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Are Sweet Potatoes Good For You?

Published 8/2/13

What are Sweet Potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are a sweet and delicious vegetable that has been around for many years. Originating in Central America, they are one of the oldest vegetables around. Sweet potatoes, also known as Yam, are not only one of nature’s most delicious vegetables but also one of the healthiest. Sweet potatoes are not only delicious on it’s own, but it can also been cooked in many different ways or added on to many different dishes. However along with being a delicious vegetable, its also very nutritious and beneficial for the body. Sweet potatoes contain many vitamins and minerals, which are very important to our health.

Sweet Potatoe Benefits

Vitamins and Minerals: Sweet potatoes are very rich in many different types of vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin B6, C, D, Iron, potassium and magnesium. Vitamin B6 is helpful in reducing chemical homocysteine, which can help with the prevention of heart attacks. Vitamin C, as most of us know, helps reduce the risk of catching a cold or flu. However along with keeping us from getting sick, it is also great for keeping you skin strong and elastic, because of the collagen. Vitamin D is also very important for keeping our bodies strong and healthy. It keeps our immune system strong and overall helps keep our bones, skin, heart, nerve, and teeth healthy.  Iron is also very important, because it produces white and red blood cells for our body and it’s also maintains a proper functioning immune system. Magnesium, which is very rich in sweet potatoes, is important for having a healthy heart, blood, bone, artery, and muscle. Lastly Sweet potatoes provide potassium, which is important in helping regulate the heartbeat and nerve signals. 

Beta Carotene: Beta Carotene, also known at Vitamin A, is a type of anti-oxidant found in sweet potatoes. Beta Carotene is one of the more powerful anti-oxidants and therefore it’s shown to help prevent many different types of cancer. Beta Carotene has also been shown to internally protect the skin from excessive sun exposure and skin damage, by repairing cell damaged by the sun. It has also been shown to keep your eyes strong and healthy, which helps with the prevention of vision loss or macular degeneration.

Blood Sugar: Sweet potatoes have the ability to improve blood sugar level regulation in the body. It has been especially shown to improve blood sugar levels for those with type 2 Diabetes. Sweet potatoes are able to increase levels of adiponectin, which is an important modifier of insulin metabolism. When you have a healthier insulin metabolism, you will have higher levels of adiponectin and those with weaker insulin metabolism show a lower level of adiponectin. So consuming sweet potatoes can help you have a stronger insulin metabolism.      

Healthy Heart: The rich source of Vitamins B6 and potassium make sweet potatoes a great way to keep your heart strong and healthy. Vitamin B6 has been shown to harden the arteries and blood vessels by breaking down homocysteine. This keeps the blood passage strong and healthy, allowing for the blood to flow more easily. Potassium also plays an important role for keeping the heart strong and healthy, it’s used to help regulate heart rhythm and lowers blood pressure.

Conclusion on Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes can be eaten and cooked in many different ways, such as boiling it, baking it, steaming it or roasting it. Regardless of the way you choose to cook your sweet potatoes, it still provides you with a good source of nutrients. However there are certain cooking methods that are more recommended than others to bring out certain nutrients. Boiling and stir-frying have been shown to increase the Beta-carotene in Sweet potatoes. Never the less the recommended way to cook your sweet potatoes is simply steaming it, to best increase both nutrients and flavor. It’s hard to imagine that this deliciously sweet vegetable can provide so many great nutrients for our bodies, but that’s what makes sweet potatoes such a popular vegetable in many countries.       

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