It was George Washington Carver’s presentation in 1921 before the Ways and Means Committee which brought attention to the importance of the Sweet Potato. Mr. Craver also acknowledged the hot southern regions were excellent climate for the crop and successfully revolutionized farming by encouraging Southern Farmers to grow Sweet Potatoes. Today North Carolina is the number 1 producer of Sweet Potatoes in the U.S.
The Sweet Potato is a plant packed with a powerhouse of nutrients in the form of “Antioxidants” best known for its high content of beta-carotene which are the precursors for Vitamin A. Other important Antioxidants found in Sweet Potatoes are: Vitamin C which is known to decrease the duration of colds and improve skin health, and Vitamin E, a fat-soluble vitamin and antioxidant which helps fight those offensive Free Radicals. Sweet Potatoes are an excellent source of both soluble and insoluble fiber, and contains large amounts of Potassium. Due to their high potassium content, it is found on the not allowed list for individuals with kidney disease. Sweet Potatoes are also a good source of Vitamin B6, and B5 (pantothenic acid).
I cannot over emphasize the importance of the health benefits we receive from the consumption of Foods which are the brightest in colors, next to the carrot, the Sweet Potato provides the most beautiful bright orange color. Did you know Sweet potatoes flesh can be found in other colors such as White (known not to be as sweet), Red, pink, violet, yellow and purple. The orange varieties of which are grown in Mr. George Washington Carver’s southern regions are the most common found in the supermarkets and are very tasty, packed with a powerhouse of nutrients and oh so “sweet”.
I would like to point out the fact that, Sweet potatoes are not the same as Yams which are from a totally different species. Yams are imported from the Caribbean, they are rough and scaly and are very low in beta carotene (not as nutritious). Even though some Sweet Potatoes are labeled Yams in the supermarkets, they are not true Yams.
The “Sweet Potato” another one of nature’s delectable treats. We can thank the wisdom and foresight of George Washington Carver who revolutionized Southern Farming by encouraging them to turn soil which was once used to grow cotton to growing one of nature’s most nutritious foods to benefit the health and wellbeing for us all. Sweet Potato, “The Sweetest Potato that I know”!