Traditionally used in desserts for its bright pigment and deliciously sweet taste, the sweet potato is more than just your regular root crop. It also packs a punch in nutritional value and health benefits.
We did a little digging and, we hoped you’d be surprised as we were about the many benefits sweet potato has and how it can impact your health when you eat it regularly. Here are some of the reasons why sweet potatoes should be included in your diet
The sweet potato
The sweet potato unlike regular potatoes (which are tubers) are roots of the plant identified as Ipomoea batatas and are native to Central and South America. It was later introduced and cultivated in various places around the world such as Africa and Asia.
They come with a variety of colors such as orange, purple, yellow, violet, and pink; each packed with loads of nutrients. They are prepared and consumed in many ways but they are usually boiled, steamed, baked or fried.
Sweet potatoes are found to be rich vitamin A, vitamin B5, B6, potassium and fiber. They are fat-free, low in sodium and have way less calories than regular potatoes.
Now onto the facts! If you aren’t all that convinced about the power of sweet potatoes just yet, why not take a look at it’s nutritional value?
According to Healthline, a 100 gram serving of raw sweet potatoes contain:
Carbohydrates 20.1 g
Sugar 4.2 g
Fiber 3 g
Fat 0.1 g
Vitamin A 283% DV*
Vitamin B6 10% DV*
Magnesium 6% DV*
Vitamin C 4% DV*
Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
All that in just one 100 gram serving of sweet potatoes! Seeing all of its nutritional value I think it’s safe to say that the sweet potato is more than just your average sweet potato.
You’ve seen the facts, now it’s time to convince you further about the wonder of the sweet potato with some of its proven health benefits.
- Improves heart health – sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 which are known to break down homocysteine that are is responsible for the hardening of blood vessels and arteries which makes them great for improving heart and circulatory health. They are also a great source of potassium which improves heart health by maintaining fluid balance and lowers blood pressure.
- Controls blood sugar levels – the sweet potatoes although sweet is actually great for controlling your blood sugar levels as it is known for its low glycemic index. Meaning it gradually releases sugar as opposed to releasing it immediately which spikes your blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes also happens to have loads of manganese which are great for metabolizing carbohydrates and maintaining blood sugar levels.
- Reduces the risk of cancer – cancer risks is often associated with oxidative cell damage where cells grow more than it is necessary. But since sweet potatoes are rich antioxidants and carotenoids which are known to fight off free radicals that damage the cells, it’s been known to stave off risks of cancer.
- Improves immunity and combats inflammation – sweet potatoes offer about half the recommended intake of vitamin C which are known to help immunity and combating certain types of diseases. And since sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A and E, it boosts immunity since they are disease-fighting antioxidants. What’s more some varieties of sweet potatoes also packed anthocyanin which have anti-inflammatory properties which boosts immunity.
- Improves eyesight – sweet potatoes’ high beta-carotene content gets turned into vitamin A which is responsible for improving eye health and eyesight.
- Improves digestion – sweet potatoes are also an excellent source of dietary fiber which helps maintain the health of your digestive tract and encourage regular bowel movement.
Things to consider
Although sweet potatoes are generally healthy and are highly recommended to add your diet, sweet potatoes if not taken in moderation, may cause a couple of side-effects and could worsen previous health conditions. So consult your nutritionist to get a better idea of how sweet potatoes can affect your health.
Sweet potatoes may not be good for people with kidney stones since they contain oxalates which may increase kidney stone formation.
High consumption of sweet potatoes which are rich in vitamin A which results in the orange tinge of nails and skin. However, cutting back on the vitamin A will make it look normal again.
Sweet potatoes are extremely healthy and are great if you’re looking to boost immunity, digestive and heart health. It is also known to reduce the risk of cancer. We highly recommend you add it your diet plan.