Sweet potatoes are starchy root vegetables with plenty of nutritional benefits, which is essential to achieving optimal health. So, let us explore the few known nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes.
Moreover, sweet potatoes are a staple popular food serving whether it be as a sweet appetizer, or served as a snack. In some cultures, it is even consumed as a staple for their meals along with other locally prepared foods. However, sweet potatoes can be consumed on their own by simply boiling them.
Among the natural compounds found in sweet potatoes are beta-carotene and anthocyanins. Because of this, not only do you get the nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes but also an excellent choice as food coloring over its synthetic counterparts.
Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Let us now explore a few of the known nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. It might serve as encouragement for anyone who reads it. Of course, for sure, there are many other health benefits of sweet potatoes apart from the ones mentioned below.
Hopefully, this short list of nutritional benefits from sweet potatoes is good enough to trigger interest for people looking to incorporate it into their regular diet.
1. Immune System Booster
Sweet potatoes are excellent immune system boosters.Adding it to the list of immune system boosting foods is a good idea. In order to get the immune system boosting benefits of sweet potatoes, eat the variety with orange flesh. There are several colors in which sweet potatoes are naturally available, and the one with orange flesh is rich in beta-carotene, which the body converts to vitamin A when consumed.
On the other hand, sweet potatoes with purple skin and flesh are just as good for immune support. Purple sweet potatoes contain polysaccharides such as;
- concentrated alkali-soluble polysaccharide
- dilute alkali-soluble polysaccharide
- water-soluble polysaccharide
All these polysaccharides have been found to have immune-enhancing benefits according to one study.
…all three polysaccharides can stimulate immune responses of macrophages and positively regulate adaptive immunity by enhancing the production of immunoglobulins in mice.Tang C, Sun J, Liu J, Jin C, Wu X, Zhang X, Chen H, Gou Y, Kan J, Qian C, Zhang N. Immune-enhancing effects of polysaccharides from purple sweet potato. Int J Biol Macromol. 2019 Feb 15;123:923-930. doi: 10.1016/j.ijbiomac.2018.11.187. Epub 2018 Nov 19. PMID: 30465834.
2. Diabetes Prevention and Control
Earlier, anthocyanins were mentioned, which is an antioxidant, as one of the compounds found in sweet potatoes is helpful for diabetic individuals.
A study on rats has found that antioxidants can reduce oxidative stress due to hyperglycemia. In the study, anthocyanins found in purple potatoes have a positive effect on renal and liver activity and blood pressure in diabetic animal models.
In another study, antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes are also beneficial for diabetes-induced endothelial dysfunction as performed in animal models.
3. Potential Anti-Cancer Benefit
It has also been found to be beneficial for gastric and breast cancers. Even sweet potato peels have components to prevent different types of cancers, according to one study.
4. Enhance Memory and Brain Health
An animal-based study in 2013 found that sweet potato extract containing caffeoylquinic acids has neuroprotective benefits. The finding can potentially help in improving spatial learning and memory.
Another animal-based study, researchers found the naturally-occurring anthocyanins have strong antioxidant and neuroprotective benefits.
Moreover, purple sweet potatoes have a protective effect on the brain by means of reducing inflammation, one study found.
5. Rich Nutritional Contents
Apart from those mentioned, sweet potatoes, in general, have a rich nutritional profile. To learn more about the details, please visit this USDA page for sweet potato nutritional profile.
These are just a few of the many nutritional benefits of sweet potatoes. Of course, there are many other health benefits not mentioned, but that does not mean you won’t get those benefits. As long as sweet potatoes are a regular part of a typical diet, the benefits are surely enjoyed.
On the other hand, do not focus on consuming sweet potatoes alone. Instead, have a diet comprised of a wide variety of whole foods, preferably organic produce.
Focused consumption may be helpful in certain cases but should only be done short-term just like the potato diet with Penn Jillette.