Sweet Potatoes and its Health Benefits

Sweet potatoes might be loved by many because of its crunchy and sweet taste especially when fried, but there is more to that as it is one of the food crops among the root tubers that provides lots of benefits to the human health.

It is nutritious and is recommended by medical experts to be included as part of our daily meal due to its numerous health benefits which are fully discussed below.

 

Here are some of the Astonishing health benefits of Sweet Potatoes you need to know:

1. High Nutrition Content

Sweet potatoes contain a lot of minerals and vitamins such as vitamin A, B, C, potassium, fibre and iron which has a lot of benefit on the human body.

  • Vitamin A

Vitamin A is an antioxidant that fights against damaged cell and a fat-soluble vitamin that is good for vision improvement, immune function, heart, lungs and kidney development.

A recent study showed that meals that have a high content of vitamin A, including sweet potato leaves, may provide potential protection from lung cancer.

  • Potassium

Potassium is a vital mineral because it helps to relax muscle contractions and prevents muscle cramps, reduces swelling and keeps the kidney balanced. A small size of sweet potatoes contains up to 10% of the daily amount of potassium required in the body.

  • Magnesium

Magnesium is a mineral substance that helps to relieve stress and aids in proper body relaxation. It keeps the arteries, blood, muscle and nerve function healthy.

  • Vitamin C

Vitamin C helps to formulate collagen in the body, regulate the immune system, heals wound faster, bones and teeth formation, growth development and repair of worn out tissues in the body.

 

2. High Content of Beta-Carotene

Sweet potatoes have a high content of beta-carotene as found in carrots, it is converted into vitamin A to help improve eye vision. This makes it a great food that helps to eliminates cancerous cells and other chronic ailments in the body

 

3. Source of Energy

Sweet potatoes contain a small amount of sugar that helps the body to modify and maintain a good source of energy without blood sugar spikes that leads to weight increase and fatigue.

Its mineral content such as iron and magnesium helps to boost energy level in the body. Studies show that iron stimulates the production of red blood cells in the body, thereby preventing one from easily getting tired and as well increase the oxygen distribution to the body.

 

4. Promotes Healthy Digestive System

Sweet potatoes promote healthy digestive system due to the high content of fibre it contains.

Recent studies on sweet potatoes have shown that the high phytosterol content of sweet potatoes has a protective effect on the digestive system and helps in the prevention and management of duodenal and gastric ulcers.

 

5. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Some recent studies also show that adequate consumption of sweet potato and sweet potato leaves may help improve blood sugar regulation in type 2 diabetes.

Sweet potatoes release sugar into the bloodstream slowly, unlike other starchy foods due to its low glycemic index. This release of sugar is what helps in managing the blood sugar levels of individuals so that it does not go low or high.

Therefore, sweet potatoes can be used in the regulation of blood sugar levels especially in diabetic patients type 1 and type 2 diabetes inclusive.

 

6. Beneficial to the Eye

According to a study carried out by Food and Nutrition Research Institutes indicates that purple type of sweet potatoes contains a specific group of antioxidants which is also known as anthocyanins that are beneficial to the eye thereby improving eye health.

 

7. Prevent the Risk of Cancer

Recent studies proved that the antioxidants found at the peel of sweet potatoes, especially purple sweet potatoes helps to fight against damage caused by free radicals in the body and helps to reduce the oxidation process, thereby preventing the risk of cancer in the body.

 

8. Protect Against Ulcers

Experiments on the extracts of sweet potatoes show that it has chemicals that help to heal wound which is inside the body and ulcer of the stomach as well.

Other studies on animal models also show that sweet potatoes can help in the improvement and prevention of peptic ulcer and other gastrointestinal issues which is caused by aspirin due to its methanol content.

A study that was carried out on animal models also proved that the flour in the roots of the sweet potatoes helped in the prevention of ethanol-related ulceration in the stomach.

It suppresses gastric ulceration, thereby reducing swelling in the surrounding tissues, and protecting the gastric wrinkles.

Consumption of sweet potatoes tends to be very effective in protecting major types of ulcers including aspirin and ethanol developed ulcer.

 

9. Nourishes the Skin

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, C, and E, which are all effective in promoting the skin and hair health.

These vitamins help to repair skin that is damaged due to exposure to UV light. It helps the skin to maintain a youthful look for long by slowing down the cell ageing process in the skin.

  • Vitamin E helps to maintain a good hair health due to its content in antioxidant properties that help to reduce oxidative stress, a major cause of alopecia- Permanent hair loss on the scalp, causing baldness
  • Its richness in vitamin A helps in the treatment and management of sun-damaged skin. Studies indicate that vitamin A is also useful in the treatment of skin cancer and for chemotherapy and other treatment solutions.

Vitamin A helps to decrease the rate of natural cell ageing as well as preventing photo-ageing of the skin due to the effective stimulant of collagen properties.

  • The content of vitamin C in sweet potatoes helps to treat photo-ageing and hyperpigmentation. It neutralizes the oxidative stress caused by exposure to UV light. It also contains anti-inflammatory properties which help to treat skin diseases such as acne, as well as promoting healing of the wounds on the skin.

 

    10. Enhances Fertility

The rich content of the vitamin A in sweet potatoes is effective for women of childbearing age who consumes it as it enhances their fertility.

Research proved that a deficiency in vitamin A can lead to secondary infertility in women of child bearing age.

It also contains a high dose of iron, which is an essential mineral in promoting fertility in women of childbearing age as increased intake of iron in the diet reduces the risk of ovulatory infertility as well as anaemia or iron deficiency which is a major cause of infertility among women. 

 

11. Good For Heart Health

Sweet potatoes contains high level of potassium which is an important electrolyte that helps to regulate the heartbeat.

According to the American Heart Association, It was proved that the potassium content in sweet potatoes is very effective to the heart as it lowers blood pressure by maintaining fluid balance.

It a great source of vitamin B6, which is very powerful in breaking down of homocysteine, a substance that aids in hardening of blood vessels and arteries.

 

12. Regulates Immune System Function 

Sweet Potatoes are highly rich in beta-carotene, which is a major antioxidant that helps to regulate the function of the immune system and keeping you healthy. It is an excellent immune system booster that defends the body from various health conditions.

 

13. Relieve Asthma

The aroma that comes out when boiling sweet potatoes has a powerful effect in curing nose congestion, bronchi and lungs, and as well provide some relief from asthma.

 

14. Ease Arthritis Pain

The presence of beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and vitamin B complex makes sweet potatoes a very important food supplement for easing arthritis pain. For that to have a full effect, it is advised that the water from boiled sweet potatoes should be applied on joints to ease the definite pain of arthritis.

 

15. Keeps You Hydrated

The presence of fibre or roughage in sweet potatoes helps the body to retain water. This maintains water balance in the body, thereby prevents you from getting dehydrated and makes your cells functioning as well.

 

16. Controls Blood Pressure

Sweet potatoes contain a high amount of potassium and calcium which are very essential in fighting hypertension. These mineral nutrients keep the blood pressure regulated, which reduces the chance of individuals suffering from cardiovascular diseases.

 

Nutritional Values of Sweet Potatoes

The table below shows the nutritional facts of sweet potatoes (100 grams)

Nutrient

Amount

Calories

86

Water

77 %

Protein

1.6 g

Carbs

20.1 g

Sugar

4.2 g

Fibre

3 g

Fat

0.1 g

Saturated

0.02 g

Monounsaturated

0 g

Polyunsaturated

0.01 g

Omega-3

0 g

Omega-6

0.01 g

Trans fat

-

 

Sweet potatoes not only has a lot of benefit to the health but is also packed with vital nutrients and minerals as they are good source of iron and vitamin C, vitamin B’s such as vitamin B1, B2, B3 and B6, calcium manganese, copper, dietary fibre, phosphorus, selenium, potassium, pantothenic acid and more.  

It also contains some amounts of beta-carotene which functions as an antioxidant.

 

What is Sweet Potatoe?

Sweet potatoes with its scientific name (Ipomoea batatas) is a nutritious and sweet root vegetable with a brown, red, pink or purple skin depending on the type, with the fleshy part inside.

It is being consumed whether whole or peeled, and the leaves of the plant are edible too.

 

Side Effect of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent food to eat but it contains a high amount of oxalates which prevents the absorption of calcium of which low amounts of calcium in the meal will increase the chances of forming calcium oxalate kidney stones.

So, it should be eaten in a moderate amount if you have existing kidney stones or at the risk of developing them.

 

Effects on Sweet Potatoes Steam

Sweet potatoes have a lot of positive effect on people addicted to smoking and drinking as the steam from boiling sweet potatoes which contains quercetin (flavonoids) can help clean the body and heart vessels, and also prevent cancer.

It is highly advised to be boiled and steamed so as to achieve some of its nutritional benefits.

Above all, make sure you don’t peel the skin of the sweet potato off because the skin contributes great amounts of fibre and potassium.

 

Conclusion

sweet potatoes are starchy, sweet root vegetables which are good for you as it contains so many health benefits which include high nutrition content, high content of beta-carotene, a source of energy, promotes healthy digestive systems, regulation of blood sugar levels, beneficial to the eye.

It also helps to prevent the risk of cancer, protects against ulcers, nourishes the skin and promotes hair growth, enhances fertility, good for heart health, regulates the function of the immune system, helps to relieve asthma, ease arthritis pain, keeps you dehydrated and controls blood pressure.



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