Heart association designation gives health message a booster shot

03/08/2011 12:16:27 PM
Jim Offner

“If somebody goes on a low-glycemic index, white potatoes are taboo, period, because it spikes your blood sugar so high. Sweet potatoes fit that diet.”

The product gets regular plugs in the mass media, Wooten said, citing the “Dr. Oz Show” as having listed sweet potatoes as one of five superfoods.

Indeed, the show’s blog makes mention of it:

“The women of Okinawa, Japan (who also happen to be the world’s longest-living ladies), enjoy a purple sweet potato they call Imo every day for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Rich in beta-carotene and boasting 150 percent more antioxidants than blueberries, this easy-to-make treat can be simply incorporated into an American diet. And, if you can’t find Imo specifically, our orange sweet potatoes pack a similarly healthful wallop.”

Other media have picked up and carried the message, said Thomas Joyner, president of Nash Produce, Nashville, N.C.

“They’ve been ranked in the top 25 food items in magazines, so the trend continues for sweet potatoes as a health food,” he said.

The results have been fantastic, said Faye Bone, co-owner of Royce C. Bone Farms, Nashville.

“The fact that they are no longer just a holiday food and the growth of sweet potatoes in steakhouses have helped out a lot,” Bone said.

Stewart Precythe, president and chief executive officer of Faison, N.C.-based Southern Produce Distributors Inc., agreed.

“It just has all the nutritional value you need. You can live on them,” he said. “How many foods can say that?”


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