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6 Sweet Reasons to Love Sweet Potatoes

While sweet potatoes are generally thought of as a fall meal, they’re actually a great and nutritious food that you not only can enjoy all year-round, but add to your healthful, fresh food list.

Potatoes

As reported by LiveScienc, they are packed with vitamins and nutrients. True, they do contain sugar, so you don’t want to overload, but they most definitely can fit in to your diet plan. And by the way — despite their name, they’re not really a potato; they’re actually the root part of the morning glory family.

They’re full of vitamins A and C — The vitamin A per serving even rivals that of green leafy vegetables, providing 769 percent of the daily value per serving. In fact, the only food that has more vitamin A is 3 ounces of beef liver! The 65 percent daily value of vitamin C and 29 percent DV of vitamin B6 isn't too bad, either.

Sweet potatoes are antioxidant powerhouses — Two key antioxidant enzymes in sweet potatoes are copper/zinc superoxide dismutase and catalase. One study showed purple sweet potatoes to have more than three times the antioxidant activity than that of one type of blueberry.

They can help you avoid blood sugar spikes — Despite their sugar content, a surprising fact about sweet potatoes is their ability to help regulate blood sugar, even in type 2 diabetes patients. Research has verified that sweet potato extract can increase blood levels of adiponectin, a protein hormone produced by your fat cells, to regulate the way your body metabolize insulin, and even lower insulin levels when needed.

They can support weight loss — Because sweet potatoes contain a lot of resistant starch that is also a good source of both soluble fiber, they can help you manage your weight by the way they travel through your digestive system. They also can make you feel fuller, longer, and therefore less likely to be tempted to overeat.

By slowly fermenting in your large intestine, resistant starches also feed gut bacteria that support optimal health. Best of all, as previously mentioned, they don't spike your blood sugar the way the completely ripened fruit would do, so they're also much more likely to improve insulin regulation.

The potassium in them can help regulate your blood pressure — In fact, many foods with high potassium content can help your blood pressure, include Swiss chard, avocados, broccoli, Brussels sprouts and Crimini mushrooms, as well as wild-caught Alaskan sockeye salmon.

They’re fat-free, low in sodium and have fewer calories than white potatoes — However, make sure you consume sweet potatoes in moderation, as some varieties are high in fructose. In fact, the American sweet potato has been literally bred for sweetness, with 6.5 grams of sugar per 100 grams. So, the best thing to do is to enjoy them, but eat them in moderation.

And, when cooking them, remember that studies show that heat processing methods for sweet potatoes, such as steaming, baking, or boiling as opposed to raw, not only releases beta-carotenes, but also makes them more accessible to the body, possibly because heat causes a disruption in the microstructure of the tissue.