In keeping with our theme of hair, food and lifestyle, let’s talk food!
I absolutely love sweet potatoes! Baked sweet potatoes, sweet potato fries, sweet potato casserole, sweet potato pie (ok, y’all get my point). Not only are they inexpensive and readily available, they’re also good for us.
I was so amazed to find all the health benefits associated with this superfood that I had to share the news with my Aim 4 Natural family! Michelle Schoffro Cook, PhD, author of the The Life Force Diet, provides nine excellent reasons you should incorporate these little darlings into your meals!
Here you go…
1. High in vitamin B6. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine in our bodies. Homocysteine has been linked with degenerative diseases, including the prevention of heart attacks.
2. Good source of vitamin C. This crucial vitamin plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing. It also produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity. It’s essential to helping us cope with stress. It even appears to help protect our body against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
3. Contain vitamin D. Critical for immune system and overall health. Both a vitamin and a hormone, vitamin D is primarily made in our bodies as a result of getting adequate sunlight. For instance, Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD) is linked to inadequate sunlight and therefore a vitamin D deficiency. Vitamin D plays an important role in our energy levels, moods and helps to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin and teeth. It also supports the thyroid gland.
Really?! Who knew?
4. Contain iron. Most people are aware that we need the mineral iron to have adequate energy but iron plays other important roles in our body including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning and the metabolizing of protein – among other things.
5. Good source of magnesium. This is the relaxation and anti-stress mineral. Magnesium is necessary for healthy artery, blood, bone, heart, muscle and nerve function, yet experts estimate that approximately 80 percent of the population in North America may be deficient in this important mineral.
6. Source of potassium. One of the important electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals. Like the other electrolytes, potassium performs many essential functions, some of which include relaxing muscle contractions, reducing swelling and protecting and controlling the activity of the kidneys.
7. Naturally sweet-tasting. Their natural sugars are slowly released into the bloodstream, helping to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy, without the blood sugar spikes linked to fatigue and weight gain.
8. High in carotenoids as proven by their rich orange color. They are similar to beta carotene and other carotenoids, which is the precursor to vitamin A in your body. Carotenoids help strengthen our eyesight and boost our immunity to disease. They are powerful antioxidants that help ward off cancer and protect against the effects of aging. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people showed a 32 percent reduction in risk of lung cancer in people who consumed a variety of carotenoid-rich foods as part of their regular diet. Another study of women who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer conducted by researchers at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living (WHEL) found that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids had the least likelihood of cancer recurrence.
9. Versatile. Try them roasted, puréed, steamed, baked, or grilled. You can even add them to soups, stews and salads too!
This list also appeared in Care2.com
Sweet Potatoes image courtesy of Getty Images
Check out these sweet potato goodies from the A4N recipe page.
Sweet Potato and Apple Soup (See soup link on recipe page)
Sweet Potato Breakfast Casserole (see breakfast link on recipe page)