Hey Love Bees! 🐝
I must confess, I’m completely addicted to sweet potatoes! 🍠
In fact, I’ve eaten so many that my once-pale skin now exudes a distinct orange glow – and with my very short stature and bright green hair, I’m bearing an uncanny resemblance to an Oompa Loompa!
The clinical name for my predicament is Carotenoderma and it’s caused by the excessive consumption of foods containing the orange pigment, Carotene. Thankfully though, this condition is completely harmless and resolves naturally when intake of these foods is reduced.
Why would I want to do that though, when sweet potatoes are not only amazingly delicious, they’re also one of the most nutritious foods you can find!
Seriously, there are just SO many great reasons to eat sweet potatoes, and I really hope that today’s post will inspire you to add more of them into your diet! (You can get all of the amazing heath benefits, without turning yourself orange – I promise!😂)
4 Reasons to Include More Sweet Potatoes in your Diet
1. Sweet Potatoes are Packed Full of Vitamins and Minerals
By consuming just one cup of sweet potato a day, you’ll easily meet the recommended daily intake of Vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene) and over half of the recommended daily amount of Vitamin C.
Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant, which has been shown to help prevent several different types of cancer (especially prostate cancer) and is essential for healthy skin, hair and eyes. It also acts as a sunscreen, protecting the skin against UV damage caused by sun exposure.
Vitamin C is another important antioxidant, with anti-cancer properties. It’s vital for powering the immune system and is used in collagen production throughout the body – supporting bone, skin and connective tissue health. Vitamin C aids the absorption of non-heme iron too. (That’s iron found in plants!)
Sweet potatoes are also rich in B vitamins (especially vitamins B5 and B6) and they contain a whole range of essential minerals including potassium, magnesium, zinc, calcium and iron.
2. Sweet Potatoes Support Cardiovascular Health and Can Help to Lower Blood Pressure.
Sweet potatoes supply the body with a huge range of nutrients, which play an important role in maintaining cardiovascular health. The body uses these nutrients to regulate the heartbeat, improve blood flow, reduce inflammation, repair cellular damage, and maintain proper arterial function.
One of the nutrients found in sweet potatoes is potassium. Potassium is a mineral which is used by the body to regulate fluid and electrolyte balance. It plays an important role in lowering excess sodium levels and helping to reduce high blood pressure.
The magnesium found in sweet potatoes is also important for cardiovascular health, as well as for nerve and muscle function. Not only this, but magnesium helps the body to cope with inflammation and stress.
As I mentioned before, sweet potatoes are rich in Vitamin B6, which is crucial for breaking down homocysteine (a substance which contributes to hardening of the arteries and blood vessels).
Consuming a plant-based diet packed with plenty of sweet potatoes, therefore, helps to keep the walls of the blood vessels flexible and healthy, allowing the blood to flow freely!
3. Sweet Potatoes are a Fantastic Source of Fibre and Support Healthy Digestion and Weight Loss.
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre, which is an extremely important part of a healthy diet. Unfortunately, most people eating a standard western diet are severely lacking in fibre, which leads to impaired digestive function and undesired changes in the gut microbiome.
Fibre-rich diets promote normal, healthy digestion, and all of that fibre adds weight and bulk to the food, which triggers feelings of fullness and satiation. This makes sweet potatoes a healthy and beneficial food for those who are looking to lose weight.
Eating a fibre-rich diet has been associated with a reduced risk of developing cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, colon cancer and constipation.
4. Sweet Potatoes are Cheap, Versatile and Delicious
Sweet potatoes offer amazing bang for your buck in terms of nutrition vs cost!
They can be eaten in an almost endless amount of ways, and may be steamed, boiled, roasted, toasted (in a toaster!), baked or even mashed. They can be seasoned and eaten as wedges or fries, slow-roasted and eaten whole (like a jacket potato) or pureed and used as a base in a curry or pasta sauce.
For those with a sweet tooth, they can also be used to make desserts, such as sweet potato pie!
Sweet potatoes taste very different, depending on how they’re cooked, which makes them extremely versatile. Because of this, hopefully, almost everyone can find a way to really enjoy them!