The often forgotten vegetable, sweet potato should actually be a must in your diet for all it's wonderful health benefits. Contrary to popular belief, all potatoes are nutrient-dense and healthy for you. However, sweet potatoes, of all varieties, are lower in calories and carbs than the average spud. So clearly, they are the healthier option.
As a starchy root vegetable, sweet potatoes do have more carbohydrates than the non-starchy ones, like broccoli. But don’t fret! ‘Coz that’s just another reason to embrace this veggie. The nutrition value in sweet potatoes or shakarkandi is high and that’s why they make for an excellent fuel source for your daily activities.
To be honest, all vegetables are healthy for you as long as they’re not fried because they offer a range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants to your body. Adding a moderate amount of everything and consuming a well-balanced diet will have life long health benefits. As for sweet potatoes, they are high in fibre content, very filling and delicious. So, let’s get started on the health benefits of sweet potato and how you can incorporate it in your diet.
Yes, you all have heard that sweet potatoes are healthy but do you know how it works for your body? From giving you a lit-from-within glow to minimising the risk of heart attacks, we’ve listed some surprising health benefits of sweet potatoes for you. Take a look:
Sweet potatoes help in weight management. In fact, it is one of the most known benefits of sweet potato. Fibre is particularly important for managing weight and sweet potatoes are full of it. The veggie contains pectin, a soluble dietary fibre, which is very effective at increasing the activity of satiety hormones in your body. These hormones reduce your appetite and make you feel full. Therefore, your food intake reduces and your weight gain, too, reduces by a great deal.
If you think that only ginger or honey in your hot cup of tea can help you with your cold and flu, think again! Sweet potato is an excellent source of Vitamin C which helps in averting such infections. It also aids in tooth, bone and blood cell formation.
While there is no single superfood that can prevent cancer and certain risks are completely unrelated to the diet we follow. But there is evidence that eating healthy might reduce the risk of cancer. Studies have suggested that Vitamin A-rich vegetables, including sweet potatoes, may provide potential protection from lung cancer.
Also, a group of antioxidants -- Anthocyanins -- known to be found in purple sweet potatoes have cancer-fighting properties. They have been found to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells including those of the bladder, stomach and breast.
Besides Vitamin C and A, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium too. This mineral plays an important role in controlling your blood pressure and hence reduces the risk of cardiovascular diseases. The high content of Vitamin B6 in the vegetable helps to reduce the levels of homocysteine, a naturally-produced chemical in the body that increases the risk of digestive problems and some types of heart disorders too.
Giving you a healthy vision is another one of the important health benefits of sweet potato. Loaded with Vitamin A, this nutritious vegetable helps in improving our vision. One cup of baked orange sweet potato with skin provides over seven times of our body’s daily requirement of the antioxidant beta-carotene.
Say hello to glowing skin and luscious hair by including sweet potato in your diet. Yes, believe it or not, but it’s true! Thanks to the presence of beta-carotene, your hair will receive the nourishment it deserves. It boosts the hair follicle growth and gives your strands a glossy finish.
Coming to the benefits of sweet potatoes for your skin, it is rich in Vitamin C and E, both of which are crucial for healthy and glowing skin. Vit C helps in boosting collagen, which tightens your skin. The anthocyanins present in the vegetable control the free radicals which means lesser dark spots and no blemishes.
Including sweet potatoes in your diet is crucial, and by now, you know why! But if you’re confused about how to do it, don’t worry! We’re here to help. Try these recipes to get all the nutrition in sweet potatoes.
The tangy and sweet chaat made with spices and sweet potato is one of the best desi ways to enjoy all the goodness of this vegetable.
- 1/2 kg sweet potato (boiled, peeled and cubed)
- 1 tablespoon of chaat masala
- 1 tablespoon of roasted cumin powder
- 1 tablespoon of rock salt
- Lemon juice, to taste
- 3 finely chopped green chillies
- Mix all the ingredients together and adjust the seasoning according to your taste, and voila, you have yourself a healthy and delicious snack.
We know that nothing can beat our love for french fries, but try munching on sweet potato chips, ‘coz not only they are healthier, but they are also super tasty.
- 1 large sweet potato
- A drizzle of olive oil
- 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon of salt
- 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder
- A pinch of black pepper powder
- 1 tablespoon of cornstarch
- Cut the sweet potatoes into sticks -- 1/2 inch wide and 3 inches long -- and wash them thoroughly. Soak them in water for about 30 minutes.
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Take the sweet potatoes out of the water and pat them dry with paper towels.
- Spread them on the baking sheets and toss them with cornstarch and oil.
- Mix all the spices together in a small bowl and toss them with the sweet potatoes.
- Bake in the oven for 15 minutes or until brown and crisp on the bottom. Make sure you flip them halfway through and cook them until the other side is cooked. Serve hot.
Here’s another healthy sweet potato recipe that you’ll love.
- 2 large sweet potatoes
- 1/3 cup maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon of melted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon of salt
- Grounded pepper, to taste
- Cut the sweet potatoes into one-and-a-half-inch cubes and preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Arrange them on a baking tray and combine the other ingredients in a small bowl.
- Pour the mixture over the sweet potatoes and toss to coat evenly.
- Cover and bake for 15 minutes.
- Uncover, stir and cook, stirring every 15 minutes. Continue for at least 45 minutes or until the sweet potatoes are tender.
Wanna give your regular brekkie a break and try these healthy sweet potato toasts?
- 1 large sweet potato
- 1 avocado, mashed
- 1/3 teaspoon of red pepper flakes
- 1/2 teaspoon of flaky sea salt
- A squeeze of lime juice
- Slice the sweet potato into 1/4 inch-thick slices. Insert them into the toaster and toast on high. Check them after they pop up (it’s ready when you can easily pierce your fork into the flesh).
- Take the rest of the ingredients and mix them.
- Spread the topping on your toast and enjoy.
This will be indeed an excellent option for breakfast. What do you think? Make some pancakes and enjoy all the health benefits of sweet potatoes.
- 1 cup milk
- 1/2 cup cooked and mashed sweet potato
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup flour, whole wheat
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 2 teaspoon baking powder
- Take the sweet potatoes, milk, cinnamon, vanilla extract and the egg in a blender and blend them together.
- Whisk the flour into the mixture and add the baking powder and salt too. Add more milk to adjust the consistency.
- Pour the batter onto a hot griddle and cook the pancake.
- Serve warm with maple syrup and sliced bananas.
Sweet potatoes are high in fibre, which keeps you full for a longer time thereby preventing overeating.
While there aren’t any severe health problems associated with regular intake of sweet potatoes, they are high in Vitamin A, which the body stores. Too much of Vitamin A in the body might result in your skin and nails turning a bit orangish.
The vegetable is a great source of potassium, calcium and manganese, which help the body to relax. Therefore, eating sweet potatoes before you go to bed might actually be beneficial.
Well, now that you are well aware of the benefits of sweet potato and have some recipes as well, why not include this superfood in your diet?
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