5 Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes You Shouldn’t Miss Out On

Benefits of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes on the old wooden table.

Easily recognized by its copper-colored skin and vibrant orange flesh, sweet potato has found a special place in the health-conscious world of today. In fact, with chefs replacing, the more traditional, white potato for sweet potato in fries, dips, stews, soups, and even curries. What’s more, they also make for great additions to several desserts including brownies and pies. This rage around sweet potato could be owing to their deliciousness as well as their nutritional profile. Here are all the health benefits this vegetable provides.

1. Keep Gut Healthy And Prevent Digestive Disorders

If you tend to have digestive troubles, adding sweet potato to your diet. It contains both soluble and insoluble fiber, neither of which the body can digest.1 Instead, they stay within the digestive tract. Certain types of soluble fiber, known as viscous fibers, absorb water and add bulk to the stool. Other types of soluble fiber, as well as insoluble fibers, may be fermented by bacteria in the colon, creating compounds called short-chain fatty acids that fuel the cells of your intestinal lining and keep your gut healthy and strong.2 3 4

Studies

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have found that consuming a diet containing 20–33 grams of fiber per day lowers the risk of colon cancer and regulates bowel movements.5 6 7  The antioxidants in sweet potatoes have been found to promote the growth of healthy bacteria, including certain Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species which keep gut healthy and lower the risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome and infectious diarrhea.8 9 10 11

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id="2">2. Protect Vision

Boiling sweet potatoes makes the nutrients in them more absorbable as compared to roasting or frying them. You could also choose to cook them with the skin on for the same benefits.12 Additionally, cooking sweet potatoes with a little fat such as coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado can help boost the absorption of beta-carotene since it is a fat-soluble nutrient.13 14 Keep the skin on and boil sweet potatoes instead of baking or frying them to preser

The bright orange color of sweet potatoes may make it beneficial for vision. The antioxidant beta-carotene, that’s responsible for this orange color, is converted to vitamin A in the body and forms light-detecting receptors in the eyes. Deficiency in this nutrient can prevent a type of blindness known as xeropthalmia. Considering that one cup of baked sweet potatoes provides more than 7 times the recommended amount of beta-carotene per day, consuming them regularly is bound to keep your eyesight healthy.15 Besides, studies have also found that the anthocyanins (antioxidant) protect the eye cells from damage.16 17 18 19

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id="3">3. May Support Your Immune System

If you choose to swap sweet potatoes for white potatoes, be sure to stick to a small portion size. Although nutritious, sweet potatoes have a high glycemic index that is almost as high as that of a white potato.20

If you tend to fall sick often, the beta-carotene in sweet potatoes may help.21 Vitamin A, which beta-carotene is converted into in the body, is critical to a healthy immune system and low blood levels of the vitamin has been linked to reduced immunity. The vitamin also maintains mucous membranes in the gut and decreases inflammation. Since the gut is exposed to many potential disease-causing pathogens, a healthy gut will keep your body free from potential threats.22 23 24 25

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id="4">4. Promote Healthy Brain Function

Eating sweet potatoes may strengthen and maintain your brain function. Studies conducted on animals have found that the anthocyanins in them can protect the brain by reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage. In addition to this, they might improve learning and memory.26 27 28 That said, no studies have been conducted on humans to fully validate this benefit.

5.
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May Prevent Cancer

Antioxidants have been known to fight free-radical damage and stave off cancer. Both test tube and animal studies have found that anthocyanins in sweet potatoes may slow down the growth of bladder, colon, stomach, and breast cancer cells.29 30 31 32 33 34 That said, studies have yet to check if the same effects can be determined in humans.

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