants like cassava are often misunderstood. But with knowledge comes power. Now that you know about cassava benefits and how it can help you lead a healthier, more beautiful life, there is no reason to shy away from it. But like always, don’t forget to talk to a doctor and discuss cassava benefits and side effects to avoid complications!

 

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Lotus Root

23 Amazing Benefits of Lotus For Skin, Hair, And Health


Are you hearing of nelumbo nucifera for the first time? What? You have never heard of the lotus—India’s national flower? Yes! Nelumbo Nucifera is the botanical name of lotus! This beautiful flower is not only India’s national flower but is also the national flower of Vietnam. In fact, lotus has religious and cultural significance in many Asian cultures. Here in this post you will explore many benefits of lotus root.

In our country, we consider lotus as a sacred flower. Hinduism, Buddhism, and many other major religions of the world consider lotus as the sacred flower, which holds an important religious significance. The other names for lotus are ‘Kamal’ and lotus root is called as ‘Kamal Kakdi’ in in Hindi, ‘Tamara’ in Telugu, ‘Thamarai’ in Tamil, ‘Tamara’ in Malayalam, ‘Tavare’ in Kannada, ‘Motunkamal’ in Gujarati, and ‘Komol’ in Bengali.

 

 

Benefits Of Lotus Root

But the lotus is much more than its beauty! It also has several benefits to offer. Read on for more interesting information about amazing lotus root benefits for skin hair and health.

Lotus Benefits For Skin

Today, we suffer from unprecedented pollution. No wonder the skin begins to look dull and aged soon. And to make things worse, the use of cosmetics harms our skin unknowingly. The solution lies in using natural ingredients. That is the reason why more and more people are turning towards herbal products to keep their skin healthy and beautiful. Nelumbo nucifera or lotus is one of the natural ingredients that can be used to get healthy skin. Some of the benefits of lotus root for the skin are:

  1. Rich in Antioxidants:

Rich in antioxidants, the fragrant Nelumbo nucifera acts as a skin conditioner.

  1. Acts as a Moisturising Agent:

Its properties intensely hydrate and moisturises the skin and helps in increasing skin elasticity and complexion, erasing fine lines, fading brown spots and wrinkles.

  1. Heals Flaky and Dry Skin:

Many cosmetic and skin care products use nelumbo nucifera as their leading ingredients. It provides instant hydration to the skin. So, if you feel your skin is flaky and dry then use this herbal hydration to get that enviable glow.

  1. Prevents Acne Breakouts:

Are you worried about your oily skin? Nelumbo nucifera’s external use can balance your oily skin and prevent acne and pimple breakouts.

  1. 5. If you are looking for some relief after a day filled with stress and anxiety, then try nelumbo nucifera. It is used to make perfume, and its oil is used in aromatherapy—the effective way to unwind and give your skin the time to rejuvenate.

Lotus Benefits For Hair

Today, we all are concerned about our hair—hair fall woes have become the favorite object of hate. It’s not so surprising that many of us are turning towards nature to find a cure for our hair problems. Nelumbo nucifera provides herbal hair care with no side effects!

  1. Conditions Hair:

Many conditioners contain nelumbo nucifera extracts. Apply a conditioner containing nelumbo nucifera to offer your hair that natural shine and relief from split ends.

  1. Adds Volume and Natural Shine:

Nelumbo nucifera helps to increase the volume, strength, and elasticity of the brittle hair. So if you have dull, limp hair then grab nelumbo nucifera extract for the health of your tresses.

  1. Prevents Premature Graying:

Oh! The horrors of premature gray hair! Why don’t you try lotus essential oil? According to researchers, the oil stimulated melanin synthesis in gray hair (1), (2). Melanin is the pigment that gives hair its color.

This means that lotus essential oil usage can also prevent the occurrence of gray hair. It is because the oil can regulate the hair’s melanin content.

Lotus Root Health Benefits

Nelumbo nucifera have astringent, diuretic, emollient, antifungal, antimicrobial, antipyretic, antibacterial, and anti-steroidal, cardiotonic, antiviral, anticancer, anthelmintic, anti-obesity properties. Some of the health benefits of this plant are:

  1. Ayurvedic Use:

All parts of nulumbo nucifera are used in traditional medicine. The seeds and stems are used in Ayurvedic medicine. It treats a wide variety of health issues.

  1. Cures Bleeding Disorders:

The leaves of nelumbo nucifera have been used to treat excessive sweating, fever, bleeding disorders, nosebleed and blood in urine.

  1. Treats Fungal Infections:

Nelumbo nucifera’s stem has been used to treat skin diseases like fungal infection and ringworm, smallpox, leprosy, vomiting, diarrhea, cough, dysentery, etc.

  1. Reduces Skin Inflammation:

Rectal prolapsed can be treated by the young leaf. The leaf paste reduces skin inflammation and fever.

  1. Supports Fertility Longevity:

Nelumbo nucifera improves male and female fertility.

  1. Reduces Cholesterol Levels:

It helps in reducing cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

  1. Reduces Risk of Anemia:

Lotus root has a significant content of iron and copper, and they play a major role in the production of red blood cells, decrease the risk of developing symptoms of anemia and increase blood flow. Hence, this root helps in stimulating blood circulation and increases organ oxygenation (1). It also boosts functionality, vitality and energy levels because the circulation of blood is well stimulated.

  1. Rich in Potassium:

Lotus root is rich in potassium, which is a vasodilator. This means that it helps in keeping blood vessels relaxed as well as aids in increasing blood flow by reducing the rigidity and contraction of these vessels. It also lowers the strain that is put on the cardiovascular system. Potassium also helps in balancing the fluids in your body properly and thwarts the effects that come with the presence of excessive sodium in your bloodstream (2).

  1. Ease Bowel Movements:

You have read that lotus root has a substantial amount of dietary fiber. This makes it a great aide in bulking up stool and facilitating bowel movements. It also lowers the symptoms of constipation and enhances the absorption of nutrients through the digestive and gastric juice secretions. It provides stimulation to peristaltic motion in the smooth muscles of the intestines to ensure that your bowel movements are easy and regular. This, in turn, prevents haemorrhoids.

  1. Rich in Vitamin C:

One of the vitamins that lotus root is richest in is Vitamin C. 73 percent of your body’s requirement of this vitamin is provided by 100 grams of this root. Being a powerful antioxidant, Vitamin C benefits your body in many ways. It helps get rid of free radicals in your body and prevents the onset of dangerous conditions such as heart disease and cancer. It is an integral part of collagen that helps in maintaining the strength and integrity of blood vessels, skin, and organs. Vitamin C is also a major catalyst for the immune system.

  1. Promote Brain Development:

Pyridoxine is a member of the B-complex vitamins. It has a direct interaction with neural receptors in the brain that have an influence on your mood as well as your mental state. It also controls headaches, stress levels, and irritability. While the lotus flower has been a symbol of peace and tranquillity for centuries, it is the root that actually provides it!

  1. Improves Heart Health:

Keeping your heart healthy is the best benefit of lotus root. Along with potassium’s vasodilation efficacy and dietary fiber’s ability to scrub away cholesterol in the body, the pyridoxine that you get from lotus root also controls homocysteine levels in the blood, which has a direct connection to heart attacks.

  1. Aids in Weight Loss:

If you are looking to lose weight, lotus root is a superb food to add to your diet. It is low in calories, and as you have already read, it has loads of fiber and essential nutrients. When your body gets all the important nutrients that it needs, you feel full for a longer duration and avoid the problem of overeating, thus managing your weight effectively.

  1. Good for Respiratory Disorders:

Research indicates that lotus root may have beneficial effects on the respiratory system. It is said to help in cleansing and providing strength to the respiratory system. It can be brewed as a hot tea to provide relief from cough as it can melt the accumulated mucus. It is also consumed as juice for the treatment of respiratory diseases like tuberculosis and asthma.

  1. Treats Stomach Problems:

Drinking lotus root juice that is mixed with ginger can be used as a highly effective treatment for inflammation of the intestines. If you are vomiting blood, bleeding can be prevented, whether it is in your stomach or your oesophagus. If there is blood in your stool, bleeding in the intestine, stomach and rectum can be prevented as well. If you suffer from any of these problems, drink this healthy juice and gain relief.

Lotus Root Nutrition Facts

In terms of 100 gms of nelumbo nucifera contain:

Calories – 74 cal

Dietary fiber – 13 %

No cholesterol

Vitamin C – 73 %

Good amount of copper and iron

Low in fat

Contains Vitamins B complex

Rich in minerals and protein

 

In the comments below, tell us which one of these benefits is really effective or What was your experience? If you know any other benefits of lotus root, share below.

 

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Kohila Ala

Kohila reduces unnecessary toxins in the intestines


Kohila (Lasia spinosa) is a spinous marshy herb which grows abundantly in Sri Lankan marshlands. It is cultivated as a vegetable in certain areas. There are five varieties: kiri kohila, guru kohila, wel kohila, kalu kohila and goda kohila.

 

The tubers, roots and leaves are used as medicine. The tubers and leaves contain a lot of fibres. Kohila tends to be cooling. The leaves contain calcium and vitamin C.

The tuber of the kiri kohila is tastier also boils easily, says Dr. Lakshmi Senaratne, chief scientist (Ayurveda) at the Bandaranaike Memorial Ayurveda Research Institute. Guru kohila, by contrast, is less tasty, larger than the others and takes longer to boil. Wel kohila is a climber and grows in water. In kalu kohila, the leaves and tuber are large while the stem and leaves are blackish in colour. Dr. Senaratne explained that it has more medicinal properties and is sharper in taste but rarer than the other varieties, being rather difficult to come by. All varieties favour hot and wet climates.

Kohila is eaten widely in Sri Lanka as a vegetable. Senaratne recommended that the tubers be slightly crushed in order to expedite the process of boiling. It is used widely, both as a food and a medicine, by those suffering from piles.

Kohila reduces vatha and kapha but some Ayurveda writings says that it reduces all three humours. It is suitable for liver conditions. Due to the high prevalence of fibre, it gives a good motion.

Taken as a vegetable, kohila reduces unnecessary toxins in the intestines and is effective for other disorders in the intestines. The tuber reduces bleeding and is given after indigestion and diarrhoea (not during). Eaten as a food, it increases appetite and body weight, reduces urine output and burning sensation in the body. It also expels worms.

The tuber and leaves are used to prepare cunjee. The leaves of the wel kohila are eaten as a curry. According to Senaratne, anyone suffering from haemorrhoids can take wel kohila. "It will initially cause the haemmrrhoids to burst and bleed but will subsequently cure them," she explained.

For bleeding or non-bleeding plies, take raw kohila tuber, cut into small pieces, mix with red onions and boil slightly in a bundle. Extract juice and drink. Kohila cunjee with red onions is also recommended. The tuber is also used in decoctions for bleeding and non-bleeding piles. It is suitable for patients with chronic consumption, even children. "Crush the tuber and cook," Senaratne advised. Kohila is given for those suffering from measles and fever accompanied with rashes.

Kohila is also good for diabetic sufferers and those with high cholesterol because of its tendency to reduce absorption of sugar and fats.

Boiled tubers are given to cattle for curing all internal disease. It also acts as a tonic. For indigestion in cattle, grind 50 grams of tuber into a paste and feed.

 

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Kiri Ala

Sri Lankan Kiriala/ Taro: Xanthosoma sagittifolium


Kiriala: Xanthosoma sagittifolium The Xanthosoma species are plants of the tropical rain forest and, although in their natural habitat they grow under the forest canopy, under cultivation they are usually sown with full exposure to sunlight. They require well-drained soils and do not tolerate the permanent presence of water.

 

The mean temperature for their optimum growth must exceed 20 C. Xanthoxoma is one of domestic traditional crop. Today it has high demand and high income earning crop. It is not a seasonal crop. Thus it can be cultivated any time under availability of water. There are several edible varieties of taro growing in Sri Lanka, with the most popular being kiri ala and gahala. Taro is a great source of calcium and vitamins C, E and B as well as magnesium, manganese and copper. The leaves of the kolakana ala variety are also present in traditional Sri Lankan cuisine, and are packed with vitamins A and C. Amongst the many benefits of eating taro is the fact that they are a good gluten-free, low-sodium source of dietary fibre. It also helps to reduce blood pressure and cardio diseases, boost immunity, and reduce fatigue. The Omega 3 and 6 oils found in taro also slows down the skin ageing process. Botanical description A herbaceous perennial, Xanthosoma sagittifolium has a corm or main underground stem in the form of a rhizome from which swollen secondary shoots, or cormels, sprout. Several large leaves also sprout from the main stem, which are sagittate and erect with long, ribbed petioles; inflorescences sprout between the leaves in a spadix, with a white 12 to 15 cm spathe which closes at its base in the form of a spherical chamber and opens at the top into a concave lamina; the spadix is cylindrical, slightly longer than the spathe, with female flowers on the lower portion, male flowers on the upper portion and sterile flowers in the middle portion. The spadices are rarely fertile and produce few viable seeds. The growth cycle lasts from nine to 11 months: during the first six months the corms and leaves develop; in the last four months, the foliage remains stable and, when it begins to dry, the plants are ready for the cormels to be harvested.

 

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Ini ala

Farmed as a root crop in tropical Africa and South and Southeast Asia


-   [Chinese Potato, Country Potato, Native Potato, Madagascar Potato;Plectranthus rotundifolius altSolenostemon rotundifolius Welayta dinich (Amharic); Plectranthus edulis | Dazo, Rizga, Umbondive; Plectranthus esculentus

This plant, native to tropical Africa, is farmed as a root crop in tropical Africa and South and Southeast Asia.  Photo by Manojk distributed under license Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported.

The closely related P. esculentus is grown in East Africa and is more difficult to cultivate than P. rotundifolius but produces a better yield.

The closely related P. edulis is grown as a root crop in Ethiopia. It is cooked before eating. 

 

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