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How Good are Sweet Potatoes for Your Health?

Sweet potatoes are a staple food in many parts of the world. The benefits of sweet potatoes are typically recognized by their copper-colored skin and vibrant orange flesh. The vegetable has a thin, brown skin on the outside with colored flesh inside – most commonly orange in color and is often called a "yam" in parts of Europe and North America. True to their name, sweet potatoes have a naturally sweet flavour, which is further enhanced through cooking methods like roasting. They are also one of the top sources of beta-carotene—a precursor to vitamin A.

There are a number of sweet potato benefits and side effects that you should be aware of before including it in your diet. This article details all the benefits and risks of this novel vegetable.

Sweet potatoes offer nutritional value and are delicious to eat. The sweet potato is creamy and soft enough to be an ingredient in several pie recipes, and most people think of the vegetable as merely a dessert ingredient. However, scientists have found the benefits of eating sweet potatoes are among the best sources of Vitamins and there are a number of sweet potato benefits for skin. Sweet potatoes are naturally packed with vitamin B5, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids due to their naturally orange color. While physical health is one aspect of your wellbeing, so is financial health. One of the best ways to safeguard your finances during a health crisis is health insurance.

Types of Sweet Potato

There are primarily three types of sweet potatoes that are consumed in India:

  • Red Sweet Potatoes
  • Purple Sweet Potato
  • White Sweet Potatoes

In addition to the two types most commonly found in India, there are regional varieties common in certain states. For instance, Goa grows other types that include the zadd-kondgueo, katta-kondgueo, maddi, and suran.

Sweet Potato Nutritional Facts

Sweet potato nutrition fact is that they pack a number of essential nutrients that are crucial for growth and development. One sweet potato has:

Calories

112

Fat

0.07 grams

Carbohydrates

26 grams

Protein

2 grams

Fibre

3.9 grams

Sweet Potato Health Benefits

1. Reduce the Risk of Cancer

There is evidence that the nutritional value of a sweet potato can reduce the risk of cancer. Fruit and vegetables are high in antioxidants; compounds that help defend the body against damage from free radicals. Studies have suggested that the antioxidants in the peel of sweet potatoes in particular, and especially purple sweet potatoes, may help reduce this oxidation process, thereby reducing the risk of cancer. To get the most nutrition from your sweet potatoes, don’t peel the outer layer. Simply scrub to remove unwanted dirt and other particles well before cooking.

2. Improves Digestion

Among the sweet potatoes benefits and side effects are that sweet potatoes are high in fiber, which has been shown to promote a healthy digestive system. Much of the research so far has been conducted, but it would appear that the high phytosterol content of sweet potatoes does have a protective effect on the digestive system and may be important in the prevention and management of duodenal and gastric ulcers.

3. Manages Type 2 Diabetes

Studies have shown that nutrients in sweet potatoes may improve blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetes. Sweet potatoes are categorized as low to high on the glycemic index scale, which can minimize the occurrence of insulin resistance and low blood sugar levels, as well as high blood sugar in people who are suffering from diabetes.

4. Anti-Inflammatory Properties

The nutritional value of a sweet potato has a significant amount of vitamins, most of which have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Studies carried out on the purple sweet potato have conclusively shown that the extracts from the vegetable variant had the capability of inhibiting the production of active inflammatory components in the body.

Health Risks of Sweet Potato

Although sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamins and minerals, there are a number of risks involved in the consumption of this staple food.

  • Kidney Stones: There is some concern that the high amount of dietary oxalate in sweet potatoes may contribute to the development of kidney stones.

  • Impedes Weight Loss: People who consume sweet potato for weight loss, should not include it in their diet. This is because this vegetable is rich in starch content and also contains many important minerals, vitamins and proteins. These nutrients are very easy to digest and help to add mass to your body.

  • Worsens Heart Conditions: Sweet potatoes are rich in potassium; this makes them harmful for individuals with heart disease and on beta-blockers medication. Beta-blockers in heart thinner can cause potassium levels to increase and further consumption of potassium-rich sweet potatoes may create complications.

Adding Sweet Potato to Your Diet

Sweet potatoes can be added to diet in a number of different health and delicious ways.

  • Soup: Simply add sweet potatoes to some vegetable or chicken soup.

  • Salad: Add raw potatoes to a salad.

  • Vegetable dish: You can also make a meal out of it by slicing baked sweet potatoes in half and adding broccoli or other vegetables to the dish.

  • Mashed Potatoes: Sweet potatoes can also be mashed. Simply boil the potatoes, then use a fork, masher, or blender to puree the cooked potatoes. Add liquid such as water, broth, or milk if a smoother consistency is desired. Season with a dash of salt, pepper, spices, or herbs as desired.

  • Chaat: Make a chaat at home with chaat masala, chillies and lime juice. Substitute regular potatoes with sweet potatoes. The sweet and sour flavor of the sweet potatoes will leave your taste buds wanting more.

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FAQs related to Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

  • ✔️What happens if you eat sweet potatoes every day?

    The high nutritional value of a sweet potato makes it a great food for people suffering from lifestyle diseases like blood pressure, cholesterol, diabetes to name a few. Eating sweet potatoes daily can fulfill your body's need for potassium, which is around 12% approx.

  • ✔️Are sweet potatoes bad for you?

    Though sweet potatoes are a rich source of beta carotene, they have a high glycemic index and glycemic load—almost as high as that of a white potato. This may not be great for your waist length and a great source of proteins in sweet potato.

  • ✔️Are sweet potatoes better than regular potatoes?

    Both types of potatoes have their own pros and cons. White potatoes provide more potassium, whereas sweet potatoes are incredibly high in vitamin A     

  • ✔️How many calories are in a sweet potato?

    A normal sized sweet potato pod has close to 103 calories.     

  • ✔️Are sweet potatoes food for weight loss?

    Certainly, a sweet potato is a more diet-friendly starch option than a white potato.