Sweet Potatoes Reign Supreme
Feb 27th, 2013
I like sweet potatoes. I like ‘em roasted. I like ‘em boiled. I even like sweet potato pie. I knew sweet potatoes were nutritious, but I didn’t quite realize all the ways they can have a positive impact on my health. I did some digging around (online, not underground) to turnip….I mean…turn up… some facts about sweet potatoes.
It turns out that sweet potatoes might be one of the most nutritious foods in the world. They contain nutrients with known and powerful anti-oxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, and they help regulate blood sugar levels. As you might have guessed, they are chock full of vitamins and minerals. This includes vitamin B1, B5, B6, C, D, E, A, iron, magnesium, manganese, potassium, and lots of fiber.
What health benefits do these nutrients support? Well, here’s what I found out:
- Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s richest sources of beta-carotene and other similar nutrients. These oil-soluble nutrients will be best absorbed when combined with some fat in the meal, like olive oil. Beta-carotene is a vitamin A precursor and has powerful anti-oxidant properties which can impact our resistance to certain cancers and other diseases, help protect the skin from sun damage, and support healthy eyes. Here’s looking at you!
- Sweet potatoes are high in potassium which can help rid the body of excess sodium. Potassium can also assist in keeping blood volume and blood pressure controlled, and is necessary for healthy heart, brain and nervous system function. Talk about calm, cool and collected….
- Sweet potatoes are high in fiber with almost twice the fiber content of regular potatoes. Fiber can support a healthy digestive tract and may actually help remove cholesterol from the body. Higher fiber is part of the reason why sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index and do not raise blood sugars as fast as many other foods with similar carbohydrate content. Keep those sugars low and slow.
Besides all that, sweet potatoes are cheap, delicious, versatile, free of cholesterol and saturated fat, and generally available all year long. It appears that steaming or boiling will do the best job of retaining the nutrient content and minimizing the glycemic index of sweet potatoes. I found a lot of great sources of information. One of my favorites is Worlds Healthiest Food. I have always enjoyed visiting their webpages. I’m sure wherever you look you’ll find tons of information to support the statement that sweet potatoes reign supreme!
What’s your favorite sweet potato recipe?
Be happy and healthy!
**This content is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace the advice of your primary care physician.