Sweet potatoes are usually considered an unhealthy vegetable full of sugar and starch, but nutritionist Cynthia Sass disagrees.
In an article for Health.com, the nutritionist pointed out all the health perks of consuming sweet potatoes that make them an attractive side dish.
Here are six important health benefits of sweet potatoes as highlighted by Cynthia.
1. They are a good source of essential nutrients.
Sweet potatoes are an extremely good source of several essential nutrients.
One cup of baked sweet potato can provide 400% of the daily vitamin A intake required by you. The same serving can also provide you half of your daily vitamin C needs.
Vitamin A is essential for the healthy functioning of your vision, skin, and several other organs. While Vitamin C is required for proper immune function.
Sweet potato also contains several energy-supporting B vitamins as well as important minerals like potassium and manganese.
2. They don’t increase your blood sugar.
Despite being rich in starch, sweet potatoes don’t spike your blood sugar and insulin levels. The high fiber content present in this vegetable makes it a slow-burning starch.
Just a cup of baked sweet potato can provide you more than 25 per cent of your daily fiber requirement.
3. They help in regulating blood pressure.
Sweet potato contains twice as much potassium as in a banana serving of equal weight.
Potassium helps get rid of excess sodium and fluids, lowering blood pressure and reducing strain on the heart. It also helps in regulating muscle contractions and heart rhythm.
4. They can help reduce our weight.
Around 12% of the starch present in sweet potatoes is resistant starch – a fiber-like nutrient that can’t be digested and absorbed by our body.
Resistant starch can help in weight loss. A recent study observed 20 to 30% increase in fat burning after a meal when just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake was replaced with resistant starch.
5. They are antioxidant powerhouses.
Both Vitamins A and C are important antioxidants that can protect our body cells against diseases and aging. The purple sweet potatoes contain even more antioxidants than the normal ones due to a pigment they contain.
6. They have anti-inflammatory properties.
Sweet potatoes contain natural anti-inflammatory compounds that discourage inflammation at the cellular level, thus reducing the risk of several chronic diseases such as type 2 diabetes, obesity, heart problems, and even cancer.
In her article, Cynthia also suggested some simple ways to make this beneficial vegetable a part of our everyday meals and snacks.
“I love to bake sweet potatoes and drizzle with a combo of ground cinnamon and maple syrup thinned with a bit of warm water,” she wrote.
“You can also bake, mash, and fold sweet potatoes into overnight oats; whip them into a smoothie; or puree them with low-sodium organic veggie broth as the base for a soup.
“Chunked baked sweet potatoes make a fantastic addition to a garden salad, and crisp oven-baked wedges can satisfy a French fry craving.
“Mashed sweet potato also makes a fantastic addition to desserts and goodies, from no-bake cookies to brownies, pudding, and of course, the classic fall favorite, sweet potato pie.”
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