The origin of this tuber is to be found in Latin America and it is considered one of man's oldest foods; studies exist that show that the camote was grown more than 10,000 years ago in the region of Ayacucho. Representations have also been found in pre-Columbian pottery and artistic manifestations in Peru.
With the scientific name of Ipomoea batatas, the camote has more than 5 thousand varieties. It stands out for the color of its flesh, and can be white, yellow, orange, purple, or pink. Also known as a sweet potato or yam, this tuber is found in tropical and temperate climates, adapts to soils with different physical characteristics, developing better in sandy soils.
Camote is recommended by many nutritionists because it is a source of various vitamins and contains moderate levels of iron and zinc. Here are some of the reasons why you should include this tuber in your diet.
It reduces the risk of heart disease. The orangey camote are rich in beta-carotene, which not only give rise to the color of its flesh, but also look after the immune system, and prevent heart disease.
Low glycemic index. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) included it in its list of 10 superfoods because it decreases insulin resistance and improves blood glucose levels.
Rich in vitamin A. This is important for good vision and helps to strengthen the immune system, preventing infections.
Powerful antioxidant. According to Yanina Chiok Puppi, a graduate at Nutricionistas en Acción (Nutritionists in Action), regular consumption of camote prevents premature aging, thanks to its antioxidant properties. Along the same lines, studies from Kansas State University indicate that since purple camote is rich in anthocyanins, an organic substance with great antioxidant power, it helps to prevent colon cancer.
It stimulates the production of collagen. This was highlighted by Peruvian doctor José Luis Pérez-Albela, claiming that the camote has the property of erasing spots and other skin damage caused by the sun.
It speeds up the metabolism. Its constant consumption improves digestion and facilitates bowel evacuation, due to its high fiber content. If you eat the peel, the fiber content is significantly higher.
It avoids respiratory diseases. Thanks to its content of vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients, it helps to prevent respiratory diseases, as well as helping to treat asthma and bronchitis.
Did you know?
- Camote is produced on the Central Coast in Peru all year round. The main importers of camote are the United States, Canada, South Korea and Malaysia.
Sources: Minagri/ Caretas/ RPP/ Diario Correo/ Ojo/ cipotato.org