This bright orange tuber is a superstar in the root vegetable world. It's featured all over health bloggers Instagrams, on the menus of healthy cafe's and restaurants. But why is it so good for you?
We did some digging and found these 12 great reasons to eat sweet potato:
1. Helps To Keep Disease At Bay
Sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin B6. A vitamin which helps to reduce the chemical homocysteine in your body. High homocysteine levels have been linked to degenerative diseases including heart attacks.
2. They Are A Good Source of Vitamin C
That orange color isn't just for show! These brightly colored spuds are packed with vitamin C, offering support for your immune system, bones and teeth, digestion and blood cell formation. It also helps to accelerate wound healing and improves the appearance of your skin by producing collagen.
3. Supports Your Bones
It's not something we'd typically assume, but sweet potatoes contain small amounts of Vitamin D. A nutrient that helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, as well as support the thyroid gland. 100g of sweet potato also contains 33mg of calcium, a critical component of a healthy skeletal system!
4. Boosts Your Energy
A source of slow-releasing carbohydrates, sweet potatoes provide us with sustained energy. But they also contain iron! You may be aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy, but iron plays other important roles in our body, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein, among other things.
5. De-Stress With These Sweet Spuds
A good source of magnesium, sweet potatoes can help you to relax and de-stress. It's also necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function. Yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the population in North America may be deficient in this important mineral!
6. Supports Your Heart And Kidneys
This tuber contains potassium, an essential electrolyte that helps to regulate your heartbeat and nerve signaling, whilst supporting healthy blood pressure. Potassium also helps to relax muscle contractions, reduce swelling, and protect and control the activity of your kidneys.
7. They Won't Spike Your Blood Sugar
Unlike refined carbohydrates such as white bread, pasta, candy and other sweets. Sweet potatoes are low on the glycemic index, slowly releasing their natural sugars into the blood stream. So you won't go on a sugar-induced rollercoaster. This helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy for the body, reducing fatigue during the day and excessive hunger pangs.
8. They're Loaded With Antioxidants
That rich orange color is a sign that they're high in carotenoids, a type of antioxidant, that are the precursors to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for healthy eyes, a boosted immunity, and protects you against the effects of aging. They're also powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer! Studies at Harvard Universityof more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence. So impressive!
9. You Can Eat Them In Many Ways
They're one of the simplest foods to cook and incredibly versatile. You can roast them, puree them, steam, bake or grill them. Add them to stews, soups, salads, and even desserts! Regardless of how you have them, add a little fat/oil to get the most nutrients.
10. They're Anti-Inflammatory
Anthocyanin and other color-related pigments in sweet potato are equally valuable for their anti-inflammatory health benefits.
11. They Support Healthy Wound Healing
The plant nutrients in sweet potato impact fibrinogen in the body. Fibrinogen is one of the key glycoproteins in the body that is required for successful blood clotting. With the help of a coagulation factor called thrombin, fibrinogen gets converted into fibrin during the blood clotting process. Balanced amounts of fibrinogen, thrombin and fibrin are a key part of the body's health and its ability to close off wounds and stop loss of blood!
12. Spuds With Anti-Bacterial Properties!
In sweet potatoes, researchers have long been aware of one group of resin glycosides called batatins (including batatin I and batatin II). But only recently have researchers discovered a related group of glycosides in sweet potato called batatosides (including batatodide III, batatoside IV, and batatoside V). In lab studies, most of these sweet potato glycosides have been shown to have antibacterial and antifungal properties. Cool, right?! We're excited to see what else this line of research discovers about this impressive yet humble root vegetable!
Did you know about these benefits of sweet potato? There's always so much to learn when it comes to nutrition and the health benefits of what you eat. Fresh, wholesome food continues to amaze us!