You may have noticed sweet potatoes popping up on more restaurant menus in recent years. It's not just because so many people have realized that these kinds of potatoes are extremely tasty in a variety of ways, whether as fries, in pancakes or in a soup. It's also due to the fact that many health experts have discovered the amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes. In fact, sweet potatoes can help with everything from getting better skin to fighting against cancer. This article explores the many ways in which you can improve your health by adding sweet potatoes to your diet.
Vitamins and Nutrients
Sweet potatoes are a great source of many of the nutrients, minerals and vitamins that your body needs to survive. This vegetable is especially rich in vitamin A, though it also contains a variety of other vitamins like B6, C and E. Additional vitamin A is actually gained from eating sweet potatoes because, much like carrots, they also contain an antioxidant called beta-carotene which converts to vitamin A in your body.
A variety of minerals including manganese, potassium and magnesium, are also found in sweet potatoes. Additionally, nutrients like protein, sodium and calcium are also found in this healthy vegetable.
Preventing Disease and Sickness
In addition to tasting delicious, sweet potatoes can also be a great way to stay healthy. The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes is one of the most effective nutrients for fighting off disease. These antioxidants help to boost your immune system so you don't fall victim to viruses and infections as easily as someone with a weaker immune system would. The vitamin C in sweet potatoes gives even more strength to this immune boosting property in sweet potatoes. Additionally, beta-carotene can also act as an anti-carcinogen, meaning it does wonders when it comes to preventing many types of cancer, especially colon cancer, prostate cancer and stomach cancer.
Sweet potatoes have also been found to be great with regulating blood sugar, even in people who have type 2 diabetes. Though it was originally thought that the dietary fiber and low glycemic index were the main contributors to this effect, recent studies have actually shown that sweet potatoes contain a protein hormone called adiponectin, which is a critical component when it comes to modifying insulin metabolism. This is a very unique property of sweet potatoes, not typically found in other starchy root vegetables.
Another unique health benefit found in sweet potatoes is this vegetable's antibacterial and antifungal properties. Sweet potatoes contain two groups of glycosides, batatins and batatosides, both of which are associated with antibacterial and antifungal abilities. Though additional research is still needed to explore these benefits, health experts agree that these batatins and batatosides provide health benefits to those who eat sweet potatoes.
Other Health Benefits
The beta-carotene in sweet potatoes works with other nutrients like vitamin C and magnesium to act as an anti-inflammatory. This can be extremely effective in helping to cure internal and external inflammations in the body. A sweet potato's vitamin C can also help to cure bronchitis, partly due to the fact that these vegetables can also help ease congestion.
In addition to their rich content of vitamins and minerals, sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of fiber. This makes them a great tool for helping with digestion and soothing the stomach. Plus, sweet potatoes have a lot of starch which makes them easy to digest as well.
The same nutrients in sweet potatoes that regulate blood sugar levels may also help regulate metabolism as well. Because this vegetable keeps your blood sugar levels at a reasonable level, it may help you maintain a healthy weight or potentially even lose weight by regulating your metabolism. It also helps that the starchiness of this root vegetable makes you feel full, thereby avoiding unnecessary eating or snacking.
Finally, many people find sweet potatoes to be a great tool for keeping skin clear and smooth. That's because this root vegetable contains beta-carotenes that, once converted to vitamin A in the body, trigger the production of new skin cells. This process also helps to get rid of old, dead skin cells, which gives the skin a healthier glow and helps keep the skin surface resistant to damage and irritants. It's common for many topical skin treatments to contain retinol or retinoic acid, which are both derivatives of vitamin A.
If you have any questions about how sweet potatoes can help you prevent disease or sickness or provide you with any of these health benefits, consult your physician.