Electricity applied to Sweet Potatoes increased Antioxidants by 60 Percent

Credit: National Cancer Institute Unknown Photographer - PD

(Best Syndication News) - A simple application of electrical current took sweet potatoes to a new level of nutrition by increasing polyphenols and antioxidants by 60 percent when compared to an untreated potato. This was according to a study conducted by researchers from the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa, Japan. The new insight was presented at the National Meeting & Exposition of the American Chemical Society.

Lead researcher Kazunori Hironaka, Ph.D said that this is an important way to improve nutrition because over 95 percent of the sweet potato crops are grown in developing nations that often face malnutrition problems. Their research offers a simple and easy way to improve nutrition of sweet potatoes. He suggests that it could help these countries solve hunger, nutrition, and health problems.

The researchers from Japan previously tested electric current with white potatoes and found that the polyphenol levels increased by 60 percent. They wanted to test the electrical current on sweet potatoes to see if the same results would occur.

To conduct their experiment, they put sweet potatoes into a salt-water solution that would be able to conduct electrical current. They provided different amounts of electricity to the water and the potatoes for five minutes.

Out of the various electricity levels tested, they found that 0.2 amps of current was the highest return for making the most antioxidants. Compared to untreated potatoes, the optimal amperage created 1.4 times more antioxidants and 1.6 times more polyphenol content. Sweet potatoes are already high in polyphenols, with up to 7 times more than other varieties of potatoes. The exposure to electricity amplified antioxidants and polyphenols by up to 60 percent more.

Hironaka said that the sweet potato tasted the same after the electricity treatment. He suggested that steaming is the best way to keep the antioxidants in the food. It would be inexpensive to incorporate this electrical treatment at small farms and through the food distribution chains, he explained.

By: Marsha Quinn
Health Reporter

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