The holidays wouldn’t be complete without delicious and nutritious sweet potatoes. Chances are you’ve been enjoying sweet potatoes but haven’t given much thought to their nutritional and health-promoting qualities. Here are 11 reasons to love sweet potatoes:
1. Beta Carotene — Their orange color is the giveaway that they are high in beta carotene, which is the precursor to vitamin A in the body and helps ensure a healthy immune system and great skin. A small amount of natural fat like extra virgin olive oil helps increase absorption of beta carotene.
2. Batatosides — Recently researchers discovered a related group of nutrients in sweet potatoes called batatosides that have been found to have antibacterial and antifungal properties.
3. Cyanidins and Peonidins — New research shows that cyanidins and peonidins found in sweet potatoes may be able to lower the potential health risk posed by heavy metals.
4. Antioxidants — A particular type of protein found in sweet potatoes called sporamins are potent antioxidants that help reduce the effects of aging and disease.
5. Inflammation Reduction — Compounds found in sweet potatoes reduce inflammation. In animal studies consuming sweet potatoes reduced inflammation in the brain and nerve tissue throughout the body.
6. Reduced Fibrinogen — Sweet potatoes appear to reduce the amount of fibrinogen in the body, which means it may be helpful for diseases like multiple sclerosis and fibromyalgia.
Keep reading to discover more reasons to love sweet potatoes and ways to enjoy them...7. Blood Sugar Levels — Sweet potatoes regulate blood sugar levels even in diabetics, according to research.
8. Strong Immune System — Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C which helps maintain a strong immune system which is important for healthy bone and tooth formation, digestion and wound healing. Our stress glands, the adrenals, use high amounts of vitamin C when we are under stress.
9. Antibodies — They are also high in vitamin B6 which helps build antibodies to fight disease, maintain normal nerve function and build hemoglobin — the substance in the blood that carries oxygen to organs and tissues. It has also been shown to reduce the symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.
10. Minerals — High in minerals like potassium, iron and magnesium, sweet potatoes are nutritionally superior to white potatoes.
11. They taste great.
How to Enjoy Sweet Potatoes
-Try them roasted, pureed, steamed, baked, or grilled.
-You can add them to soups and stews.
-Grill them and place on top of salad greens for a delicious and appetizing twist on salad.
-Grill with onions and red peppers and use as sandwich or wrap ingredients.
-Make baked sweet potato fries instead of French fries. See recipe here.
-Enjoy my Roasted Sweet Potato Salad.
Subscribe to my free e-magazine World’s Healthiest News to receive monthly health news, tips, recipes and more. Follow me on Twitter @mschoffrocook and Facebook. Copyright Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD.