Sweet Potato Consumption Can Heal Inflammation

sweet potato

The sweet potato: high in fiber and inflammation-fighter!

Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, nutrients and starchy carbohydrates—they can also help heal inflammation, according to naturopathic expert, Dr. Trevor Cates.  In a recent tweet to her nearly 15,000 followers, Cates mentioned:  “Heal #inflammation with #Sweet #Potato …”

Dr. Cates’ tweet supports a recent study that suggests purple sweet potato leaf extract can reduce inflammation.

Purple Sweet Potato Leaves, Inflammation and Fat Cells

The study, published in the peer-reviewed journal Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, first looks at the health benefits of purple sweet potato leaves. They are grown in Taiwan and considered to be healthy vegetables! They are rich in flavonoids and can be used to prevent metabolic syndrome (after boiling them in water). Since their efficiency was yet verified, researchers looked at the effect of purple sweet potato leaves on adipocytes (aka fat cells).

Treating differentiated cells with purple sweet potato leaves caused a dose-dependent decrease in the number of fat cells. Researchers also discovered that purple sweet potato leaves not only induced “cell-death” on these cells but they also downregulated inflammation-associated genes.

Sweet Potatoes: Nutrition Facts

A sweet potato contains 77 percent water, approximately 20 percent carbohydrates, 1.6 percent of protein and three percent of fiber. One sweet potato (approximately 100 grams) contains the following:

Calories 86
Water 77 %
Protein 1.6 grams
Carbs 20.1 grams
Sugar 4.2 grams
Fiber 3 grams
Fat 0.1 grams
Saturated Fat 0.02 grams
Monounsaturated Fat 0 grams
Polyunsaturated Fat 0.01 grams

When choosing a sweet potato, choose one that is small to medium in size (they are said to be sweeter when compared to the “starchier” large sweet potatoes.) Make sure the skin is smooth, even and rich in color. Don’t store your sweet potatoes in the fridge, place them in dry, cool places (i.e. a pantry). They can be stores for up to two weeks before spoiling.

Sources for Today’s Article:

Dr. Trevor Cates Twitter. 10:56 p.m. – 20 Mar 2016.

Lee, S.L., “Purple Sweet Potato Leaf Extract Induces Apoptosis and Reduces Inflammatory Adipokine Expression in 3T3-L1 Differentiated Adipocytes,” Evidence-Based Complementary and Alternative Medicine, 2015:126302. doi: 10.1155/2015/126302.

“Sweet Potatoes and Yams,” SNAP-Ed web site; https://snaped.fns.usda.gov/nutrition-through-seasons/seasonal-produce/sweet-potatoes-and-yams, last accessed March 21, 2016.