Our body has its own way of communicating what it needs. It may not be in the language that we know of but it speaks to us nonetheless. Oftentimes, though, we fail to listen or we simply choose to ignore the pains and longing of our bodies to attend to the “more pressing issues” or we’re just too preoccupied with “busyness in everything and anything”. We tend only to slow down when we get (seriously) ill and can no longer function the way we want to. This time it could be too late! This could now be the time of regretting what we should have or have not done! We might just find ourselves uttering words, such as:
“I wish I did….”
“If only I could…”
“I should have…”
Some years ago, a close friend told me to always listen to what my body has to say because it does not lie. Lately, I got tired easily and find it difficult to concentrate on my work. No matter how I got myself to write, I seemed to have ran out of ideas. In a sense, I was sort of suffering from brain drain! At the same time, I was craving for boiled sweet potatoes (Kamote or camote in our dialect). And so, remembering the advice, I decided to buy some kamote from the nearby market, and cooked all one kilo of it. Funny but after some helping, I felt recharged and eager to hit the keyboard and write again.
Curious, I decided to check on the internet what could I have been missing – nutrition-wise. I found out that the humble kamote, which is sometimes called a “poor man’s diet”, is packed with powerful nutrients. And probably, I must have been lacking much, if not all, of these wonderful kamote health benefits:
1. It is a good source of vitamin C. As we all know, vitamin C promotes digestion, blood cell formation, and healing of wounds; protects us from cold and flu viruses as well as from toxins associated with cancer; facilitates in bone and tooth formation; produces collagen for healthy and youthful skin, and; helps us cope with stress. Apparently, it was stress that kept me slow.
2. Kamote is rich in vitamin B6, which is essential in reducing homocysteine in the body. Homocysteine is a chemical said to be associated with degenerative disease.
3. It contains vitamin D which plays a very important role in our immune system and general health. It boosts our energy levels, moods, as well as promotes healthy bones, nerves, heart, skin, and teeth. Now, I know why I did not have much energy lately.
4. Great source of manganese. Manganese plays a very important role in the metabolism of carbohydrates useful in promoting healthy blood sugar levels. This trace mineral in kamote stabilizes glucose levels by increasing adinopectin, a significant element in insulin metabolism. And since kamote has a glycemic index of 50, it is considered a diabetic food. I thank God I’m not diabetic, and I pray the humble kamote helps in protecting me from acquiring the disease, which has already claimed the life of my elder sister.
5. Most potent anti-oxidant. Kamote contains high level of vitamin A or beta-carotene, even higher than that of carrots. Vitamin A, as we all know, is an important anti-oxidant that helps prevent different types of cancer, and protects our skin from the harmful effects of the sun as it deflects and repair cell damage caused by too much exposure to UV rays, shielding us against premature aging. Beta-carotene in the body is converted into vitamin A (retinol), for good eye health and good vision, strong immune system, as well as glowing skin and mucous membranes. Oh, I need this for my eyes.
6. High in other vitamins, such as: vitamins B2, and E; as well as in minerals like copper, potassium, and iron.
Being one of the essential electrolytes that regulates heartbeat and nerve functions, potassium helps relax muscle contractions, minimizes swelling, and protects and controls the activity of the kidneys.
Iron, on the other hand, plays a crucial role in the production of red and white blood cells, fortifies the body against stress, and promotes metabolism and healthy immune system.
The magnesium content in kamote helps fight stress, allowing the body to relax. It also promotes healthy bones, heart, blood, muscles, arteries, and nerves.
7. Kamote is rich in dietary fiber and less fat content. A medium size kamote is packed with 26 grams of carbohydrates, of which 3.8 grams are dietary fiber that helps minimize bad cholesterol and eases bowel movement.
8. Effective detoxifying agent. Kamote absorbs heavy metals, such as lead, arsenic, and mercury that can build up in the body through consumption of commercially-processed foods, and effectively flushes them out of your system.
Knowing all the kamote health benefits, I now can’t seem to understand why it bears a connotation of a “poor man’s diet”. Perhaps, it could be because it is one of the cheapest and easiest-grown crop.
Kamote is even the best rice substitute. I was just thinking, what if kamote becomes a staple food in the Philippines, would it help minimize, if not totally resolve, the sickening political and corruption issues of “shortage of rice supply” and “rice smuggling” in the country?