Healthy yammering on sweet potatoes

Brenda keeps a passionate eye on what keeps brains healthy.

Brenda Mallory

As you can imagine after my episode of getting into the wrong car with the big dogs in it and wearing my pants backwards, I am aware of my brain health or the lack thereof.

As luck would have it, The Passionate Eye show on CBC had some important information for all of us at any age. The show told of some ways we could keep our brains young.

A group of people in the 60-plus range were collected up to see if exercise would change the function of their brains. Walking or table tennis were used for the test.

After 10 weeks of walking and smacking the little ball the results showed that each activity made a difference. How about that?

The documentary also visited a group of older folks in Japan. Very little dementia, fewer strokes and low cholesterol.

Why? One thing these folks had was that even as they sailed closer or beyond the 100-year mark, they were afforded a great deal of respect. They did many types of exercise and ate very good food.

One food that struck me as interesting is that almost every day they would eat sweet potato. Before we carry on here, let’s get the question of sweet potato vs yams out of the way. I had it wrong all along thinking in my mind that the tuber with pale skin and flesh was a yam.

I now know that “so-called yams are in fact sweet potatoes. The long, red-skinned vegetables with orange flesh is a sweet potato. A

ll yams are sweet potatoes.” Actual yams have a rough scaly skin and a course flesh. Sweet potatoes can have a white, purple, yellow or orange flesh. Yams might be found here but the difference will be obvious.

Sweet potatoes are shipped in boxes labeled yams with sweet potato listed on the box as well. After all that it still comes down to the fact that sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrition. I do eat them every week. I slice the potato, slop olive oil all over and bake them in the oven. Perfect for dinner or as a treat for the old dogs.

I was amazed at all the recipes that incorporated sweet potato. If it is one of many things that helps those old folk in Japan avoid dementia and other health issues in their later years, why not give it a try?

There is no guarantee that you will be afforded a lot more respect as an older soul but you might still manage to keep your brain young. Keep on moving and eat your sweet potato.

Before you call me to tell me I am wrong about sweet potato or yam identification, check with Google to find out the facts.

As usual your calls are welcome at 250-846-5095 or send an email to

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