If you only eat sweet potatoes during the holidays when they’re mushed, smothered in melted marshmallow and butter until they’re unrecognizable, then you’re missing out on one of nature’s super foods.
The sweet potato provides a rich concentration of nutrients, and offers antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and disease-fighting components.
The orange colour is due to the carotenoid beta-carotene, which in many fruits and veggies indicates the presence of potent antioxidants. These antioxidants ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, making you more vulnerable to chronic diseases.
Beta-carotene can be converted by your body into retinol or Vitamin A, which contributes to optimal eye health and vision.
The cancer-fighting compounds in sweet potatoes, are more prevalent in the meat than in its skin, and are found to help reduce the potential dangers of heavy metals, such as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. This is beneficial to individuals diagnosed with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis, as well as to those who wish to reduce their exposure to metal toxins.
According to one study, purple sweet potatoes have more than three times the antioxidant activity than that of one single blueberry.
In addition to sweet potatoes’ antioxidant content, they are also great sources of vitamins C and B5, copper, dietary fiber, niacin, potassium, and iron.
According to research conducted in the College of Agriculture and Life Sciences, sweet potatoes are a low-glycemic index (GI) food, which release glucose very slowly into the bloodstream. Low-glycemic foods also benefit the pancreas by not overworking it, and make you feel satiated longer.
Other research shows that sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
NOTE: If you’re a diabetic or are suffering from problems related to insulin resistance, consult your doctor to know whether it’s safe for you to consume sweet potatoes.
Eat… in moderation!
Sweet potatoes should still be consumed in moderation, keeping in mind that since it’s a naturally sweet food, its varieties differ with their sugar content.
Peeling can make the sweet potato’s flesh susceptible to oxidation, which can induce dark spots. It is recommended that sweet potatoes be steamed, baked, or placed in water immediately after peeling.
Since beta-carotene is fat-soluble, it’s advisable to consume sweet potatoes with a source of good fat – like butter from grass-fed milk products, avocados, or cooked peas.•
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