Sweet potatoes are known as a vegetable rich in nutrients, but what makes this vegetable even more interesting is the fact that it is very creamy, soft and it can be used as a dessert in a form of pie. Eating fresh vegetables and fruits is a practice that has always been regarded as a very healthy one.
Numerous studies have confirmed that by increasing the intake of plant foods like sweet potatoes, people reduce the chance of developing diabetes, obesity, heart disease and at the same time, they improve their energy levels, weight loss efforts, and overall health.
9 Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Less Chances of Developing Diabetes
If you look at the glycemic index scale, we will notice that sweet potatoes are listed very low. This means that sweet potatoes have the ability to release sugar into the bloodstream gradually. A recent study suggests that they can also help balance insulin resistance and blood sugar levels in people suffering from diabetes.
These vegetables are nothing like other foods that contain a high amount of starch that increases blood sugar fast after they are consumed because of their metabolism into sugar. In other words, you won’t have to deal with blood sugar highs, but you will provide your body with a stable amount of energy.
One average-sized unpeeled sweet potato includes about 6 gr of fiber. The fiber plays a significant role too – according to some studies, people suffering from type 1 diabetes who practice fiber-rich diets have lower blood sugar levels while those with type 2 diabetes have better blood sugar, insulin, and lipids levels.
In addition, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans advises intake of 21 to 25 grams of fiber on a daily basis for women and between 30 and 38 grams for men.
Finally, sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of manganese and a scientific team from the Linus Pauling Institute at Oregon State University confirmed this. Manganese is a mineral that stimulates the body’s efforts to metabolize carbs and in this way, it helps the body control healthy blood sugar levels and it can regulate your appetite.
2. Lowering Blood Pressure
It was proven that keeping low sodium intake leads to lower blood pressure, but those who want to get even better results should also increase potassium intake. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey program, about 2% of adults in the US are actually getting the required 4,700 mg of potassium per day.
Keep in mind that one average-sized sweet potato contains about 540 mg of potassium.
3. Improves Digestion
Since sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of dietary fiber, they can improve the work of the digestive tract and maintain digestion.
4. Improves Heart Health
Sweet potatoes are rich in B6 vitamins, vitamins that are known for their ability to break down homocysteine. According to the Harvard University School of public health, this substance is involved in the hardening of blood arteries and vessels. In addition, the high level of potassium is also beneficial for your heart because it controls and regulates fluid balance. Potassium also acts as an electrolyte and balances heartbeat.
5. Cancer Prevention
Anticarcinogenic properties are one of the main characteristics of orange sweet potatoes and some researchers claim that beta-carotene found in this vegetable can significantly reduce the chances of development of ovarian cancer in postmenopausal women and breast cancer in premenopausal women. On the other hand, the purple sweet potatoes are bringing even better results in cancer prevention. They have extremely good cancer-fighting properties and they also prevent and eliminate cancer cell growth.
6. Anti-inflammatory and Immunity Properties
Anti-inflammatory benefits are another thing that you can expect from sweet potatoes mostly because of their color-pigmented vitamins. For example, only one mid-sized sweet potato comes with about 50% of the daily-recommended intake of vitamin A, E, and C improves the immune system and acts as an antioxidant that prevents and fights diseases.
The purple sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanin, an antioxidant that has anti-inflammatory properties useful for our health in general and also reduces inflammations. The orange sweet potatoes are packed with vitamin A.
All sweet potatoes contain choline, a nutrient that can help people with their sleep routine, memory, learning, concentration and muscle flexibility. This important nutrient also contributes to the proper maintenance of cellular membranes, helps the transmission of nerve impulses, eases chronic inflammation and helps the absorption and processing of fat.
Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of magnesium. This mineral is one of the most important elements when it comes to de-stressing. It encourages relaxation, good mood, and serenity and according to Psychology Today, it also improves nerve, bone, muscle and artery health.
Jill Koury, an ophthalmologist at Duke University, claims that lack of vitamin A leads to deterioration of the outer segments of the photoreceptors in the eye, which eventually leads to vision problems. You can easily overcome this problem by consuming foods rich in beta-carotene. The vitamins C and E (found in sweet potatoes) which come with powerful antioxidant properties improve eye health and prevent this type of problems.
In addition, increased fruits intake (having three or more servings each day) has also brought positive effects.
9. Provides Healthy Skin and Hair
Vitamins E and C are used in many beauty products for skin and hair because of their properties (they support collagen growth) while vitamin A protects the skin from the negative effects of sunrays.