There are so many benefits to eating sweet potatoes, it is amazing. Not only is there a limitless number of ways you can prepare them, but they are also highly nutritious and beneficial to our health. It is because of their countless benefits that I base my diet around them and eat them 4 times a day, every day. This is also the reason I?ve been working so hard on writing my book, The Sweet Potato Diet, which is due to hit stores in early 2017. Soon, I will be able to share with the world all the reasons to love sweet potatoes and how you can use them stay healthy.
Not to be confused with the common potato, the sweet potato is a highly nutritious root from the morning glory family and is known for its high amounts of beta-carotene. They come in many varieties, from orange to purple flesh, and are widely available and affordable.
Here are 7 more reasons for you to love the sweet potato:
- High in Fiber Supports Weight Loss: Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and slow burning when they are digested. An average 5? long sweet potato contains 3.9g of fiber. Fiber helps you feel fuller for longer and can help prevent overeating. This satiating effect can lead to eating less calories due to a reduction in appetite. Feeling full on a lower calorie food can lead to a reduced intake of calories during the day. This can lead to weight loss from reducing the calorie in take as well as a reduction in overeating.In a 2010 study over two months, Chris Voigt, the executive director of the Washington State Potato Commission, ate only potatoes. Over the course of the study, the caloric intake averaged to what he had been eating prior to the study. At the end of the study he had lost 21 lbs. and improved his cholesterol, blood glucose levels and triglycerides.
- High in Vitamins and Minerals: Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and are a good source of beta-carotene. They should be eaten with a source of fat for maximum absorption of the mineral. They are also low in anti-nutrients that could flush vitamins and mineral out of your body. Sweet potatoes are well tolerated by a majority of people and allergies to this vegetable are rare.On top of Beta-carotene, sweet potatoes contain 214% of your daily vitamin A and high concentrations of Vitamin C, Manganese, Pantothenic Acid, Vitamin B, Potassium and Biotin. Since sweet potatoes are packed with these vitamins and minerals, it makes sense that in developing countries, studies show that sweet potatoes are an affordable vegetable that can provide help in combating nutritional deficiencies. In 36 sub-Saharan African countries the predicted Vitamin A deficiency is as high as 19.1%. Such a promising crop shows potential to be a prevention method for eliminating vitamin deficiencies in these types of countries.
- Low Calorie, Low Cost, Highly Nutritious: Low calorie foods are high in fiber, high in water, and low in fat. The sweet potato provides a good volume of food for a lower amount of calories which can lead to feeling fuller on a lower caloric intake. In diets where more calories are burned than consumed, there can be a significant amount of fat loss.In the scope of affordable nutrition, sweet potatoes rank at the top. The Nutrient Rich Food (NRF) Index scores food based on density of nutrition by gram, per calories and by cost of each food. Sweet potatoes ranked at the top along with darky leafy vegetables and deep yellow vegetables. This means that per unit of cost, sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritiously dense and affordable choice of vegetable.
- Good for Blood Sugar: The sweet potato is also considered a low GI food, and this means that it ranks low on the Glycemic index after consumption. Because the GI of this food is so low, it does not spike blood sugar super high when consumed. Spikes in blood sugar have been linked to weight gain and in longer terms, metabolic diseases.
- Reverses Metabolic Disease: Extracts of sweet potatoes have been show to increase the hormone Adiponectin, which is a hormone produced by fat cells in our bodies. An increase in this hormone, which regulates blood glucose, improves insulin resistance and is great for regulating type 2 diabetes. Another extract known as Caiapo, found in white sweet potatoes, is also a promising type 2 diabetes treatment. Caiapo has been shown to improve many markers of metabolic disease. Locals in Japan have been known to eat raw, white, sweet potatoes to treat diseases like anemia, hypertension, and diabetes.
- Anti-inflammatory: Phytonutrients in sweet potatoes, like anthocyanin compounds, can reduce inflammation. These are high in concentration in purple sweet potatoes. In animal studies, activation of inducible Nitric Oxide synthase (iNOS), and Cyclooxygenase-2 (COX-2); and formation of Malondialdehyde (MDA) have all be shown to get reduced following consumption of either sweet potato or its color-containing extracts. These all can increase inflammation in the body and, with a reduction, can have the opposite effect.There are many reasons that anti-inflammatory properties in food are important. Long term inflammation, especially as we age and it becomes chronic, can lead to diseases like atherosclerosis, diabetes, and Alzheimer?s. In fact, some scientists speculate that inflammation could be underlying in up to 98% of diseases afflicting humans today. Sweet potatoes have even proved to serve as a complimentary medicine in the treatment of rheumatoid arthritis which affects millions of people today.
- Prevents Cancer: This means that there could be promising cancer treatment to come out of the compounds in sweet potatoes. Anthocyanins, the natural occurring pigment in purple fleshed sweet potatoes, has been shown to protect against cancer and is now being studied for cancer prevention.
In addition to weight loss, there are many health benefits to sweet potatoes, including low term improved health. Additional feel good properties in this food are the anti-inflammatory effects, scientific promise to fight disease, and the fact that this plant brings more than just vitamins and minerals to the body. This superfood is not only healthy and easy to find, but also inexpensive, making it an ideal food for long term weight loss and health.