Sweet potatoes are not only creamy and sweet to be made into delicious holiday pies, they are also healthy and nutritious. High in carotenoids, sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin A, which is great for eye health, has antioxidant and anti-ageing properties, and has also been linked to cancer prevention. Additionally, sweet potatoes are also rich in a wide range of B vitamins, including B-1, or thiamine, B-2 and B-3 – riboflavin and niacin, respectively – as well as B-5 and B-6. According to the National Institutes of Health, B vitamins help our body process food into energy, as well as form red blood cells.
But what might surprise you is how some people have been using the wash water – to lose weight. Yup! But is that just a myth? According to a research, cooking water from sweet potatoes may help with digestion and weight loss. New research – published in the journal Heliyon – suggests the starchy water left over from cooking sweet potatoes may have slimming effects and help digestion, reports Medical News Today.
A team of researchers – led by Dr. Koji Ishiguro from the National Agriculture and Food Research Organization in Japan – were looking for ways to reuse the wastewater resulting from processing sweet potatoes on an industrial scale. As such, they thought of testing its nutritional value and dietary effects.
In Japan, around 15 percent of sweet potato is used to produce starch-derived products, as well as processed foods and distilled spirits. That means, a large amount of wastewater that contains organic residue and is usually discarded in rivers and oceans. However, since the wastewater also contains proteins, Dr. Ishiguro and team decided to investigate its effects on digestion in mice.
Researchers fed three groups of mice high-fat diets. One of the groups was given the sweet potato peptide protein (SPP) in a high concentration, and another group in a low concentration. After 28 days, researchers weighed the mice and took a series of measurements.
Mice that were fed higher levels of SPP had significantly lower body weight and liver mass. These mice also had lower cholesterol levels and triglycerides, as well as higher levels of the metabolic hormones leptin and adiponectin.
Further research is needed to see if the same effects apply to humans, but Dr. Ishiguro says the results are “very promising.”