Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) leaves provide a dietary source of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, dietary fiber, and essential fatty acids. Bioactive compounds contained in this vegetable play a role in health promotion by improving immune function, reducing oxidative stress and free radical damage, reducing cardiovascular disease risk, and suppressing cancer cell growth. Currently, sweet potato leaves are consumed primarily in the islands of the Pacific Ocean and in Asian and African countries; limited consumption occurs in the United States. This comprehensive review assesses research examining the nutritional characteristics and bioactive compounds within sweet potato leaves that contribute to health promotion and chronic disease prevention. Research has affirmed the potential cardioprotective and chemopreventive advantages of consuming sweet potato leaves, thus indicating that increased consumption of this vegetable should be advocated. Since reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases is of public health concern, promoting the consumption of sweet potato leaves warrants further and more intensive research investigation.
Camote tops are cooked and eaten as a salad and a leafy vegetable. The roots are the principal article of food of some of the mountain people. During World War II, on account of the price, scarcity, and unavailability of the rice, camote is often mixed with rice. Analyses of the roots show that they are very high in carbohydrates, and so are very deficient in protein, deficient in calcium, and only a fair source of iron. According to Hermano the roots are good sources of vitamins A, B, C, and G. Marañon reports that the leaves are an excellent source of iron, and a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Hermano reports that the leaves are good sources of vitamins B, C, and G, while the yellow and purple ones are good sources of vitamin A.
Read records that the roots contain starch 42 per cent, sugar 20 per cent, vitamins A2, B2, and C2, chorogen acid, protein 1.3 per cent, fat 0.1 per cent, Cu 0.57 per cent, ipomoein, phytosterolin, and carotene.
The roots are official in the Mexican (2-4) Pharmacopoeia.
Dr. F. Garcia claims that the tops of camote show promise as a cure for diabetes, and particularly recommends the purplish form. Daruty says that the leaves are used as a maturative cataplasm. Hooper states that the tops are also used for poulticing. The Chinese slice the tubers, scald and dry the slices, and make a tea from them to allay thirst. Chopra reports that the roots are laxative.
It’s important to have some fat in your sweet potato-containing meals if you want to enjoy the full beta-carotene benefits of this root vegetable. Recent research has shown that a minimum of 3-5 grams of fat per meal significantly increases our uptake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Of course, this minimal amount of fat can be very easy to include.
Some nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes simply may not be achievable unless you use steaming or boiling as your cooking method. Recent studies show excellent preservation of sweet potato anthocyanins with steaming, and several studies comparing boiling to roasting have shown better blood sugar effects (including the achievement of a lower glycemic index, or GI value) with boiling. The impact of steaming is particularly interesting, since only two minutes of steaming have been show to deactivate peroxidase enzymes that might otherwise be able to break down anthocyanins found in the sweet potato.
In fact, with these peroxidase enzymes deactivated, natural anthocyanin extracts from sweet potato used for food coloring may be even more stable than the synthetic dye Red 40! This benefit isn’t limited to the food’s appearance since the anthocyanins have great health benefits as antioxidants and anti-inflammatory nutrients.
Most dry beans and tubers have their own unique storage proteins. Soybeans have glycinins, potatoes have patatins, yams have dioscorins, and corn has zeins. While researchers have long been aware of sporamins-storage proteins in sweet potato -only recently has research shown some of their unique antioxidant properties. The potential health benefits of the sweet potato sporamins in helping prevent oxidative damage to our cells should not be surprising since sweet potatoes produce sporamins whenever subjected to physical damage to help promote healing.
Camote Constituents & Properties
- Source of polyphenolic antioxidants. Results suggest the total phenolic content was positively correlated with radical scavenging activities of the sweet potato leaves. Purple Sweet Potato anthocyanins have antioxidative activity in vivo as well as in vitro.
- Leaves have a high content of polyphenolics – anthocyanins and phenolic acids, with at least 15 biologically active anthocyanins with medicinal value.
- Polyphenols have physiologic functions, radical scavenging activity, antimutagenic, anticancer, antidiabetes and antibacterial activity in vitro and vivo.
- Antioxidant / Antiproliferative: Study demonstrated that the phytochemicals in sweet potato may have significant antioxidant and anticancer activities. The antioxidant activity was directly related to the total amount of phenolics and flavonoids in the extracts. The additive roles of phytochemicals may contribute to its ability in inhibiting tumor cell proliferation in vitro.
- Flavonoids: Leaf extract study isolated five news compounds: tiliroside, astragalin, rhamnocitrin, rhamnetin and kaempferol.
- Chitinases: Study identified new chitinolytic enzymes in sweet potato leaves. Chitinases catalyze the hydrolysis of chitin, the main structural component of fungal walls and arthropod integuments. Studies suggest it has other functions and has been proposed to play a role in the defense against pathogens. Chitinases are also useful in the production of biomedical and biotech products; used in the production of chitooligosaccharides, glucosamines and GlcNAc. Other applications are found in mosquito control and pathogenic plant fungi control.
- Antidiabetic / Adiponectin / Natural Insulin Sensitizer: Study confirms the beneficial effects of Caiapo on glucose and HbA1c in T2DM. The improvement in insulin sensitivity was accompanied by increased levels of adiponectin and a decrease in fibrinogen.
- Considered hemostatic, spleen invigorating.
Camote Nutritional Value
Camote has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.Also, a good source of vitamins A, B and C, iron, calcium and phosphorus.
High in complex carbohydrates and dietary fiber; deficient in protein.
Sweet potatoes contain as much beta-carotene (in the form of vitamin A) as carrots. Beta-carotene is associated with the prevention of cancer, heart disease, asthma and rheumatoid arthritis. The darker the flesh of the sweet potato, the more beta-carotene it contains.
Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids in the form of beta-carotene. Carotenoids are associated with stabilizing blood sugar and lowering insulin resistance.
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants. These substances help remove free radicals from the body, protecting cells from damage and repairing damaged cells.
Two-thirds cup of sweet potatoes provides 100 percent of the Recommended Daily Allowance (RDA) of vitamin E, and one sweet potato offers 65 percent of the RDA for vitamin C. The beta carotene and vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes work as antioxidants to neutralize free radicals that damage cells. These antioxidants slow the aging process, boost immunity, and reduce the risk of developing cataracts, heart disease, prostate cancer, and breast cancer.
The sweet potato is also a rich source of the phytonutrients quercetin and chlorogenic and caffeic acids. These phytonutrients work to reduce inflammation, boost immunity, increase energy, reduce LDL cholesterol levels, and reduce the risk of heart disease and certain cancers. Chlorogenic acid may also help reduce insulin resistance.
Camote Health Benefits
Sweet potatoes are excellent sources of plant proteins with very low calories. Unlike other starchy root vegetables, it is very low in sugar, and in fact is a good blood sugar regulator. Traditionally, Camote Tops, especially purplish ones is used for diabetes. Crushed leaves are applied to boils and acne. For diarrhea, boiled or boiled roots are used.
Root Crops as Antioxidant: A 2006 study of commonly consumed roots crops in the Philippines (Kamote, Ipomoea batata; ubi, purple yam, Dioscorea alata; cassava, Manihot esculenta; taro or gabi, Colocasia esculenta; carrot, Daucus carota; yacon (Smallanthus sonchifolius) showed them to be rich sources of phenolic compounds with antioxidant acitivity, highest in sweet potato, followed by taro, potato, purple yam and lowest in the carrot. Sweet potatoes have been found to contain a high amount of anti-oxidant, making it suitable in combating inflammatory problems like asthma, arthritis, gout, etc.
Dengue: (Euphorbia hirta), there have been anecdotal reports of the use of Ipomoea batatas in dengue, with improvement in platelet counts being attributed to decoctions of kamote tops.
Preparation: Camote tops are boiled in wate for 5 minutesr to extract the juice
Diabetes: Despite its “sweet” name, this fibrous root is suitable for diabetics’ consumption as it is a very good blood sugar regulator, helps to stabilize and lower insulin resistance. Study showed the flavone extracted from IB leaf could control blood sugar and modulate the metabolism of glucose and blood lipid, and decrease outputs of lipid peroxidation and scavenge the free radicals in non-insulin dependent diabetic rats.
Antidiabetic activity of white skinned sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.) in obese Zucker fatty rats: Results suggest the white skinned sweet potato has antidiabetic activity and and improves glucose and lipid metabolism by reducing insulin resistance. Study to isolate the antidiabetic component of white-skinned sweet potato suggested the active component to be an acidic glycoprotein because it contained a protein and sugar and adsorbed onto the QA column at pH 7.0.s
Hematologic: Hemostatic mistura of ipomoea balatas leaves, methods of preparation and use thereof — a Jinshuye styptic plant preparation, an invention made from the extracts of leaf and stems of Ipomoea batatas has qi and spleen invigorating effects, cooling the blood and stopping bleeding. Such a composition has the potential of use for ITP (idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura), radiotherapy- and chemotherapy-induced thrombocytopenia.
Digestive tract, healthy: The significant amount of dietary fiber, especially when eaten with the skin, helps to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and also helps prevent colon cancer.
Emphysema: Smokers and people who inhale second-hand smoke should regularly consume foods high in vitamin A as smoke has been found to induce vitamin A deficiency, causing a host of other health problems to the lungs.
Fetal Development: The high folate content is important and necessary for healthy fetal cell and tissue development.
Immune System: Regular consumption of sweet potatoes strengthens the body’s immune system and develop resistance to infection.
Heart diseases: Consumption of this high potassium root helps to prevent heart attack and stroke. It helps maintain fluid and electrolyte balance in the body cells, as well as normal heart function and blood pressure.
Muscle Cramps: A deficiency in potassium can cause muscular cramps and greater susceptibility to injury. Make sweet potatoes a regular part of your diet if you exercise a lot, both for an energy boost and to prevent cramps and injuries.
Stress: When we are stressed, our metabolic rate rises, causing the body potassium levels to be reduced. By snacking on the potassium-packed sweet potato, it helps to rebalance the vital mineral, and helps normalize the heartbeat. This in turn sends oxygen to the brain and regulates the body’s water balance.
Preparing Sweet Potatoes
The most nutritious way to prepare sweet potatoes is to roast or bake them. Boiling sweet potatoes results in a significant loss of vitamins and nutrients. Eating the skin of conventionally grown sweet potatoes is not recommended because it may contain dyes or waxes. Organic sweet potatoes can be eaten whole. (Be sure to scrub clean the sweet potato’s skin before cooking regardless of type.)
Camote Research Links
Camote has a higher nutritional value than the common potato.
Camote leaves are an excellent source of iron, and a good source of calcium and phosphorus. Hermano reports that the leaves are good sources of vitamins B, C, and G, while the yellow and purple ones are good sources of vitamin A.
Sweet potato leaves: properties and synergistic interactions that promote health and prevent disease.
Intake of vitamin A-rich foods and lung cancer risk in Taiwan: with special reference to garland chrysanthemum and sweet potato leaf consumption.
Higher consumption of vitamin A-rich vegetables, especially garland chrysanthemum and sweet potato leaves might provide potential protection from lung cancer.