Sweet potato - useful properties and contraindications

Sweet potato is very similar to potatoes in the appearance of tubers and the method of cultivation. The cultivated plant quickly became one of the main products for the inhabitants of Peru, Colombia, New Zealand, China, India. It is beneficial to grow, the average weight of the tuber reaches 3 kg. The application is universal, with equal success, soups, main dishes and desserts are prepared from it.

Sweet potato

History of the Overseas Guest

In Europe, sweet potatoes were not heard until the 19th century. Fashion came to him along with foreign chefs and fashion for everything abroad. Sweet potatoes turned out to be a good acquisition, since it is very harvested that has a pleasant taste and a number of useful qualities that nutritionists and traditional medicine admirers quickly adopted.

Description of the plant and composition of tubers

Interestingly, sweet potato and potato are indeed distant relatives, have a high calorie content and are slightly similar in appearance. This is where the similarities end and quite impressive differences begin. Instead of a powerful vertical ground part, the yam has long flexible vines, growing to 1.5-2 meters. They are able to take root in leaf nodes. Some varieties bloom, forming white, pinkish or lilac funnel-shaped "gramophone". Others dispense with decoration. Flowering varieties need pollination by insects. Tubers are formed on the lateral roots, which thicken and grow to 2.5-3 kg. in favorable conditions.

Attempts to cultivate sweet potato in Russia began in the 20th century and were successful in the southern regions of Bashkortostan. Thanks to the active work of breeders, several varieties grown in the middle lane have been bred. They became annuals and perform a decorative rather than a food function. Lack of heat and moisture interferes with growing a full-fledged crop; such a balance is characteristic only for tropical and subtropical zones, especially since even with preliminary germination, the crop ripening period is 200-230 days.

The composition of root crops is rich and diverse:

  • starch;
  • vitamins C, A, PP, E, group B;
  • niacin;
  • micro and macro elements;
  • phytoestrogens;
  • glucose
  • fiber;
  • thiamine;
  • riboflavin;
  • anthocyanin.

Varieties and types

The varieties distinguish fodder, vegetable and dessert species. They differ in the density of the pulp, the level of nutrients, taste, sugar content. Feed varieties are unpretentious to the conditions and can be grown in the southern regions. The pulp becomes soft during cooking and is great for making mashed soups. Dessert varieties have different tastes, the flesh resembles a pumpkin, carrot, banana or chestnut. Harvests only in the subtropics. From them prepare desserts, cereals, casseroles. The main exporters of sweet potato are:

  • China;
  • Nigeria;
  • Tanzania;
  • India;
  • Vietnam.

Beneficial features

The Chinese call the sweet potato the fruit of longevity. It is able to activate the work of the heart, strengthen and cleanse blood vessels, remove toxins, have a general strengthening effect. And we are talking about both raw tuber and dishes prepared from it. After heat treatment, sweet potato retains most of the nutrients. If it is cooked without the addition of vegetable or animal fats, then it has a small calorie content within 67 kcal. on 100 gr. product and is used in weight control programs.

Useful properties of sweet potato

Tubers are used raw, boiled, stewed. Regular use of the product:

  • provides fast saturation without overeating;
  • stimulates the intestines, activates peristalsis;
  • envelops and soothes the irritated walls of the stomach;
  • removes old fecal stones, toxins, toxins;
  • due to the high potassium content it speeds up the metabolism;
  • prevents the transformation of cells into cancerous;
  • boosts immunity;
  • slows down the development of age-related changes;
  • supports heart muscle and joint elasticity;
  • contains phytoestrogens, which helps to reduce the intensity of menopausal symptoms.

For people with poor blood coagulation, sweet potato is necessary as a natural source of thickening. Diabetics should also pay attention to these tubers. They significantly accelerate the regeneration, healing small wounds and cracks.

It is recommended to include sweet potato in the diet for highly excitable, exalted individuals, as well as people prone to causeless fears, chronic anxiety, and neurosis. Dishes from sweet potato prepared for dinner normalize sleep, calm, relieve emotional stress. For digestive problems, sweet potatoes also come in handy, stabilizing the excretory functions.

Please note: in a large number of root crops can provoke diarrhea, pain in the stomach and nausea.

Sweet potato quickly restores the body after heavy physical exertion, so it is highly appreciated in sports nutrition. On its basis, a special line has been developed for building muscle mass. Another feature allowed the use of sweet potato as a vitamin nourishment for the eyes, since a high content of vitamin A preserves visual acuity. It also helps to slow down the external signs of aging, prevent the appearance of age spots, maintain skin elasticity. The harm from active and passive smoking can be reduced if salads and second courses based on sweet potato are introduced into the diet 2-3 times a week.

Limitations and contraindications

Doctors recommend that the basis of the diet be made up of the usual vegetables and fruits that grow in the place of residence. They are absolutely right, because the baby, not yet born, begins to receive nutrients through the mother, gradually becoming habitual. This explains that the first lure is an apple, not an orange, which can cause a baby to have a violent allergic reaction.

In the case of sweet potato the same story. Residents of European countries do not have a genetic memory for this product, it is perceived as exotic, alien, and for all its benefits, its use is undesirable for:

  • individual intolerance;
  • severe allergic reactions to certain groups of plants;
  • pregnancy in any trimester and breastfeeding;
  • peptic ulcer, gastritis, pancreatitis;
  • urolithiasis;
  • HRT;
  • chronic diarrhea.

During menopause, sweet potato is very useful in containing phytoestrogens, but in some cases, such as the threat of developing endometriosis, breast cancer, you need to consult a doctor and determine the proportion of benefits and harms in each case based on the survey data.

Use in traditional medicine

In countries that are the birthplace of sweet potato, tubers and the ground part of the plant are used as a prophylactic and medicinal product for stabilizing pressure, preventing stress conditions and boiled neurosis. It replaces one of the meals per day.

  1. For the prevention of ulcers and gastritis, a salad of freshly grated tuber is prepared along with a peel mixed with honey. The norm per day is not more than 100 gr.
  2. A decoction of leaves and peel perfectly removes most menopausal symptoms. For cooking, take 40 gr. raw materials per 1 liter boiling water. The mixture is infused for 40-60 minutes, 100 g is taken. before meals 4 times a day.
  3. Steam inhalations of boiled sweet potato relieve nasal congestion, thin out sputum, facilitate expectoration, relieve asthma attacks. The procedure takes 5-10 minutes.
  4. External compresses of warm tuber pulp relieve joint pain.

Preparation and storage

The tubers should dry before storing, and their peels should become stronger and denser. Then they are not afraid of rot and fungal damage. To do this, the harvest is laid out in an open cool place for a week, preventing damping from dew or rain. Then the root crops are sorted by size, damaged ones are removed.

Please note: in medium and large tubers there are more useful substances than in small ones.

Sweet potatoes are stacked in wooden crates, for better preservation they can be wrapped in paper or sprinkled with dry sand. Recommended storage temperature is +16 degrees.


Sweet potato is suitable for all types of dishes, from soups to sweet desserts.

Sweet potato recipes

Sweet potato and pumpkin soup
The main ingredients are taken in 0.5 kg, 50 g are added to them. lentils and 1 large onion. Cut the sweet potato into cubes, boil for 5 minutes, fry the onion until golden in olive oil. Put pieces of pumpkin and other ingredients in a saucepan, pour vegetable broth, cook for 40-50 minutes on very low heat. Beat the finished mass with a blender, add spices, salt and herbs.

Baked cod with sweet potato
Tubers are great as a side dish for meat, seafood and fish. Peeled root vegetables are cut into small slices, spread in a form oiled and baked for 15-20 minutes. Then put on top the fish fillet, grated with a mixture of salt and black pepper, bring in the oven until tender. Sprinkle with herbs before serving. The dish turns out dietary, recommended for use in weight control programs.

Fried sweet potato
It tastes like a slightly sweet french fries. It is preferable to fry in olive or cold pressed olive oil. The most delicious is a variety with orange flesh. The tubers are peeled, cut into strips, sprinkled with salt. Then place in a pan with heated oil. Before cooking finely chopped garlic is added.

Foil roasting
If there is no time for a long stand by the stove, but you want a tasty one, a simple and quick recipe for sweet potato with cinnamon will come to the rescue. The tubers are washed thoroughly, slightly scraped with a knife, a small longitudinal section is made, which is sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon. Each root crop is wrapped in foil, placed on a baking sheet. Oven cooking time is 35 minutes. Eat a dish with a spoon in the form of heat.

The peeled tubers are rubbed on a coarse grater, an egg, flour or semolina is added, a little salt. The mass is dosed with a tablespoon in a pan with heated oil, fried until golden brown. Served with sour cream or as a side dish to fried bacon, chicken breast.

Sweet potato dishes also benefit from the variety of everyday diets in dietary nutrition. They are useful for adults and children. The main thing is to observe the measure and get used to new food gradually.

Video: the use of sweet potato (sweet potato)

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