Have you noticed those weird big reddish potatoes in the supermarkets? So know that these are the so-called sweet potatoes or sweet potatoes. If you’ve ever encountered them, you probably know that they have a bright orange color, which is caused by the carotenoids they contain. But you probably don’t know that sweet potatoes are among the most nutritious vegetables ever. They are even a prevention against cancer. What do they contain and how can they help us?
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Improving insulin sensitivity in diabetes
Sweet potatoes can help improve insulin sensitivity.
In one 2008 study, researchers found that white skin extract, sweet potatoes, improved insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes.
Earlier, in 2000, laboratory rats consumed either white skin, sweet potatoes or an insulin sensitiser, called troglitazone, for 8 weeks. Insulin resistance levels improved in those who consumed sweet potatoes.
however, more human studies are needed to confirm these benefits.
Fiber in sweet potatoes is also important., Studies have found that people who consume more fiber have a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.
A 124 gram (g) portion of mashed potatoes or about half a cup provides about 2.5 grams of fiber.
2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommend that adults aged 19 and over consume 22.4 grams of 33.6 grams of fiber each day, depending on their age and gender.
2. Maintaining a healthy blood pressure level
The American Heart Association (AHA) encourages people to avoid eating foods that contain high amounts of added salt, and instead consume larger potassium-rich foods to maintain a healthy cardiovascular system.
A 124 g serving of mashed sweet potatoes provides 259 milligrams (mg) of potassium or approximately 5% of the daily requirements for an adult. Current guidelines recommend that adults consume 4,700 mg of potassium daily.
3. Reducing the risk of cancer
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene. It is a plant pigment that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Beta-carotene is also a provitamin. The body converts it to the active form of vitamin A.
Antioxidants can help reduce the risk of various types of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer.
Antioxidants, such as beta-carotene, can help prevent cell damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. If the levels of free radicals in the body are too high, cell damage can occur, which increases the risk of some conditions.
Getting antioxidants from dietary sources can help prevent conditions such as cancer.
4. Improving digestion and regularity
The fiber content of sweet potatoes can help prevent constipation and support the regularity of a healthy digestive tract.
also, several studies have linked high fiber intake to a reduced risk of colorectal cancer.
5. Protects eye health
As mentioned above, sweet potatoes are a good source of provitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. After reaching the age of 18, dietary guidelines recommend taking 700 mg of vitamin A daily for women and 900 mg daily for men. Vitamin A is important for eye health.
According to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS), baked sweet potatoes in its skin will provide about 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, or 561% of a person’s daily requirement.
Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant., Together with other antioxidants it can help protect the body from various health conditions.
6. Strengthening immunity
One 124 g serving of sweet potatoes provides 12.8 mg of vitamin C. Current guidelines recommend a daily intake of 75 mg of vitamin C for adult women and 90 mg for adult men.
A person who consumes little or no vitamin C may develop scurvy. Many of the symptoms of scurvy are due to tissue problems due to impaired collagen production.
Vitamin C also supports the immune system and increases iron absorption., Low vitamin C intake may increase the risk of iron deficiency anemia.
7. Reduction of inflammation
A 2017 rodent study suggests that purple sweet potato extract can help reduce the risk of inflammation and obesity.
Sweet potatoes contain choline, a nutrient that helps muscle movement, learning and memory. It also supports the nervous system.
A 2010 study found that taking high doses of choline supplements helped control inflammation in people with asthma. However, this does not necessarily mean that sweet potato choline will have the same effect.