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Epidemiological evidence suggests that sweet potatoes, with their anti-angiogenic pigments (including anthocyanin and carotenoids), may prove an important part of a chemopreventive diet. In the NIH-AARP Diet and Health Study, which enrolled almost half, a million people, researchers found that men who regularly consumed sweet potatoes had lower rates of lung cancer than those who did not. Among former smokers, men who consumed sweet potatoes had a 14% reduced risk of lung cancer. Another study in the International Journal of Cancer found that premenopausal women who consumed large amounts of sweet potatoes and other carotenoid-rich fruits and vegetables had a 20% lower risk of breast cancer compared with those who consumed the least. A study of women in Iowa revealed that individuals who ate sweet potatoes every day or every other day had a 28% reduced risk of developing Non-Hodgkin’s Lymphoma.
CURATIVE? There are over 6,500 varieties of sweet potatoes worldwide. Sweet potatoes contain a variety of natural molecules that have anti-angiogenesis mechanisms of cancer prevention. These micronutrients include carotenoids (lutein and beta-carotene), polyphenols (chlorogenic acid) and flavonoids (anthocyanin). Lutein is a natural yellow-colored carotenoid synthesized by plants to quench activated overproduced chlorophyll from photosynthesis. In experimental animals bearing breast cancer cells, dietary lutein was shown to inhibit tumor angiogenesis, and result in tumors that were 40% smaller in size. Beta-carotene is a natural red-orange pigment that inhibits the proliferation, migration, and tube formation of blood vessel endothelial cells in laboratory studies. Beta-carotene supplements given to volunteers resulted in reduction of the lymphangiogenesis growth factor VEGF-D circulating in their blood serum of male smokers.
BUYING AND STORAGE Root vegetables like sweet potatoes can be found next to potatoes in the grocery store. Choose sweet potatoes that are firm with intact skin and no bruises. Sweet potatoes can be stored in a dry and cool (55-60° F) environment for one month. If dry cured (exposed to temperatures around 86 F for several days), they can last in storage throughout the winter. Avoid storing them in the refrigerator or at temperatures below 55° F since sweet potatoes can develop “hardcore”, where the root center remains tough, even upon cooking. Cooked sweet potatoes can be stored in the refrigerator for 5 days.
COOKING Sweet potatoes are one of the easiest vegetables to cook. They can be steamed or roasted in their skins, or they can be mashed, pureed, fried or baked. They can also be candied, canned or dried as chips. The flavor of sweet potato pairs well with many spices and condiments including cinnamon, honey, nutmeg, ginger and lime. Common sweet potato dishes in the United States include sweet potato pie, sweet potato casserole and sweet potato fries. Sweet potato is prevalent in Asian dishes, ranging from the simple street snack of roasted sweet potato to its popular use in Japanese tempura to Chinese tong sui which is a sweet potato soup flavored with sugar and ginger. Sweet potatoes develop sweetness during cooking. Upon heating, the enzyme amylase in sweet potatoes converts starch molecules into the sugar maltose, which is one third as sweet as table sugar (sucrose). Some sweet potato varieties are more moist and sweet based on starch to maltose conversion– which can be as high as 75%. Because amylase is most active at 135 – 170° F but deactivated at higher temperatures, it is best to slow-bake sweet potatoes rather than to quickly boil or microwave them, in order to maximize their sweetness.
Last Updated on Sunday, 22 May 2016 23:16
Written by Claypot