Because sweet potatoes are sweet without having anything added to them, they are a delicious treat, and, thankfully, there happen to be many benefits of sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes are consumed throughout the world, and they are even a staple food of the longest living population, the Okinawans. They are nutrient dense and if sweet potatoes only make an appearance on your dinner table at Thanksgiving, you may want to start eating them more, because there are many great health benefits of sweet potatoes.
One of the many benefits of sweet potatoes is that they are extremely high in beta carotene. Just one medium sweet potato has over 200 percent of the recommended daily value of beta carotene! Beta carotene is an important nutrient that the body converts into vitamin A. Once it is converted into vitamin A, beta carotene helps your immune system stay strong and keeps your eyes healthy.
Sweet potatoes are a fantastic source of antioxidants. The beta carotene in the orange variety is one of the healthy antioxidants that sweet potatoes have, and the anthocyanin in the purple sweet potatoes is another. Anthocyanin has powerful health benefits such as reducing inflammation, which is a precursor to many diseases. Fortunately, eating sweet potatoes will keep disease causing inflammation at bay by giving you a healthy dose of antioxidants.
Although sweet potatoes are a sweet carbohydrate, they can actually help control blood sugar. By increasing blood levels of adiponectin, sweet potatoes are able to modify insulin metabolism, which helps keep blood sugar in control. Also, sweet potatoes are high in fiber, so they slow the release of sugar into the bloodstream. This helps prevent a spike in blood sugar.
You may think of citrus fruits as being the ultimate source of vitamin C, but sweet potatoes will also provide you with a fair amount of vitamin C. One medium sweet potato has nearly 40 percent of your daily value of vitamin C. All of that vitamin C will help your body produce collagen, which will keep your skin and joints healthy.
Sweet potatoes have two nutrients that are great for your heart - vitamin B6 and potassium. Vitamin B6 is an important vitamin that breaks down homocysteine, which can harden arteries and lead to heart disease. Potassium helps keep your heart healthy by decreasing blood pressure. Because you get both vitamin B6 and potassium when you eat sweet potatoes, you will be getting heart healthy nutrients with every bite.
A single sweet potato provides 28 percent of your daily of manganese, which is great news considering manganese is a crucial mineral for your health. Manganese helps your body metabolize carbohydrates and stay energized. It also helps your body absorb other nutrients, and it keeps your bones strong. Clearly, this is not a nutrient you want to be deficient in, and eating sweet potatoes will help prevent any deficiency.
Among the many nutrients sweet potatoes contain, quercetin is one of them. Quercetin is a flavonoid that is extremely healthy and has been shown to have many benefits. It can decrease LDL cholesterol and decrease inflammation. It also acts as a natural antihistamine, which can help fight allergies.
Sweet potatoes are a wonderful food with many healthy benefits. Including sweet potatoes in your diet more frequently is a fantastic way to get the wonderful nutrients they provide, and it is easy because they taste so good. What is your favorite way to eat sweet potatoes?