In recent times, sweet potatoes have become a staple food in many parts of the world. This is due to the ease of preparation, the delicious taste, and most importantly, its rich nutrient. Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper.
Sweet potatoes are tubers with roots. Like starch and other carbs, root tubers store water and energy underground. Beets, carrots, parsnips, celeriac, and turnips are a few additional root vegetables.
The nutritional value and potential health benefits of sweet potatoes are reviewed in this piece of content.
These are 8 reasons you should eat sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes possess a lot of fiber, which has been shown to aid in digestion. The majority of the research has been conducted on animals, but it appears that the high levels of plant sterols (phytosterols) in sweet potatoes may have a protective effect on the digestive tract and may be useful in the prevention and treatment of duodenal and gastric ulcers, particularly those brought on by NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, such as ibuprofen).
Improves insulin sensitivity in diabetes
In a 2008 study, researchers found that an extract of white-skinned sweet potatoes improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
Earlier in 2000, laboratory rats consumed either white-skinned sweet potatoes or an insulin sensitizer, called troglitazone, for 8 weeks. Levels of insulin resistance improved in those that consumed the sweet potato.
The fiber in sweet potatoes is also important. Studies have found that people who consume more fiber appear to have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
Good for eye health
Sweet potatoes are high in nutrients that have been linked to better eye health and eyesight. Carotenoids are among the most potent. They contain the antioxidants alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Worldwide, vitamin A deficiency is the leading cause of preventable blindness in children. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which our body converts to vitamin A. This is important for night vision and maintaining the health of the eye.
Moreso, a study by Food & Nutrition Research found that purple sweet potatoes contain a specific group of antioxidants known as anthocyanins, which have also been shown to be of benefit to the eyes.
Provides Essential Minerals
The same medium-sized sweet potato also contains 25% of the recommended daily intake of manganese, 20% of the recommended daily intake of copper, and 12% of the recommended daily intake of potassium. Minerals are just as important as vitamins.
Copper aids our bodies with several processes like making red blood cells, manganese promotes bone health, produces sex hormones, and regulates blood sugar, and potassium is necessary for maintaining fluid balance, contracting muscles, and healthy nerve function.
Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system, and sweet potatoes are packed with this nutrient. Eating sweet potatoes can help to strengthen your immune system and can reduce the risk of infections and illnesses.
May Improve Brain Function
Sweet potatoes include chemicals that aid brain function, such as choline and manganese. Choline is essential for brain growth and development, as well as the manufacture of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which communicates between cells.
Sweet potatoes include a variety of antioxidants, including carotenoids and anthocyanins, which are considered to help reduce age-related reductions in brain function and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Carotenoids present in orange sweet potatoes have been demonstrated to decrease cognitive decline (keeping you sharper for longer), while anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes have been proven to increase memory and learning in animal experiments.
Good for digestion:
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which promotes good digestion and helps to regulate bowel movements. This can reduce the risk of constipation and other digestive problems.
May help prevent cancer:
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants like beta-carotene, which has been shown to have anti-cancer properties. Some studies have suggested that a diet high in beta-carotene may be linked to a lower risk of certain types of cancer, including lung and breast cancer.
Can Promote Healthy Skin and Hair
One of the rich nutrients in sweet potatoes is vitamin C. Vitamin C is essential for our bodies to make collagen, a protein found in the skin and hair (as well as in muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones) that keep them looking and feeling healthy.
While the body’s production of collagen declines naturally as we age, getting enough vitamin C is important to keep it producing as much as it can. The vitamin A we get from sweet potatoes can benefit skin and hair, too, like keeping both from drying out.
Keep Your Heart Healthy
The high fiber content of sweet potatoes can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease.
Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium, which works in balance with sodium in your body to maintain healthy blood pressure.
They’re also high in copper, an essential metal for making red blood cells and keeping your heart healthy. Low levels of copper have been linked to dangerously high homocysteine, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels.
Overall, sweet potatoes are a nutritious and tasty addition to any diet, and their wide range of health benefits makes them a valuable food to include in your meals.