Sweet potatoes have risen in prominence over the past few years, as the healthier alternative to their starch laden brothers: the traditional potato. While there are worse foods you can eat (such as processed foods), potatoes are not as healthy as they first seem.
As potatoes are high in starchy carbohydrates once this is digested in the body, it converts into glucose which can cause all manner of havoc within the bloodstream. Increased sugar levels are one of the main causes of inflammation that contribute to many diseases. Therefore it makes sense to avoid or limit your eating of potatoes where possible.
The same can’t be said for sweet potatoes. Below are several good reasons to eat more of these orange vegetables…
- A Rich Source of Antioxidants. Sweet potatoes are a rich source of antioxidants that can help to support cellular health, meaning its showing promising anti-cancer properties. Sweet potatoes in particular are high in carotenoid antioxidants especially beta-carotene that has been shown to help with improvements in eye health. Anthocyanins also have important anti-inflammatory properties that can specifically help with problems in the digestive tract.
- A good source of Potassium. This can control blood pressure and plays a role in decreasing the risk of heart disease. Potassium along with other electrolytes such as calcium, magnesium and sodium and this helps to regulate the body’s fluid balance, along with heart function and muscle contraction.
- Manganese – This is important for growth, metabolism and development. It’s an important trace mineral that plays a pivotal role in metabolizing carbohydrates and supporting healthy blood sugar levels. Manganese can stabilise the appetite and also plays an important role in generating energy, along with effective utilisation of antioxidants.
- Vitamin B6 – This helps to convert food into energy. Vitamin B6 plays a crucial role in breaking down homocysteine, that can contribute towards hardening of the arteries and the blood vessels. Vitamin B6 is excellent for keeping the arteries and walls flexible and enabling the blood to flow freely. Alternatively, a specific supplement such as B4 Health Spray containing 2mg of Vitamin B6 is recommended for this purpose.
- Vitamin E – A fat soluble vitamin antioxidant that prevents oxidative damage. Vitamin E plays a vital role in disease prevention and promoting longevity. A medium 4-ounce sweet potato is estimated to contain 1.w international units of Vitamin E or 5% of the adult recommendation – 22.4 international units daily, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements. Alternatively, a supplement such as Naturally Better Vitamin E is a good option if you feel you are not getting these nutrient requirements.
- A good source of fiber. Sweet potatoes contain almost twice the fiber level of ordinary potatoes. This is 7g of fiber per serving meaning it’s an excellent addition to any meal. The high fiber content of sweet potatoes means that it digests slowly and therefore there is a slow burning quality, so the caloric energy is released slower.
For all of the above reasons, sweet potatoes are a great choice to include in your diet as part of a healthy lifestyle. The key is to be consistent and choose healthier options like sweet potatoes on a regular basis for best results. However, it’s best to limit roasting your sweet potatoes at high temperatures or cooking until blackened (like BBQ’ing) as this can have a carcinogenic effect and contribute towards premature aging.
For inspiration and ideas about how to include more sweet potatoes in your diet, please visit Really Healthy Foods.