During this time of year, when the fall season is in full swing and Thanksgiving is rapidly approaching, you may be thinking about those delicious autumn dishes...apple pie, pumpkin muffins, cranberry sauce, green beans, butternut squash, and sweet potatoes. But did you know there are many benefits in making these delicious sweet potatoes part of your regular diet? You may be surprised at the qualities provided in this “super food”! 

1. Sweet Potatoes are Rich in Vitamins 

Sweet potatoes are rich in many vitamins including vitamins A, B, C, and D. In fact, according to WebMD in their article Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, “Just one sweet potato gives you 400% of the vitamin A you need each day. This helps keep your eyes healthy as well as your immune system, your body’s defense against germs” (WebMD, 2019). Sweet potatoes are abundant in vitamin C which is crucial in repairing the body and fighting disease. Vitamin C also aids in the absorption of iron, keeping your blood healthy and strong. 

2. Sweet Potatoes Contain Vital Minerals and Antioxidants 

Sweet potatoes are filled with multiple minerals including iron, calcium, magnesium, and potassium. Iron is a crucial component of your blood which promotes the transport of the oxygen necessary for life. Calcium supports bone strength and growth. This mineral allows the muscles to contract which is necessary for your heart to pump. Magnesium and potassium contribute to healthy heart function as well. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants! Antioxidants play an essential role in protecting the cells in your body from damage. One specific antioxidant found in sweet potatoes is beta carotene. Beta carotene is the substance which converts into vitamin A after consumption and helps support eye health and immunity. 

3. Sweet Potatoes Aid Digestion Sweet potatoes come with a load of fiber! 

According to Mayo Clinic in their article Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet, “Dietary fiber — found mainly in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and legumes — is probably best known for its ability to prevent or relieve constipation. But foods containing fiber can provide other health benefits as well, such as helping to maintain a healthy weight and lowering your risk of diabetes, heart disease and some types of cancer” (Mayo Clinic, 2018). Sweet potatoes contain both insoluble fiber and soluble fiber which, in combination, help create healthy and regular bowel movements. Tip: Remember to drink plenty of fluids when consuming large amounts of fiber. 

4. Sweet Potatoes Maintain Healthy Blood Sugar Levels 

Your first thought my lead you to believe sweet potatoes are too starchy for a diabetic diet, but sweet potatoes actually contain many properties which are ideal in managing healthy blood sugar levels. Sweet potatoes allow for a slow rise in blood sugar without causing dangerous sugar spikes. They also contain many wound-healing and body-repairing properties including the aforementioned vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. Weight-related problems are often associated with type II diabetes and sweet potatoes (combined with an overall healthy diet and lifestyle) assist in achieving and maintaining a healthy weight. The natural anti-inflammatory properties found in sweet potatoes contribute to fighting not only the risk of type II diabetes but also other chronic illnesses such as cardiovascular disease and numerous types of cancers. 

5. Sweet Potatoes Naturally Lower Blood Pressure 

Both the magnesium and potassium found in sweet potatoes are essential for heart health and are critical components for maintaining safe blood pressure measurements. Magnesium is also believed to reduce stress levels and the symptoms related to stress and anxiety are huge contributors to hypertension and chronic disease. According to Judith Marcin, MD from Healthline in the article How to Reduce Your High Blood Pressure and Take Down Hypertension, “Potassium is an important mineral for good health. It also helps lessen the effects of sodium in your body” (Marcin, 2018). The article also refers to “sweet potatoes” being a good source of potassium. 

Wow! Isn’t it incredible to see how many nutritious benefits are found in just one type of food? It is an added benefit that sweet potatoes are wonderfully delicious and can be used in numerous ways including simply baked or boiled, added to a soup, put in a pie, cooked in a casserole, prepared as an entree, or served as a side. So, this year when you plan your holiday menu, think about how you can use sweet potatoes not just for the season but for all year round!  Harmony House dried sweet potatoes will help you to do just that! 

References: Judith Marcin, MD. (2018, February 27). How to Reduce Your High Blood Pressure and Take Down Hypertension. Retrieved October 30, 2019, from Healthline: https://www.healthline.com/health/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/how-reduce-high-blood-pressure Mayo Clinic. (2018, November 16). Dietary Fiber: Essential for a Healthy Diet. Retrieved October 30, 2019, from Mayo Clinic: https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/nutrition-and-healthy-eating/in-depth/fiber/art-20043983 WebMD. (2019, June 30). Sweet Potato Health Benefits. Retrieved October 30, 2019, from WebMD: https://www.webmd.com/food-recipes/benefits-sweet-potatoes#1