Sweet potatoes are an extremely versatile and delicious root vegetable that possesses a great number of nutritional benefits.
It is also a valuable medicinal plant, providing anti-cancer, antidiabetic, and anti-inflammatory activities (Source).
Due to its high phenolic and anthocyanin content, sweet potatoes have a high antioxidant activity (Source).
A Powerhouse of Vitamins and Minerals
The most abundant vitamins and minerals found in this root vegetable are:
Vitamin A – Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A.
A 3.5 ounce serving (about 1/3 cup) of this root vegetable provides the recommended daily amount of vitamin-A.
Vitamin C – An antioxidant that may decrease the duration of the common cold and improve skin health.
Potassium – As already noted, this mineral is important for blood pressure control, and may decrease your risk of heart disease.
Manganese – Is a trace mineral that is important for growth, development, and metabolism.
Vitamin B6 – Is an important vitamin as its role in your diet is to convert food into energy.
Vitamin B5 – Also known as pantothenic acid, has shown to alleviate conditions such as asthma, hair loss, allergies, stress and anxiety, respiratory disorders, and heart problems.
Vitamin E – A fat-soluble antioxidant shown to help protect your body against oxidative damage.
Sweet Potatoes and Cancer
Oxidative damage to cells is often associated with increased risk of cancer, which occurs when cells divide uncontrollably.
Studies indicate that sweet potatoes’ potent antioxidants may reduce your risk of cancer.
Purple potatoes have the highest antioxidant activity.
Sweet Potatoes and Blood Pressure
You can help keep your potassium levels up and reduce the risk of developing high blood pressure by including foods like sweet potatoes to your diet.
Diets rich in potassium may help regulate blood pressure levels.
If your potassium level is too low, you may see an increase in your blood pressure.
This can put you at risk of developing hypertension, especially when combined with high sodium intake.
Cooking With Sweet Potatoes
It should first be noted that before cooking sweet potatoes, make sure to scrub the skins.
There are a variety of ways to prepare sweet potatoes, including baked, boiled, grilled, and roasted.
You can use an oven, grill, microwave, or stovetop.
Enjoy sweet potatoes on their own, as a side dish, in a casserole, or sliced into thin strips and baked – for sweet potato fries.
Mashed, diced or sliced a cooked sweet potato is really healthy a sweet treat.
Sweet potatoes are underground tubers, a root vegetable which are an excellent source of beta carotene, and many other vitamins, minerals, and plant compounds.
This root vegetable has been studied and shown to have several health benefits, which includes among others improved blood sugar regulation and maintaining a healthy blood pressure.
Overall, sweet potatoes are nutritious, cheap, and easy to incorporate into your diet.