Are Sweet Potatoes good for you?
We’ll bet you have heard that there are really amazing health benefits to the sweet potato over their white potato cousin. But what is it that makes them so special? Isn’t anything that has “sweet” in its name, not the better choice? That may be true for some things, but not with potatoes. What you have heard is true and we have listed 10 reasons why you should go searching for a few recipes and add these truly tasty taters to your shopping list.
10 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
- Good For Your Gut Microbiome
- Immunity Builder
- Packed with Cancer-Fighting Nutrients
- Linked to Improved Vision
- Helps Regulate Blood Sugar
- Helps Reduce Stress and Anxiety
- Boosts Heart Health
- Great Source of Fiber
- Increased Fertility
(read more about each below)
10 Incredible Sweet Potato Health Benefits
#1 Good For Your Gut Microbiome
Sweet potatoes have antimicrobial properties that are really great for the gut. They are a terrific dietary choice for prevention and treatment of various microbiome maladies and can be used to treat and prevent many types of infections and growth of bacterial pathogens. A medium sweet spud contains six grams of dietary fiber. The type of starch that it has plays a part in feeding the growth of “good” bacteria that you want to encourage for optimum gut health. With good gut health comes a lower risk of infirmities such as chronic diarrhea and irritable bowel syndrome (aka IBS).
#2 Immunity Builder
Sweet potatoes (particularly the purple kind) have lots of vitamin A and contain potent antioxidants that help boost the immune cells in your body that fortify you against infections and disease. Did you know that just one cup of baked sweet potato takes care of over 50% of the body’s need for vitamin C? This crucial vitamin is responsible for tissue repair and important for healing when you sustain a wound. Because they are rich in antioxidants, they also lessen the damage caused by free radicals.
#3 Packed With Cancer Fighting Nutrients
There is a treasure trove of wonderful health benefits in sweet potato skins. Cancer-fighting antioxidants are especially found there as a natural and abundant source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A. Up to 80% of the protein contained within is a protein called sporamin. Sporamin is a distinct entity that has been studied for its cancer diminishing abilities. Promising research has been done that gives evidence of this protein inhibiting certain types of cancers and showing capabilities of slowing cancer cell growth and lowering cell migration.
#4 Linked With Improved Vision
Various eye diseases and blindness have been linked to a deficiency in vitamin A. This is not to say that if your diet contains sweet potatoes that you will have 20/20 vision your whole life, but this root vegetable is packed with several nutrients that have been shown to be supportive of overall vision and eye health. They also contain carotenoids alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, and lutein that have been studied to show the same thing. For the long term in aging, the vitamins C and E have also been shown to be effectual in decreasing the oxidative stress which can lead to cataracts.
#5 Regulates Blood Sugar
When you are dealing with Type II Diabetes or the prevention of it, you want to shop for grocery items that will minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance or cause your sugar levels to go to extremes of low or high. Sweet potatoes are categorized as low on the glycemic index scale which means that they are a stable starchy food that will release the sugar slowly so there is more control in blood sugar levels. This leveling effect allows energy to remain constant throughout the day-a wonderful thing for diabetics.
#6 Helps Ease Stress and Anxiety
Stress and anxiety are on the rise! It doesn’t seem to matter if you have a full-blown career or are busy raising the next generation, we all deal with it from time to time. The magnesium found in great quantity in these sweet taters helps in reducing it. Magnesium and depression have a link in cell-mediated immune responses and inflammation. Magnesium intake protects the brain and has shown in studies done on animals that increasing it reduces anxiety-related behaviors and depression. Check out this article for more Free Ways to Boost Your Mood
#7 Boosts Heart Health
Higher levels in magnesium and potassium found in sweet potatoes help in controlling blood pressure as well. Potassium has been shown to lower blood pressure which then decreases the risk of developing a coronary condition or having a stroke. Potassium also helps in regulating sodium in your cells so that you don’t retain as much sodium in your blood. Too much sodium causes fluid retention which increases blood pressure problems.
#8 Great Source of Fiber
These spuds have significant amounts of fiber in them. Of course, you know that fiber is completely necessary in order to have a well-functioning digestive system and for keeping constipation at bay. Laxatives are made up of mostly fiber too, but sweet potatoes are better tasting! See some of our very tasty sweet potato recipes.
If you have been researching foods that will help reduce inflammation, surely you have seen this special starch on the list. The antioxidant known as Cyanidin in this vegetable, (particularly the purple flesh variety) have been known to help remove toxins in the digestive system and thereby make it an anti-inflammatory champion that protects against long term illnesses. Choline is also a very valuable nutrient which these potatoes have in high concentration and has been effective in therapeutically reducing systemic inflammation in some people. Here are the Top 10 Foods that Fight Inflammation
#10 Increased fertility
Iron is an important element in the success of fertility in women of childbearing age. Iron is abundant in sweet potatoes. Iron specifically helps with ovulatory fertility in helping to produce and strengthen the eggs which are released in the ovaries. What better way is there to heighten the levels of this life-giving nutrient then by eating more of the natural food sources which contain them?
There are lots of varieties of sweet potatoes to choose from. All of them are great tasting and come packed with healthy nutrients that benefit us in a multitude of ways as we have seen. Why not put some on your grocery list today? You won’t regret it!