The Healthy Benefits of Eating Sweet Potatoes



Sweet potatoes are an inexpensive and convenient food that many people should start eating.  They offer more nutritional value than other potatoes seen in supermarkets, plus they are very tasty.

They are native to South America and are part of the morning glory family or convolvulaceae.  The morning glory family is a group of about 60 genera and more than 1650 species of mostly herbaceous vines, trees, shrubs and other vines.  In addition, they are tubers.

They come in a variety of skin colors from white to yellow, red, purple, or brown.  The flesh color ranges from white to yellow, orange and orange -red.  The darker flesh varities contain more nutritional value.

They are sometimes labeled as "yams" which are native to Africa and India.  Yams are larger, starchier and less sweet than sweet potatoes.  In order to avoid confusion between what a sweet potato and a yam is, the U.S. Department of Agriculture required that sweet potatoes that were labeled as "yams" also be labeled as "sweet potatoes." The dark skinned colored vegetable in the supermarkets with the orangel flesh are not yams but sweet potatoes.

Beyond the convenience in expense that sweet potatoes provide, they are also quite nutritious.  In 1992, the Center for Science in Public Interest compared the nutritional value of sweet potatoes to other vegetables.  They compared the sweet potatoes fiber content, complex carbohydrates, protein, vitamins A & C, iron, and calcium and concluded that the sweet potato ranked the highest.

Sweet potatoes should beome a regular part of our diets.  Below is a list of the many health benefits of the sweet potato.  You may be surprised to learn just how healthy and valuable they truly are.

1. Sweet potatoes are low in sugar and in calories.

2. Rich in beta-carotene which is a precursory of vitamin A.  Vitamin A maintains skin, hair and mucus membranes and also helps people see in dim light.  Beta-carotene is also effective as a treatment for eczema and psoriasis.

3. Contains manganese.  Manganese is an important component in the metabolism of fats and carbohydrates which help to support healthy blood sugar levels.  This is a suitable food for those with diabetes.  It can regulate your blood sugar and stabilize your appetite for hours.  It has a slow burning quality.  Managanese also helps with skeletal development.

4. Rich in vitamin C.  This nutrient helps regulate heartbeat, muscle action and nerve function. Vitamin C also builds strong bones, teeth and muscle tissue.

5.  Rich in vitamin E.  Vitamin E protects blood cells, body tissue, and essential fatty acids from destruction in the body.

6. A good amount of vitamin B6. which aid in the metabolism of protein.

7. Contains potassium which is good for fluid balance and controlling the activity of the heart.  It can help prevent heart attacks and strokes if consumption is high.  Potassium also boosts  your energy and prevents muscle cramps and injuries. 

8. Will help to normalize the heartbeat when stressed.

9. High fiber content.  Compared to other potatoes, the sweet potato carries twice as much fiber.  It contains close to 107 grams of fiber per serving.  If the sweet potato is eaten with its skin on, it will also help to promote a healthy digestive tract, relieving constipation and aiding in the prevention of colon cancer.

10.  Sweet potatoes contain folate which aid in the production of healthy fetal cell and tissue development.

11. Strengthens the immune system and develops resistance to infection.

12. They are anti-inflammatory.  The nutrients contained within this vegetable are powerful antioxidants that help to heal inflammation in the body.

So when you visit the market, don't ignore the sweet potato.  Use the above tips to give yourself complete confidence in the health benefits of sweet potatoes.  Again, the darker varieties will carry more beta-carotene. 

In addition, choose sweet potatoes that are firm, but not wrinkled and store in a dark, dry, cool and well ventilated place, not wrapped in plastic bags or inside a refrigerator.  They should keep for up to ten days.

Happy sweet potato eating!

Sweet Potato Power: Smart Carbs; Paleo and Personalized
Amazon Price: $29.95 $17.95 Buy Now
(price as of Oct 14, 2013)