Right now is the season to find delicious, fresh sweet potatoes. By making these tubers a part of your diet, you can reap numerous health benefits. Plus, true to their name, sweet potatoes taste great and can be used in a variety of recipes.
Late fall and early winter are the perfect season for sweet potatoes. In fact, the sweet potato is often highlighted in seasonal meals. However, few people realize just how nutritious these seasonal spuds truly are. Let’s take a look at all the reasons you should chow down on sweet potatoes!
Reason #1 – Fight off Colds
Winter not only means sweet potatoes, it’s also the time of year when people face flu and cold sickness. Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of beta carotene. In fact, a single serving of sweet potato has four times your daily requirement of this nutrient, which scientists believe may boost the immune system. How does this work? Out body’s T cells, which fight off viruses, need beta carotene to perform at optimum levels. Sweet potatoes also contain high levels of micronutrients, like B vitamins and vitamin C, which are known to help you stay well.
Reason #2 – Save Your Sight
As we just discussed, sweet potatoes are rich in beta carotene, which is also a source of vitamin A. Vitamin A is essential when it comes to keeping eyes healthy. In fact, consuming adequate vitamin A can slow the deterioration of your eyesight as you age.
Reason #3 – Lower Your Blood Pressure
A major factor contributing to high blood pressure is salt consumption. However, many people have trouble cutting salt (sodium) from their diets. While it is recommended that all people watch their salt intake, it is possible to balance excess sodium by consuming foods high in potassium. In fact, those who add potassium to their diets show a marked decrease in blood pressure. Where is this all going? Yep, you guessed it; sweet potatoes contain high levels of potassium.
Reason #4 – Stay Regular
When you eat a sweet potato with the skin still on, you take in a good amount of fiber. Fiber is essential for proper digestive function. In fact, consuming fiber can reduce the risk of digestive diseases, like colon cancer. Fiber also plays a role in regulating blood sugar, which makes it great for people with diabetes.
Reason #5 – Reduce Inflammation
Nutrients found in sweet potatoes, like vitamins A and C, can work together to reduce inflammation in your body. This doesn’t mean you should rub sweet potato on a swollen joint. Instead, inflammation here refers to internal conditions such as arthritis and asthma. In fact, one recent study showed sweet potatoes can help those exposed to regular second-hand smoke avoid respiratory diseases from inflammation.