BY BRITTANY ORIE
Sweet potatoes are often enjoyed during the holidays when we savor that sweet potato pie. But what many people don’t know is that sweet potatoes are a superfood. They are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants that build up our immune system, prevent cancer, and promote longer lives. But those are just the basics. Sweet potatoes can be enjoyed all year around. They are actually among my favorite foods because of the numerous health benefits for our bodies and minds. It’s also important to know what is in sweet potatoes so we can know the greatness they offer.
- High in vitamin C. Vitamin C is known for fighting off cold and flu viruses. It is also great for building and maintaining strong bones and teeth. So sweet potatoes can definitely offer these benefits, along with faster wound healing, and protect your body from toxins (impurities) that cause cancer. Because vitamin C is great for skin, consuming sweet potatoes can give you a healthy, glowing complexion while keeping your skin’s elasticity while you age (fewer wrinkles!).
- Help maintain good eyesight. Our vision gradually gets worse as we age, if we don’t take care of our eyesight. Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, C, and E. These vitamins support eye health and therefore promote great vision, even while aging. These same vitamins, when regularly consumed, also protect our eyes from disease, infections, and other kinds of damage.
- Promote healthy digestion and regularity. Rich in fiber, sweet potatoes prevent constipation and keep your digestion system regular.
- Heart healthy! Sweet potatoes reduce the risk of heart disease, as well as help decrease obesity.
- Help with fertility. Sweet potatoes contain lots of iron, which is an important mineral that helps with fertility among women. Also, the source of vitamin A helps with producing milk during pregnancy which can be especially helpful if you’re nursing.
- Lower blood pressure. If you have high blood pressure, sweet potatoes have something for you: potassium! This mineral is critical in lowering high blood pressure and helps you to relax. Magnesium—an anti-stress and relaxation mineral—plays a role in this as well.
- Help with sleep, memory, and muscle movement. Because potassium is a muscle relaxer, sweet potatoes can improve sleep quality. They can also help with memory retention and learning, so they are a brain food, too! Try munching on these goodies while in school or college!
- Naturally low in sugar. Sweet potatoes are naturally low in sugar, and are fiber rich, so there is no guilt in eating them. They help maintain low blood sugar levels, and are believed to reduce low blood sugar episodes in diabetics.
- Immunity boost! Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin C and beta carotene which are agents that help build and maintain our immune systems. They offer an energy boost as well! They promote longevity and ward off cold and flu viruses.
The best way to get all of the benefits sweet potatoes have to offer is to boil them or steam them. Of course, we can still enjoy the greatness of sweet potatoes when we bake and fry them, but the nutrients are fresher when cooked and prepared properly.
Whether we are enjoying these tasty treats for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or a midday snack, we can reap the benefits of sweet potatoes in a variety of ways:
- Scalloped sweet potatoes—Dinner
- Sweet potato tater tots—Breakfast
- Sweet potato chips—Snack
- Mashed sweet potatoes—Lunch/dinner
- Sweet potato fries—Lunch/dinner
- Baked sweet potatoes–Dinner
I encourage you to add more sweet potatoes to your diet. Your body will thank you for it! There are many more ways to enjoy them all year around.