The sweet potato or, in Latin, Ipomoea batatas, is a key vegetable, or, better said, its large, sweet tuberous roots are a root vegetable, and remotely related to the common potato. This vegetable, soft and orange, is often called a yam in some parts of North America, though some consider this mislabeling. At present, the largest grower of these vegetables is China, which provides about 80 percent of the world supply.
Along with the plain starches that all potatoes consist of, sweet potatoes also have an abundance of dietary fiber, complex carbohydrates, as well as beta carotene, which is the A vitamin nutrient (this vitamin is especially abundant in sweet potatoes with an orange colored flesh), vitamin C, iron and calcium, and also vitamin B6. In comparison to other vegetables, this one ranks among the highest when it comes to nutritional value.
On the other hand, the sweet potatoes with purple flesh have relevant antioxidant properties as well as anti-inflammatory benefits and thus can lower the risk which oxygen radicals and heavy metals can present to our health.
Anti-Inflammatory Nutrients In The Sweet Potato
This vegetable, therefore, not only tastes sweet, but it also offers a plethora of nutritional benefits. The nutrient categories which are represented when it comes to sweet potatoes are: anti-inflammatory nutrients, antioxidant, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients.
There are also so-called storage proteins (or sporamins) in sweet potatoes which have important antioxidant properties as well, particularly when the sweet potato is digested in the gastrointestinal tract.
The Benefits For Blood Sugar
It might be unusual to consider tubers of starchy root vegetables a food group which may help in controlling blood sugar, particularly as it is a fact that food starches can be transformed into simple sugars by the digestive tract. Namely, foods which have a lot of starch in them cause an excessive amount of simple sugar release in the digestive tract and extreme pressure on the bloodstream to take up extra sugar which in turn causes the blood sugar level to rise. Sweet potatoes, however, are a phenomenon in the vegetable world because they have the capability to essentially adjust the regulation of blood sugar (this is valid even for those suffering from type 2 diabetes). These uncommon blood-regulating benefits cannot be explained easily, not by the fact that they have a beneficial quantity of dietary fiber (over three grams for an average-sized sweet potato) nor by the detail that they have an acceptable glycemic index rating of about 50. Research has proven that sweet potatoes can raise the blood levels of adiponectin (a protein hormone made by the fat cells, and at the same time a key modifier of insulin) in those with type 2 diabetes. As a point of fact, those with badly-regulated insulin metabolisms tend to have lower levels of this protein hormone.
Another Benefit For The Health Of This Vegetable
Another nutrient which the sweet potato also includes is the resin glycosides, which are sugar and starch-related molecules unusual in their layout of carbohydrate-related elements, as well as the presence of non-carbohydrate molecules. Researchers have uncovered that glycosides have significant antifungal as well as antibacterial properties. In what way these molecules which are present in sweet potatoes are able to benefit our health is still a matter of research.
The nutrients in 1 cup of a baked sweet potato (equivalent to 114 grams) in percentage:
- vitamin A 438
- manganese 28.4
- vitamin C 37.2
- tryptophan 15.6
- vitamin B6 16.5s
- potassium 15.4
- vitamin B5 10.1
- fiber 15
- vitamin B 38.5
- copper 9
Calorie worth: 102 calories – 5 percent