The health benefits of sweet potatoes include their ability to help in healthy weight gain, boost immunity, regulate digestion, treat asthma and bronchitis, and control diabetes. Sweet potatoes also help in treating arthritis and stomach ulcers.
What are Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet Potatoes, also known as yams, are tuberous crops with the scientific name Ipomoea batatas. The plant is a creeper with heart-shaped or lobed leaves. The color of the tuber varies from purple or red to pale yellow or white, depending upon the variety, soil type, climate, and available minerals.
The red variety has drier and harder flesh while the white and yellow types have juicier flesh. The red variety has a characteristic aroma which becomes more prominent on boiling. The more reddish or orange the color of the flesh of the sweet potatoes, the stronger the aroma will be. Perhaps, this is due to the presence of beta-carotene, the concentration of which also increases with the color.
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes have many health benefits. Let’s explore them in detail below.
The fiber content in sweet potatoes is higher than that of common potatoes and they taste good too! When these two factors are combined with other minerals like magnesium, which is present in sweet potatoes, it makes an excellent facilitator for digestion. Sweet potatoes are easy to digest as well since they mainly contain starch. They are soothing to the stomach and intestines, so you can avoid any difficulties of digesting them.
Promote Weight Gain
Sweet potatoes contain good amounts of complex starch, along with healthy vitamins, minerals, and proteins. Moreover, they are very easy to digest. Thus, they provide a lot of energy and are excellent bulk builders for people looking to gain weight.
People who have recently suffered from illnesses, or are self-conscious about being frail or abnormally thin should welcome this news about sweet potatoes since there are no associated side effects, which most of the synthetic bulk building dietary supplements have.
Sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties, although they belong to different food families. This is primarily due to the presence of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and magnesium. They are equally effective in curing internal and external inflammation.
Boost Immune System
Sweet potatoes are excellent immune system boosters that defend your body from a wide variety of conditions. They are very rich in beta-carotene, which is a major antioxidant, along with vitamin C and B complex vitamins, iron, and phosphorus. All these nutrients help in strengthening the immunity and keeping you healthy.
Sweet potatoes are effective in curing congestion of the nose, bronchi, and lungs; thereby, giving relief from asthma. The aroma of these potatoes helps in this relief.
Sweet potatoes are believed to be capable of warming up the body, possibly due to the sweetness and other nutrients that impact body temperature. This property is also beneficial for people suffering from bronchitis, along with its powerful effect on congestion. The concentration of vitamin C, iron, and other nutrients helps cure bronchitis.
Reduce Arthritis Pain
Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc, and vitamin B complex make sweet potatoes a highly important food source for managing arthritis. The water in which sweet potatoes are boiled can also be applied externally on joints to ease the associated pain of arthritis.
Beta-carotene, a champion antioxidant and an anticarcinogenic substance, is the pigment responsible for the color of the peel of sweet potatoes. The beta-carotene and vitamin C contained in sweet potatoes are very beneficial for curing various types of cancer, mainly those of colon, intestines, prostate, kidneys, and other internal organs.
Treat Stomach Ulcers
Sweet potatoes have a soothing effect on the stomach and the intestines. B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and calcium are all very effective in curing stomach ulcers. Moreover, the roughage in sweet potatoes prevents constipation and the resultant acid formation, thereby reducing the chance of ulcers. The anti-inflammatory and soothing properties of sweet potatoes also reduce the pain and inflammation of the ulcers.
Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes are beneficial for diabetics. Amazingly, they are very effective in regulating blood sugar levels by helping the proper secretion and function of insulin. Of course, that does not mean that diabetics should eat them indiscriminately. The idea is that sweet potatoes can replace rice or carbohydrate intake as a healthier option.
The fiber or roughage present in sweet potatoes helps the body retain water. This maintains water balance in the body, keeping you hydrated and your cells functioning efficiently.
Sweet potatoes are effective for helping people quit addictions like smoking, drinking, and taking certain narcotics. They are good for the health of arteries and veins, as they protect their walls against hardening. The high concentration of beta-carotene (an alternative form of vitamin A) and phosphorus are excellent for both ocular and cardiac health.
So, go out and grab a sweet potato for your next meal; they are delicious and nutritious. Yum! Yum! Yam!