Sweet potatoes are truly a staple starch around my house. Rarely a day goes by where I don’t incorporate them in a least one of our meals. I always knew they were healthy and power-packed full of vitamins and nutrients.
In doing little research you may be dumbfounded by how nutrient dense these tasty little potatoes are!
Skin and Eye Health
A medium sweet potato contains over 4oo percent of your daily needs for Vitamin A. WOW! How do this happen? Well, sweet potatoes are loaded with the carotenoid beta-carotene which is responsible for giving them their orange color. Your body can then convert beta-carotene into retinol or Vitamin A. (Source)
As a natural inflammatory, Vitamin A is great for clearing your skin as it helps get rid of acne causing bacteria. It also promotes cell turnover in the skin, inhibits sebaceous gland activity, and is effective in preventing the formation of comedones which causes most stubborn acne. (Source)
Along with Vitamin A, the antioxidants Vitamins C and E have been shown to support your vision and overall eye health. (Source)
Sweet potatoes are loaded with antioxidants due to their varying colors. Beta-carotene is a powerful anti-oxidant that prevent free radicals from damaging cells through oxidation. This slows down aging, protects you from contracting chronic diseases and lowers your risk of heart disease and cancer. (Source)
Purple potatoes, however, have more than three times the antioxidants of a blueberry and have been shown to have even more powerful cancer fighting abilities than a regular orange sweet potato. (Source)
Digestion and Gut Health
Not only do purple sweet potatoes help in preventing cancer cell growth but also have been shown to reduce the dangers of heavy metals such as mercury, cadmium, and arsenic. (Source)
This is great news for those who have been diagnosed with digestive problems like irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. It is important to reduce exposer to heavy metals and toxins in order to restore gut health and good bacteria. (Source)
Sweet potatoes are also a great source of fiber helping prevent constipation. Fiber is essential for digestive health and improving bowel regularity. The more you poop, the better you feel! (Source)
Are sweet potatoes the same as yams?
Although they may look alike, sweet potatoes and yams are not the same as they are from two different plant families. Yams are from the Dioscoreae family, native to Aftrica, Asia and other tropical regions while sweet potatoes are from the Convolvulaceae or morning glory plant family. Sweet potatoes are usually around the same shape and size while yams vary more in size. Sometimes yams grow up to five feet long! (Source)
According to a study done in the Journal of Medicinal Food, sweet potatoes have anti-inflammatory properties due to their high concentration of essential nutrients. It was shown to reduce inflammation in brain and nerve tissue throughout your body. (Source)
Sweet potatoes also contain the vital nutrient Choline which helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation. (Source)
Easy Baked Sweet Potatoes Recipe
Although there are so many baked sweet potato recipes, this is my simple version that I use ALL the time. Seriously. I bake sweet potatoes nearly every day. My toddler LOVES them. I use them in my post workout protein shake , and we have them as a side with dinner a couple times a week.
Easy Baked Sweet Potatoes
Gluten Free ~ Dairy Free
Author: Brenna from Vital Gut Health
Prep time: 5 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes-1 hour
Makes: About 2-3 Servings
- 1 lb Sweet Potatoes (the smaller, the sweeter)
- Coconut Oil/Butter
- Coconut Sugar
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees.
- Clean your sweet potatoes well with a vegetable brush if you intend to eat the skins.
- Place whole potatoes on the top rack of your oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour or until fork tender. (I put an old cookie sheet under the potatoes to catch any bubbling as the potatoes cook. This helps protect the bottom of your oven).
- Once roasted to your satisfaction, carefully remove sweet potatoes from oven and cool on a large plate.
- To serve, I slice the potato in half adding in about 1 Tablepsoon of coconut oil, a dash of salt and cinnamon, and a sprinkle of coconut sugar.
Note: You can store potatoes in the fridge for 3-4 days for a quick lunch or snack.
I hope you enjoyed reading the incredible health benefits of sweet potatoes! What are your favorite baked sweet potato recipes? Please leave a comment below as we would love to hear from you!
Thanks for reading!
Sweet Potato Photo By Llez (Own work) [GFDL (http://www.gnu.org/copyleft/fdl.html) or CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0)], via Wikimedia Commons