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9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

1.  They are high in vitamin B6.  Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.

2. They are a good source of vitamin C.  While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essen­tial to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

3.  They contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year.  Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.

4.  Sweet potatoes contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper im­mune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.

5.  Sweet potatoes are a good source of mag­nesium, which is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.

6.  They are a source of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.

7. Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.

8. Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.  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. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.

9.  There are versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients.  Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods.

Leesa recommends choosing only organic sweet potatoes!

Adapted with permission from The Life Force Diet by Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.

Michelle Schoffro Cook, MSc, RNCP, ROHP, DNM, PhD is an international best-selling and 15-time book author and doctor of traditional natural medicine, whose works include: 60 Seconds to Slim, Weekend Wonder Detox, Healing Recipes, The Vitality Diet, Allergy-Proof, Arthritis-Proof, Total Body Detox, The Life Force Diet, The Ultimate pH Solution, The 4-Week Ultimate Body Detox Plan, and The Phytozyme Cure.

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Healthy Highway is a Healthy Lifestyle Company offering Lifestyle Solutions for a Happy Healthy You!   We help people who are…

  • Wanting Work Life Balance.
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  • Frustrated battling allergies to gluten, foods, dust, chemicals, pollen.
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Are any of these an issue or problem for you?  Would it make sense for us to spend several minutes together to discuss your needs and how HealthyHighway can meet them? As a Healthy Lifestyle Coach with an emphasis on allergies and wellness, Leesa teaches her clients to make informed choices and enables them to make needed changes for a Happy Healthy Lifestyle. What you eat, what products you use ~ on your body and in your home and office, how you talk to yourself ~ it all matters!

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I look forward to helping YOU Live a Happy Healthy Life!  Remember, Excellent Health is found along your way, not just at your destination.

Live Well!

Leesa A. Wheeler

Leesa A. Wheeler

Healthy Lifestyle Coach, Artisan, Author of two books…
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Strategies to Avoid a Wintertime Heart Attack

6 Strategies to Avoid a Wintertime Heart Attack

 

Whatever their cause, heart symptoms should never be taken lightly—especially  during the winter months. According to Cynthia Thaik, M.D., a cardiologist  and member of the American College of Cardiology and the American Heart  Association, research has shown that cardiovascular deaths spike by about 18  percent as the days shorten and the weather cools.

Why do cardiovascular concerns increase in winter?

Cold weather, being indoors more often, stress, lack of vitamin D and changes  in the daylight to nighttime ratio all play a role in increasing a person’s  overall risk of cardiac problems during the winter, says Thaik. There’s also  something about the holiday season that seems to be hard on the heart—Christmas  and New Year’s top the list of dangerous days for cardiovascular problems and  death.

And, according to recent research, it doesn’t seem to matter whether you live  in icy Wisconsin, or sunny Florida—the winter months can still take a toll on  your ticker.

Researchers from the University of New Mexico discovered that people who  lived in Texas, Georgia, Arizona and Los Angeles experienced the same jump in  heart-death risk as those residing in cooler states, such as Massachusetts and  Pennsylvania.

There are things you and your loved one can do to shelter your heart against  winters’ dangerous effects:

Bundle up: Despite the findings of the University of New  Mexico study, Thaik says it’s still important to keep warm during the winter  months because temperature does have an effect on the cardiovascular system.  Cold weather can cause blood vessels to constrict, blood pressure to elevate and  blood to become more prone to clotting, according to Neal Kleiman, M.D.,  cardiologist at the Methodist DeBakey Heart and Vascular Center in Houston.

Don’t fall off the wagon: Bitter weather and savory comfort  foods make for an unhealthy combination—especially during the holiday season.  While it’s okay to indulge a bit during celebrations, overall Thaik urges people  to, “keep good habits going during the wintertime.” This means sticking to a  regular exercise  routine and eating a healthy diet rich in fruits, vegetables and whole  grains.

Don’t forgo meds: Just as maintaining a healthy diet and  exercise plan is important in the winter, so too is sticking to any existing  medication regimen you may have. Kleiman urges people not to “slack off on their  medications,” and other health maintenance habits.

Get happy: Seasonal  affective disorder (SAD) is a type of depression that strikes during the  winter months. Shorter, cooler days spent inside can cause a person to become  lethargic, hungry and uninterested. As with any type of depression, people  suffering from SAD may be less likely to practice healthy behaviors, such as  engaging in regular physical activity and eating a well-balanced diet. Thaik  says it’s important to avoid getting into this depressive cycle. Make sure you  take time to do things that lift up your mood, such as going for a walk, or  spending time with your family (if doing so doesn’t stress you out).

Don’t be an early bird: According to Thaik, one of the  unrecognized side effects of fewer daylight hours in the winter is that people  tend to try and start their days earlier. But, because blood pressure naturally  spikes in the morning, these early birds could be putting themselves at greater  risk for a heart  attack. She suggests keeping early morning activities to a minimum during  the winter months. “The heart likes to take time and warm up,” she says, “take  things gradually in the morning.”

By Anne-Marie Botek, AgingCare.com  Editor

AgingCare.com  connects family  caregivers and provides support, resources, expert advice and senior housing  options for people caring for their elderly parents. AgingCare.com is a trusted  resource that visitors rely on every day to find inspiration, make informed  decisions, and ease the stress of caregiving.

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