Sweet potatoes benefits have a lot. Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium, which works in balance with sodium in your body to maintain healthy blood pressure. Here we are going to discuss the benefits of sweet potatoes and their side effects.
Sweet Potatoes Benefits for Health
Good Source of Vitamins C and A
One cup of baked sweet potato provides nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs. The same portion also supplies 400% of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Both nutrients are vital for supporting immune function, which is especially important during cold and flu season. Vitamin A is also key for maintaining healthy skin, vision, and organ function.
Sweet Potatoes Are Antioxidant Powerhouses
Vitamins A and C also function as antioxidants that protect cells against aging and disease. For even more antioxidants, choose purple sweet potatoes. The pigment that gives them their gorgeous hue has particularly potent antioxidant properties.
We’ve long known that unchecked, low-grade inflammation raises the risk of nearly every chronic disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and cancer. Natural anti-inflammatory compounds in sweet potatoes have been shown to quell inflammation at the cellular level: Research done on animals has shown reduced inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue after purple sweet potato extract consumption.
They Don’t Cause Blood Sugar Spikes
Some may regard sweet potatoes as too starchy, but their high fiber content makes them slow-burning starch—meaning they won’t spike blood sugar and insulin levels. One cup of baked sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber, which is more than a quarter of the daily recommended minimum.
Sweet Potatoes Help Regulate Blood Pressure
One cup of sweet potato baked in its skin provides 950 mg of potassium. That’s more than twice the amount in a medium banana. Potassium essentially sweeps excess sodium and fluid out of the body, lowering blood pressure and reducing strain on the heart. Potassium also helps regulate heart rhythm and muscle contractions. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of Americans meet the daily recommended potassium target of 4,700 mg.
They May Help Support Weight Loss
About 12% of the starch in sweet potatoes is resistant starch, a filling, fiber-like substance your body doesn’t digest and absorb. One study found that replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch resulted in a 20 to 30% increase in fat burning after a meal. Resistant starch also prompts the body to pump out more satiety-inducing hormones.
They Support Digestive Health
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fiber, especially when you eat the skin. Fiber is important for your digestive health, preventing constipation and serious diseases, such as colon cancer.
One medium sweet potato has six grams of dietary fiber. They also contain resistant starch, a type of starch that plays a role in feeding your body’s “good” bacteria.
They Keep Your Heart Healthy
The high fiber content of sweet potatoes can lower LDL (bad) cholesterol levels, helping to prevent cardiovascular disease. Sweet potatoes are also high in potassium, which works in balance with sodium in your body to maintain healthy blood pressure.
They’re also high in copper, an essential metal for making red blood cells and keeping your heart healthy. Low levels of copper have been linked to dangerously high homocysteine, blood pressure, and LDL cholesterol levels.
They Can Boost Your Immunity
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that prevent free radical damage in your body. One cup of baked sweet potato contains 52% of your daily value for vitamin C, which is important for wound healing and tissue repair.
And vitamin A in sweet potatoes helps your body make immune cells that stave off infections and disease and have anti-tumor effects. Purple sweet potatoes contain especially potent antioxidants.
They Are Good for Your Eyes
Sweet potatoes contain several nutrients that have been linked to improved eye health and vision. Some of the most powerful are the carotenoids. They include alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein, and zeaxanthin.
Beta-carotene, when taken as a supplement in isolation from the other carotenoids, can cause imbalances. But when eaten in foods, where it is always accompanied by, and in balance with, an entire suite of carotenoids, it’s been shown to have powerful anti-cancer and vision-enhancing properties.
Orange sweet potatoes (as well as other orange plants, including carrots) have particularly high concentrations of carotenoids. It’s not just the orange sweet potatoes that are good for your vision, though. A class of anthocyanins called PSPA, derived from purple sweet potato roots, might also benefit your eyes.
A study published in Food & Nutrition Research in 2015 looked at whether PSPA could influence the health and growth of human retinal pigment epithelial (RPE) cells.
Why does this matter? The RPE is responsible for helping your eyes absorb light. It also directs immune response when faced with a threat to eye health. The researchers found that PSPA promoted DNA synthesis and healthy RPE cell growth and survival. They concluded that PSPA could potentially find use as a supplement for maintaining healthy vision.
They Fuel Your Brain
Sweet potatoes also contain compounds that help your brain function at its best, including choline and manganese. Choline is an essential nutrient for brain growth and development and the synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine that sends messages between cells.
Manganese is also important for brain health. It binds to neurotransmitters and helps move electrical impulses through your body faster. You can find 43% of your daily value of manganese in one cup of baked sweet potato. The anthocyanins unique to purple sweet potatoes may also have memory-enhancing properties.
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They Can Help Ease Stress and Anxiety
Sweet potatoes may help you relax. They’re high in magnesium, which has been shown to play a role in calming the brain. Magnesium deficiency has been linked to depression, mood disturbances, and headaches. Other good sources of magnesium include avocados, legumes, tofu, nuts, seeds, and leafy greens.
They Can Help Fight Cancer
Sweet potatoes are a rich source of cancer-fighting antioxidants, especially in their skin. They have other anti-cancer properties, too. Up to 80% of the protein in sweet potatoes is a type of storage protein known as a sprain. This unique protein has been studied for anti-cancer ability and found to be effective in several disease types.
Research has been promising in the use of sprain to inhibit tongue, gallbladder, and colorectal cancers. It has also been shown to slow cancer cell growth and reduce cell migration and invasion in metastatic cancers.
Sweet potato peels, particularly those of the purple varieties, may be especially powerful when it comes to cancer prevention.
100 Grams of Raw Sweet Potatoes Nutrition Facts
- Calories: 86
- Water: 77%
- Protein: 1.6 grams
- Carbs: 20.1 grams
- Sugar: 4.2 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Fat: 0.1 grams
Side-Effects of Sweet Potatoes
People with heart disease and on beta-blockers medication should avoid consuming this vegetable. This is due to the fact that beta-blockers cause potassium levels to increase and further consumption of potassium-rich sweet potatoes may create complications. Again, sweet potatoes should be avoided by people with kidney problems as it is necessary to remove excess potassium from the blood which, otherwise, can prove fatal. Excess consumption of sweet potatoes can make your skin and nails appear a little orange.