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The One Food This Woman Ate Every Single Day to Live to 114

Prevention logo Prevention 1/9/2019 Leah Groth

a birthday cake with lit candles: The family of Lessie Brown, who lived to the age of 114, claims that the secret to her longevity was eating sweet potatoes every single day. © NoSystem images - Getty Images The family of Lessie Brown, who lived to the age of 114, claims that the secret to her longevity was eating sweet potatoes every single day. What is the key to longevity? According to the family of Lessie Brown, who was believed to the be the oldest living person in the United States before she passed away on Tuesday at the age of 114, it has to do with a starchy and sweet-tasting root vegetable.

While the Cleveland Heights, Ohio woman herself attributed her long life to "God’s will," her loved ones maintained it was because she ate a sweet potato every single day until she was well past 100.

“Oh I don’t know. A lot of them say it’s because I ate a lot of sweet potatoes, but I don’t think that’s it. I don’t know, God’s will,” she explained to WJW-TV when asked about her secret to longevity as she celebrated her 109th birthday in 2013.

Just how healthy are sweet potatoes? According to the USDA, one medium sweet potato boasts 103 calories, no fat, 2 g protein, 24 g carbs, 4 g fiber, and 7 g sugar.

While the amount of carbs per sweet potato may scare you, keep in mind that they are complex carbs that take your body longer to digest - translating to more sustained energy that will fuel your day.

As for the sugar content, don’t be too concerned. The tuber also contains an abundance of fiber, so it will help slow down the release of the glucose into your system. Even the American Diabetes Association recommends sweet potatoes, as they won’t spike your blood sugar level. The fiber will also help regulate your weight, as sweet potatoes will not only leave you full but also lower cholesterol and keep you regular.

Sweet potatoes also contains up to six times your daily value of vitamin A with nearly 22,000 IU of the eye health, bone development, and immune function-boosting vitamin.

Additionally it contains 43 mg calcium, 62 mg phosphorus, 31 mg magnesium, 542 mg potassium, and 22 mg vitamin C. Potassium will aid in the reduction of the impact of sodium on the body and will also help in relaxing the walls of your blood vessels, reducing blood pressure. The magnesium in them aids in the transport potassium throughout your cells.

Lessie Brown isn’t the only person who ate her way to a long and plentiful life with sweet potatoes. According to Dan Buettner, author of The Blue Zones Solution, the sweet potato is a go-to food of some of the world’s healthiest people.

Whether sweet potatoes were responsible for Lessie Brown's super long life, we will never know for sure. But it can't hurt to incorporate them into your diet. For tips on how to cook sweet potatoes as well as some super delicious recipes, click here.

Video: Calorie restriction diets could extend life span and delay disease, researchers say (NBC News)

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