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Top 15 Reasons To Think Orange! (Everyone Wants More Of #13)
Sweet potatoes, despite their name, really have no relationship to potatoes. They’re not even close! Technically, potatoes are tubers, while sweet potatoes are roots.
But we aren’t here to split potatoes — we are here to talk turkey (or sweet potatoes in this case). Yes, everyone loves them, but in all honesty, when was the last time you saw them on a menu? Or were served them at a friend’s house? For that matter, when was the last time you made them?
The sad fact about sweet potatoes is that these incredibly tasty vegetables are usually only served over the winter holidays, and then they vanish from our diets.
Sweet potatoes, especially the deeper-colored ones, are super rich sources of carotenes as well as excellent sources of vitamins and minerals. In fact, once you discover just how much sweet potatoes have to offer us in the way of health benefits, we bet you start adding them to your diet regularly, not just every now and then.
Keep reading! We have 15 good reasons why you should be thinking orange (or purple if you prefer your sweet potatoes in that color) and eating these several times each week.
1. Superior Fiber Power
When it comes to fiber, sweet potatoes have twice as much fiber as any other type of potato, hands down. With about seven grams of fiber per serving, this gives these sweet veggies a type of slow burn quality to them. This means that their overall caloric energy is used more slowly by the body and much more efficiently than a low-fiber alternative carbohydrate, such as bread.
2. High In Antioxidants
If you want to slow the signs of aging and fight common problems such as gout, arthritis, and asthma, then you will want to eat more sweet potatoes. These roots are super high in antioxidants, which fight free radicals from damaging our DNA and causing inflammation.
3. Super Source Of Potassium
Potassium is a vital electrolyte that helps to regulate the heartbeat and send nerve signals throughout the body. Potassium performs many essential functions, including protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys, relaxing muscle contractions, and reducing swelling. Potassium is also vital for the control of blood pressure. Potassium binds with salt and removes it from the body, which will lower blood pressure. Find out main signs of potassium deficiency.
4. Help For Diabetics
Although their name might imply that these vegetables contain a lot of sugar, the truth is that they are very low on the glycemic index. The fiber in sweet potatoes is a very good blood sugar regulator, which will lower insulin resistance and stabilize blood sugar levels.
5. Vitamin D
Sweet potatoes are one of the few plant sources containing vitamin D. This vitamin is absolutely critical for a healthy immune system. Unlike any other vitamin, this one acts as both a vitamin and a hormone. It can play an important role in our energy levels and our moods; build healthy bones, heart tissue, nerves, skin , teeth; as well as supporting a healthy thyroid gland. Our bodies do make vitamin D from sunshine, but during the winter months it can be difficult in many areas to get enough sunshine. Add sweet potatoes to your diet, and you never need worry about not getting enough of this extremely important vitamin again.
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6. Supports A Healthy Digestive Tract
Leaving the skin on sweet potatoes and consuming it will add to the dietary fiber, which supports the good bacteria in our digestive system. Diets high in fiber have been shown to not only relieve constipation and help the body to detox, but it can greatly lower the risk of developing colorectal cancer.
7. Great Source Of Vitamin C
Vitamin C is vital for the support of a healthy immune system, which is why so many people take extra vitamin C supplements during the cold and flu season. By eating more sweet potatoes, you can support your immune system (not to mention beautiful skin) all year long. Vitamin C also plays an important role in the formation of healthy teeth and bones, as well as the proper formation of blood cells. Vitamin C can help to protect your body against toxins, some of which have been linked to cancer.
8. Supports Healthy Lungs
If you are a smoker or if you live with a smoker, you should consume foods that are high in vitamin A, such as sweet potatoes. Studies have shown that smoke leeches vitamin A from our bodies, causing a deficiency, which leads to serious lung problems.
9. High In Vitamin B6
B vitamins are important to just about every function in our body, but B6 is especially important because it reduces a compound called homocysteine that is found in our bodies. High levels of homocysteine have been linked in numerous studies to degenerative diseases including heart disease.
10. High In Folates
Folates are another B vitamin that is super important to the body, especially if you are pregnant. Folates are absolutely vital for the healthy development of fetal cell and tissues, as well as for the prevention of birth defects.
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11. Stops Muscle Cramps
Those annoying leg cramps are often due to a lack of potassium. You can avoid most night time muscle cramps, as well as lessening your susceptibility to injury by making sweet potatoes a part of your regular diet.
12. Reduces Stress
Sweet potatoes are one of the best foods around to help the body deal with stress. When we feel stressed out, our metabolic rate increases, which causes our potassium levels to become reduced. Eating sweet potatoes will rebalance our body with this mineral and normalize our heart rates once again.
13. Outstanding Source Of Carotenoids
Beta-carotene and other carotenoids are a precursor to vitamin A. These carotenoids not only strengthen our eyesight, but they improve our immune system so that we can fight disease. Carotenoids are also powerful antioxidants that can protect us from early aging and even help to ward off certain types of cancer. In fact, one study done at Harvard University, involving more than 124,000 subjects, found that those who consumed a diet high in carotenoid rich foods had a 32 percent lower risk of developing lung cancer. Cancer protection, improved eyesight, and fewer wrinkles? Who doesn’t want more of that?! You can have all that and more by regularly adding sweet potatoes to your diet.
14. Super Immune System Strengthener
Eating sweet potatoes regularly provides your body with tons of vitamins (such as C, E, and A) and minerals (such as magnesium and potassium) that help to support your immune system, strengthening it, and make you a walking, talking disease and virus-killing machine.
15. Magnificent Source Of Manganese
This is a little talked about trace mineral that has tremendous health benefits. This mineral is a vital component when it comes to metabolizing carbs, which helps support healthy blood sugar levels. More stable blood sugar levels means more stable appetite levels, without all the lows that leave you craving more sugar just a few hours after eating. This mineral is also a factor in enzymes that play a part in the generation of energy levels.
When buying sweet potatoes, it goes without saying that organic is always the way to go. You should also opt for darker colored varieties if they are available. The darker the veggie, the higher its beta-carotene content.
Avoid sweet potatoes that have a green hue to them as this means they contain a toxic compound called solanine. Look for sweet potatoes that are firm and have a smooth, not wrinkled, skin. Don’t leave your sweet potatoes wrapped in plastic; instead, store them in an open, cool, and dark location.
Don’t wait for the holidays to eat more sweet potatoes! Every season is sweet potato season!