Precious sweet potatoes

Amanda Ngudle

Amanda Ngudle

When I first laid my eyes on raw sweet potatoes I decided there and then I wouldn't eat the stuff.

But I recently found out I've been missing out and have been depriving myself of some paramount nutrients.

Sweet potato is a strong performer as a nutrient. This root vegetable is an excellent source of vitamin A, C, manganese, copper, dietary fibre, vitamin B6, potassium and iron.

As an excellent source of vitamin A and C, sweet potatoes have healing properties as an antioxidant.

Beta-carotene and vitamin C are antioxidants that eliminate free radicals in the body.

Sweet potatoes are also a good source of vitamin B6, which is needed to convert homocysteine, a product created in cells called methylation, into other benign molecules.

If you or someone you love is a smoker, or if you are frequently exposed to second-hand smoke, then making vitamin A-rich foods such as sweet potatoes part of your way of eating may save your life, suggests research conducted at Kansas State University.

While studying the relationship between vitamin A, lung inflammation and emphysema, Professor Richard Baybutt made a surprising discovery: a common carcinogen in cigarette smoke, benzo(a)pyrene, induces vitamin A deficiency.

Baybutt's earlier research had shown that laboratory animals fed a vitamin A-deficient diet developed emphysema. His latest studies indicate that not only does the benzo(a)pyrene in cigarette smoke cause vitamin A deficiency, but that a diet rich in vitamin A can help counter this effect.

Spicy Sweet Potato Soup

1 tbsp vegetable oil

2 onions, finely chopped

2 cloves garlic, minced

2 tsp sea salt

2 tsp dried oregano leaves

6 cups vegetable stock

4 cups peeled, cubed sweet potatoes (1/2 inch in size)

2 dried chili

2 cups boiling water

1 jalapeno pepper, finely chopped (optional)

2 cups corn kernels

1 tsp grated lime zest

2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice

2 roasted red peppers in thin strips

Finely chopped cilantro, for garnish


In a skillet, heat oil over medium heat for 30 seconds. Add onions and cook, stirring, until softened. Add garlic, salt and oregano, and cook, stirring, for one minute. Transfer to stock pot. Add stock and stir to combine well.

Soak the chili peppers in boiling water for 30 minutes, making sure to submerge them by weighting down with a cup. Drain, and discard liquid and stems. Pat dry, chop coarsely. Add to soup pot, along with jalapeno pepper, if using.

Add sweet potatoes and stir. Cover and simmer on low until sweet potatoes are tender and flavours have melded.

Puree soup in batches using food processor. Return to pot, add corn, lime juice and zest. Cover and simmer until corn is tender.

Ladle into bowls and garnish with strips of roasted red pepper and cilantro. - Additional info