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10 Superfoods


4
Sweet Potatoes
A sweet potato heated in the oven for a few hours can taste like candy, but it still retains its health benefits.
A sweet potato heated in the oven for a few hours can taste like candy, but it still retains its health benefits.
Hemera/Thinkstock

Neither a potato nor a yam, the sweet potato is related to morning glories. Americans used to eat a lot more of this root -- it was a staple during the Revolutionary and Civil wars, and as late as the 1920s, people were eating around 31 pounds (14 kilograms) of sweet potatoes every year. Now they rarely show up outside of Thanksgiving.

But they should have a place at the table every day. Sweet potatoes have mega amounts of the antioxidant beta carotene, loads of vitamins and minerals, and plenty of fiber. They only things they're skinny on are fat, cholesterol and calories. They've been linked to preventing heart disease, strokes, numerous cancers and cataracts. Eating sweet potatoes daily reduces a woman's risk for heart attack by 22 percent and lowers the chances of a stroke by 40 to 70 percent [source: Carper].

Sweet potatoes also might boost your liver's health. A Japanese study published in 2007 showed significantly reduced levels of hepatitis indications in men who drank a beverage made from a purple-skinned variety. Sweet potatoes' activity in stabilizing blood sugar and improving insulin resistance can help you avoid diabetes.

During times of stress, British people always suggest a cup of tea. See what physical ailments this beverage combats on the next page.


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