9 health benefits of sweet potatoes

There are plenty of reasons to love the humble sweet potato and here’s why you need to include these antioxidant and fibre rich veggie in your diet

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Packed with antioxidants

Not all sweet potatoes are orange. Their skins and insides can be white, yellow, brown, red, pink, and purple. The range of colour brings different nutrients to the table.

Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are thought to contain super-high levels of antioxidant and anti-inflammatory agents. As these substances pass through your system, they balance out free radicals – chemicals that harm your cells.

Vitamin A rich

Just one medium baked sweet potato can give your body a whopping 400% of the vitamin A it needs to keep your eyes and skin healthy and help hold off illness.

Beta-carotene booster

Deep-orange sweet potatoes contain beta-carotene, an antioxidant thought to fend off illness. This might include certain cancers as well as eye disease.

Easy to cook

The way you cook your sweet potatoes can make a big difference in the nutrition you’ll get from the dish. One study measured how many carotenoids, like beta-carotene, stayed in the food afterward. The simplest method, oven baking, turned out to be the best

Cancer-fighting compounds

Scientists found these colourful spuds have a unique protein called a protease inhibitor. When tested against cancer cells, it appeared to halt some growth.

Full of vitamins and minerals

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which revs up your immune system. High potassium levels help control blood pressure, while calcium bolsters your bones.

Keeps blood sugar in check

White potatoes, the ones you normally eat baked or as French fries, rank high on the glycaemic index, which measures how quickly food affects your blood sugar. Sweet potatoes rate lower. They also have more fibre — about 5 grams in a 3/4 cup serving — which slows digestion and keeps you feeling fuller longer.

Full of fibre

If you’re trying to trim down, they’re stuffed with filling fibre. For a satisfying meal, bake them in the skin. Or serve them on the side, mashed, roasted, or chopped into a savoury stew. White potatoes have their assets — both tater types are fat-free — but the sweet ones have slightly fewer calories and carbs.

Plentiful source of iron

Sweet potatoes a good source of iron. That makes them star material for vegetarians and vegans. Here’s why: Meat has heme iron, which your body absorbs more easily than the non-heme type found in fruits, veggies, and nuts. But if you eat foods with lots of vitamin C, like sweet potatoes, your body can absorb the non-heme iron better.

Source: WebMD