Interesting Facts about sweetpotatoes!
Did you know, for example, that sweet potatoes can be eaten raw as well as mashed, boiled, steamed or roasted? From time to time, I find few things more enjoyable than listening to farmers in Rwanda chat with each other, particularly on how this OFSP has changed their lives. Some I have seen for myself and the rest I have heard, what OFSP has done in the lives of farmers is incredible. This could be nutritionally, financially or both. There’s a lot to love about sweet potatoes. They’re great for moms and children and they’re bad news for poverty, hunger and poor nutrition. I love them for two main reasons; health and financial benefits.
Health; Orange Fleshed sweetpotatoes are true to their name, they are sweet but they won’t cause blood sugar spikes and crashes linked with fatigue and weight gain. The natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy. They are an excellent way to eat healthy! They are fat-free and cholesterol-free. Sweetpotatoes are also a good source of fiber when eaten with the skin on, which helps with blood sugar regulation and keeping you regular as well. Soluble fiber may help with weight loss as it makes you feel full longer, and research has shown it also may help lower blood cholesterol. You see, I don’t need to go on a slimming diet!
Have eye problems and probably worried of suffering from cancer? The rich orange color found in OFSP is a visual indication of the high levels of carotenoids that occur in these tubers. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease; they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging; OMG. Who doesn’t love the taste of sweetpotatoes?! Expand your passion for sweetpotatoes even further with new types and cooking preparations.
Financially; Sweet potatoes can even help fight poverty though often grown by small-scale farmers and in home gardens. The extras that families don’t eat, they can sell to boost their income. OFSP is an excellent food security crop which is easy to cultivate, vegetatively propagated and fairly drought resistant. And since many of the orange-fleshed sweetpotato varieties are ready to harvest before traditional varieties, they’re first to market and first to fetch a good price. Women often use the money from selling sweet potatoes to pay for school fees, buy medicines, and purchase other foods for their families. Who ever thought of OFSP as a means of gender empowerment? Quoting what a farmer said in one of the local newspapers, Muhayimana Margaret, a fifty year old woman farmer witnesses her triumph over poverty through Orange-Fleshed Sweet potato farming; she has grown sweetpotato for her family and neighbors and has earned income from the sale of planting material. “We regularly eat sweetpotato leaves and roots,” she said. I have been a farmer since I was young and per unit area I have not made as much money with any other crop like I have been able to make with OFSP farming, which she has used to improve her family’s diet and to purchase a cow. “Women in my village are taking interest and approaching me to learn vine multiplication. I have helped them, and now they are helping others. This simple technology is spreading in my village,” she said.
Who of us doesn’t want to enjoy such benefits? It’s still a challenge to educate the public about the benefits of orange fleshed sweetpotatoes, of their value and nutritional punch, and to demonstrate how resourceful the vegetable is, in terms of ease of preparation and range of uses. There’s a translated Chinese proverb that says “When someone shares something of value with you and you benefit from it, you have a moral obligation to share it with others too.” You promised, so…DO yours and spread the love please! I have done mine