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Sweet Potatoes are a Superfood for Africans

Sweet Potatoes are a Superfood for Africans

It’s not news that malnutrition is a major issue throughout the world, with children being the most innocent victims of this international crisis. While there’s not a perfect solution, yet, it’s encouraging to see what some are doing to solve such a huge problem. It’s also interesting to see that relief is coming from one of the most unlikely sources – the sweet potato. This vitamin-rich tuber is literally changing people’s lives.

NPR’s Food Blog, The Salt, reported on this topic last summer. Specifically, they referred to a term many of us have never heard before – biofortification. This refers to adding vital nutrients to food by breeding and growing better versions of the food people already eat.

For example, the report stated that many poverty-stricken people spend their money on corn and rice because it is cheap. While they are getting calories, they are not getting the necessary vitamins and nutrients; thus, malnutrition. The idea of biofortification says to breed better varieties of rice and corn that contain higher values of iron or vitamin A. This process is taking place in many countries and positive results are being found.

Howarth Bouis is an economist with the International Food Policy Research Institute in Washington, D.C. He’s been promoting biofortification for many years through a program called HarvestPlus. He helped birth the idea of growing healthier food versus attempting to get vitamin capsules to impoverished countries. Perhaps one of the best moves was switching Africa from regular potatoes to the sweet potato, the orange variety specifically.

The mighty sweet potato, or what some health experts are calling the “living vitamin A supplement,” has become a common staple in countries like Mozambique and Uganda. As a result, children are showing signs of more Vitamin A in their blood, the plan is working and giving a great boost to those fighting so hard to improve the health among the world’s poorest nations and citizens. New crops are being introduced throughout the continent to continue increasing the nutritional content of staple foods.

Add more vitamin A to your own diet with this excellent sweet potato recipes:

Red and Sweet Potato Salad

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Burgers

Sweet Potato Pie Popsicles

Corn and Sweet Potato Chowder

Sweet Potato Enchiladas

Sweet Potato Cheesecake with Ginger Crust

By Lacy J. Hansen for DietsInReview.com

Read more: Diet & Nutrition, Do Good, Food, Health, , , , , , , ,

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2:07AM PDT on Mar 11, 2013

Thanks

10:07AM PST on Mar 9, 2013

sweet potatoes are a superfood - period

for everyone...

7:32AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

yuck. I prefer regular potatoes over sweet ones. They are waaay too sweet for me!!!!

1:24AM PST on Mar 8, 2013

noted

5:10AM PST on Mar 6, 2013

Switched a few years ago to almost always choosing sweet potatoes over white. So versatile and delicious.

3:32PM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Thanks.

9:29AM PST on Mar 5, 2013

Thanks

6:33PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

These fortified sweet potatoes and the equivalent "golden" rice are the good kind of genetic modification. I'm interested to see that it is not called that here, but I know why - people are hysterical about genetic modification. It would be nice if we could make a distinction between the process (changing something about the genetic structure of a plant to achieve a specific purpose) and the good versus bad outcomes (reducing blindness because of these sweet potatoes versus Monsanto stopping people saving seeds).

12:56PM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Thanks for spreading the good news on orange sweet potato that can be a super food for people everywhere! A small point to clarify--in rural and poorer areas of many countries, children may not receive vitamin A capsules. In these contexts,especially, providing more vitamin A through orange sweet potato or other vitamin A-rich foods is a sound strategy. However, vitamin A capsules are effective and also play an important role in reducing vitamin A deficiency in many parts of the world.The best approach as Dr. Bouis sees it, is to take advantage off all these different strategies to make sure as many people as possible are getting the minerals and vitamins that they need to lead healthy and productive lives.

Read more: http://www.care2.com/greenliving/sweet-potatoes-and-biofortification-are-curbing-malnutrition-in-africa.html#ixzz2MbcJCCuj

9:12AM PST on Mar 4, 2013

Thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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