The Healing Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

In my opinion, there is really nothing better than some freshly, roasted sweet potatoes added to a salad, side dish or on their own. There is something soothing, comforting and grounding about this root veggie.

It’s vibrant in color, easy to prepare and naturally sweet and savory. So, because it is by far one of my favorites and I eat it on a regular basis, I think it is only fair to share with you some of the hidden healing benefits that most people overlook!

For starters, sweet potatoes contain nutrients that can promote better digestion, improve sleep and even all the way to protecting your eyes and heart! Sweet potatoes are filled with fiber, potassium, vitamin A & C, along with many other micronutrients.

Today, I want to specifically highlight a few healing benefits. So keep reading below to learn more! It’s some real exciting stuff!

Sweet Potato and Resistant Starch

When we think of starch we think of normal carbohydrates, right? Well that is not necessarily the case for a resistant starch, they have a bit of a different profile. The big difference is that these types of starches do not get digested in the small intestine at all, which we all know is the major site of digestion for many nutrients. Instead, these starches get digested in the colon by a process called fermentation. This is carried out by the microbes in our natural flora.


Why Do You Care?

There are so many health benefits to consuming resistant starches! These foods that contain this specific fiber are also known as prebiotics. Essentially, these foods act as fuel for beneficial bacteria within the gut. This produces a microbial balance within the large intestines.


The result of the fermentation process within the large intestines are end products called short chain fatty acids. Butyrate, a short chain fatty acid specifically is linked to promoting better immune function, protection against mood related disorders and even reduces risk of chronic diseases. Specifically to the gut, butyrate has an anti-inflammatory effect on the colon.

I’m sure you are all wondering what types of food have these resistant starches in them, and there are a lot of foods that do! However, sweet potatoes are a very good food choice when trying to reap the benefits of these starches. More specifically, cooked THEN chilled sweet potatoes.

More Benefits of the Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a root vegetable that not only taste delish both savory and sweet, but they are extremely important to our health as well. They give us protection against free radical damage and oxidative stress as they contain key antioxidants such as vitamin A & C. These vitamins act as antioxidants to protect body systems. As I mentioned earlier, specifically the heart and eyes as just a few examples.

Another benefit of the sweet potato is that it helps to increase the production of serotonin in our bodies, which is a neurotransmitter that is used to regulate our moods. If serotonin gets too low, it increases the risk of depression, anxiety, sleeplessness, and even those sweet cravings. We all are guilty of these sweet cravings once in a while, but you get what I mean!

Incorporating Sweet Potatoes in the Diet

Often times, I suggest trying to incorporate some root veggies, such as sweet potatoes to an evening meal. The combination of carbohydrate and its ability to produce seretonin can help to promote more restful sleep. In addition, your digestive “fire” sort to speak is much lower in the evening, as your body winds down. So eating foods that are easier to break down in the evening is also a bonus.

Check out this recipe below. It is a personal favorite that I have been eating for a long time. It hardly takes prep time and you can easily pack it! For more recipes, be sure to grab my free recipe e-book! Filled with over 50 tasty recipes.


Sweet Potato Breakfast Bowl

Ingredients

Serves: 2

1 medium sweet potato

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp cinnamon

1 cup plain goats milk yogurt or non-dairy option (optional)

1 apple, cubed

2 tablespoons pecans, chopped

2 tablespoons almond butter

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Wash and lightly dry sweet potato. Poke with a fork and place on rack or in glass pan. Bake for about an hour or until soft.

  2. Peel cooled sweet potato and slice. Set to the side. In two bowls, first place yogurt if including. Mix yogurt with vanilla extract. Then add slices of sweet potato. Sprinkle cinnamon, add nuts and apples. Then drizzle with nut butter.