Sweet potatoes are a popular food, but you may not know just how nutritious they are. This root vegetable provides plenty of vitamins and minerals, as well as fiber and antioxidants, so eating them regularly will boost your overall health. If you’re not sure how sweet potatoes can boost your health, here are the top benefits of Sweet Potato.
Benefits of Potatoes
1. They are rich in vitamin A
Sweet potato contains beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A that converts to retinol in your body. Retinol is an antioxidant that helps keep vision sharp, lower cancer risk, and possibly even delay natural signs of aging like wrinkles and age spots. Beta-carotene can also help prevent macular degeneration, a leading cause of blindness among older adults.
One sweet potato contains almost 700 percent of your daily requirement for vitamin A. These high numbers are because beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A, with each molecule of beta-carotene generating two molecules of vitamin A.
Vitamin A insufficiency is a major problem, particularly in poor countries, because it can reduce tolerance to infectious illness, increase infection comorbidity, cause dry eyes, and increase fatalities in pregnant and breastfeeding mothers and their infants.
2. Lowers blood pressure
High blood pressure is a problem for many people and leads to some of our nation’s highest health care costs. Fortunately, there are low-cost measures you can take to ensure that your blood pressure stays low. One surprising option? Eating sweet potatoes on a regular basis.
These powerhouses contain an amino acid called N-acetylcysteine (NAC), which has been shown to reduce blood pressure by relaxing your blood vessels. This means that eating sweet potatoes may be one of the easiest ways to prevent high blood pressure from developing in the first place. In fact, according to one study, eating just two servings per week could lower your risk of hypertension by up to 50 percent!
And while other varieties of potatoes also contain NAC, they don’t have as much as sweet potatoes do. So if you want to keep your blood pressure under control without having to spend too much money or effort on it, make sure that you add these nutritious root vegetables to your diet regularly.
In addition, sweet potatoes are also high in potassium, another important component when it comes to maintaining healthy blood pressure.
3. Lowers the risk of cancer
Among the most important benefits of sweet potatoes is their ability to fight cancer. Studies indicate that diets rich in carotenoids—found in sweet potatoes, pumpkins, carrots, and many other orange-colored fruits and vegetables—may help fight cancer. Specifically, these nutrients are believed to deactivate free radicals in your body, preventing them from damaging healthy cells.
According to researchers at Tufts University, people who eat more foods containing beta-carotene may have a significantly lower risk of developing lung, stomach, kidney, and chest cancers than those who consume fewer of these foods.
Studies have also shown that sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C, which strengthens immunity, including fighting cancer and keeping your body healthy overall.
4. Promotes eye health
While many associate antioxidants with superfoods like kale, spinach, and strawberries, you’ll find them in a wide range of fruits and vegetables. Sweet potatoes are among some of nature’s most antioxidant-rich offerings. They contain carotenoids lutein and zeaxanthin, which help fight eye disease by filtering out harmful UV rays and other damaging substances that can cause macular degeneration—one of today’s leading causes of blindness.
5. Sweet potatoes can help you cope with stress
Sweet potatoes have a high magnesium content, which is an important element for optimal bodily function. One of the most significant magnesium advantages is that it aids in the reduction of tension and anxiety. According to studies, a rise in magnesium shortage in modern diets has culminated in a considerable increase in the number of instances of depression recorded worldwide.
Magnesium shortages and anxiety are related because they both involve cell-mediated immune reactions and systemic inflammation.
Magnesium supplementation protects the brain against anxiety and/or depression following a severe injury, according to animal studies.
Furthermore, research on mice has demonstrated that a reduction in magnesium causes an upsurge in anxiety-related behaviors and sadness. Magnesium has also been shown to help those over the age of 50 sleep better. Insomnia may cause tension, despair, and worry, which is unfortunate because more than half of the elderly suffer from sleep deprivation.
6. Sweet potatoes can protect you from ulcers
Like many other fruits and vegetables, sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant that in conjunction with other antioxidants may decrease your risk of getting stomach ulcers.
One study found that individuals who consumed more than five servings of fruits and vegetables per day had a 23 percent lower risk of developing gastric or duodenal ulcers than those who ate less than three servings per day.
In a different study, methanol extraction from the roots of sweet potatoes were shown to safeguard gastrointestinal cells against aspirin-induced ulceration.
Moreover, sweet potatoes have been shown to be effective in healing and maintaining peptic ulcers in several trials. Another study found that the starch in sweet potatoes may reduce ethanol-related stomach ulcers in animal studies.
7. Inflammation reduction
Fighting inflammation can ward off everything from heart disease to cancer. If you want to feel more healthy and energetic, reducing inflammation is a great place to start. Luckily, we can fight inflammation by eating foods like sweet potatoes. These roots are rich in anthocyanins, powerful antioxidants that have been shown to help fight both acute and chronic inflammation.
In one animal study, rats fed a regular diet supplemented with anthocyanins had lower levels of markers for inflammatory diseases than rats on a normal diet! So try adding some extra sweet potatoes to your next meal; it’s not only delicious but also super good for you. Just make sure you eat them cooked; otherwise, they won’t be as effective at lowering inflammation levels.
Sweet potatoes are also high in vitamin C and choline, which have both been shown to fight inflammation.
8. Sweet potatoes have been shown to increase fertility
Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin A, making them great for women of reproductive age who want to increase their fertility. Vitamin A has been demonstrated to play an important function in enhancing reproduction success in animal models. Vitamin A insufficiency has also been linked to secondary infertility in women of reproductive age, according to research.
Sweet potatoes are also high in iron, which is an important element for women of reproductive age to promote conception. According to reports, anemia (iron deficiency) is a reason for infertility in women. According to these studies, addressing iron deficiency by boosting iron consumption in the diet typically results in females being able to deliver within a few months to a year of starting therapy. In other research, increasing dietary iron consumption lowers the incidence of ovulatory infertility.
9. Anti-aging benefits
According to studies, sweet potatoes are loaded with anti-aging antioxidants and phytonutrients. Antioxidants help fight cell damage by scavenging harmful free radicals that cause cells to age. Sweet potatoes are also a rich source of vitamin C, which has been shown to play an important role in slowing down aging. Sweet potatoes also contain carotenoids, another powerful antioxidant that protects our skin from aging when consumed on a regular basis.
10. They regulate blood sugar levels
Scientists have found that sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients—including fiber, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and manganese—that help regulate blood sugar levels and keep them stable throughout the day. This is especially important for people who have diabetes or struggle with blood sugar spikes.
A 2013 study in Diabetes Care found that increasing your consumption of sweet potatoes can help maintain healthy blood sugar levels, as well as lower your risk for type 2 diabetes. For every 100 grams (about one-and-a-half cups) you eat per day, your risk for type 2 diabetes drops by 14 percent.
In fact, a separate study published in the Nutrition Journal showed that women who ate at least four servings of white or yellow sweet potatoes each week had a 25 percent lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes than those who didn’t consume them regularly.
The high fiber in potatoes also helps keep your digestive system running smoothly and regulates your appetite, which controls your weight overall. By including these root vegetables in your diet, you can also enjoy their ability to promote gut health and soothe irritable bowel syndrome.
11. Promote healthy bones
Your bones are constantly being broken down and rebuilt through a process called remodeling. For a healthy metabolism, you need both processes to be balanced: The right amounts of bone breakdown and bone rebuilding.
In addition to providing you with energy, sweet potatoes help keep your body’s calcium-to-phosphorus ratio in check. That’s important because too much phosphorus (found in dairy products) increases calcium loss and weakens your bones—which can lead to osteoporosis. A diet high in calcium helps offset these effects by keeping your body from absorbing more phosphorus than it needs. So, while milk may do more harm than good for your bones, sweet potatoes actually promote bone health. And that means fewer trips to see your doctor about back pain or arthritis.
12. They detoxify the body
A major benefit to sweet potatoes is that they help your body in its natural detoxification process. They’re rich in fiber, which helps to eliminate harmful toxins and eliminate waste from your body.
They also load up on vitamin A and beta-carotene, which your body converts to retinol, a potent detoxifier. The result: Your liver can better flush out environmental toxins and other harmful chemicals that may put you at risk for developing various diseases, including cancer. In fact, people who eat diets rich in sweet potatoes have been shown to have lower rates of certain cancers.
This makes sweet potatoes a great food for regular consumption.
8 Incredible Ways to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
Put them in salad
Sweet potatoes are more than just a Thanksgiving side dish. Slice one into thin rounds and toss with a basic olive oil vinaigrette, chopped fresh herbs, red onion, and sliced avocado. Or try mixing halved potatoes with steamed green beans, spinach leaves and roasted garlic-lemon dressing.
Add them to your porridge
Enjoying a warm, wholesome bowl of oatmeal every morning can help you start your day off on a healthy note. To keep things interesting, mix in some high-quality protein powder or flax seeds. Or try mixing in sweet potatoes for a nutrient boost and additional texture; they blend right into your porridge!
Enjoy them baked
Sweet potatoes are delicious when they’re baked. Bake them in a hot oven until they get brown and crispy on top. Once they’re done, spread some butter on top and sprinkle some cinnamon. You can also peel and chop your potato into cubes, place in baking dish, drizzle with olive oil, and bake at 400°F for 30-40 minutes. Sprinkle with sea salt prior to serving.
However, when it comes to food that contains starch or carbohydrates, be sure not to eat too much of it. Sweet potatoes aren’t an exception!
Use them in your smoothie
Sweet potato is a good option if you’re looking for more vitamins and minerals. You can add 1/2 cup of cooked sweet potato, along with kale or spinach to your morning smoothie. Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties, which will help alleviate aches and pains in your joints, as well as boost your energy and metabolism.
Toss them in your stir fry
Looking for a new way to pack in some extra fiber and vitamin A? Sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to any stir fry, or add them as you sauté or roast your favorite veggies.
Sweet potatoes are delicious when cooked into a creamy soup. Whether you have it for lunch or dinner, it’s sure to be filling and delightful. Plus, who can resist a comforting bowl of soup on a cold winter day? You don’t need any butter or cream—just some added spices like chili powder, garlic powder, and cinnamon. It’s your choice whether you want to drink it as is or blend it in a blender until smooth.
Final Thoughts on the Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are packed with essential vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants, all of which are packed with health benefits that you might not have heard about before. From lowering your blood pressure to improving your eyesight, there are many reasons to start adding sweet potatoes to your diet on a regular basis.
Besides, they’re so versatile you can use them in everything from soups and salads to desserts and snacks. Their unique nutritional profile makes them an important part of any meal plan, whether you’re vegetarian or not, and their sweet taste makes them easy to incorporate into every meal of the day!
More Sweet Potato Recipes:
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