The Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy root vegetables that are grown worldwide.
They come in a variety of sizes and colours — including orange, white, and purple — and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fibre. Not to mention, they provide a number of health benefits and are easy to add to your diet. Here are 6 surprising health benefits of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. One cup (200 grams) of baked sweet potato with skin provides:
Carbs: 4 grams
Protein: 4 grams
Fat: 3 grams
Fibre: 6 grams
Vitamin A: 769% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin C: 65% of the DV
Manganese: 50% of the DV
Vitamin B6: 29% of the DV
Potassium: 27% of the DV
Pantothenic acid: 18% of the DV
Copper: 16% of the DV
Niacin: 15% of the DV
In addition, sweet potatoes — especially the orange and purple varieties — are rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radical damage. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and trigger inflammation. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and ageing.
Therefore, eating antioxidant-rich foods is good for your health.
The fibre and antioxidants in sweet potatoes are helpful to gut health. Sweet potatoes contain two types of fibre: soluble and insoluble. Your body cannot digest either type. Therefore, fibre stays within your digestive tract and provides a variety of gut-related health benefits.
Certain types of soluble fibre — known as viscous fibres — absorb water and soften your stool. On the other hand, non-viscous, insoluble fibres don’t absorb water and add bulk. The bacteria in your colon can also ferment some soluble and insoluble fibres, creating compounds called short-chain fatty acids that fuel the cells of your intestinal lining and keep them healthy.
Antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes promote the growth of healthy gut bacteria, including certain Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species.
Greater amounts of these types of bacteria within the intestines are associated with better gut health and a lower risk of conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and infectious diarrhoea.
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