What are Sweet potatoes & why should you eat them?
The sweet potato is a root vegetable with a starchy and sweet-taste. They have a thin brown skin on the outside with a colored epidermis inside most commonly light brown or orange. Other varieties of sweet potatoes are white, purple, and sometimes yellow. The leaves of the sweet potato’s plant are also edible. Most people think of the plant as just a dessert ingredient because the sweet potato is creamy and soft enough to be an ingredient in several recipes like pies.
However, experts have found that sweet potatoes are the best sources of Vitamin A-1 with vitamin B5, niacin, riboflavin, carotenoids, and thiamine due to their naturally orange color. Ipomoea batatas are the other names of sweet potatoes. Not only do they contain many nutrients, but they are full of medicinal benefits. Researchers have determined that sweet potatoes contain anti-diabetic, anti-cancer, and anti-inflammatory properties. Keep them in a cool, dry, dark place instead of storing sweet potatoes in the refrigerator. They will keep for about a month or longer if they store in the ideal temperature for fresh sweet potatoes at around 55 degrees Fahrenheit.
Try to use sweet potatoes within one week to prevent spoilage if stored at warmer temperatures. Scrub the skin properly with a vegetable brush under running water, then dry them with a paper towel when you’re ready to use sweet potatoes. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for use within five days after sweet potatoes have been cut or cooked. Sweet potatoes have different recipes and can be boiled, roasted, baked, whipped, grilled, pureed, and fried.
Some people think that sweet potato and yam are the same, but they are not related. Yams have more starch and dry texture content than the sweet potato.
One baked sweet potato provides vitamin C daily. Also, it supplies 400% of the daily intake of vitamin A. During cold and flu season, both nutrients are energetic for supporting immune function, which is essential. Maintaining healthy skin, vision, and organ function is what Vitamin A helps with and also vital.
- Maintaining Vitamin-A
Maintaining Vitamin-A is essential for our health. And it is a severe issue to support in many countries around the world. The health consequences of vitamin A deficiency are dangerous, and an increase in infectious diseases can also include decreased resistance to infectious disease, which can lead to a weak immune system.
Sweet potatoes contain high levels of beta-carotene (4, 5), are a critical source of Vitamin-A(essential in helping the body fight off infections, and remain resistant to any further diseases). So, Sweet potatoes are a natural and abundant source of beta-carotene and Vitamin A.
- Manage Diabetes
Sweet potatoes maintain low to high on the glycemic index scale means that the sweet potatoes release sugar into the blood slowly, unlike other foods containing starch. In a person, the blood sugar levels can be checked and maintained by releasing sugar on a steady level. This stable release of sugar so that it does not go low or high, especially in people with diabetes, can be maintained in both types of diabetes, i.e., type I and type II. The fiber in the sweet potato is said to help manage diabetes. Individuals who have type I diabetes are supposed to eat sweet potatoes because they’re rich in high fiber, which lowers the blood sugar levels. So, Sweet potatoes comprise of essential fibers and magnesium that are useful in the prevention and management of diabetes.
- Manage stress levels
Sweet potatoes contain a substantial amount of magnesium, which is a vital mineral for normal body functioning. It helps reduce stress and anxiety, which are one of the most important benefits of magnesium. Research has shown that an increase in magnesium deficiency in diets nowadays has resulted in a significant rise in the cases of depression reported across the world. For example, some controlled research has specified that magnesium deficiency increases depression in women experiencing premenstrual symptoms. Many defects have a higher risk of depression, stress, and anxiety; therefore, sweet potatoes are a vital magnesium source. Sweet potatoes can refill the body’s magnesium levels and help lessen the symptoms of depression and anxiety-related behaviors in people.
- Anti-inflammatory activities
Sweet potatoes contain a substantial amount of vitamins. Most vitamins have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research carried out that sweet potato’s capability of inhibiting the production of active inflammatory components in the body is excellent.
Moreover, sweet potatoes have a high concentration of choline. It is a very versatile nutrient. The main benefit of choline is that it decreases inflammatory responses in the body resulting in less inflammation. Research on animals has shown that choline is active systemic inflammation in the body. The prevention of chronic inflammation in the body is an essential dietary source in is the presence of anthocyanins and choline in sweet potatoes make the vegetables.
- Prevent cancer
Research has also shown that sweet potato is particularly useful in the fight against cancer. The sweet potato has elements that can constrain the growth of specific cancer diseases that include gastric cancer, breast cancer, and colon cancer. They manage to induce the cell death of these cancer cells. The sweet potato’s anti-cancer property regarding gastric and breast cancers is the vegetable’s high anthocyanin content.
- Regulates blood pressure
Sweet potatoes contain substantial amounts of both magnesium and potassium. They both are essential to maintain depression and hypertension. They also help regulate blood pressure, which reduces the chances of a person suffering from cardiac diseases. They are rich in magnesium and potassium so that they can help in controlling blood pressure. It reduces the chance of a person developing a stroke or any coronary problem. Researchers have shown that a higher intake of potassium results in a decrease in blood pressure.
- Manage Weight
Sweet potatoes contain fiber, and they help in maintaining body weight. Studies have shown that higher consumption of grains is strongly connected to reduce body weight.
Sweet potatoes contain soluble and fermented fiber that offers the body a natural, self-sustaining mechanism and manage body weight regulation. Research has considered that one of the significant soluble dietary fibers in sweet potatoes is known as pectin. It is effective at reducing food intake, reducing weight gain. It also helps in increasing the activity of satiety hormones in the body.
Sweet potato vs. yam
Both sweet potato and yam are root vegetables. Their outer skin is smooth, with different colors like yellow, orange, red, purple, and brown. The sweet potatoes’ flesh also differs depending on the type from orange or to white or purple. The flavor of sweet potato is sweet to contain starch, and its content is moist and juicy. Sweet potatoes are said to come from Central America.
Instead, yams are more prominent in comparison to sweet potatoes. Their skin is rough and bark-like structure. The flesh is white, yellow, purple, or pink, starchy and dry, less sugary. Yams originated in Asia, Africa, and Central America.
Yam is higher in fiber and starches, which subsidizes our digestive health. It prevents constipation, reduces the risk of colorectal cancer, feeds our healthy gut bacteria, and reduces inflammation. Also, they help with losing weight.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, are higher in vitamin A and carotenoids. They ensure the light-detecting function of the eyes. Vitamin A deficiency may lead to xeropthalmia disease, which is a kind of blindness. For our eyesight, purple sweet potatoes are beneficial because they contain unique antioxidants that protect the eyes.
Yams and sweet potatoes are entirely different vegetables. Yam is more abundant in fiber and lowers in Glycaemic Index, Sodium, and Sugars, while, on the other hand, sweet potatoes are rich in nutritional level as a comparison. Because of extremely high Potassium and Sodium in yam, and relatively higher Calcium and Zinc in sweet potato yam are better. Sweet potatoes and yams have antioxidative, anti-diabetic, and anti-proliferative effects. Sweet potatoes contribute to our eyesight, while yams are very beneficial for women’s hormonal health. Sweet potatoes are an attractive addition to a balanced diet if a person needs to. Despite this, they do contain any oxalates in them, which binds calcium and other minerals.
While there are no specific superfoods that can prevent cancer in our body, so, there is evidence that eating a healthy diet can reduce the risk of cancer. Compounds that help defend the body against damage by free radicals, fruit, and vegetables are high in antioxidants. Researchers have suggested that the antioxidants of sweet potatoes in the peel, particularly in purple sweet potato, help reduce this oxidation process, thereby reducing cancer risk. Scrub the sweet potato well before cooking to get the most nutrition.