How Sweet Potatoes are Good For Your Health
Excellent Source of (Daily Recommended):
- Vitamin A – 377%
Good Source of (Daily Recommended):
- Vitamin B6 – 14%
- Pantothenic Acid – 11%
A Source of:
- Thiamin – 7%
- Riboflavin – 5%
- Vitamin C – 5%
- Folate – 4%
- Niacin – 4%
Good Source of (Daily Recommended):
- Manganese – 17%
- Potassium – 13%
- Copper – 10%
A Source of:
- Magnesium – 8%
- Phosphorus – 6%
- Iron – 5%
- Calcium – 4%
- Sodium – 3%
- Zinc – 3%
Also a Source of:
- Fiber – 16%
- Antioxidants – Beta-carotene, Anthocyanin, Chlorogenic acid
How Sweet Potatoes Prevent Chronic Disease
Sweet Potatoes, like many vegetables, prevent several chronic diseases that plague America today. Most notably, sweet potatoes help to prevent cancer and diabetes.
How Sweet Potatoes Prevent Cancer
In general, vegetables are recommended to be consumed daily in order to help prevent cancer. Sweet potatoes are a great resource to incorporate into your diet to prevent various cancers.
Sweet potatoes can help reduce the amount of oxidative stress that your body endures and reduce your risk for various cancers. (2)
Typically, the excess number of free radicals found in the body can lead to oxidative stress and the free radicals are responsible for damaging a number of essential tissues. As free radicals continue to damage the important tissues, the cancer cells proliferate and eventually infiltrate different portions of your body.
Sweet potatoes carry antioxidants which can help fight against the free radicals and prevent a number of cancers. (3)
It is important to note that purple colored potatoes have the most antioxidant activity.
Purple potatoes are the richest in anthocyanin, which is a potent antioxidant that provides the purple color to the potatoes while preventing inflammation. (6)
The anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes have been shown to prevent colorectal cancer by up to 89% in some animal studies. Further studies must be done to validate these initial findings. (7)
Sweet potatoes are also rich in vitamin C. Vitamin C has been shown to improve your overall immune system by producing white blood cells. These white blood cells have been shown to eliminate the free radicals and prevent a number of cancers, such as breast, colorectal, and stomach cancers. (8)
Moreover, sweet potatoes are rich in another antioxidant called chlorogenic acid. Chlorogenic acid has been shown to prevent lung cancer growth and completely prevent new tumor development in mouse studies. More human studies must be done to confirm these initial findings. (9)
Lastly, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, especially orange sweet potatoes. Beta carotene is an essential antioxidant. Similar to other antioxidants, beta carotene helps fight against the free radicals and can inhibit cancer proliferation. (10)
Compared to regular potatoes, sweet potatoes are richer in beta carotene.
How Sweet Potatoes Prevent Diabetes
Sweet potatoes can help prevent blood-sugar fluctuations after you indulge in your meals. Many times, your blood sugar levels will spike after you have a carb filled meal. To combat blood sugar fluctuations, sweet potatoes have been shown to increase your insulin sensitivity.
Specifically, there is a white skinned sweet potato called caiapo. Caiapo has been shown to improve symptoms in individuals with type 2 diabetes and even decrease fasting blood glucose levels. (11, 12)
Caiapo helps increase levels of adiponectin. Adiponectin is a protein that is essential in regulating blood glucose levels. (13)
Sweet Potatoes Promote a Number of Health Benefits
Sweet Potatoes not only help to prevent diseases but support and promote the function of several important systems in our bodies.
How Sweet Potatoes Promote Digestion
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber content. Typically, fiber can be split up into two categories, soluble and insoluble fibers. Soluble fiber, such as pectin, helps keep you fuller after a meal. This allows you to decrease your overall food intake, which will minimize the amount of blood sugar spikes that you have after a meal. (14)
Insoluble fibers have been shown to help reduce your risk for gut related disorders, as they help food pass through your gut with more ease.
How Sweet Potatoes Promote Eye Health
Sweet potatoes are very rich in beta carotene. Beta carotene is important for eye health, as it prevents age-related macular degeneration. This is a disorder that often occurs as you get older. (15)
- Note: Sweet potatoes that are more orange in color have been shown to have more beta carotene and provide more benefits to the eye compared to other potatoes. (16)
- Sweet potatoes are absolutely packed with vitamin A. Vitamin A is converted into rhodopsin, which is the pigment in the cone cells of our eyes responsible for night vision. This indicates that vitamin A consumption is essential for night vision. (17)