Sweet potato: Nutrient-packed and great for health

Picture credit: commons.wikimedia.org/ Jérôme SAUTRET

At first look, sweet potatoes might not look very tempting. However, they are very high in nutrition value and with health benefits, they clearly qualify as a superfood.

They contain sodium, potassium, vitamin A, B6, C and D, calcium, iron, magnesium among others.

DH lists some health benefits of sweet potatoes:

Immunity boost:
They have a good amount of Vitamin A and C. Vitamin A is good for improving immunity, which means the body is in a better position to fight off infections and other illnesses. Vitamin C is also an important nutrient for boosting immunity.

Sweet potatoes are also high in antioxidants, which can help in controlling damage that is caused by free radicals.

Free radicals are substances that cause damage to living cells and tissues in the body.

Good for the eyes:
They have carotenoids, alpha-carotene, beta-carotene, lutein and zeaxanthin - these nutrients are good for eye health.

Deficiency of Vitamin A can cause problems for vision. Being rich in Vitamin A and beta-carotene, sweet potatoes can be a solution.

Good for digestive health:
Being high in fibre, sweet potatoes are good for the digestive system and thus prevents common problems like constipation. They also maintain the digestive tract’s health.

Can boost fertility:
Being a good source of Vitamin A and iron, there is evidence suggesting that sweet potatoes can help with fertility.

A report in the Harvard Medical School’s Harvard Health Publications says that women of childbearing age who consume more iron from plant sources can promote fertility. Vitamin A is required for hormone synthesis during pregnancy and lactation.

Can help you relax:
Sweet potatoes have magnesium, which can help in relaxing and aiding sleep. It does this by maintaining good levels of GABA, which is a neurotransmitter that helps with good sleep.

Blood sugar control:
Being high in fibre, sweet potatoes can help in regulating blood sugar levels since its consumption makes one feel full for a longer period of time. They also have other nutrients that can help in blood sugar regulation. The main nutrient is caiapo, which is good for diabetics.

Anti-inflammatory properties:
Thanks to the good levels of beta-carotene, Vitamin C, magnesium and antioxidants, sweet potato has anti-inflammatory properties.

Good for the brain:
They have a good amount of a compound called choline and manganese, both of which help with brain function. Choline is a vital ingredient for brain development.

Sweet potato recipes:
The most popular way is baked recipes.

Cut into small pieces and bake them at a high temperature till they are crisp on the outside. The baked pieces can then be seasoned with olive oil, a bit of salt, pepper/chilli powder and a bit of garlic as well.

If one likes it in a slightly western way, there is the mashed sweet potato option. They have to be boiled and mashed. In a pan, throw in a bit of butter and chopped garlic. To this, add the mashed sweet potatoes. Mix well with a bit of salt and this can be eaten as a side dish.

The third option is to cut them lengthwise like regular potato French fries. The sweet potato can then be cooked using an air fryer. A bit of salt and chilli powder on it and you will have a great snack.

(The health benefits listed are general guidelines and not substitutes for professional medical advice.)

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