Scientific Name: Ipomoea batatas
Bahasa Indonesian: Ubi jalar
Batak: Gadong julur
The sweet potato is a plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are a root vegetable.The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens or can be prepared like spinach or turnip greens. The sweet potato is only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and does not belong to the nightshade family.
The plant is a herbaceous perennial vine, bearing alternate heart-shaped or palmately lobed leaves and medium-sized sympetalous flowers. The edible tuberous root is long and tapered, with a smooth skin whose color ranges between yellow, orange, red, brown, purple, and beige. Its flesh ranges from beige through white, red, pink, violet, yellow, orange, and purple. Sweet potato cultivars with white or pale yellow flesh are less sweet and moist than those with red, pink or orange flesh.
Sweet Potato is native to the tropical regions in the Americas. The sweet potato is often called a “yam” in parts of North America, but is botanically very distinct from the botanical yams. Depending on the cultivar and conditions, tuberous roots of the sweet potato mature in two to nine months.
- Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper
- Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene and anthocyanins, antioxidants that may help prevent vision loss and improve eye health.
- Sweet potato cultivars with dark orange flesh have more beta-carotene than those with light-colored flesh, and their increased cultivation is being encouraged in Africa where vitamin A deficiency is a serious health problem
- Sweet potatoes contain fiber and antioxidants that promote the growth of good gut bacteria and contribute to a healthy gut
- Animal studies have shown that sweet potatoes may improve brain health by reducing inflammation and preventing mental decline
- The high fiber content of sweet potatoes can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease
- They’re also high in copper, an essential metal for making red blood cells and keeping your heart healthy. Low levels of copper have been linked to dangerously high homocysteine, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels
- The fiber and complex carbohydrates in sweet potatoes can help keep your blood sugar stable. And it can help you feel full longer. Sweet potato varieties also contain other substances that benefit stable blood sugar
- A 2004 study published in Diabetes Care successfully used Caiapo, an extract from white sweet potatoes, to naturally reduce and manage blood glucose in people with type 2 diabetes
- Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that prevent free radical damage in your body
- The anthocyanins unique to purple sweet potatoes may also have memory-enhancing properties
- Sweet potatoes may help you relax. They’re high in magnesium, which has been shown to play a role in calming the brain. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression, mood disturbances, and headaches
- It helps boost fertility: Vitamin A is an essential nutrient for healthy reproduction. And as we know, sweet potatoes are a fantastic source.Sweet potatoes also offer a rich supply of iron, which has also been shown to be important in supporting fertility
- The first Europeans to taste sweet potatoes were members of Christopher Columbus’s expedition in 1492
- In 2016, global production of sweet potatoes was 105 million tonnes, led by China with 67% of the world total
- the International Potato Center in Peru maintains a gene bank consisting of over 6,500 varieties of sweet potato
- A single sweet potato offers over double the daily value for vitamin A
- True to its name, the sweet potato is indeed sweet. The sweetness is due to the presence of an enzyme that is able to convert starch into sugar as the vegetable matures. This transformation continues after the sweet potato is harvested and even while it is being cooked
- According to statistics, over 260 billion pounds of sweet potatoes are produced globally every year, making it one of the most important food crops in the world