Antioxidant properties of sweet potatoes
Antioxidants are known to protect and extend the life of cells in the human body. A diet that is rich in antioxidants can help promote excellent health by reducing the effects of aging and reducing the risk of cancer, heart disease and, neurological diseases. Sweet potatoes are exceptionally high in vitamin A and beta-carotene which are known to significantly reduce the risk of certain cancers. In addition, it is also known that people who eat foods that are loaded with beta-carotene are less likely to suffer from heart disease. Recent research
has highlighted the powerful antioxidant activities of two unique metallothionein proteins (MT-I and MT-II) that are found in sweet potatoes.
Anti-inflammatory properties of sweet potatoes.
The science behind anti-inflammatory diets suggests that phytonutrients in sweet potatoes can help protect the body from the host of diseases that are linked to inflammation. Many diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes, arthritis, Crohn’s disease and Alzheimer’s are all being associated with chronic inflammation. A healthy diet plays an important part in the prevention and reversal of inflammation.
Vitamin A is important for maintaining the health of the tissue lining the lungs. Research has also shown that there are links between vitamin A, smoking and lung health. Benzo(a)pyrene, a group 1 carcinogen which is found in cigarette smoke is known to decrease vitamin A levels and cause emphysema. Studies have shown that smokers who eat a diet rich in vitamin A have less chance of developing smoking-related lung diseases. Eating sweet potatoes as part of a healthy diet is a great way to maintain optimum vitamin A levels and keep your lungs functioning properly. Research suggests that a diet high in vitamin A is doubly important for people who smoke regularly.
Despite their sweet taste, sweet potatoes are actually classed as diabetic-friendly because of their ability to stabilize blood sugar levels and lower resistance to insulin. Sweet potatoes are high in dietary fiber which slows down digestion and the release of sugar into the bloodstream. Research
that tested and compared the effects of white-skinned sweet potatoes and troglitazone (an anti-diabetic drug) on insulin resistance found that sweet potatoes displayed remarkable results that were comparable to the anti-diabetic drug.
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A which is strongly related to eye health. Vitamin A is sometimes referred to as the vision vitamin because of its importance to the health of the light-sensitive tissue at the rear of the eye. A diet rich in vitamin A may also reduce the risk of age-related eye disorders like AMD cataracts.
Sweet potatoes represent a good source of fiber for helping to maintain a healthy digestive system. Fiber helps slow down the passage of food through the digestive tract preventing you from feeling hungry too soon and controlling blood glucose and cholesterol levels. In addition, a diet that is loaded with fiber helps maintain healthy bowel movements and reduce the risk of certain diseases like cancer, heart disease, diabetes.
Even as far back as the 16th-century academics were speculating on the health benefits of the sweet potato. English botanist John Gerard commented in his “Generall Historie of Plantes” book (published in 1597) that the sweet potato “comforts, strengthens, and nourishes the body,” as well as “procuring bodily lust.” Modern science has since removed much of the guesswork and speculation and given us a much deeper understanding of nutrition and how specific foods affect the body.