Often, people wonder if sweet potatoes are really that healthy, which isn’t surprising, since their very name implies they are sugar-and-starch bombs! However, as a nutritionist, I give the root vegetable the thumbs up. All year long, I enjoy sweet potatoes, but in the fall, they become particularly appealing-as a hearty side dish, as well as an ingredient in everything from soups and stews to pies and other desserts.
Colorful gems provide some pretty impressive health benefits. Here are six benefits of sweet potatoes, as well as some simple ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your daily meals, snacks, and treats.
Vitamins C and A are plentiful in sweet potatoes.
Nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs are met by one cup of baked sweet potatoes. The same portion also provides 450% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. In addition, both nutrients play an important role in supporting the immune system, which is especially crucial during the cold and flu season. Vitamin A is also necessary for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and organ function.
And lots of other nutrients too
A serving of sweet potato delivers a third of your need for manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. You’ll also get between 16 and 32% of several energy-supporting B vitamins and minerals, including potassium
potassium. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants
Additionally, vitamins A and C act as antioxidants that protect cells against aging and disease. To obtain even more antioxidants, choose purple sweet potatoes. The pigment that gives them their stunning color has particularly powerful antioxidant properties.
They are also anti-inflammatory
It has long been known that unchecked, low-grade inflammation increases the risk of nearly every chronic disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Studies have shown that the natural anti-inflammatory compounds found in sweet potatoes reduce inflammation at the cellular level: Research on animals has shown reduced inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue after purple sweet potato extract consumption.
Sweet potatoes do not affect blood sugar levels.
While some people consider sweet potatoes to be too starchy, their high fiber content makes them a slow-burning carbohydrate, meaning that they do not spike blood sugar levels or insulin levels. About 6.5 grams of fiber are contained in one cup of baked sweet potatoes, which is more than a quarter of the recommended daily intake.
It is known that sweet potatoes reduce blood pressure.
Sweet potatoes baked in their skin provide 960 mg of potassium per cup. This is more than twice the amount found in a medium banana. Basically, potassium sweeps excess sodium and fluid from the body, which lowers blood pressure and reduces the strain on the heart. Potassium also regulates heart rhythm and muscle contractions. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey data indicates that fewer than 3% of Americans meet the daily potassium recommendation of 4,900 mg.
These nutrients may aid in weight loss.
Sweet potatoes contain about 12% resistant starch, a substance like fiber that is not digested and absorbed by the body. In one study, replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch resulted in an increase of 20 to 30% in fat burning after a meal. A resistant starch also causes the body to produce more satiety-inducing hormones.