Do you think about sweet potatoes as being just plain old potatoes with some extra color and flavor? Yet cutting-edge research on sweet potatoes tells us that they offer us many valuable nutritional benefits.
There is not just one but many nutrient categories that offer you health benefits of this vegetable. Among these are anti-inflammatory, blood sugar-regulating nutrients, and antioxidants.
Here are some of the most important properties of sweet potatoes:
They are a good source of vitamin C
This vitamin not only helps ward off flu viruses and cold but it also plays a role in bone, tooth, and blood cell formation. Vitamin C produces collagen, which is responsible for skin’s youth elasticity and it helps accelerate wound healing. It also helps us cope with stress and protects our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
They also contain vitamin D
This vitamin and hormone helps build healthy bones, teeth, nerves, skin, and heart and it is also very important for the immune system and our energy levels.
They are high in vitamin B 6
Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies, which has been linked with degenerative diseases. B vitamins, including vitamin B6, are necessary for key metabolic processes. They help maintain a healthy nervous system and help support adrenal function. Vitamin B6 acts as a coenzyme in the breakdown and utilization of carbohydrates, fats and proteins.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of magnesium
This mineral is necessary for healthy blood, bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, and it is well-known for its relaxation and anti-stress properties.
They are a source of potassium
This important electrolyte relaxes muscle contractions, reduces swelling, protects the activity of the kidneys, and helps regulate heartbeat and nerve signals.
They regulate blood sugar levels
Despite their natural sweetness, they provide a balanced and regular source of energy. Their sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, without blood sugar spikes that may negatively affect pancreas function.
They contain iron
Some of the most important functions of this mineral include red and white cell production, proper immune functioning, and the metabolizing of protein. We also need it to have adequate energy.
They offer protection from cancer and fight against the effects of aging
Their rich orange color is not only appealing to the eye but it also indicates a high content of carotenoids like beta carotene. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease.
According to studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people, there is a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed carotenoid-rich foods as part of their diet. Another study has found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
They are versatile
You can roast, puree, steam, bake, or grill them. Add them to soups and stews, or grill and place on top of leafy greens for a delicious salad.
THE HEALTH BENEFITS OF BEETS
The history of beets or beetroots dates back to ancient times, when they were used to cure fever and constipation. In the Middle Ages, beetroot was also used as a remedy for digestive disorders.
They have long been associated with sexuality and have been used as an aphrodisiac for thousands of years.
Beets are a unique source of phytonutrients called betalains, which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory, and detoxification support.
The roots and leaves of beets have plenty of medicinal uses which include the following:
Good for Heart Health
Beet fiber helps to reduce cholesterol and triglycerides.Having a high level of triglycerides increases the risk for heart related problems. The nutrient betaine lowers the levels of homocysteine in the body which can also be harmful to the blood vessels. In that way, consumption of beetroot helps to prevent cardiovascular diseases in multiple ways, so conditions like ahterosclerosis, heart attacks, and strokes are less likely to develop.
Beneficial for Liver Health
Betaines in beet juice stimulate liver functions.
They are a good source of B vitamin folate
This is especially important for pregnant women, since folate helps in the development of infant’s spinal column. Deficiency of folate could lead to a variety of conditions called neural tube defects.
Prevent Certain Cancers
Beets contain the pigment betacyanisis, which prevents cancerous cell growth in different organs of the body. Researchers in Hungary have also discovered that beet juice and its powdered form slows down tumor development.
Beta-carotene, a form of vitamin A, helps to prevent age-related blindness called cataracts. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that is necessary for many essential activities in the body.
Aphrodisiac: Beets contain high levels of the mineral boron, responsible for the production of sexual hormones. This can help boost libido, increase fertility, and improve sperm mobility.
Boost energy levels: Beets contain a high amount of carbohydrates, which fuel all the necessary bodily functions and provide efficient functioning of your organ systems.
Furthermore, beet juice can significantly increase oxygen uptake due to the nitrate it contains in considerable amounts. This results in increased stamina for exercising and participating in sports, which makes beet juice an interesting sports drink to consider.
Prevent Respiratory Problems
Beetroot has plenty of vitamin C, which defends against the effects of free radicals in the body as well as from viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoan toxins that can result in many infections and illnesses.
Beets are very rich in potassium, which is called a vasodilator. It means that it relaxes the blood vessels and reduces blood pressure in the body. A deficiency of potassium in the body increases the risk of stroke.
Haven’t we given you enough reasons to include these two valuable food products in your everyday diet?
We are offering you a delicious and healthy, yet simple candied sweet potato and beet recipe.
To make it, you will need:
- 1 beet
- 1 sweet potato
- 2 T maple syrup
- 2 T olive oil
1.Preheat oven to 400°F.
2. Peel and chop both the sweet potato and the beet and then place into a bowl.
3. Drizzle with olive oil and HALF the syrup; stir.
4. Place on a nonstick baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes or until potatoes and beets are soft.
5. Drizzle with the other half of the syrup and any additional toppings before serving.
You can top it with pecans, walnuts, or cranberries for more taste and health benefits.