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This month I’ve been talking all about Foods to help hot flashes and moods in peri and post menopause and today we’re talking sweet potato.
Eating sweet food such as sweet potatoes can help to beat sugar cravings before your normal menstrual period, but I came across this great article on one ladies’ finding and had to share.
Tired of hot flushes and sleepless nights? The story of Sue Visser, originally shared by W24, suggests that sweet potatoes might be a natural 'cure' for menopause.
Paraphrasing: Ten years ago, Sue became aware of the need for progesterone at the time of menopause, and she was asked to develop an alternative to HRT to relieve symptoms like hot flushes. “Doctor Lee was making great claims about Wild yam cream, but it was being shed in a dim light by Doctor Marilyn Glenville.”
Dr. Glenville recommended, “better nutrition and taking herbs like Agnus Castus and Black Cohosh. Many herbal concoctions appeared on the market, but no magic bullet could whip away a hot flush within minutes. Why not?” Sue decided this is where research was needed.
She bought some red sweet potatoes (mistakenly labelled as “yams” - very close in structure to progesterone.)
The liver breaks down yams and potatoes, rendering their progesterone effects useless, so Sue decided to chew a small, raw fistful of sweet potatoes every day. Beneficial nutrients would be absorbed by blood vessels under the tongue. Sue saw changes, “My menstruation stopped. I did this every day for six months, to really prove a point. An increase of progesterone inhibits ovulation because it inhibits the follicle stimulating hormone. It fools the body into thinking it is pregnant. I was not, although menstrual cycles had been temporarily halted.”
Sue reported, “Normal menstruation, with no adverse effects resumed when I stopped my daily sweet potato chewing ritual. My customers had no use for a pile of sweet potatoes and so they challenged me further: to make a remedy for them. No problem, I made up a tincture and tested this at twice the prescribed high dose for another 6 months. What a year!”
She shares that several older women also conducted similar trials at a normal dose and felt a great improvement as well, especially with hot flushes, fatigue and depression. Sweet potato is not progesterone, but it stimulates the release thereof by its action on the pituitary gland. It’s non-toxic and acts within half an hour to a day on hot flushes, the reports go. “As a way of skipping a menstrual cycle or two, it was way ahead of patent drugs like Seasonable; that were still being developed.”
She has gone on to teach other women, “how to have a menstrual break for religious reasons, sporting events or honeymoons. In smaller doses, the tincture has helped some women to conceive or resume menstruation that had ceased due to anorexia or excessive marathon running.” Reportedly, a top gynaecologist used these remedies for many years and sweet potato became the favourite for women who had to stop HRT because it was becoming too problematic. When hot flushes returned, sweet potato provided relief.
The highlight of Sue’s story is when she stopped ovulating at the age of 54, “I had been totally symptom free and to me, the PMS and other complaints I receive from the public had never affected me. It happened out of the blue one evening! I was too good for hot flushes, I thought until I worked it out. I had stopped ovulation and the follicle stimulating hormone was calling up eggs that were no longer waiting in line. The heat waves were trying to tell me something. At this stage, even a big shot of oestrogen helps but I was not so stupid. No, in order to fool the body into thinking I was pregnant; I had to boost progesterone rapidly and effectively. I had done this before, so after a few days of chewing the sweet potato the hot flushes and night sweats stopped as quickly as they had appeared. It was so easy. Wow!”
The Australian Menopause Centre released a blog about the benefits of sweet potatoes that provides some additional information. They describe the nutrients present, "Sweet potatoes are generally orange in colour and the deeper the orange, the greater the nutritional content. The orange colour is present for a reason and this is due to a nutrient called Beta Carotene. Beta carotene is part of a family of nutrients called Carotenoids. These carotenoids are converted into Vitamin A. This conversion rate is very much dependant on the pre-existing amount of Vitamin A in the body."
Vitamin A is critical for immune support, mucus membrane integrity (healthy digestive systems and respiratory systems,) skin health and cell growth. Consuming beta carotene rich foods daily is highly recommended.
In addition to having ample beta carotene, sweet potatoes are a good source of Vitamin C and Manganese (both great for immune function and wound healing.) Sweet Potatoes are great sources of fibre, have a low glycaemic index and load, and thus lead to fewer spikes in sugar levels and more sustained energy levels.
Additional health benefits of sweet potatoes have been listed as:
- Great for Heart Health: high levels of vitamin B6 and potassium
- Great Source of Vitamin A: huge amounts of beta-carotene
- Great for Blood Sugar Levels: low glycaemic index
- Great for Skin Care: high levels of vitamin C and E
- Great for Digestion: great source of dietary fibre and still low in calorie count
- Great for Emphysema Prevention: vitamin A
- Great Source of additional Vitamins and Minerals: significant amounts of vitamins C, E, B5, B6, riboflavin, and copper. These nutrients offer a range of benefits for your immune system, red blood cell production, sleep patterns, mood, wound repair, disease prevention, muscle weakness, and pain.
- Great for Stress Relief: high amounts of magnesium and rich in potassium
Here’s the link to the original article https://www.w24.co.za/SelfCare/Wellness/Body/Cure-menopause-with-sweet-potato-20081021
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Disclaimer: This blog is intended for advice, you are responsible for your own health & wellbeing. Please book a full consultation for individualised advice or speak with your GP or Health Practitioner
Cover Photo Credit Photo by Louis Hansel @shotsoflouis on unsplash