Sweet potatoes are grown worldwide and come in a variety of colors and sizes, including white, purple and orange.
They are abundant in minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins, so they are the healthier version of potatoes. Not to mention, sweet potatoes provide you with many health benefits and are not difficult to include in your diet. Regularly adding sweet potatoes to your diet can help to regulate blood pressure, improve heart health and eyesight. In this post, we will reveal you some of the fantastic health benefits of sweet potatoes. Keep reading to understand more!
As mentioned above, sweet potatoes are full of minerals, vitamins, and fiber. 200 grams (one cup) of baked sweet potato with skin provides 103 calories, 2.3 grams of protein, 0 grams (g) of fat, and 24 g of carbohydrate, consisting of 7 grams of sugar and 4 grams of fiber. Besides, a medium sweet potato will provide over 100 % of your daily needs for vitamin A, 25 % of vitamin B6, 12 % of potassium, and 25 % of vitamin C. Besides, you will find small amounts of iron, calcium, zinc, magnesium, phosphorus, folate, thiamin, and riboflavin. Apart from that, sweet potatoes — especially the purple and orange varieties — are packed with antioxidants that guard your body against free radicals.
The damage of free radicals has been associated with chronic illnesses such as cancer, aging, and heart disease. Thus, consuming foods rich in antioxidants is useful for your health. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are filled with beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene may help to lower the risk of certain types of cancer, slow down aging and body degeneration, and protect from heart disease and asthma.
Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes
- Improve Brain Function
Regular consumption of sweet potatoes has shown to enhance brain functions due to the abundance of antioxidants. The anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes can reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage, thus protecting the brain. Besides, taking sweet potatoes may help to prevent oxidative damage in the brain. Plus, sweet potatoes are rich in the starch which is an ideal energy source for your brain. Moreover, they are high in B vitamins, which can reduce stress levels.
- Have Cancer-Fighting Properties
Studies have indicated the anticancer properties of sweet potatoes, particularly cancers of the lungs, liver, gallbladder, the breast, and kidneys. This may be due to the various antioxidants and anthocyanins in sweet potatoes. Anthocyanins have been found to reduce the growth and development of certain types of cancer cells such as the bladder, stomach, colon, and breast.
- Promote Gut Health
Sweet potatoes are a powerful source of antioxidants and fiber that enhance the growth of healthy gut bacteria while contributing to a healthy gut. The antioxidants present in purple sweet potatoes are effective at boosting up the growth of good gut bacteria consisting of certain Lactobacillus and Bifidobacterium species. Greater quantities of these types of bacteria within your intestines are linked to a lower risk of issues such as infectious diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).
- Enhance Immune System
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene that is converted to vitamin A in the body to support your immunity and gut health. Vitamin A is important for healthy immunity and low levels of blood have been associated with a reduced immune system. A lack of vitamin A causes to increase gut inflammation and decrease the ability of your immunity to respond to potential threats. Eating sweet potatoes can help to inhibit vitamin A deficiency.
- Support Healthy Vision
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta-carotene and anthocyanins, which may be beneficial for preventing vision loss and improving eye health. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A and used to create light-detecting receptors inside the eyes. Severe deficiency of vitamin A can cause a special type of blindness called xerophthalmia. Consuming beta-carotene rich foods such as sweet potatoes may be perfect for preventing this condition. Along with that, the anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes can guard eye cells against damage, which in turn contributes to overall eye health.
- Aid Weight Loss
Sweet potatoes can make you feel full longer thanks to their high amount of dietary fiber. Fiber is also digested slowly that in turns prevent overeating. Apart from that, sweet potatoes are high in water content and low in calories, both can help reduce your weight.
- Aid Diabetes Treatment
Sweet potatoes are a powerhouse of fiber, which may contribute to dealing with diabetes. Boiled sweet potatoes contain a lower glycemic index and will not spike the levels of blood sugar as much as regular potatoes. Due to their high antioxidant content, sweet potatoes may help inhibit complications of diabetes, such as neuropathy and retinopathy.
- Boost Bone Health
Sweet potatoes may boost bone health because they are loaded with potassium and magnesium. Along with that, the vitamin A housed in them helps to enhance bone health. However, overconsumption of vitamin A has been related to bone loss. Therefore, before using sweet potatoes for bone health, consult your doctor.
- Promote Heart Health
Sweet potatoes can help to control the inflammation that can cause heart disease together with other forms of vascular diseases. This is because they have an array of nutrients such as B vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
- Contain Anti-inflammatory Activities
Unchecked, low-grade inflammation can increase the risk of developing nearly every chronic disease, including type II diabetes, obesity, cancer, and heart disease. Natural anti-inflammatory compounds found in sweet potatoes have been indicated to quell inflammation. Research done on animals has indicated reduced inflammation in nerve tissue and brain tissue after consuming purple sweet potato extract.
- Regulate Blood Pressure
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium. This mineral helps to remove excess fluid and sodium from the body, which lowers strain on the heart and blood pressure. It additionally aids in regulating muscle contractions and heart rhythm.
- Promote Skin Health
Sweet potatoes have vitamin A in abundance that is crucial for skin health. Vitamin A deficiency can cause dry and dull skin. The vegetable has other antioxidants, which can fight the damage of free radicals, which can cause early signs of aging. Besides, carotenoids in sweet potatoes give your skin a natural glow while vitamin C in them boosts the production of collagen and firms your skin, thus delaying the onset of wrinkles and fine lines.
Sweet Potato Recipes
Below are some of easy, quick and highly nutritious sweet potatoes recipes you can try at home:
- Small cauliflower head cut into florets – 1
- Kosher salt
- Extra virgin olive oil – 7 tablespoons
- Ground black pepper
- Sweet potatoes cut lengthwise into ½ wedges -1.5 pounds
- Sherry vinegar – 3 teaspoons
- Pomegranate seeds – 2/3 cup
- Torn lettuce – 8 cups
How To Do
- Just toss the half of the olive oil, pepper, salt, sweet potatoes, and cauliflowers on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Then, roast at 4250F and toss for around half an hour until the sweet potatoes become golden.
- Let it cool. Then, add the rest of olive oil and salt, pepper and sherry vinegar. Add the rest of the elements and toss to coat.
- Enjoy it!
Baked Sweet Potatoes
- Large sweet potatoes – 3
- Olive oil – 2 tablespoons
- Salt – 2 pinches
- Black pepper – 2 pinches
- Dried oregano – 2 pinches
How To Do
- Preheat an oven to 3500F. Use the olive oil to coat the bottom of a baking sheet.
- Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly and peel them.
- Cut them into medium strips and then place these strips on the baking sheet.
- Sprinkle the oregano, pepper, and salt. Bake for around an hour.
Roasted Sweet Potato Fries
- Large sweet potato (skin on) – 1
- Ground cumin – 1.5 teaspoons
- Cayenne pepper – ¼ teaspoon
- Extra virgin olive oil – 1 tablespoon
- Freshly ground black pepper – ½ teaspoon
- Garlic powder – ¼ teaspoon
How To Do
- Preheat an oven to 4250F. Then, rinse the sweet potatoes and cut them into thin pieces.
- Mix the spices and olive oil in a large bowl. Toss in the sweet potatoes and after that, coat with the spice mixture.
- Place the sweet potatoes on a baking dish and bake for around 20 minutes.
- Turn and cook on the other side of sweet potatoes until the fries are crisp and browned.
Sweet potatoes sure are delicious and are also readily available and cheap. They are also great for your health and beauty. Which is why we often neglect their importance? Include them in your diet right now. Tell us how this article has helped you. Do you know other health benefits of sweet potatoes or delicious dishes with them? Share with us by writing in the box below.