What is the key to longevity? According to the family of Lessie Brown, who was believed to the be the oldest living person in the United States before she passed away at the age of 114, it has to do with a starchy and sweet-tasting root vegetable. Her loved ones maintained she ate a sweet potato every single day until she was well past 100.
Just how healthy are sweet potatoes? One medium sweet potato boasts 430kJ (103cal), no fat, 2 g protein, 24 g carbs, 4 g fibre, and 7 g sugar.
While the amount of carbs per sweet potato may scare you, keep in mind that they are complex carbs that take your body longer to digest - translating to more sustained energy that will fuel your day.
As for the sugar content, don’t be too concerned. The tuber also contains an abundance of fibre, so it will help slow down the release of the glucose into your system and won’t spike your blood sugar level. The fibre will also help regulate your weight, as sweet potatoes will not only leave you full but also lower cholesterol and keep you regular.
Sweet potatoes also contains more than 100 percent of the RDI for the eye health, bone development, and immune function-boosting vitamin.
Additionally it contains 43 mg calcium, 62 mg phosphorus, 31 mg magnesium, 542 mg potassium, and 22 mg vitamin C. Potassium will aid in the reduction of the impact of sodium on the body and will also help in relaxing the walls of your blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. The magnesium in them aids in the transport potassium throughout your cells.
Lessie Brown isn’t the only person who ate her way to a long and plentiful life with sweet potatoes. According to Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution, the sweet potato is a go-to food of some of the world’s healthiest people.
Whether sweet potatoes were responsible for Lessie Brown's super long life, we will never know for sure. But it can't hurt to incorporate them into your diet.