7 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Last updated on May 31, 2011
The sweet potato is one of the most nutritious foods in the world. Here are seven health benefits of sweet potatoes.
Both vitamin A and vitamin C, in which sweet potatoes are also abundant, are invaluable for the prevention of many different types of cancer. Research has shown that the antioxidant pigment anthocyanin is abundant in the starch of the sweet potato, which may decrease the dangers presented by heavy metals and oxygen radicals.
Further antioxidant properties are produced by storage enzymes found in sweet potatoes. When damaged, the potato releases sporamins to help heal itself, an antioxidant capability our gastrointestinal tracts may also take advantage of.
Sweet potato has anti-inflammatory properties thanks to the vitamin C, vitamin B6, beta-carotene, and manganese it contains. They are just as effective in curing both internal and external inflammations. Lowered inflammation has been shown in brain tissue and nerve tissue throughout the body following the consumption of sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-cryptoxanthin, which has been found to help in the prevention of chronic inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis. Studies have found that those who ate foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin were 50% less likely to develop inflammatory arthritis than those who ate very of those foods. Just one serving per day of foods containing beta-cryptoxanthin, such as sweet potatoes, provided significant benefit.
In addition, the vitamin C in sweet potatoes helps maintain collagen and reduces the risk of developing certain forms of arthritis.
The carotenoids in sweet potato can help your body respond to insulin and stabilize your blood sugar. Sweet potatoes also have a significant amount of Vitamin B6, helping resistance to diabetic heart disease. Their high content of soluble fiber aids in lowering both blood sugar and cholesterol, and their abundance of chlorogenic acid may help decrease insulin resistance.
Sweet potato is soothing for the stomach. The B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, beta-carotene, and calcium they contain help in the healing of stomach ulcers. The fiber in sweet potatoes helps prevent constipation and acidity, consequently reducing the possibility of ulcers. The anti-inflammatory properties of sweet potatoes also soothe the pain and inflammation of ulcers.
Sweet potatoes provide over 90% of the body’s vitamin A needs. Researchers have found that smokers should eat foods high in vitamin A, as emphysema and many other lung diseases may be brought on by a deficiency of vitamin A associated with smoking.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of dietary fiber, helping to promote a healthy digestive system. Research has found that they may also help to cleanse heavy metals such as arsenic and mercury from the digestive tract.