Sweet potato has the term ‘potato’ in its name but isn’t botanically related to ‘potato’ in reality. They are nutritious and tasty root vegetables. Most people consider it a mere dessert ingredient although it also serves numerous health benefits due to its high nutritional value. Let’s learn more about sweet potato benefits.
There is a variety of sweet potatoes present in nature, some having cream-colored flesh while the others might also have red, yellow, or purple skin. The skin can also be consumed as per your wish and the leaves of the plant are edible too.
It is an excellent source of Vitamin A1 and has good quantities of vitamin B5, niacin, thiamin, riboflavin, and carotenoids due to its naturally orange color.
If included in the diet, sweet potato benefits a person in the following ways –
1. It helps in overcoming the deficiency of Vitamin A –
Vitamin A deficiency is a grave issue that needs to be checked, to protect our bodies from health repercussions. Since sweet potato is an excellent source of Vitamin A, hence it helps in subduing its deficiency. Vitamin A is an essential nutrient required by the body to fight against various infections and to also remain resistant against other infections.
2. It is also a good source of Vitamin C –
Thanks to the pandemic, by now we are all well aware of the health benefits of including Vitamin C in our daily diet. Of course, as it gives a boost to our immune system. Our little sweet potato here (literally sweet) proves to be rich in Vitamin C and thus helps in supporting the immune system proving to be beneficial for our body by aiding it to fight against cold, flu, and other infections.
3. It is packed with other nutrients too –
Besides Vitamin A and C, it is also rich in other B vitamins, Vitamin D, Calcium, Magnesium, Potassium, Iron, Phosphorous, Thiamine, Zinc. The purple rich color of sweet potato is due to the presence of carotenoids in them. They are also good antioxidants hence protects our cells from day-to-day damage.
4. Acts as an anti-inflammatory agent –
As read earlier, the health benefits of eating sweet potatoes are a lot. It is loaded with a variety of vitamins; hence it helps the body in reducing inflammation at the cellular level. It contains a high concentration of chlorine, which again is essential in reducing the risks of chronic inflammation in our body.
5. No, they don’t cause a spike in your blood sugar! –
The high fiber content makes of sweet potato makes them a slow-burning starch. Their comparatively low glycaemic index indicates that sweet potatoes release sugar into our bloodstream slowly, unlike other starchy foods.
This steady release of sugar helps in controlling the blood sugar levels so that it does not go low or high. This roughly translates to the fact that they won’t cause a spike in your blood sugar, they might help in controlling the blood sugar levels when consumed in the boiled form.
6. Sweet potato benefits by regulating blood pressure and depression –
Sweet potato, when consumed with its skin, provides a decent amount of potassium to our diet. Potassium is an essential mineral that helps the body in getting rid of extra sodium and fluid. This, in turn, helps in reducing blood pressure. It also reduces the strain on the heart.
One of the main sweet potato health benefits could be the fact, that it helps in preventing cardiovascular diseases. The rich content of magnesium (along with potassium) aids the body in fighting against hypertension.
Magnesium is said to have anti-stress properties hence, its consumption could help in managing an individual’s stress and anxiety levels, and also fight against depression-related behaviors.
7. Sweet potato might benefit by reducing the risk for cancer –
Sweet potatoes comprise beta-carotene, a carotenoid that aims at protecting men from developing prostate cancer. Researchers believe that extracts from different parts of sweet potatoes accelerate the reduction of breast, gastric, colorectal, and prostate cancers.
8. It promotes good digestion –
Due to the high fiber content (3.9g of fiber in one sweet potato) sweet potato benefits in improving the health of the gut and aids in good digestion both in adults and children. This, in turn, also helps in preventing constipation.
9. It helps in managing body weight –
The fiber content helps in managing hunger by keeping the stomach full, for a longer period. The resistant starch is a fiber-like substance that the body doesn’t digest or absorb. It guides the body to release more satiety-inducing hormones that make us feel full throughout the day and preventing us from consuming snacks now and then!
10. Sweet potatoes are also memory-enhancing foods –
The anthocyanin contained in the purple sweet potato is said to contain memory-enhancing properties. Consuming sweet potatoes regularly can help enhance your memory.
That being said, sweet potato benefits an individual to a good extent due to its high nutritional value. But this shouldn’t distract you from the fact that it is high in carbohydrates.
But every good thing has certain drawbacks. thus, it should be consumed in moderate amounts. Some methods of cooking might raise its glycaemic index and cause your blood sugar to spike (which of course you DO NOT want).