9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Not only are sweet potatoes readily available, inexpensive and delicious, they have many other benefits for your health.

9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

1. High in vitamin B6

Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.

2. A good source of vitamin C

While most people know that vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, few people are aware that this crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.

sweetpotatoes

3. Supports a healthy heart and cardiovascular system

Research in the journal Cell Adhesion & Migration found that purple sweet potatoes contain potent heart and cardiovascular healing compounds known as quercetin and cyanidins that may prevent excessive clumping of blood cells, which is typically involved in atherosclerosis.

4. Good source of beta carotene

Sweet potatoes contain the brilliant-colored vitamin A precursor, known as beta carotene. On average, one cup of baked of sweet potato is sufficient to provide over 38,000 IU or 769% of a person’s typical daily vitamin A requirements.

5. Good Source of magnesium

Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, yet some experts estimate that up to 80 percent of the popula­tion in North America may be deficient in this important mineral due to commercial agricultural practices and poor eating habits. According to Nutrition Data, one cup of baked sweet potato is sufficient to provide 14% of your daily magnesium requirements.

6. Good source of potassium

Potassium is one of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys. Eating one cup of baked sweet potato is enough to meet 20  to 27 percent of most peoples’ daily potassium requirements.

7. Do not cause blood sugar spikes

Sweet potatoes are naturally sweet-tasting but their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain. Research in the Journal of Medicinal Food confirmed the food’s anti-diabetic activity.

Sauteed Sweet Potatoes

8. Ward off cancer and the effects of aging

Their rich orange color indicates that sweet potatoes are high in carotenoids like beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease; they are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging.

Research published last month in the Journal of Agriculture and Food Chemistry showcased a newly identified phytochemical called beta-sitosterol D glucoside that demonstrates potent anti-cancer activity against breast cancer. Because the study was the first to identify the compound, it is still unclear whether this new compound will have similar effectiveness against other forms of cancer or if the impressive results are specific to breast cancer. Regardless, any new discoveries in the treatment of cancer are always welcome, particular to those suffering from the disease.

Other research published in the medical journal Oncology Letters found that sweet potatoes contain a type of protein called sporamin which exhibits anti-tumor activity against numerous types of cancer.

9. Anti-inflammatory

Research published in the journal BMC Complementary and Alternative Medicine found that compounds in sweet potatoes known as polyphenols, which give them their brilliant color and delicious flavor, are also responsible for their potent anti-inflammatory activity. The study found that sweet potatoes are effective against both acute and chronic types of inflammation, making them a great addition to any diet.

Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked or grilled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad. I enjoy grilling them with onions and red peppers for amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients.  Puree them and add to smoothies and baked goods.

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Dr. Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, DNM is the publisher of the free e-newsletter World’s Healthiest News, the Cultured Cook, co-founder of BestPlaceinCanada, and an international best-selling and 20-time published book author whose works include: Be Your Own Herbalist: Essential Herbs for Health, Beauty, & Cooking.  Follow her work.

 

713 comments

Elisabeth T
Elisabeth T2 months ago

Great information, thanks for sharing

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Ruth S
Ruth S2 months ago

Thanks.

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Richard E Cooley
Richard E C2 months ago

Thank you.

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Chrissie R
Chrissie R2 months ago

Even better, they're not only healthy, they're actually delicious!

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Catherine Z
Catherine Z2 months ago

Love the recipes thank you

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Beverly S
Beverly S2 months ago

All-around good!

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Renata B
Renata B2 months ago

Wonderful and healthy. Thank you.

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Janis K
Janis K2 months ago

Thanks for sharing.

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Marija M
Marija M2 months ago

tks

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Lisa M
Lisa M2 months ago

Thanks.

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