While known for being a great source of vitamin C, a new study involving sweet potatoes identifies even more nutritional benefits associated with this very popular crop. Aside from being easily accessible, cheap and delicious, sweet potatoes are loaded with healthy vitamins, essential for maintaining good health.
cholesterol-free, sweet potatoes are high in vitamins B6, C and D, and
contain sufficient sources of iron, magnesium and potassium. Like
carrots, they are also high in beta-carotene, the precursor for
processing vitamin A within your body.
Unlike regular potatoes,
referred to as tubers, or underground stems, sweet potatoes are roots
and are believed to also carry nutrients in their leaves. "Although
studies have confirmed that water-soluble vitamins exist in sweet potato
roots and leaves, there has been limited information about how these
vitamins are actually distributed in the plants," reports ReadyNutrition.com.
Delicious and affordable, sweet potatoes provide a multitude of health benefits
this concept, researchers Wilmer Barrera and David Picha from Louisiana
State University (LSU) Agricultural Center published a research study
in the journal HortScience, showing that both the mature and young leaves of sweet potatoes provide significant health benefits, including vitamin B6.
study's objective specifically focused on determining the content of
ascorbic acid, thiamin, riboflavin and vitamin B6 in a variety of sweet
potatoes, including the Beauregard Sweet Potato, a current industry standard that was developed at LSU in 1987.
Not only is the Beauregard Sweet Potato highly regarded by Louisianans, but it's also the world's most popular sweet potato
For their experiment, scientists also used the "LA 07-146" sweet potato, the second most popular (behind Beauregard) variety in Louisiana, differing by its red skin and "good sugar" content.
"It's a very good french fry sweet potato," said LSU AgCenter sweet potato breeder Don Labonte.
a sweet potato lot at LSU, scientists analyzed the plant's essential
vitamin content in a range of foliar tissues including buds, vines,
young petioles, young leaves,
mature petioles and mature leaves as well as root tissues including the
skin, cortex and pith tissue at the proximal, distal and center regions
of the root.
The fields were planted in late October and again
the following September, with a third experiment being conducted in
order to study water-soluble vitamin content among different sweet
potato root tissues.
Study shows sweet potato leaves contain significant amounts of vitamin content
results found that ascorbic acid (AA) content differed among varying
tissue types, with young leaves containing the highest amount, followed
by mature leaves and buds. The AA content was the lowest in mature
petioles, according to researchers.
Buds also contained high
amounts of AA, higher than the sweet potato's roots, vines and petiole
tissues. "No thiamin was detected in foliar tissue, whereas mature
leaves contained the highest riboflavin and vitamin B6 content (0.22 to 0.43 mg and 0.52 to 0.58 mg, respectively)," the scientists noted.
"In root tissues of 'Beauregard' and 'LA 07-146' sweetpotatoes, [sic] the AA content was lower in the skin (1.9 to 5.6 mg and 2.54 to 3.82 mg, respectively)."
AA content in the cortex and pith tissue at the proximal, distal, and
center of the root was generally similar," scientists said, while
thiamin content varied among root tissues, with the skin containing the
highest riboflavin content and the lowest vitamin B6 content across root
tissues of both strains.
The study's results confirm earlier
reports suggesting that sweet potato leaves can be a great source of
multiple water-soluble vitamins in the human diet, making them an
attractive choice for your next dish.