Health Benefits of Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a sweet and fleshy vegetable which belongs to the Convolvulaceae family. This root vegetable, found in varied shapes, sizes and colors, is a staple food in many countries. Sweet potatoes can be eaten raw, boiled, grilled or baked. It is used in soups, as a side dish in various appetizers and as a key ingredient in many deserts like pies and jellies. Sweet potato is a rich source of nutrients. Let us have a look at the nutritional and health benefits of sweet potato.
Nutritional Benefits Of Sweet Potato
Sweet potato is a highly nutritious and low calorie food. It provides only 40 calories for 100 gram of its consumption. It mainly constitutes of carbohydrate and dietary fibre. It is one of the major sources of Vitamin-A, and other vitamins like Vitamin-B, Vitamin-C and Vitamin-K are also found in it. Minerals like calcium, iron, magnesium, potassium are present in sweet potato.
Sweet Potatoes are Heart Friendly
Sweet potato is rich in antioxidants which can help in improving heart health. It contains beta-carotene which is associated with lowering of bad LDL cholesterol in the body. Vitamin-B6 is present in significant amount in this healthy root vegetable. Vitamin-B6 helps in disintegrating a compound known as homocysteine, which is known to harden the blood arteries and blood vessels. It thus helps in increasing the flexibility of arteries and results in easy flow of blood throughout the body. Sweet potato also contains potassium which is a heart friendly mineral. It aids in maintaining proper rhythm of the heart. They are known to counter balance the effect of sodium, thus reducing chances of high blood pressure.
Sweet Potato is Anti-Carcinogenic
Sweet potato is rich in anti-oxidants and thus can inhibit the metabolism of cancer growing cells in the body. It is rich in beta-carotene and lutein which are found to work against lung, colon and stomach cancer. It also is rich in anti-oxidants like caffeic acid, di-caffeoylquinic acid and tri-caffeoylquinic acid which have got anti-carcinogenic properties. Anthocyanin is a substance present in sweet potato which is helpful against liver cancer.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potato – Good for Eyes
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene namely lutein and zeaxanthin, which are really helpful in improving eye health. They help in preventing cataracts, improve night vision and can prevent the occurrence of macular degeneration in old people. Vitamin-A dimmers can be restricted by consuming sweet potatoes. They help in protecting the layer of the cornea and are effective against dry eyes. Vitamin-A also helps against retinitis pigmentosa.
Sweet Potato can curb Diabetes
Diabetic patients can consume this vegetable in moderation. It contains starch in its simplest form which can be easily broken down and digested. It is even low in glycaemic index. They help in regulating the blood sugar level in the body. It helps in increasing the level of a protein hormone known as adiponectin which metabolizes the insulin.
Health Benefits Of Sweet Potato – Improves Skin
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants which can protect the skin from free radical damages. Wrinkles and premature aging can be controlled when it is consumed. It is rich in beta-carotene and Vitamin-A, extracts like retinol and retinoic acid can help in removing the dead cells and inhibit the production of melanin (dark pigment). Vitamin-C is present in enormous quantity in sweet potato. They are natural antioxidants which can restrict the process of oxidative stresses. They help in maintaining the skin supple and radiant. Blemishes and dark spots can be delayed by consuming this food.
Sweet Potato promotes Digestion
Sweet potato is a dietary fibre rich vegetable. It helps in binding the food particles and promotes healthy bowel movement. Constipation can be prevented by its consumption. Vitamin-C also helps in stimulating the production of saliva and digestive juices which can aid in proper digestion.
Other Health Benefits Of Sweet Potato
- Sweet potato is rich in magnesium which can help in reducing stress and anxiety. It is also helpful for bones, heart muscle, nerves and blood arteries.
- It is rich in iron which can aid in the production of red and white blood cells. Immunity can also be increased by consuming this mineral.
- Bronchitis and other respiratory problems can be inhibited by its intake. Presence of Vitamin-C helps in fighting microbial germs. It has soothing effect and can relieve congestion.
- Health benefits of sweet potato includes preventing arthritis. Arthritis can be curbed due to the presence of zinc, magnesium and Vitamin-B.