Dr. Monica L. Hilton, DACM, LAc
TCM Nutrition Highlight: Sweet Potato
Sweet potatoes are a popular root vegetable loaded with nutrients. They are rich in antioxidants and are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, and vitamin C. They also provide some calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate for the body. Sweet potatoes are high in beta carotene which helps protect against conditions like age-related macular degeneration, certain cancers, cognitive decline, and heart disease.
In Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) proper nutrition is essential to the healing process. We discussed in a previous blog that TCM Nutrition involves using food to correct imbalances within the body. Foods are selected based on their function, temperature, flavor, and ability to influence a specific organ or channel. Dietary recommendations are made based on the patient's TCM diagnosis.
According to TCM Nutrition theory, sweet potato influences the Spleen and Stomach channels. Its thermal nature is neutral to cool and it has a sweet flavor. It can strengthen the Spleen and Stomach, tonify qi, harmonize the blood, clear heat, build yin and remove toxins from the body.
Sweet potato can be used to treat diarrhea, constipation, night blindness, jaundice, and bloody stools. In raw form sweet potato has a laxative effect. Excessive consumption of sweet potatoes can lead to indigestion, bloating, and abdominal distension.
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