Sweet potato is one of the most easily available root vegetables in the market. It is an underground vegetable which grows on the roots of a plant. It contains high antioxidants like beta-carotene, which is very good for the body. Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious having fibre, carbohydrates and protein. They are sweet in taste and can be included in different ways in your daily diet. The health benefits of sweet potato are many and so not to include it your diet will be highly disadvantageous. Sweet potatoes are easy to make and can be eaten by boiling, baking, frying or even steaming.
Let us look at the top 7 nutrition health benefits of sweet potato.
Sweet potatoes are high in nutrition, low in calories and thus help in weight loss.
Sweet potatoes are a great filling food. They are a great food to eat when you are trying to lose weight. Further they are high in fibre and potassium, low in calories and have very little fat.
Sweet potatoes also have a low glycemic index, which means that they do not let your blood sugar levels go up very fast. As they have a low glycemic index, they are absorbed slowly, resulting in you staying full for a longer period of time and thus delaying your hunger pangs.
Sweet potatoes are high in different vitamins.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of vitamin C, which helps in protecting the body against cold, flu and other diseases. They also help in digestion, wound healing, maintaining the glow of the skin and giving you a youthful look.
Research has indicated that sweet potatoes have vitamin B6, which reduces the chemical homocysteine, which is mainly responsible for degenerative diseases.
Vitamin D present in sweet potatoes helps in building bones, immune system, healthy skin , teeth and also helps to boost the energy levels. Vitamin D is received primarily from sunlight.
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre.
Sweet potatoes have both soluble fibre (15 to 20%) and insoluble fibre (75 to 85%), both of which are needed for a healthy body. Soluble fibre keeps us full, decreases food intake and reduces the blood sugar spike, by slowing down the digestion process.
Insoluble fibre reduces the risk of diabetes etc. They have mostly carbohydrates but also have a good amount of fibre which makes them healthy.
Sweet potatoes are good for relieving stress as they are rich in magnesium.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium which helps in relieving stress, muscle and nerve functions. This is one food that helps to release your stress.
Sweet potatoes are high in starch.
Sweet potatoes are high in starch, which is broadly classified into 3 types. The rapidly digested starch (approx. 80%), are starches which are broken down quickly rising the glycemic index. The resistant starch (approx. 12%) acts like fibre. The slowly digested starch (approx. 9%) breaks down slowly. Try cooling down the sweet potatoes before eating them.
Sweet potatoes are very good for the skin.
Sweet potatoes are responsible for converting vitamin A, which helps in producing new skin cells. As your body produces new skin, the old skin is removed giving you more glow and radiance. Research has also indicated that beta-carotene helps in reducing radical skin damage, anti-aging and prevents wrinkle formation.
Applying sweet potato pulp mixed with rosewater and lavender oil can lead to glowing skin. They are also used in many skin and face packs.
Sweet potatoes are healthier than regular potatoes.
They are healthier than normal potatoes due to the high fibre content, low calories and a good source of vitamins, minerals, potassium and carbohydrates. Sweet potatoes do not have toxins. Potassium helps in improving the health of the heart and nervous system. It also helps in muscle relaxation and controlling and protecting kidney activities.
Sweet potatoes boost your immune system.
Sweet potatoes are high in iron, which is needed for the production of red and white blood cells, helps in stress resistance and boosting the immune system.
In short, sweet potatoes are cheap, easily available and highly nutritious. You can easily include sweet potatoes in your breakfast, other meals or snack time. They can be roasted, added in soups, stews, baked, grilled, boiled as well as added to smoothies etc.
Here are a few sweet potatoes recipes that are easy to make –
Spicy Roasted Sweet Potato.
Peel the potatoes and cut them in length in wedges. In a large bowl take 2tbsp of olive oil, 1tbsp of mustard sauce, mixed dry herbs, salt, 1tbsp of chopped garlic, fresh rosemary and parsley. Mix all the sweet potatoes with this dressing and lay it on the baking tray. Bake it at 450 degrees for 30 minutes, till it turns brown and cooked. Serve it with tomato ketchup.
Mix vegetable soup with sweet potatoes.
Heat 2tbsp of oil in a pan. Add chopped 1tbsp of garlic, ginger, onions and tomatoes. Sauté it well. Add half cup of parboiled chopped carrots, green peas and sweet potatoes. You can add any vegetables of your choice. Add a little garam masala and salt. Add 2 cups of water and cook it till done. Cool down and blend the mixture into a thick soup. Serve it with bread croutons.
Sweet potato pudding or Halwa.
Boil 3-4 sweet potatoes, remove the peel and mash them properly. In a pan, heat 2tbsp of oil and add 1 cup of milk, 2tbsp of sugar and then add the mashed potatoes. Mix well and stir it properly and then add chopped nuts, cardamom powder etc. Add a little warm water if it is too dry. Stir well and then serve it hot as a breakfast or as a snack item.
These are some easy snacks which can be made using sweet potatoes. Going forward, ensure that sweet potatoes form an integral part of your healthy diet.
Please read our earlier article Amazing Health Benefits of Yogurt.
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