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The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potato or Yam is a tuberous crop with scientific name Ipomoea Batatas. Its plant is a creeper with heart shaped or lobed leaves. The tubers color vary from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate and minerals.

 

The red variety has drier and harder flesh while the white or the yellow type has more juicy flesh. The red variety has a characteristic aroma which becomes more prominent on boiling. The more reddish or orange the color of the flesh of the sweet potatoes, the stronger is this aroma. Perhaps this is due presence of beta carotene whose concentration also increases with the color.

Let us study the benefits of sweet potatoes.

 
  • Immunity: Being very rich in beta carotene, which is a major anti oxidant, apart from vitamin-C and B-complex, iron and phosphorus present in them, sweet potatoes are excellent immunity boosters.
  • Inflammation: Like the common potato, sweet potato also has anti inflammatory properties, although it does not belong to the family of common potato. This is primarily due to presence of beta-carotene, vitamin-C and magnesium. It is equally effective in curing internal and external inflammations.
  • Asthma: The sweet potato is effective in curing congestion of nose, bronchi and lungs, thereby giving relief in asthma. Its typical aroma helps in this.
  • Bronchitis: The concentration of vitamin-C, iron and other nutrients help curing bronchitis. The sweet potatoes are believed to be capable of warming up the body (may be due to the sweetness and other nutrients). This property also is beneficial in bronchitis, apart from its property to ease congestion.
  • Arthritis: Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and vitamin-B complex, among others, make sweet potato a helping hand to cure arthritis. The water in which the sweet potatoes are boiled can be applied externally on joints too to ease pain in arthritis.
  • Digestion: The fiber content of sweet potatoes is higher than that of common potatoes and it tastes good too. When these two factors are combined with other minerals like magnesium present in sweet potatoes, it makes an excellent facilitator for digestion. Sweet potatoes are easy to digest too, since they mainly contain starch. They are soothing for the stomach and intestines too.
  • Cancer: Beta-carotene, the champion anti oxidant and anti carcinogen, the pigments responsible for the color of the peel of the sweet potatoes and vitamin-C, are very beneficial for curing many types of cancer, mainly those of colon, intestines, prostrate, kidneys and other internal organs.
  • Water Balance: The fiber or roughage present in sweet potatoes helps retain water. This maintains water balance in the body.
  • Stomach Ulcers: Sweet potato has a soothing effect on the stomach and intestines. The vitamins (B-complex and C), beta carotene, potassium and calcium are very effective in curing stomach ulcers. Moreover, the roughage in sweet potatoes prevents constipation and resultant acid formation, thereby reducing the chance of ulcers. The anti inflammatory and soothing properties of sweet potatoes also reduce the pain and inflammation of the ulcers.
  • Diabetes: Contrary to the popular belief, the sweet potatoes are beneficial for diabetics. Amazingly, they are very effective in regulating blood sugar lever by helping proper secretion and function of insulin. Of course, that does not mean that diabetics should eat them indiscriminately. The idea is that they can replace their rice or carbohydrate intake with sweet potatoes.
  • Weight Gain: This is easily understood. The sweet potatoes are sweet as well as contain very good amount of complex starch, apart from healthy vitamins, minerals and some proteins too. Moreover, they are very easy to digest. Thus they provide a lot of energy and are excellent bulk builders. Those suffering from inferiority complex due to their bones visibly sticking out of their skin, will welcome this news, without having any risk any side effect, which most of the synthetic bulk building dietary supplements run.
  • Other Benefits: They are effective in quitting addictions like smoking, drinking and taking certain narcotics. They are good for the health of arteries and veins, as they protect their walls against hardening. The high concentration of beta carotene (an alternative of vitamin-A) and phosphorus are excellent for ocular and cardiac health.

This starchy vegetable has bulk to keep your tummy full for hours. Yet its nutritional profile makes the calories worth it, especially since they are fat-free. Its fiber alone is enough to make a sweet potato worth eating.

If a beta-carotene contest were held, sweet potatoes would tie carrots for first place. That may make them top-notch for fighting chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease, as well as disease related to inflammation, such as asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. Sweet potatoes are also rich in potassium and vitamin C; a small potato provides almost half the daily allowance.

Nutritive Values : Per 100 gm. 

  • Vitamin A : 7,700 I.U.
  • Vitamin B : Thiamine .09 mg.;
  • Riboflavin : .05 mg.
  • Niacin : .6 mg.
  • Vitamin C : 22 mg.
  • Calcium : 30 mg.
  • Iron : .7 mg.
  • Phosphorus : 49 mg.
  • Potassium : 300 mg.
  • Fat : .7 gm.
  • Carbohydrates : 27.9 gm.
  • Protein : 1.8 gm.
  • Calories : 123

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Akilah M. El, N.D. is a Naturopathic Doctor and certified Master Herbalist with a private practice in Atlanta Georgia and Berlin Germany. Join Dr Akilah El on Facebook and Twitter

For More Health Tips Like This Check Out Our Health Tips Page

Health Tip of the Week

Healthy Dine-out Tips

Before you go

  • Know what your restaurant options are – around your office and around your home. This way, you can decide which restaurants offer healthy choices.
  • If you are busy and eat out often, avoid considering dining out a special occasion. When we think of dining out as a special occasion or celebration, we tend to overeat and indulge in foods that we may not otherwise eat.
  • Budget your calories throughout the day: if you know that you are going out to eat for dinner, try to reduce your intake at breakfast and lunch so you can “save” some of your calories for when you dine out.
  • However, you may want to have a small snack (such as a fruit with cheese or a small handful of nuts) to help curb your appetite before dining out to help you avoid eating too much at your meal.
  • If you know where you will dine out, look up the menu (and nutrition information, if available) online and decide what you will eat before you get to the restaurant. This way you are in control to choose a lower calorie, lower fat meal option and are not overwhelmed by the menu options and careless about eating healthy when you arrive at the restaurant hungry.

What to Choose?

  • Avoid fried and battered foods such as calamari, tempura, chicken, chicken strips and certain Chinese dishes. Instead, ask for special requests for your meal: most restaurants are accommodating and will prepare your meal as you like: ask for grilled, broiled, roasted or steamed meats and vegetables. Asking for a side of steamed vegetables, salad or a baked potato instead of french fries can help cut calories and fat while increasing your intake of healthy nutrients!
  • When ordering salad, order your dressing on the side to limit your fat and calorie intake. However, be careful not to pour all of the dressing provided over your salad, it is often more than what you would normally get on a salad with the dressing. Depending on how hungry you are, a salad may be enough to satisfy your appetite (but make sure it includes some lean meat or fish for protein)!
  • When considering soup, go for the healthier, low fat options of broth based soups loaded with vegetables, beans (such as kidney, black, pinto or garbanzo), and whole grains (such as barley).

At the Restaurant

  • Split your meal with a friend or family member. Most restaurants serve portions that are two to three times what we need! Otherwise, have the serving staff put half of the meal in a to-go box before it is brought to the table.
  • Avoid all the extras, as these calories add up quickly: bread and butter on the table, sweetened drinks, appetizers, side items and desserts. Instead focus on a healthy balance of lean proteins, low fat carbohydrates and fruits and vegetables.

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www.healingpowerhour.com

Five Eating Styles That Can Lead to Weight Gain

by The Editors of Prevention,

The last dish has been washed, and as you sit back and watch Modern Family, what’s in your hand? A pint of Haagen-Dazs or a cup of tea? On weekends, do you watch your calories as carefully as you did Monday through Friday, or do you take a healthy eating vacation and go to town?

Certain ingrained habits—even seemingly minor ones—have a significant effect on your weight. The hard part, too, is that even when you make the decision to, say, eat more fruit or hit the gym one more time a week, past behaviors can sneak in and undermine your best efforts. Those patterns can be grouped into five basic eating types. Chances are, you’ll identify with one or more. Once you recognize your type (or types), you’ll be able to develop strategies and solutions tailored specifically to your needs. 

 Type # 1: The Weekender   You live “by the book” all week, only to throw it out the window on Friday night. Or maybe you travel a lot for work or pleasure, and as soon as your surroundings change, so do your eating and daily calorie-counting habits. 

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Fix It: 
Go (mildly) wild on Wednesday. It’s hard to resist going nuts on Saturday and ordering the mac ’n’ cheese when you’ve been buttoned up for 5 days straight, so consider working one splurge night into your week. If you inject a little food-related fun into the weekdays, you’ll be less likely to “reward” yourself with major damage on the weekends. 
 

Type # 2: The Calorie Drinker One of the biggest diet mistakes is thinking that if it’s something you sip, the calories won’t stick. Unfortunately, liquid calories are stealth fatteners—they go down quickly, making it easy to drink more and rack up the calories—fast. 

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Fix It: 
Make smarter switches. Whether your weakness is sweet coffee drinks or soda, there’s a way to alter your particular poison so it doesn’t sabotage your progress. Skip the sweetener (and whipped cream) in coffee and drink seltzer instead of sugar-packed soda. You’ll save hundreds of calories and barely notice the change. 

 

Type # 3: The Snacker  These days we’re confronted with calories everywhere we go, from bagels in the conference room to king-size chocolate bars in the checkout aisle. In an environment with such an abundance of cheap, easy calories, temptation lurks around every corner and chips away at your willpower. 

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Fix It: 
Track every single bite. It’s always important to track your meals, but in this case, it’s extra important that you take note of everything that slips between your lips. Until now, you probably haven’t been “counting” all those free samples at the supermarket, but they can easily cost you 100 calories or more. Seeing how all those extra bites add up is motivation enough to make you say no to the free muffin sample.  
 

Type # 4: The Stress Eater  Do you find yourself looking for solace in a red velvet cupcake after a long, stressful day? Do you empty a bag of tortilla chips whenever your mother-in-law is in town? If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then stress eating is a part of your life–and probably a major hindrance to your weight loss. 

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Fix It:  Name that theme.  Are there any common themes among your stress-related binges? Do they generally occur at work? Do they happen mostly in the evenings, when you’re dealing with family, bills, or housework? If you know that a certain situation or person tends to push you over the edge, prepare yourself for the stress that will inevitably come. Just being aware that a binge-inducing situation is on the horizon can help you brace for it and lower the chances that you’ll give in. 

 
 
Type # 5: The Follower  Do you wonder why you’re not losing weight when you seem to be doing everything right? You may be falling for healthy buzzwords on a package of high-calorie processed food. Even actual “healthy” foods–some of which offer many benefits–can be calorie bombs. 

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Fix It: 
Don’t buy into marketing gimmicks. Read every food nutrition label and decide for yourself whether or not something makes sense for your calorie budget. Also, stop personalizing your food choices. Try not to categorize them as “good” or “bad”–and definitely don’t apply that black-and-white thinking to your character. Eating an apple does not make you a “good” person any more than eating a cookie makes you a “bad” person! If you’re an ecoconscious eater, “good” and “bad” have other connotations for you. While your efforts to green our planet are applause-worthy, don’t forget that words like organic, sustainable, and grass-fed do not necessarily mean “low in calories.” Being good to the Earth doesn’t automatically mean you’re making good choices for your waistline. 
Finally, beware of healthy calories. If eating larger portions of lower-calorie foods is your thing, that’s fine, but some foods can throw you off your budget when you indulge with too much abandon. For example, almonds are often touted for their nutritional power–and they do pack lots of protein and a nice dose of vitamin E and monounsaturated fats. But if you eat just 1/2 cup of almonds (easy to do in one sitting), you’re taking in 400 calories.

www.healingpowerhour.com

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For Healthy Food Recipes that are low in carbs but big on taste click here.

How to Order Healthy Food Choices at Any Restaurant

4 quick tips to ordering in any restaurant

1. Learn to order better.
2. Be careful where you eat. No all-you-can-eat buffets or steakhouses with enormous portions
3. Make friends with the waitperson. She can tell you about any dish.
4. Order Creatively. Soup, salad and an appetizer can stand in for a full meal. Extra vegetables can replace french fries.

6 tips to ordering Chinese

1. Ask for brown rice.
2. Start your meal with wonton, egg drop, or hot-and-sour soup.
3. When it comes to entr�es, order from the ‘health’ menu.
4. Make sure you order plenty of vegetables.
5. Take advantage of the bean curd (tofu).
6. Plan to take home leftovers.

4 tips to ordering Italian

1. Ask the waitperson not to bring the breadbasket.
2. If you want pasta, order a dish from the appetizer section of the menu, or share.
3. If it’s on the menu, order simple grilled chicken, fish, or shellfish.
4. For dessert, ask for fresh berries or fruit ice, if it’s available, or a small plate of cookies to share.

6 tips to ordering Mexican

1. Ask the waitperson to take away the tortilla chips.
2. Order a healthy starter instead.
3. For an entr�e, look to fajitas.
4. Order tacos or burritos without high-fat sour cream.
5. As a side dish, go for rice and beans instead of Mexican rice.
6. Have dessert at home

5 tips to ordering fast food

21. Opt for simple grilled food, if you can find it.
22. A simple hamburger isn’t bad either — if you order the smallest one without cheese or mayonnaise.
23. Order a la carte.
24. Take advantage of the salads but watch out for fried chicken and fatty dressings. Avoid this if possible
25. Have yogurt.

For more healthy food ideas and information please visit our Health Tips Pagehttp://www.celestialhealing.net/healthintro..htm

5 simple mistakes that ruin diets

Weight Loss Frustration

by The_Stir

Think you’re fit? Are you the master of your diet destiny? Confident that you make mostly smart decisions about food?

A new poll from Consumer Reports says that close to 90 percent of Americans claim to eat a healthy diet, but most of us may be giving ourselves more credit than we deserve.

Of those surveyed, only 15 percent actually counted calories and only 58 percent ate the recommended five or more servings of fruits and vegetables a day. Roughly 30 percent who say they “carefully limit sugar” actually slurp up a sugar-sweetened drink most days. And 10 percent who say they “strictly limit their fat” had bacon or another fatty meat for breakfast.

This is sad and pathetic news, people. It’s this very same delusional way of thinking that has our country pushing higher and higher obesity rates every year. Just as with alcoholism, drug addiction or any other chronic issue, admitting you have a problem is the first step to solving it! 

Here, five ways we’re tricking, gaming and cheating ourselves into believing we’re healthier than we really are …  

1. We tweak the numbers to suit our goal Even if a 3 ounce portion of chicken or 2 ounces of pasta is one serving, we figure just a little bit more won’t hurt. After all, another smidge here or there won’t really count, right? And calories consumed in the middle of the night don’t count either. Rrrright. This little game we play with ourselves is an extension of keeping track of what you’re eating “in your head.” Clearly, there is a method to the madness of tracking your calories in a food journal.

2. We cut carbs, but make up for it by eating more … bacon! If I could have a penny for every time this year I’ve already heard people say, “I’m giving up carbs!” It may have worked for Drew Carey, I guess, but giving something up does not make us any healthier. It just makes us feel deprived. Plus, we’ll often convince ourselves that we “deserve” a new evil when we’ve given up the original bad guy. If you’re not going to allow yourself that cookie, but you “make up for it” with say, CHEESE—sorry, you’re not doing yourself any favors. 

3. We drink “diet” sodas, eat “diet” pudding, “low-fat” granola bars, etc. None of these are real food. In fact, they’re Franken-food made with black box warning ingredients like the neurotoxin in diet soda phenylalanine or processed soy that may upset your body’s delicate hormonal balance. Anyone serious about losing weight should steer clear of a product labeled “DIET.” Just look at the first three letters of that word — says it all, I’m tellin’ you!

4. We pick “easy-to-go,” “natural” snacks over an apple. I know—fruit is just such a pain in the ass, right? We have to buy it at $2.49 a pound (well, if we want the organic ones that are supposedly free of nasty pesticides) and then eat it before it rots at the bottom of our fridges. And it’s so boring! Instead, we’ll just get some pre-packaged dried fruit snacks or applesauces or something. It’s gotta be the same, cuz it says “all natural,” right?… WRONG. Just. No. Stop. Please. 

5. Figuring we know it all, we remain blissfully ignorant. “I’ll just eat a little less and take the stairs instead of the elevator.” “The real evils are sugar and fat, like in doughnuts and pizza, but whole wheat bagels and pretzels are better choices.” Myths and fairy tales. Obviously, we’re not as informed as we like to think we are. (After all, watching a whole season of The Biggest Loser doesn’t make any of us a certified nutritionist or personal trainer.) The good news is you can always tap the knowledge of someone who is one of those things … via books, the all-mighty Internet, Twitter, whatever. It seems most of us could all stand to continually educate ourselves on better ways to keep our health on track.

Confession time — are you really as healthy as you think you are?