Sweet potatoes are not just any other root tuber; they are packed with many health benefits. For something so sweet, almost like a dessert, its numerous health benefits are quite amazing and surprising. Below are some of the amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins B6, C, and D. Vitamin B6 provides many benefits, such as detoxifying the liver, curing anaemia, promoting healthy skin, and relieving mood swings. As for Vitamin C, apart from warding off the flu and the common cold, it helps in tooth and bone formation, production of collagen that increases skin elasticity, and also helps accelerate wound healing. While Vitamin D helps to build healthy teeth and bones and also supports the thyroid gland. All the benefits of these three vitamins are too innumerable to be listed here. Simply remember that the fact that sweet potatoes contain all these indicates that they are a good source of vitamins to ensure good health.
Also, sweet potatoes contain the minerals iron, magnesium and potassium. Iron is necessary for adequate energy. It helps in red and white blood cells formation, it also helps red blood cells transport oxygen to different parts of the body and in addition, helps regulate cell growth and cell differentiation. Magnesium helps maintain the proper functioning of muscles and nerves, helps to regulate heart beat, it supports the immune system and keeps the bones strong. Magnesium also promotes relaxation and calmness. Potassium is necessary for muscle growth and body growth, as well as the electrical activity in the heart such as regulating heartbeat and nerve signals. The potassium content in sweet potatoes also helps to lower blood pressure. Studies have shown that many people are deficient in magnesium and potassium, thus sweet potatoes are a way to tackle this deficiency.
Sweet potatoes also improve digestion. Due to its high dietary fibre content, sweet potatoes improve digestion by maintaining a healthy digestive tract and regulating digestion. More so, when combined with other minerals, such as magnesium, it makes for a great food to improve digestion. Further, due to the fact that they mainly contain starch, sweet potatoes are easy to digest. In essence, thanks to its high fibre content, minerals and starch, sweet potatoes are a sure-fire way of improving digestion.
Cures Anti Inflammatory Disorders
Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties. These anti-inflammatory properties are mainly as a result of the presence of vitamin C, magnesium and beta-carotene in sweet potatoes. These anti-inflammatory properties are useful in curing internal and external inflammation. Research has shown that in order to fully enjoy the benefits of beta-carotene, it is necessary to include some fat in meals containing sweet potato. At least, 3 grams of fat per meal, which can easily be obtained from one tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil, will increase the body’s intake of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. These anti-inflammatory properties are beneficial to overall health and help prevent or reduce inflammatory disorders.
In addition, sweet potatoes prevent dehydration due to its high fibre content. The fibre present in sweet potatoes helps the body retain water and thus keeps the body hydrated by maintaining the balance of water in the body.
Sweet potatoes help in controlling blood sugar levels and energy levels. Sweet potatoes slowly release sugar into the bloodstream upon consumption and as a result, help keep the levels of blood sugar steady. When starchy foods are consumed, the starches are converted into simple sugars by the digestive tract and then released. If foods are highly concentrated in starch, there is the risk of too much simple sugars being released and too much pressure upon the bloodstream to increase the intake of sugar, thus resulting in an increase in blood sugar levels.
However, unlike other starch filled foods, sweet potatoes prevent such an immediate increase in blood sugar levels by slowly releasing these simple sugars into the bloodstream when consumed. This not only helps control blood sugar levels, but also helps prevent blood sugar spikes that are linked to weight gain and fatigue; thus ensuring a balanced and regular source of energy. They also contain manganese, which helps the body in metabolising carbohydrates, thus maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Research has shown that sweet potatoes have the potential to reduce blood sugar levels, even in patients with type 2 diabetes.
Rich In Anti Oxidants, Reduces Cancer Risk
Sweet potatoes are packed with antioxidants such as beta-carotene. Antioxidants work against harmful free radicals in the body. If free radicals are left unchallenged, they can result in chronic diseases and a wide range of illnesses. Antioxidants help to boost immunity, prevent diabetes, heart diseases, and protect against mood disorders, memory problems, and immune system problems. Generally, antioxidants work against free radicals so as to reduce the risks of chronic diseases and prevent cell damage
Beta-carotene, an antioxidant that is present in sweet potatoes, is a precursor of vitamin A, as the body converts beta-carotene to vitamin A. Beta-carotene, in particular, promotes healthy eyesight and eye health, promotes healthy skin, and promotes a healthy immune system. Studies have shown that coloured sweet potatoes, such as orange-fleshed or purple sweet potatoes, have higher antioxidant properties than white sweet potatoes. Damage to body cells as a result of the actions of free radicals is often associated with an increased risk of cancer. Thus, the antioxidant properties of sweet potatoes reduce cancer risk.
Overall, sweet potatoes help in boosting immunity by defending the body from a wide array of disorders and diseases. As they are rich in beta-carotene, a major antioxidant, vitamin C, B complex vitamins, iron, potassium, magnesium and phosphorus, these nutrients help in strengthening overall body the immunity and keeping the body healthy.
Sweet potatoes are tasty and have numerous health benefits, and it is advisable to incorporate them into your diet. To better preserve these benefits when cooking, it is better to quick-steam, steam or boil sweet potatoes so as to avoid losing these benefits in the process of cooking. Be careful not to go overboard when incorporating sweet potatoes in your diet, as even the healthiest foods when taken in excess, will begin to pose risks to your health.