Sweet Potatoes or Ratali are tuberous creepers that are known for their remarkable nutritive value. The scientific name for sweet potatoes is Ipomoea batatas. There are several varieties of sweet potatoes or Ratali available and each variation is dependent on the availability and type of climate, soil and nutrients. These possess a strong smell which gets enhanced on cooking. It also possesses noteworthy health benefits like cancer prevention, healthy digestion, enhanced vision and much more.
Sweet Potato or Ratali: An Overview
Sweet potato or Ratali is a starchy tuberous crop that grows under the soil. It is a tuberous root having a smooth skin with a long and tapered shape. It is a sweet tasting vegetable and is quite fulfilling. Though, it has the word "potato" attached to its name but it is only distantly related to the potato. The most common types of sweet potatoes are orange in color, but the tuber also possesses other colors like, red, pale yellow, purple and white. Apart from high starch content, it is also rich in nutrients like fiber, antioxidants and vitamin A, owing to which it is responsible for several health benefits. However, sweet potatoes or ratali is also rich in oxalates, which makes it harmful and poisonous, in case of excessive consumption.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali
Sweet potato or Ratali prevents several medical conditions and provides numerous health benefits. Some of these are enlisted below.
Medical Conditions that can be Prevented with Sweet Potato or Ratali:
Sweet potato helps in averting several chronic medical conditions, which Include:
- Health Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali in Preventing Cancer: Cancer can be readily prevented by the antioxidants present within the sweet potatoes or ratali. Beta-carotene is a strong antioxidant and anti-cancerous agent which prevents cancer of colon, intestine, prostrate, kidneys and several internal organs.
- Sweet Potato is Beneficial in Treating Asthma and Bronchitis: Sweet Potato is loaded with vitamin C, that helps in curing the congestion of the lungs, bronchi and the nose. It has a typical aroma, that helps in effective healing of cold and congestion, as well as warming up of the body.
- Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali in Managing Arthritis: The combination of beta-carotene, zinc, magnesium and vitamin B-complex present in sweet potato, helps in management of arthritis to a great extent. Consumption as well as application of sweet potato on joints can help in easing the joint pain.
- Controlling Diabetes: Sweet potatoes or ratali helps in regulating the blood sugar levels and are a healthy alternative to high carb diet like rice and potatoes.
- Stomach Ulcer Prevention: The nutrients present in sweet potato or ratali create a soothing effect on the inner lining of the stomach. It prevents acid formation and constipation, thereby checking the formation of ulcers.
- Controlling High Blood Pressure: High blood pressure can be controlled by consuming sweet potato or ratali as it increases the potassium levels within the bloodstream, which further balances the excess of sodium.
Role of Sweet Potato or Ratali for Maintining a Healthy Body:
Apart from prevention of diseases, sweet potato or ratali also helps in the maintenance of a healthy body, through the following ways:
- Sweet Potato or Ratali Help You Gain Weight: Sweet Potatoes are rich in complex starch that not only provides large amounts of energy but also help in gaining healthy body mass. It is especially good, for people who have been thin or failed to gain weight throughout their life.
- Skin and Hair Health Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali: The antioxidants present in sweet potatoes or ratali, help in protecting from sun damage and enhances the glow within the skin. Vitamin E in Sweet potato, on the other hand, maintains strong and shiny hair.
- Fertility Enhancer: Sweet Potato or ratali is also known to enhance fertility in women. It also helps in increasing the production of lactation hormones.
- Eye health Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali: The ample amounts of vitamin A in sweet potato, helps in correcting vision problems due to vitamin A deficiency. It also prevents the degeneration and damage in the eye.
Medicinal Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali
Medicinal benefits that can be gained from sweet potato or ratali are:
- Sweet Potato or ratali contains ample amount of beta carotene, which helps in boosting the immunity of the body. Beta carotene, is a powerful antioxidant, which along with vitamins like B-complex and C, and minerals like iron and phosphorus, helps in defending our body from infections and afflictions.
- The presence of Vitamin C, Magnesium and beta carotene in sweet potato or ratali, are responsible for anti-inflammatory properties which further help in controlling internal as well as external inflammation.
- On one hand, sweet potato possesses high fiber content which aids in improved digestion, whereas on the other hand, the high starch content provides great taste as well as make it easy to digest. Hence, sweet potato or ratali readily prevents digestive distresses.
- The presence of beta-carotene, which is a strong antioxidant, helps in lowering the oxidative damage in the body which further prevents the occurrence and further growth of cancer. It also helps in maintaining a healthy skin and healthy hair as well as decelerates the process of aging.
Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Potato or Ratali
The sweet potato or ratali is a powerhouse of nutrients, which include:
- Vitamins in Sweet Potato or Ratali: Vitamins like vitamin A, B5, B6, C and E, are found in sweet potatoes. These vitamins help in improvement of vision and skin health and aid in metabolic activities.
- Minerals Content: Sweet potatoes or ratali provide several minerals like Potassium, Magnesium and Manganese, which help in controlling blood pressure and aid in growth and development.
- Rich in Proteins: Sweet potatoes or ratali possess a special kind of protein called sporamins. Though it is present in low amounts, but it facilitates the process of healing.
- Carbohydrates: Sweet potatoes or ratali possess a large amount of carbohydrates. It contains both, simple carbohydrates like glucose, fructose, maltose and sucrose, as well as complex ones like starch. These provide high amounts of sugar, and therefore, people with diabetes should not consume an excess of sweet potatoes.
- Fiber Content: Sweet Potatoes or ratali retain high levels of fiber content which aid in digestion and lower the levels of blood sugar by delaying the process of digestion of carbohydrates.
- Antioxidants: Sweet Potatoes or ratali are a rich source of a variety of antioxidants like beta-carotene, anthocyanins and chlorogenic acid which prevent oxidative damage.
- Anti-Clotting Agents Present in Sweet Potato providing Health Benefits: Coumarin is a type of anti-clotting agent present in sweet potatoes in small amounts that helps in preventing blot clots. Hence, it can be consumed by people with problems of thrombosis. However, one must consult the doctor with regards to the amount s/he should consume.
Sweet Potato or ratali is an underground tuber which boasts a rich nutrient profile. It is usually orange in color, but there are several other varieties with different colors. It has a sweet taste and are readily available. Sweet potato or ratali are an excellent source of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, carbohydrates and fiber, which are further responsible for several health benefits.