Sweet potato is a nutritious food, low in fat and with many properties that can help the human being to lead a healthier life, if he incorporates it into his daily diet. It has been proven that these potatoes have so many health benefits that they should not be compared to white potatoes as a substitute for french fries. Undoubtedly this rich food is loaded with vitamins, minerals and even antioxidants. Although sweet potato does not look like it, you have amazing nutritional benefits that you might not know and that we will show you later. Before talking fully about how beneficial sweet potatoes can be for your body, we will give you additional information that may be interesting about this tuber.
Sweet Potato Origin:
It is said that sweet potato, also known as sweet potato, sweet potato, chaco or sweet potato, was one of the foods brought by Christopher Columbus from Europe to America. It comes from the family of potatoes, but they are more elongated and the color of their meat can be white or orange. Researchers have published that it has more vitamins than potatoes, high in vitamin E and with fewer calories than other foods in the same family. Because of its versatility, it combines perfectly as companions of dishes that carry meat or fish, or simply accompanied by a good piece of white cheese, while in countries like Spain it is consumed as dessert. Many people who use it in their daily recipes ensure that they have soft skin and are firm to the touch. Keep them in a dark place, free of moisture and extreme temperatures. Your skin comes out easily when roasted.
Sweet Potato Nutritional Value:
For every 100 grams of product already cooked (without salt or oil) we have:
- Only 115 calories.
- 5140 mg of beta-carotenes. The more orange the color of your meat, the more content in this nutrient.
- More than 3 grams of fiber.
- 9 mg of iron
- 480 mg of potassium
- 23 mg of vitamin C.
- 6 mg of vitamin E.
- 4 mg zinc
Doubts About Sweet Potatoes:
- They are often synonymous with yams, but that is actually incorrect.
- Yams are a totally different species and only grow in Africa.
- Sweet potatoes are moist and sweet; Yams are dry and starchy.
- Another bit of confusion arises because people believe there are too many carbohydrates in sweet potatoes and choose to avoid them. But this is also very bad.
- A medium sweet potato has 27 g of carbohydrates, which is slightly higher than most vegetables.
- The carbohydrates in sweet potatoes are broken down into sugars and starches, 32% of the carbohydrates in sweet potatoes come from simple sugars (think: fructose, glucose, sucrose), while 53% of your carbohydrates come from starches.
- Sweet potatoes have a relatively medium to high glycemic index (GI) rating, which measures how food causes blood sugar levels to rise.
- They range between 44 and 94, depending on the variety and method of cooking.
- It is important that people keep in mind that the GI ranges from 1 to 100, with foods that raise blood sugar levels at the upper end of the scale. You can see why the range of sweet potatoes is so confusing; A 44 is not that bad, but a 94 is almost like eating white rice or a refined baguette.
- The reason why sweet potatoes are rated so high with GI is because they are mostly made from fast-digesting starches (about 80%). There are three categories of starches and they differ in the way they work in our bodies during digestion.
Starches in Sweet Potatoes Decompose as:
Quickly Digested Starch:
- Which increases the GI value more since it is rapidly absorbed into the bloodstream
- That is not easily digested and acts as fiber
Slowly Digested Starch:
- What causes a minor increase in blood sugar levels because it is slowly digested in the body.
- For most healthy people, they are an excellent option.
- So, now that we know the real breakdown of carbohydrates in sweet potatoes, let’s get some of the best nutritional benefits associated with these tasty tuberous roots.
Sweet Potato Properties:
- Sweet potato has a great sweet taste and a variable color according to the type of vegetable, being able to find white, yellow, purple or orange.
- This coloration is due to its high content of carotenes, pigments that have positive effects on our body due to its antioxidant power, but also, possess phenolic compounds with a great activity against oxygen free radicals.
- In addition, sweet potato because it is a root, contains a protein of good nutritional quality and in no lesser amounts in which only sulfur amino acids are missing.
- Likewise, sweet potato is rich in fiber, potassium, vitamin C, magnesium and calcium and the yellow variety is the one that concentrates the highest proportion of sugars with respect to sweet potato with purple or purple pulp.
- Likewise, it does not exceed 3% sugar, so most of its hydrates are complex.
- It is a vegetable of great nutritional value and with important properties that contribute to the health of the body.
General Benefits of Sweet Potato:
- It is so rich in antioxidants that it compares with algae. You have to choose the orange varieties that also have beta-carotenes in abundance.
- Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin E, such as sweet potatoes, is associated with a lower risk of suffering from all types of cancers, strokes and heart problems.
- Its high potassium content helps normalize high blood pressure.
- It is easy to digest and so highly nutritious that you should have a position of honor in vegetarian diets.
- It is an excellent palliative for intestinal inflammations of all kinds, helping to heal ulcers.
- Another of the amazing properties of sweet potato is that it helps to undo toxic waste, since it binds to heavy metals facilitating the evacuation of the organism.
- Traditionally it has been considered a good food for circulation.
- People with vision problems, especially at night, should take this into account when planning their diet.
- Among the properties of sweet potato also highlights its richness in flavonoids.
- Studies are being done with very good results in the improvement of intellectual performance both by examinations or by workload.
- Sweet potato combines with game dishes, red meat and cheese, taken as dessert.
- Once roasted, they are well preserved for several days in the refrigerator and is a great snack for children, but especially for a good canarian salted fish stew.
9 Medicinal Benefits of Sweet Potato:
1. They Have a High Content of Vitamin B6:
- Vitamin B6 helps reduce chemical homocysteine in our bodies.
- Homocysteine has been linked to degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.
2. Source of vitamin C:
- Vitamin C is important to avoid cold and flu viruses, few people know 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 that helps maintain youthful elasticity of the skin and is essential to help us cope with stress.
- It even seems to help protect our body against toxins that may be related to cancer.
3. Strengthens the Bones:
- Sweet potatoes are a source of vitamin D is critical for the immune system and overall health at this time of year.
- Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is produced mainly in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight.
- You may have heard about seasonal affective disorder (or SAD, as it is also called), which is related to inadequate sunlight and, therefore, to a vitamin D deficiency.
- Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods and helps build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin and teeth, and is compatible with the thyroid gland.
4. Protect the Immune System:
- Sweet potatoes contain iron and maintain a healthy immune system.
- It is important for humans to consume mineral iron, to have adequate energy, but iron performs other important functions in our body.
- It helps the production of red and white blood cells, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning and protein metabolization, among other things.
5. Help Relaxation and Antistress:
- Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium, which is the mineral for relaxation and stress.
- Magnesium is necessary for the healthy function of arteries, blood, bones, heart, muscles and nerves.
- Experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the population of North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
6. Rich in Potassium:
- Potassium is one of the important electrolytes that help regulate the 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 kidney activity.
7. Regulate Sugar Levels:
- Sweet potatoes do not cause blood sugar spikes.
- Its natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, which helps ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without blood sugar spikes related to fatigue and weight gain.
8. Fight Cancer:
- Sweet potatoes help prevent cancer and protect against the effects of aging.
- Its intense orange color indicates that they are rich in carotenoids such as beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor of vitamin A in your body.
- Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and increase our immunity to diseases, they are powerful antioxidants that help prevent cancer and protect against the effects of aging.
9. They are Versatile:
- Try them roasted, mashed, steamed, baked or broiled. You can add them to soups and stews, or grill and place them on green leafy vegetables to get a delicious salad.
- You can eat them roasting them with onions and red peppers to get amazing sandwich or wrap ingredients. Puree and add milkshakes and baked goods.
How to Use Sweet Potato in the Kitchen?
- The sweet potato is a tuber just like the potato, and how the latter has starch that is not digested by our body if it is not cooked.
- To make the most of the antioxidants in this vegetable, it is best to steam or boil it in a pot with boiling and covered water, with the aim of not losing carotenes or other nutrients.
- We can boil it, cook it steamed, baked or roasted and prepare with it a variety of dishes, from a tasty puree with egg or without it, to more sophisticated dishes such as a dahl of red lentils with sweet potato topping, sweet potato or sweet potato muffins, sweet potato stuffed with chickpeas and tomato or sweet potato or sweet potato cakes.
- Other options are to add the sweet potato to a pasta sauce, to a risotto, to a vegan brownie or to prepare with this vegetable a tasty skewers of sweet potato glaze, ideal for those who are not lovers of the kitchen.
- Because of its flavor and aroma, sweet potato is a vegetable that admits many possibilities in the kitchen and therefore, we cannot fail to take advantage of its properties and health benefits of the body.