Sweet potatoes are not just a delicious addition to holiday meals. According to the World’s Healthiest Foods they actually pack a lot of nutrients and have many health benefits too.
Originally from Central and South America, sweet potatoes were introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus. Since then the sweet potato has spread throughout the world, including the African and Asian continents. The insides of a sweet potato are orange-flesh in color, and are sometimes purple. It’s these rich colors that provide many of the health benefits found in sweet potatoes.
One cup of sweet potato has a lot of nutrients, including over 200% of the daily requirement of vitamin A.
Sweet potato nutrients:
- Vitamin C
- Vitamin B6
Interestingly, sweet potatoes contain phytonutrients that can have a positive impact on
fibrinogen in the human body. Fibrinogen is important for blood clotting. Sweet potatoes can also help the body with blood sugar control. This is due to its high-fiber content, as well as having a positive effect on adiponectin which is important for those with type-2 diabetes. These people have lower levels of this chemical than healthy individuals, and they may be able to better control their levels with sweet potatoes.
One point of clarification made by the World’s Healthiest Foods is the difference between sweet potatoes and yams. They look similar, but the website notes that sweet potatoes are more commonly sold in grocery stores and are often mislabeled as yams. Yams are originally from Asia and Africa, while the sweet potato originates in the Americas.
The entire sweet potato is edible. The World’s Healthiest Foods recommends steaming the tubers quickly to retain the nutritional value. You can also boil sweet potatoes and mash them. This method actually helps children more readily absorb the vitamin A in sweet potatoes.
Interested in learning more about sweet potatoes? Read the full article here: Sweet Potatoes.