Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamins A and E, beta carotene, potassium, calcium, fiber, and foliate. They are easy to cook and delicous for babies, teens as well as adults. From bread to cookies, cakes to one-pots, the possibilities for sweet potato recipes are virtuelly endless.
Why are sweet potatoes vibrant in color?Natural pigments called Carotenoids are responsible for the colorful appearance of sweet potatoes. Beta-carotene can help ward off free radicals that damage cells through oxidation, which can speed up aging and make you vulnerable against chronic diseases. This antioxidant can help support your immune system, as well as lower your risk of heart disease and cancer.Beta-carotene can be converted into vitamin A by your body, and vitamin A which is a natural anti-inflammatory, can help get rid of acne-causing bacteria and contributes to optimal eye health and vision.
Purple sweet potatoes, on the other hand, contain anthocyanins, another type of natural pigments. Anthocyanins are associated with reduced cancer risk. Studies show they help suppress stomach, colon, lung, and breast cancer cell proliferation.They also prevent blood clots by stopping platelets from clumping together – a function that may help fight heart disease.
The Sweet Potato vs. Regular Potatoes and Yam
Sweet potatoes vary from regular potatoes, despite similarities in calorie, carbohydrate, and fiber content. Sweet potatoes are often considered healthier than the yams and regular potatoes because the calories and salt content of regular potatoes increase when they are fried. Regularly eating them fried may put you at risk of high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease, and stroke. This does not happen with sweet potatoes. Also, the varying colors (yellow, purple and orange) of sweet potatoes indicate the presence of antioxidants, another reason why they are superior to yams and regular potatoes and should be eaten more often.
Are Sweet Potatoes Safe for Diabetics and Pre-Diabetics?Diabetes and pre-diabetes patients suffer from high blood glucose (blood sugar), either because insulin production is inadequate, or because the body’s cells do not respond properly to insulin, or both. These patients are advised to consume foods that would not release glucose at a rapid rate into the bloodstream.
Research show that sweet potatoes are a low-glycemic index (GI) food, that is, they release glucose very slowly into the bloodstream and benefit the pancreas by not overworking it and make you feel satiated longer. Also, sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar because of their ability to raise blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone created by your fat cells, to help regulate how your body metabolizes insulin.
Even if these findings exist, sweet potatoes should still be consumed in moderation. Keep in mind that the sweet potato is a naturally sweet food. If you’re a diabetic or are suffering from problems related to insulin resistance, consult your doctor to know whether it’s safe for you to consume sweet potatoes.
How to cook sweet potatoes to retain most of it’s nutrientsHow we prepare our food is as important as the foods we chose to eat as this can greatly impact the quality of our meals. Sweet potatoes are no exception. Generally, in the African community, sweet potatoes are boiled, though this method is healtheir than deep frying, it is not recommended because boiling can destroy beneficial components. Steaming and baking improves the bioavailability of beta-carotene, making the antioxidant more accessible to your body.
Try these sweet potato recipes and enjoy the sweetness!
Happy healthy you xoxo
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