Sweet potatoes are one of my personal favorite vegetable. Since my childhood and even till today I always wait for winters so that I could enjoy my favorite veggie because in India sweet potatoes hit the market in winters only. Their irresistible sweet taste makes them often very popular in children and even grown-ups including aged people are fan of this veggie around the world.
These sweet potatoes are often mistaken to be like potatoes and even yams, but they are actually not similar to any of them. Yams is the name given to it by Africans because they look like yams and having its name as sweet potato, everybody feels they are a variety of potato. They are unique, they have their own taste, own color, own shape and everything. And yes something that really differentiates sweet potatoes from its identical is the nutrient content of these sweet potatoes.
And the best thing about sweet potatoes is that being rich in nutrients and good for health so, even my mom never asks to avoid them. If you didn’t knew it till date then let me tell you that sweet potatoes are really nutritious. With the sweet taste they also bring great health benefits with them. They are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and other essential nutrients. They are high in vitamin B6, vitamin C, vitamin D, beta-carotene, iron, magnesium, potassium, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid, and loads of fiber. Along with all these nutrients sweet potatoes also contains vitamin B1, Vitamin B2, vitamin B3, zinc and phosphorus in comparable less quantity, but yet worth a mention. They have got more grams of natural sugars than regular potato but more overall nutrients with fewer calories.
Without taking any longer, let me start off with the health benefits this sweet veggie:
- Good for Eyes:
Being one of the richest source of carotenoids, which are converted to vitamin A inside our body, a medium size sweet potato is able to provide 400% of daily requirement of vitamin A. And vitamin A as we have studied since school days, are good to maintain healthy visionary power of our eyes. Plus vitamin C and vitamin E also support vision by preventing degenerative diseases and support eye health. Studies have also shown that many antioxidants present exclusively in sweet potatoes protects the eyes form damage by making a shield and are also key fighters against cataract and AMD (age related muscular degeneration). So, give your child this sweet and healthy vitamin diet and prevent the danger of weakening eyesight.
- Fights Diabetes:
You must be wondering, sweet potatoes and fight diabetes? Many of you must be avoiding this amazing food just because of the fear that it may increase the blood sugar levels. But you were wrong, by saying no to sweet potatoes you have said no to the cure of your diabetes. Let me tell you that sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes. Now when you know it doesn’t add to diabetes, it’s the turn to tell you how it combats diabetes.
Studies have shown that sweet potatoes are good for both type 1 and type 2 diabetes patients. It is seen to reduce the insulin resistance in people with diabetes and increase blood levels of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a protein hormone which serves as an important modifier of insulin metabolism. Not just this, the high fiber content also improves blood sugar circulation since they increase the pace of digestion. And of course, that does not mean that diabetics should eat them indiscriminately. The idea is to replace the rice and carbohydrate intake with this healthier option.
- Boosts Immunity:
Being a rich source of vitamin A and vitamin C, sweet potato is one of the foods that can do wonders to your immune system. Vitamin C and vitamin A act as strong pillars of immune system that protects fight unwanted free radicals in the body that may cause diseases such as cold, flu and are also related to some serious diseases like cancer. Not just this, these vitamins also aid in healing wounds, keeping skin free from ailments and also protects eyes. Furthermore, the iron content of sweet potatoes helps in the formation of blood cells which further led to the formation of white blood cells (WBC’s) that are the building blocks of immune system. And the vitamin D also boosts immune system as it helps fight against seasonal affective disorder especially in winters, when our body is not able to get sufficient sun light it gets deficient in vitamin D, at this time sweet potatoes provide body with its vitamin D needs.
- Blood Pressure:
If you are a blood pressure patient then you must be aware that low sodium intake is always recommended by doctor to maintain blood pressure and the potassium rich diet is recommended. Sweet potatoes satisfying both the requirements are hence one of the best diet for blood pressure patients. It contains zero sodium and enough potassium in one medium sized sweet potato that can help regulate heart beat and nerve signals. Yet another mineral found in sweet potatoes, magnesium is necessary for healthy artery and blood flow through them hence aids to the blood pressure. All these factors make sweet potatoes an essential part of blood pressure patient’s diet.
- Fertility in Women:
If you have decided to finally make or start the family sweet potatoes should immediately become a part of your diet. Sweet potatoes being a rich source of iron, are essential because iron promotes fertility. And also the high beta carotene content of sweet potatoes, which is further converted to vitamin A inside our body is also very essential when looked from pregnancy point of view. It helps in maintaining hormonal health which is the major problem during pregnancy as a women’s body undergo a series of changes during pregnancy and it also supports in lactation. Not just this, the essential minerals also makes body ready to conceive, that is it provides enough strength to the body to be able to undergo changes and gives extra strength to the vital organs and parts of body involved in the process of conceiving.
- Fit Stomach:
When it comes to stomach, sweet potato is one of the best friends of stomach. It helps in clearing the waste, combats indigestion, helps in stomach ulcers and promotes smooth bowel movement. Sweet potatoes have a soothing effect on the stomach and the intestines. The chief content that helps in all these problems is fiber. The fiber content absorbs the extra fat and oil content that may pose a serious threat to stomach health in one way or the other. It gets mixed with the food to slow down its movement so that body could easily absorb the maximum nutrients out of food, plus it gets stick to the stool and makes a clear path till it get excrete out of the body. Moreover, sweet potatoes themselves are easy to digest as well, since they mainly contain starch. Not just this B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium and calcium are all very effective in curing stomach ulcers.
Sweet potatoes also contain a certain nutrient called choline. This nutrient called choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in sweet potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Apart from all these benefits the best thing it works on is inflammation. It reduces chronic inflammation may it be of arthritis or any external inflammation. Not just this choline fights inflammation but the presence of beta-carotene, vitamin-C and magnesium also makes this job seamless. All these nutrients together makes sweet potatoes effective in curing internal and external inflammation.
So, these are the benefits that you can reap out of these sweet potatoes. These seven were just to mention, along with these, sweet potatoes are helpful in many other ways for health. The unknown benefits of sweet potatoes are like they are good for lungs and bronchitis related disorders like asthma, it also helps quit smoking, it is also popular in fighting against a number of cancer cells, it also maintains water balance in the body and also good for maintaining arteries and veins health.
Being sweet in taste, sweet potatoes are a sort of dessert, but there are a number of ways you can have them. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad.
Needless to say, keep asking queries and share the benefits with your loved ones.
Eat Natural…!! Stay Healthy..!!