While typically don't recommend going overboard on starchy carbs, when it comes to eating a healthy diet, sweet potatoes can be an asset to your health. Ranking much lower on the glycemic index than regular potatoes and containing a higher density of nutrients, sweet potatoes have an impressive nutritional profile.
Sweet potatoes are packed with potassium, vitamin A, vitamin C and vitamin B6 which support energy. Also, sweet potatoes are an excellent gluten-free option for those who are looking to replace carbohydrates in their diet.
Superior fiber content: Sweet potatoes contain almost twice as much fiber as other types of potatoes. Contributing close to 7 grams of fiber per serving, they make an excellent starchy addition to any meal. The high fiber content gives them a "slow burning" quality. This basically means their caloric energy is used more slowly and efficiently than a low-fiber carbohydrate.
Sweet potato brings benefits for skin: Eating sweet potatoes can greatly enhance the health of your skin due to the high content of beta-carotene, which helps convert vitamin A in your body that triggers DNA responsible for producing new skin cells. Ever wonder why most of your skincare products have retinoic acid and retinol in them?
As your body makes new cells, your old skin is sloughed off and you end up with a vibrant sheen that is more resistant to chemicals and damage. Also, some experts claim that beta-carotene helps reverse free radical damage, which leads to wrinkles. If you want healthy glowing skin, consider using sweet potato products to help keep your skin hydrated.
Heart-healthy: They contain a large amount of vitamin B6. This vitamin is crucial in breaking down a substance called homocysteine, which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels. Vitamin B6 helps keep the walls of these important blood passageways flexible and healthy which allows blood to flow freely.
In addition, sweet potatoes contain high amounts of potassium. Potassium plays an important role in lowering blood pressure by ridding the body of excess sodium and regulating fluid balance. It is also an important electrolyte that helps regulate the natural rhythm of the heart, and maintains normal function of the brain and central nervous system.
A great source of manganese: Manganese is a little-discussed trace mineral that has some great health benefits. It is a pivotal component in the metabolism of carbohydrates which helps support healthy blood sugar levels.
This can help stabilize the appetite for hours as opposed to the temporary satisfaction that comes with most other carbohydrates. It also is a cofactor in enzymes that play an important role in the generation of energy as well as the efficient utilization of antioxidants. It is used for the treatment of anemia and is useful as a treatment for several premenstrual symptoms in women as well.
A good source of vitamin D, which helps build healthy bones: Vitamin D is critical for immune system and overall health at this time of year. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight.
You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods, and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth, and it supports the thyroid gland.
A nice source of potassium: Potassium is one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling, and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
Rich in vitamins C and E: As if being one of the top vegetable sources of beta-carotene weren't enough, sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamins C and E. These are potent antioxidant vitamins that play an important role in disease prevention and longevity.
Both vitamins also play a huge role in the health and beauty of your skin and hair, making them popular supplements. The combination of beta-carotene, vitamin E and vitamin C in one food makes the sweet potato one heck of a "beauty food". These nutrients all contribute to a healthy, glowing complexion and vibrant hair.
Sweet potatoes do not cause blood sugar spikes: Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
Sweet potatoes help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging: Their rich orange color indicates that they are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body.
Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease, they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet.
Another study of women who had completed treatment for early-stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women's Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.