How Sweet It Is – Seven Amazing Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
A Thanksgiving staple, sweet potatoes should be more than just a holiday treat. They are a great source of fiber and vitamins that can improve gut health, boost immunity, and help us manage our weight. They also have antioxidants that can protect us from cancer, and their vitamin A can support our vision. When baking, sweet potatoes can be a substitute for some or all of the refined sugars. See the seven biggest benefits of sweet potatoes below.
One of the best ways to cook sweet potatoes is to simply bake them. Deep frying or smothering them with sauce or butter diminishes their health benefits. Try adding a little cinnamon instead.
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Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which maintain a feeling of fullness. One sweet potato has about 100 calories15% of the daily value of fiber, making them good for gut health. If you are trying to lose weight, there is no need to cut sweet potatoes from your diet. However, they are high in carbohydrates, so be sure to pair them with protein.
Consider using sweet potatoes in your recipes to make your baked items healthy without compromising flavor. They also provide a moist, chewy texture that is ideal for brownies. The moisture the sweet potatoes provide eliminates the need for additional fats such as butter or oil.
Incorporating sweet potatoes into your favorite dishes increases their nutritional content and results in tasty, guilt-free delights. These vibrant orange tubers are versatile and healthy root vegetables that will benefit your health and leave your taste buds happy.
Here is a brownie recipe to try:
- 1 cup mashed sweet potatoes (cooked and cooled)
- ½ cup almond butter (or any nut butter of your choice)
- ¼ cup maple syrup (adjust to taste)
- 1 egg (or flaxseed egg for a vegan substitute)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ⅓ cup unsweetened cocoa powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- A pinch of salt
- ½ cup dark chocolate chips (or chopped nuts for added texture)
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C) and lightly grease an 8x8-inch (20x20-cm) baking pan.
- In a mixing bowl, combine the mashed sweet potatoes, almond butter, maple syrup, egg, and vanilla extract. Mix until well combined.
- Add the cocoa powder, baking soda, and a pinch of salt. Stir until the dry ingredients are fully incorporated into the sweet potato mixture.
- Fold in dark chocolate chips.
- Spread the batter evenly in the prepared baking dish.
- Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Allow brownies to cool before slicing into squares.
To try a vegan recipe, visit pinchmegood.com.
Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Fiber stays within your digestive tract and provides a variety of gut-related health benefits. Certain types of soluble fiber absorb water and soften your stool. Insoluble fibers don’t absorb water and add bulk. Some soluble and insoluble fibers can also be fermented by the bacteria in your colon, which keeps your intestinal lining strong. Fiber-rich diets containing 20–33 g of fiber per day have been linked to a lower risk of colon cancer and more regular bowel movements.
Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants that protect your body from free radicals. Free radicals are unstable molecules that can damage DNA and trigger inflammation. Free radical damage has been linked to chronic illnesses like cancer, heart disease, and aging.
Sweet potatoes are a good source of choline, a nutrient that helps with brain development and function. Choline is also important for liver function, muscle movement, and metabolism.
As a complex carb, a sweet potato takes more time to digest than simple carbs. That means a sweet potato won’t raise your blood sugar levels as quickly, helping to keep your mood and energy levels steady. Slower digestion means sweet potatoes will keep you fuller longer than other carbs.
The tuber is high in antioxidants—specifically vitamin C, carotenoids and phenylpropanoids—which reduce inflammation in the body and protect against chronic diseases, as well as certain types of cancer.
Sweet potatoes have also been linked to improved vision (due to their beta carotene and vitamin A content), a better immune system (vitamin C and manganese) and strong bones (manganese again). Eating sweet potatoes regularly is even good for your skin.
Sweet potatoes are good for mental health because they’re high in vitamin B6, which is needed to synthesize serotonin, a neurotransmitter that helps to regulate mood.