Thankful For Orange-fleshed Sweetpotatoes!

Little boy with OFSP

Sweetpotato pie. Sweetpotato casserole with marshmallows. Sweetpotato fries. It seems like this time of year, these starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables are all the rage. But, did you know that sweetpotatoes are more than just a Thanksgiving staple? In parts of Africa, orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes help save sight and lives.

Compared to the traditionally-grown white-fleshed sweetpotato, orange-fleshed sweetpotatoes (OFSP) have high levels of beta-carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Vitamin A Deficiency is serious health problem that causes childhood blindness and compromises the immune system, which, in turn, increases the risk of death from diseases such as malaria, measles and diarrhea.

Research has shown that just one medium-sized potato (125 grams) provides primary school children with over twice the recommended daily allowance of vitamin A. In fact, the British Journal of Nutrition recently reported that a study from Mozambique proves OFSP is effective in providing vitamin A to malnourished women and children. On average, women and children in households that grew and ate OFSP doubled their vitamin A intake!

HKI promotes the production and consumption of OFSP in Burkina Faso, Mozambique and Tanzania. Watch the video below to learn more about our program and see the story of Theresa Kiyega, a farmer in Tanzania, who is helping her family stay strong and healthy thanks to OFSP. To help more families grow and consume this vitamin-rich food, please make a donation today.

Want to incorporate this nutritional super star into your Thanksgiving celebration? Send me an email at mjacoby@hki.org and I’ll email you four tasty sweetpotato recipes to try.

OFSP in the NEWS: ABC’s World News featured our orange-fleshed sweetpotato program in Burkina Faso on Thanksgiving, November 24th.  Watch the video now!

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Categories: Africa, Reducing Malnutrition

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