Sweet Potato-Benefits and Risk factors
The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is an underground tuber. Sweet potatoes are a staple food in many parts of the world. They are a good source of fiber, potassium, vitamins, and other essential nutrients.
It’s rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, which is very effective at raising blood levels of vitamin A, particularly in children.
Sweet potatoes beneficial in many ways. They are enriched with important nutrients. They are helps for weight loss. They contains high amount of fiber, which helps in constipation, diabetes and weight loss.
As vitamin A plays an important role in your body, deficiency in this essential nutrient is a major public health issue in many developing countries. Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of highly absorbable beta carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A.
Deficiency can cause both temporary and permanent damage to your eyes and even lead to blindness. It can also suppress immune function and increase mortality, especially among children and pregnant and lactating women.
The intensity of the yellow or orange color of the sweet potato is directly linked to its beta carotene content. Orange sweet potatoes have been shown to increase blood levels of vitamin A more than other beta carotene sources, as they contain a highly absorbable variety of this nutrient.
2.Improving Digestion and Regularity:
The fiber content in sweet potatoes can help prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
3.Improved Blood Sugar Regulation:
Imbalance in blood sugar levels and insulin secretion are the main characteristics of type 2 diabetes.
Sweet potato with white skin and flesh, may improve symptoms in people with type 2 diabetes. This sweet potato may not only decrease fasting blood glucose and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels but also increase insulin sensitivity.
However, further research is needed to justify the use of sweet potatoes in the treatment of type 2 diabetes.
4.Reducing the Risk of Cancer:
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene. This is a plant pigment that acts as a powerful antioxidant in the body. Beta-carotene is also a provitamin. The body converts it into the active form of vitamin A.
Antioxidants such as beta-carotene can help prevent cellular damage caused by unstable molecules called free radicals. If levels of free radicals in the body get too high, cellular damage can occur, increasing the risk of some conditions.
5.Protecting Eye Health:
Sweet potatoes are a good source of provitamin A in the form of beta-carotene. After the age of 18, the Dietary Guidelines recommend an intake of 700 mg of vitamin A per day for women and 900 mg per day for men. Vitamin A is important for protecting eye health. Vitamin A also acts as an antioxidant. Together with other antioxidants, it can help protect the body from a variety of health conditions.
Baked sweet potato in its skin will provide around 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, or 561% of a person’s daily requirement.
Sweet potatoes contain potassium. A high potassium intake may not be suitable for people who take beta-blockers. These are suggested to heart diseased persons, because they can cause potassium levels to rise in the blood.
Consuming too much of these can be harmful to those with kidney problems, due to high potassium levels. Another risk is that some fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticides. Every year, the Environmental Working Group rank products according to their likelihood of contamination. In 2019, sweet potatoes ranked 31st.