The Delicious Sweet Potatoes
In addition to tasting delicious, sweet potatoes can also be a great way to stay healthy. Their health and weight management benefits far exceed the nutritional value of the ordinary potatoes.
Following are the various health benefits of sweet potatoes
Fibre: The high fibre content in sweet potatoes helps promote a healthy digestive system. This content of fibre gives them a “slow burning quality. This basically means their caloric energy is used more slowly and efficiently than a low fibre carbohydrate.
Vitamin B-6: Sweet potatoes contain a good amount of Vitamin B6. This vitamin is crucial in reducing a chemical called homoscysteine in our bodies. This also contributes to the hardening of the arteries and blood vessels. Vitamin B6 helps keep the walls of these passage ways flexible and healthy which allows blood to flow freely.
Potassium: Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of potassium, one of the important electrolytes that helps regulate heart beat and nerve signals. Like other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions like relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys. It plays a very crucial role in lowering the blood pressure by getting rid of excess sodium from the body and regulating fluid balance. Beta-carotene or Vitamin A is an important anti-oxidant. Sweet potato provides the body with the recommended daily allowance of Vitamin A. It is also useful in the prevention of several types of cancers as it is one of the most potent anti-oxidants.
Magnesium: It is a great source of magnesium which is a relaxation and anti-stress mineral. It is necessary for healthy artery, nerve function, blood, bone, heart and muscle.
Manganese: Manganese, which is present in sweet potatoes is a vital component in the metabolism of carbohydrates which help support healthy blood sugar levels. This can help stabilize the appetite for hours as opposed to the temporary satisfaction that comes with most other carbohydrates.
It is also a co-factor in enzymes that play an important role in the generation of energy as well as the efficient utilisation of anti-oxidants. It is used for the treatment of anemia and for many other premenstrual symptoms in women.
Vitamins C & E: Sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamins C and E. These are potent anti-oxidant Vitamins that play an important role in disease prevention and longevity. They play an important role in the health of our skin and hair, making them popular supplements. The combination of Vitamin E, Vitamin C and beta-carotene in one food makes sweet potatoes an enviable beauty food. These nutrients all contribute towards a healthy complexion and glowing hair. Vitamin C produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity and is essential in coping with stress. This vitamin also plays a crucial role in the formation of bone, teeth, blood cell formation and digestion. It also helps accelerate wound healing. It even protects our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
Vitamin D: Sweet potatoes contain vitamin D which plays an important role in maintaining our energy levels, mood swings and also helps build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, teeth and even supports the thyroid gland.
Iron: Sweet potatoes are also a good source of iron. This mineral is essential in our body, in order to have adequate energy and plays an important role in the production of red and white blood cells, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning and metabolising protein among other things.
Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the blood stream helping ensure a balanced and regular source of energy. Try them roasted, steamed, baked or grilled. You can also add them to soups and stews or grill them and place them on leafy greens for delicious salads.
By Nibhanapudi Suguna