A few weeks ago I found myself desperately seeking some comfort and possibly a little distraction during the last few weeks of exam revision and more often than not I find that a little time in the kitchen does the trick. I am always intrigued to learn how other people cope with pressure or difficult situations as it seems we all have our own unique and often quirky coping mechanism to guide us through awkward times. I have a friend who turns to baking (but I mean in obscene quantities) and I am always in awe with the perfection of each bake. So as it happens it all ended in the creation of this rather delicious Thai sweet potato and ginger soup.
I love sweet potatoes and I think they are so incredibly versatile as not only are they great for soups, curries, stews and cakes, but in my opinion they make the best chips one can eat (not that I want to encourage you to cook them at high temperatures too often as it kills most of the goodness!). Apparently sweet potatoes are one of the oldest vegetables known to man and as it turns out really important for our health. Here are some of the possible health benefits of sweet potatoes.
Blood Sugar Regulation & Diabetes
Sweet potatoes seem to regulate blood sugar balance even for those with Type 2 Diabetes. They have a low glycemic index and some research indicate that enjoying sweet potatoes may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and improve insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and low in sodium, which helps lower blood pressure. One medium size sweet potato contains 950 milligrams of potassium (27% of our daily recommended value, DRV) and 72 milligrams of sodium (nearly 5% of DRV). That is twice the amount of potassium found in a banana. Research shows that diets high in potassium are associated with a 20% decreased risk in all cause mortality and in particular Cardiovascular disease (CVD).
Studies show that sweet potato protein (SPP) significantly inhibit the proliferation of colorectal cancer cells in vitro. The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes may also play a protective role against prostate cancer and colon cancer. It has also been shown to inhibit the metastasis of lung carcinomas in mice.
Apart from the high levels of vitamin A, sweet potatoes also provide very good levels of vitamin C, pantothenic acid (B5), vitamin B6, B3, B1, B2 manganese, copper, potassium, B3, B1, B2 and dietary fibre, which support healthy immune function.
Choline in sweet potatoes, an essential nutrient for humans, play a significant role in neurotransmission and muscle movement (acetylcholine), memory and learning (phosphatidylcholine) and helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes. It is involved in the prevention of fatty liver disease and reduction of chronic inflammation. Purple sweet potato in particular has been found to have positive anti-inflammatory effects.
The high levels of beta-carotene, C and E has been shown to support eye health and age-related macular degeneration (AMD).
So it seems we have enough reason to make this beautiful starchy vegetable a part of our diet wether we enjoy it in soups, baked or spirallised, the options are endless. I really hope you enjoy this soup and remember I would love to hear your feedback.
- Mateljan, G (2015). The World’s Healthiest Foods