About sweet potatoes: A Nutritious Blessing in Disguise!
You probably aren’t aware of this, but sweet potatoes date as far back as 10,000 years. This vegetable has been a popular favorite for centuries! Belonging to the morning glory family, sweet potatoes originated from Central America.
Agreed, sweet potatoes are not the most attractive looking vegetables, but you know what they say, ‘Don’t judge a book by its cover!’ You’ll only be doing your body a favor by adding this vegetable to your diet, as sweet potatoes are truly a blessing in disguise. They have amazing health benefits, and a sweet, appetizing flavor to match!
Sweet potatoes are available in a variety of different colors, shapes, and sizes. Each variety has its own unique flavor and texture! When you’re out shopping for sweet potatoes, don’t confuse the orange colored sweet potato for a yam. It’s just one of the several sweet potato varieties.
Sweet potatoes Nutritional Information
Sweet potatoes are packed with amazing nutrients, which is why they are rated as the most nutritious vegetable by ‘The Center of Science in the Public Interest’. They are an excellent source of calcium, potassium, beta carotene, and folate. Beta carotene is an anti oxidant which is transformed into vitamin A in the body. Vitamin A plays an essential role in maintaining your eyesight!
This magical vegetable is also low in calories and contains 65% of the minimum daily requirement of vitamin C needed by our body, in just one serving!
Health benefits of sweet potatoes
If all that nutritional goodness wasn’t enough to make you fall in love with this vegetable, here are a plethora of other reasons that will leave you absolutely smitten!
For Youthful, Glowing Skin!
As noted earlier, sweet potatoes contain beta carotene which acts as a powerful anti-aging substance. It fights off free radical agents in the body that can cause wrinkles, fine lines and skin dullness. Sweet potatoes can be touted as a skin super-food, as they contain both beta carotene and vitamin A, from which retinal and retinoic are derived. These two substances are also found in expensive skin care products. Sweet potatoes also contain a substance called collagen which helps to maintain your skin’s elasticity. So instead of spending a hefty sum on expensive skin care products, invest in some healthy sweet potatoes!
Good for Your Blood!
Glycemic index is a substance that indicates the impact foods have on your blood sugar levels. High Glycemic index levels can cause high blood sugar, which can be harmful for those with diabetes. You’ll be happy to know that sweet potatoes have a very low glycemic load!
Sweet potatoes also help to stabilize blood sugar levels, as they contain carotenoids which help our body to respond to insulin. Insulin then stabilizes our blood sugar levels. Insulin is also very important as it decreases the glucose level in our blood, and prevents the onset of diabetes.
Sweet potatoes also include a sizeable amount of soluble fiber which helps to reduce blood cholesterol levels. This vegetable is an excellent source of Vitamin B6, which reduces the volume of a chemical called homocysteine in the blood. This chemical has been linked to degenerate diseases, including heart attacks.
Research shows that sweet potatoes can significantly reduce the inflammation in the brain and nerve tissues. Sweet potatoes are good for alleviating both external and internal inflammations, as they contain anti-inflammatory agents such as manganese, beta-carotene, vitamin C, and vitamin B6.
Sweet potato phytonutrients have a strong impact on fibrinogen. Fibrinogen is a key glycoprotein in the body, and is needed for optimal and successful blood clotting. A balanced amount of fibrinogen is vital for your body’s health as it helps to close off wounds, thus preventing an excessive loss of blood when you sustain an injury.
No More Stress!
Stress eliminates potassium from our body system. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, and can effectively protect you from the negative effects of stress! So whenever you feel anxious, rejuvenate yourself with some fresh sweet potatoes. They can also alleviate muscle cramps, which are mostly caused by potassium deficiencies.
Excellent Anti-oxidant Benefits!
Sweet potatoes are crammed with orange-hued carotenoid pigments. Research indicates that sweet potatoes are a better source of beta carotene than most other leafy vegetables! Consuming sweet potatoes regularly can help your body to function optimally by enhancing your immune system, and keeping you healthy and disease free. Sweet potatoes have important antioxidants such as vitamin A and vitamin C that work tirelessly to remove free radical agents that can damage your body’s cells.
How to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
The easiest way to enjoy sweet potatoes is by making a sweet potato mash! Boil one chopped sweet potato for 8 minutes. Add a dash of olive oil while mashing the sweet potato chunks. Not only is this an easy-to-make snack, but it also allows you to make the most of the rich stores of sweet potato beta carotene.
You can even bake it! All you need to do if is poke holes into your unpeeled sweet potato, then wrap it in foil and bake at 400 ° for one hour until it is tender. Now sit back and enjoy your soft, steaming sweet potato! Another unique way of enjoying sweet potatoes is by frying them. Fry thin sweet potato slices in a shallow pan with one table spoon of olive oil for a delicious, crispy snack!
Possible Health concerns
Sweet potatoes contain measurable amounts of oxalates which can cause health problems by crystallizing and forming gall bladder stones and kidney stones. Therefore, those with untreated kidney or gallbladder problems may want to avoid consuming this vegetable.