Benefits of sweet potatoes, shakarkand
Sweet Potato known as Shakarkand in India, is a root vegetable which is found in the local market year-round, but they are in season in November and December. This yellow orange vegetable is sometimes shaped round like a potato and sometimes long with a bit of tapered ends. You have to choose the one that’s firm, bright coloured and not bruised. Recently sweet potatoes have come into limelight. Many nutritionist have started recommending it. Let’s check its nutrient profile and find out why are they healthy for you and how to consume it.
9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Regulate Blood Pressure
2. Prevent Cancer
3. Boost Immunity
4. Promote Eye Care
5. Probably Control Diabetes
6. Minimize Cardiac Diseases
7. Aid Weight Loss
8. Cure Stomach Ulcer
9. Manages Stress
1. Sweet Potato Regulates Blood Pressure : Sweet Potato is a good source of potassium which helps is balancing the excess sodium levels in the body. Thus it maintains normal blood pressure and exerts less strain on the heart.
Health Tip : To aim at benefiting the most from this tuber, try not to fry it. Instead grill it. And also use restricted quantity of salt, else it might negate the effect of potassium. Try out our tested recipe of Grilled Sweet Potato, which suits a hypertensive meal plan perfectly.
2. Sweet Potato Prevents Cancer : Beta-carotene (vitamin A) which gives this vegetable its colour is a potent antioxidant. In combination with vitamin C, it helps to fight cancer cells and prevents its growth.
Health Tip : Try to avoid pairing sweet potatoes with sugar, since cancer cells thrive on sucrose present in sugar.
3. Sweet Potato is a Boon for Boosting Immunity : The credit for this too goes to the ‘Antioxidants’, especially vitamin C. It helps build immune cells (WBC) thus forming a line of defence against all types of infections.
Health Tip : Pair it with another healthy veggie like tomato to create a delicacy like Grilled Sweet Potatoes Green Beans and Cherry Tomatoes for an ultimate antioxidant boost.
4. Sweet Potatoes are Beneficial for Eyes : Vitamin A is one of the key nutrients required for clear vision. And sweet potatoes have them in plentiful. ½ cup of sweet potato cubes are enough to fulfils approx. 66% of your days requirement for vitamin A. Night blindness (caused due to vitamin A deficiency), age related macular degeneration and cataracts can also be avoided with a good dose of vitamin A supplement.
Health Tip : Other key nutrients required for eye health are protein, zinc, vitamin C and omega-3 fatty acids.
5. Sweet Potatoes May Control Diabetes : A few recent studies have exhibited a positive connection between consumption of sweet potato and diabetes management. Probably it’s the fiber in sweet potato which helps is proper secretion of insulin to control blood sugar levels well. However, more research in this area is yet to be done, since sweet potatoes are a good source of carbs too.
Health Tip : Consume sweet potato moderately with another protein or fiber rich food. Alternatively, consider sweet potato to be added to your menu as a healthy alternative to other high glycemic index foods like rice, bread and potatoes.
6. Minimize Cardiac Diseases : Calcium , potassium and magnesium all 3 pair together to maintain healthy heartbeat and blood vessels. The antioxidants also share their bit by reducing inflammation in the arteries and keeping them free of clogging. All this minimizes the risk of cardiac disorders.
Health Tip : To keep your heart in fine fettle, include other heart friendly veggies like broccoli, onion, garlic, tomatoes and so on…. Check out the comprehensive list of Heart-friendly foods.
7. Sweet Potato Aids in Weight Loss : ½ cup of sweet potatoes gives you a handsome amount of fiber (2.9 g). This much fiber for a snack is enough to keep you full for hours and avoid bingeing on unhealthy snacks. Almost nil fat is an added benefit for weight watchers. Try our version of Baked Sweet Potato Fingers if you are reviewing healthy nutritious recipes for weight loss.
Health Tip : Remember, neither go overboard with the quantity of sweet potato you consume nor the frequency with which you enjoy it. Follow it with another protein rich meal and do not miss out on your regular exercise regime to achieve a healthy weight loss.
8. Sweet Potato Helps Treat Stomach Ulcers : An antioxidant rich diet does wonders to relieve stomach ulcers. It activates your immune system to evade the harmful bacteria H. Pylori which is known to be one of the major causes of stomach ulcers. Don’t rely only on medications for your dose of antioxidants. Try natural antioxidants like Sweet Potatoes. Its sweet taste is sure to please your palate as well.
Health Tip : Cut down on fat, spice, alcohol and caffeine certainly and let antioxidants work their magic to cure ulcer swiftly.
9. Sweet Potatoes Helps Manage Stress : Sweet Potatoes are a fairly good source of magnesium – about 8% of RDA is what ½ cup of sweet potatoes deliver. Magnesium is a vital nutrient for our body. It is required for bone strengthening, various cellular activities as well as to control normal heart beat and anxiety as well. Various studies have proven the sleep-promoting and stress-reducing power of this mineral. While magnesium is available in plenty in meat foods, vegetarians can look upon sweet potato as one of the option to build their reserves of this nutrient.
Health Tip : Kick off the sugar laden sweet potato halwa and welcome sweet potato in the form a healthy salad – Grilled Sweet Potato in Lemon Coriander Dressing. The dressing in this recipe is also rich in vitamin C – another potent nutrient to fight stress.
Key Takeaway : Sweet Potato is a versatile, sweet root vegetable with many health benefits. Take advantage of its nutrient profile and enjoy it in moderation as a part of healthy diet.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato
½ Cup sweet potato cubes is about 75 g
RDA stands for Recommended Daily Allowance.
Energy - 90 calories
Protein – 0.9 g
Carbohydrate – 21.2 g
Fat – 0.2 g
Fiber – 2.9 g
See full nutritional details of Sweet potato in Sweet potato glossary click here.