The Sweet Potato! Is it a medicinal food?

Is it a medicinal food?  In the latest issue of the Journal of Medicinal Food there is a research article entitled:  “Sweet Potato – A Valuable Medicinal Food”.  So, evidently, the answer is yes!!

What is “Medicinal Food” anyway?  Well, there isn’t an official definition but I think we can figure it out.  Medicinal Foods are foods that have been shown to have definite health promoting and/or disease fighting properties.  There are so many examples!  The documented heart benefits of walnuts is one of hundreds, perhaps thousands of medicinal food examples.  When a food shows scientific promise or evidence of health benefits, it is not uncommon for the pharmaceutical industry to take that gem of information and set about the difficult path of creating a drug that mimics or enhances the benefit found in the natural product. The pharmaceutical companies need to be able to have a patent on a product to control competition and recover the massive costs of research and development that it took to create the product. The US Supreme Court has ruled that “nature cannot be patented”.  I love nature … and I am personally glad that it can’t be patented!!

OK, back to sweet potatoes!  Is there a difference between sweet potatoes and yams?  All the yams and sweet potatoes that we grow in North America are from the Ipomoea genus of plants.  For that reason, all varieties of yams and sweet potatoes are actually sweet potatoes. The “yams” grown in the Caribbean are from the Dioacorea genus and are very different from our “yams”.  In the article mentioned above  it was the Ipomoea genus that was included … our sweet potatoes and yams!  Quoting the article: “ It is also a valuable medicinal plant having anti-cancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities.”  In a study published last year titled “Anticancer effects of sweet potato protein on human colorectal cancer cells”  the researchers found that sweet potato protein obtained from fresh sweet potatoes decreased the growth of these colon cancer cells and blocked cancer spread (metastasis) in the test animals.

In our world, we should look at the sweet potato as a healthy and delicious part of our good diet.  Especially now, with the holidays at hand!  Even the glycemic index value  of sweet potatoes is good for us.  Sweet potatoes average about 60 points and regular potatoes average about 80.  Remember, with glycemic index, the lower, the better.

Is the sweet potato a medicinal food?   Well, yes, but don’t tell the kids!!

Our Wild Oats bloggers are partners who love to share their passion and knowledge about better living! While we compensate them for being a part of this vibrant community, their views and opinions are their own and do not signify Wild Oats' opinions, endorsement or recommendations. Wild Oats reserves the right to moderate and remove comments that are off-topic or inappropriate, so please help us keep this community clean, fun and valuable!

2 Responses to The Sweet Potato! Is it a medicinal food?

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Email Signup

Follow Us Online

Latest Posts

Our Bloggers