Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Current issue | Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)
Wednesday,19 September, 2018
Issue 1224, (4 - 10 December 2014)

Ahram Weekly

A versatile tuber

Sweet potatoes are known to be the super food of winter. In addition to their good taste, they are loaded with fibre and nutrients including iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, sodium, zinc and vitamins A, B, C and E. They also contain an enzyme that converts most of the potato’s starches into sugars as it matures. This sweetness increases during storage and when they are cooked. It is released at a slow pace, making it easier for our bodies to absorb.

According to the US national nutrient database, one baked, medium-sized sweet potato contains 438 per cent of your daily value of Vitamin A, 37 per cent of Vitamin C, and some calcium, potassium and iron too, all this at just 105 calories.  Plus, a sweet potato delivers four grams of dietary fibre, 16 per cent of the daily value and absolutely nothing in terms of fat.

Sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of beta-carotene, an antioxidant that turns into Vitamin A in our bodies and stimulates skin cells to protect them from premature aging and wrinkles as well as free radicals. Because sweet potatoes are always a versatile, healthy option for a delightfully filling meal, they are at the top of nearly everyone’s healthiest foods list.


How to choose: look for small to medium firm sweet potatoes. Their skin should be firm, smooth and even-toned. Larger ones tend to be starchier. The deeper the colour of the sweet potato, the richer it is in the antioxidant beta-carotene.

How to store: keep sweet potatoes in a cool, dry place outside the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Hang on to them longer and their high sugar content will cause them to spoil.

How to cook: Boil unpeeled. Leaving the peel intact prevents excessive loss of precious nutrients and locks in natural sweetness. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked or grilled. You can also add them to soups and stews, or grill and place them on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad.

Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive and delicious, they also have many other skin benefits, including:

Eye baggage: Cut a couple of slices of sweet potato and rub directly under your eyes to relieve extra baggage. While potatoes will do, sweet potatoes give you extra relief and nutrients.

Moisturiser: For a mild scrub that doesn’t dry out your skin, blend half a cup of boiled sweet potato cubes, one tablespoon oats and one tablespoon yogurt together to form a thick, coarse paste. Use this to scrub your skin in slow circular motions and wash it off with lukewarm water followed by your favourite moisturiser.

Masks for oily skin: Boil the sweet potatoes. Let them cool and then mash them. Add a tablespoon of honey to the mash and spread this over your face. Let it stay for 20-30 minutes and wash off. You can also add two or three teaspoons of lemon juice if you have oily skin.

Skin toner: After boiling the sweet potato, do not throw away the water. It is packed with nutrients that can help improve your skin texture and clear your complexion. Beta-carotene helps combat wrinkles and rough-flaking winter skin, while Vitamin C helps to maintain the elasticity of the skin. Strain the water and then store it in a bottle in the refrigerator to cool down. Use this sweet potato water as a toner for the skin. It will help to improve your skin texture, absorb impurities, deep cleanse your pores and sooth irritated skin.

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