The sweet potato comes under the tuber class of vegetables. They are underground roots and have the scientific name of Ipomoea batatas. One can identify the sweet potato due to its characteristic orange hue that remains tinged with purple. In this article, we will talk about sweet potato health benefits and nutrition facts.
The sweet potato grows well in most of the countries. Hence, they give it to the school children, so they get their daily need of Vitamin A. It finds use in countries such as India, West Indies, and Africa.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
The Vitamin A and beta-carotene are more in the sweet potato, making it one of the more desirable food items. The purple colour of the skin shows the content of sweet potato anthocyanins such as cyanidin and peonidin.
These have anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. It helps when the food is passing through the digestive tract. This means you have a lower risk of poison through oxygen radicals and heavy metals. Chlorogenic acid is the polyphenol antioxidant that is most abundant in sweet potato.
One can increase the amount of beta-carotene one gets by including more fat (3-5 grams) in the diet. This amounts to one-quarter of a tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil. All sweet potato health benefits are because of its healthy content.
- Manganese: 50% (of our daily need)
- Phosphorous: 15%
- Vitamin B3: 18%
- Biotin: 26%
- Copper: 34%
- Vitamin A: 213%
- Vitamin B1: 17%
- Potassium: 26%
- Pantothenic acid: 33%
- Vitamin C: 51%
- Vitamin B2: 17%
- Fiber: 26%
- Vitamin B6: 33%
- Protein: 8%
- Carbohydrates: 18%
- Fat: 0%
Sweet Potato Health Benefits
Improves blood sugar regulation
It is a common belief that eating any starchy root vegetable will increase the blood sugar levels. This is because they believe that the starch will undergo conversion into simple sugars in the stomach. But, in the case of this root vegetable, they found that sweet potato helped regulate the sugar uptake.
Also read: Home remedies for diabetes
It does this by increasing the levels of adiponectin in people with type-2 diabetes. Adiponectin plays a significant role in the insulin metabolism. Combined with the good fibre content, the sweet potato is a healthy snack if not a food item.
Reduces the oxidative damage
Diseases occur in our body due to the presence of free-radicals. Free radicals lead to ailments such as cancer where the abnormal cells grow more. Carotenoids, such as those found in sweet potato, are antioxidants that help prevent the action of free radicals.
In fact, the antioxidant activity of this root vegetable remains three times more than that of blueberries. This is one of the best sweet potato health benefits.
Prevention of Vitamin A Deficiency
Vitamin A is very important for our metabolic process. Many developing countries face the problem of Vitamin A deficiency especially among children. When the Vitamin A becomes insufficient in the diet, it can cause problems with the vision.
This could even lead to blindness. The other terrible things that happen are the mortality rate increases. The immune function in the body remains suppressed. This they observed more in pregnant and lactating women and children.
Sweet potatoes give plenty of bio-available beta-carotene. This undergoes change and produce more Vitamin A inside the body. The more the colour in the sweet potato, the more antioxidant content it has.
Helps with healing
The protein content in Ipomoea batatas is low. You only have about 2.5 grams of protein in a medium-sized sweet potato. But, the protein is a special kind of protein called sporamin.
This occurs in the sweet potato when the plant remains subjected to physical damage. It helps the healing process. There is some sign to show that the proteins may have antioxidant properties.
Even though the protein content is low, the sweet potato is a source of protein in some developing countries.
Good fibre content
The high fibre content in cooked potatoes has many benefits to us. The fibre content in a medium sized sweet potato is about 3.6 grams. It consists of both soluble and insoluble fibre.
The amount of soluble fibre pectin is 15-23% while that of the insoluble cellulose, lignin, and hemicellulose fibre is 77-85%. Both types of fibres have their own benefits.
The soluble fibre pectin increases the feeling of fullness. Once the person feel satisfied, he or she will eat less. The decreased food intake will reduce the sugar spikes in the blood by slowing the digestion of starches and sugar.
Insoluble fibres have benefits such as improving the bowel movement. It helps reduce the diabetes risk. The gut health improves and so the metabolism of the person improves. This is one of the effective sweet potato health benefits which all health freak people uses.
Good starch content
The carbohydrate content of sweet potatoes is high. One medium-sized sweet potato contains 23 grams of carbohydrates and 100 calories. The same amount of asparagus will have no carbohydrates and 45 calories. It is a useful source of energy and improves the digestive system.
Beneficial for the hair and the skin
The Vitamin A helps protect the skin and hair from the harmful effects of exposure to the sun. Hair is the fastest growing tissue in the body and like all other cells, it needs Vitamin A to grow.
Also, the Vitamin A helps the skin produce sebum, an oil that moisturizes the skin and keeps the scalp healthy. Deficiency in Vitamin A will lead to hair loss and many other problems. It also has biotin, another B-vitamin needed for hair growth.
Foods high in starch and fibre help the movement of the food through the intestines. Sweet potato has elevated levels of starch and fibre.
When you include it as part of your diet, it adds mass to the food moving through the digestive tract. This helps promote the bowel movement and improve the digestive system. This is one of the best sweet potato health benefits.
Prevents the occurrence of cancer
The elevated levels of antioxidants help prevent the destructive effect of free radicals. Free radicals promote the proliferation of diseases such as cancer.
Beta-carotene helps decrease the incidence of breast cancer and ovarian cancer in women. In this respect, purple sweet potatoes have better cancer-fighting properties than the normal orange-coloured ones.
Also read: 10 cancer preventing superfoods
Sweet potato health benefits are unlimited. One can use according to their use. Certain types of sweet potatoes such as Caiapo sweet potatoes and white sweet potato may help lower the blood sugar levels in people with type-2 diabetes.
But, this remains unproved. Since they contain excessive amounts of oxalate, it is not good for people who are prone to kidney stones. The oxalates help the formation of kidney stones.