What is sweet potato?
Incredible benefits of sweet potato for cancer, weight loss, healthy vision and diabetes.
The sweet potato or sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the bindweed or morning glory family, Convolvulaceae.Sweet potatoes are sweet, starchy root vegetables that are grown worldwide .
They come in a variety of sizes and colors — including orange, white, and purple — and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.
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Benefits of Sweet potato
Support healthy Vision:
Sweet potatoes are incredibly rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant responsible for the vegetable’s bright orange color. Beta-carotene is converted to vitamin A in your body and used to form light-detecting receptors inside your eyes. Severe vitamin A deficiency is a concern in developing countries and can lead to a special type of blindness known as xerophthalmia. Eating foods rich in beta-carotene, such as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, may help prevent this condition. Purple sweet potatoes also seem to have vision benefits.
2. May Have Cancer-Fighting Properties:
Sweet potatoes offer various antioxidants, which may help protect against certain types of cancers .Anthocyanins — a group of antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes — have been found to slow the growth of certain types of cancer cells in test-tube studies, including those of the bladder, colon, stomach, and breast.
Similarly, mice fed diets rich in purple sweet potatoes showed lower rates of early-stage colon cancer — suggesting that the anthocyanins in the potatoes may have a protective effect.
3. Weight loss:
Weight loss results from a calorie deficit. In other words, it occurs when you eat fewer calories — or energy — than you burn. By promoting fullness, sweet potatoes may help you eat fewer calories .
Uncooked sweet potatoes are 77% water and 13% fiber. This means that they can keep you feeling full on not a lot of calories while providing lasting energy .
A small 8-week study in 58 people working in offices had similar findings. Participants who replaced one meal per day with a meal replacement formula containing 132 grams of white sweet potato had a 5% decrease in body weight, body fat, and mid-arm circumference than a control group .
However, these results were likely a result of replacing a daily meal with a formula that was lower in calories. There is no magic ingredient in sweet potatoes that causes weight loss.
The Top Reasons Sweet Potatoes Are Good in a Diabetes Diet
Here are a few other reasons why sweet potatoes may be particularly valuable in a diabetes diet:
- Sweet potatoes contain a carotenoid called beta-carotene, which gives the root vegetable its notable bright orange color. This is also a source of vitamin A. Kaufman notes that vitamin A can help promote eye health.
- The spuds are high in vitamin C, which helps your immune system.
- They are a good source of iron, which helps red blood cells make oxygen and transport nutrients throughout the body.
- These veggies provide a plant-based source of protein, which can also help keep you fuller longer and promote weight loss, in turn increasing insulin sensitivity.
- They are a great source of fiber, which can also encourage feelings of fullness.
4. May enhance Brain function:
Animal studies have found that the anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes can protect the brain by reducing inflammation and preventing free radical damage .Supplementing with anthocyanin-rich sweet potato extract has been shown to improve learning and memory in mice, possibly due to its antioxidant properties .No studies have been done to test these effects in humans, but in general, diets rich in fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants are associated with a 13% lower risk of mental decline and dementia .