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Sweet potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates, beta carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and dietary fiber. Compared to other vegetables, the sweet potato ranks highest in nutrition.
The sweet potato became a domesticated vegetable in the warm and tropical areas of South America dating back to at least 5 thousand years ago, however it is said that the sweet potato was grown as far back as 1000 AD and brought to South America by way of the Polynesians whom traveled into South America.

Troasted_sweet_potato.jpghe greatest majority of sweet potatoes are grown in North Carolina; producing 38% of the United States sweet potato production.  Sweet potatoes grow best in warm climates, thus the states that follow North Carolina in production are Mississippi, California, and Louisiana; all of which maintain a continuously warm climate making it possible to grow sweet potatoes all year long. 

The sweet potato plant is not conducive to frost; they are best grown in temperatures above 75 degrees Fahrenheit, where they get a great deal of sunlight, and in areas where the nights remain warm.  They grow best where there is suitable rainfall as drought conditions are harmful to the plant, however, they do not do well if they are over-watered as well as it can cause the root to rot and stunt the growth of the plant. 

Depending upon the climate, the tuberous roots of the sweet potato mature between 2-9 months; it is possible, with proper care, the sweet potato can be grown as a summer crop in the northern areas of the United States.  Sweet potatoes are rarely grown from seeds; they are generally planted as slips, which are part of the root which grows while the potato is in storage.  Seeds for sweet potatoes are most generally used for breeding.

The sweet potato does well in most farming conditions; they grow well in many different types of soils and generally the use of pesticides is not needed. 

Nutrients found in Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in complex carbohydrates, beta carotene, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and dietary fiber.  Compared to other vegetables, the sweet potato ranks highest in nutrition; the high content of fiber and complex carbohydrates, vitamins A and C, calcium, protein, and iron rank it number one in nutrition with the white potato coming in second. 

The different varieties of sweet potato have varying amounts of beta carotene; sweet potatoes that are dark orange have more than those with a lighter colored flesh.  Because they are so rich in Vitamin A the cultivation of dark colored sweet potatoes is being encouraged in counties such as Africa where they lack sufficient amounts of Vitamin A and cause major health issues.  Studies have shown that sweet potatoes might be a very beneficial food for individuals whom are diagnosed with diabetes; in the animal studies preformed, sweet potatoes were shown to help stabilize the blood sugar levels and help to lower insulin resistance.   

Healthy ways to Prepare Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is a versatile vegetable and can be prepared many ways; baked, boiled, mashed, and used for making breads and pies.  The nutritional value of sweet potatoes makes it one of the very best vegetables one can eat as it has many beneficial vitamins and minerals in which the body needs to work and maintain healthily.  

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A which is also known as beta-carotene, and high in Vitamin C; these two vitamins are antioxidants that work with the body to help remove the free radicals from your body.  Free radicals are chemicals that enter your cells and damage them.  Sweet potatoes may also help prevent cancer in the organs and glands in the body with epithelial tissue.

It is also thought that sweet potatoes can help those with stomach ulcers or inflammation within the colon and can help lower blood pressure.

The high fiber in sweet potatoes can be beneficial for those who suffer from hemorrhoids as the fiber in the sweet potatoes helps to regulate the digestion system and have been shown to help stabilize sugar levels in the blood which makes this a very good food for diabetics.