Full of nutrition and vitamins, the sweet potato is a very healthy root vegetable that can be turned into a multitude of mouth-watering dishes.
Sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, which helps our bodies move food throughout the digestive system more efficiently and helps us stay fuller for longer.
In addition, sweet potatoes have a low to medium Glycemic Index, slowly releasing energy without causing a spike in blood sugar levels, also helping you stay full for longer and making you less likely to look for the next meal.
The amount of calories contained in a sweet potato is closely related to how it is prepared.
When deep-fried in oil, butter, or any other cooking fat, sweet potatoes will contain loads more calories than when steamed or boiled.
Nestled nicely in the middle of moderate cooking methods are baking and roasting.
The regular potato is a beloved spud that contains more carbohydrates than sweet potatoes and even more than boiled pasta.
Sweet potatoes and potatoes are high carbohydrate vegetables, making them unsuitable for someone on a weight-loss or low-carb diet.
|Per 100 grams, baked with skin||Sweet Potato||Common Potato|
Although similar, sweet potatoes are a distant relative from a regular spud.
The common potato is from the nightshade (Solanaceae) family, while the sweet potato is from the morning glory (Convolvulaceae) family.
Yams have a pointy tubular shape and a tough, bark-like skin.
They have a dry, white flesh with a more neutral taste.
Although they look similar, yams are edible tubers from the Dioscoreaceae family that are not botanically related to sweet potatoes.
Do Sweet Potatoes Cause Belly Fat?
When you are stressed, the body produces cortisol, also known as the stress hormone.
High levels of cortisol in the body are associated with increased fat in the belly area.
This might lead to an unhealthy cycle since belly fat can increase the production of cortisol, especially in women. (Source)
Metabolism is the various chemical processes your body has to do to keep you alive and healthy.
The amount of energy needed when in a rested state is called basal metabolic rate (BMR).
Your BMR gradually decreases over time as the body ages. If the energy intake is left unchanged and your metabolism slows, it will likely lead to weight gain.
Small changes in the diet are necessary to accommodate for the lower BMR.
Some prescription steroids used to treat conditions like severe allergies, rheumatism, skin diseases, and asthma can cause belly fat.
Cushing’s Disease is a condition where the pituitary gland causes the body to overproduce cortisol, the stress hormone directly linked to belly fat.
Alcohols like wine and beer have a high caloric count and are linked to contributing to belly fat.
In addition, the body prioritizes digesting alcohol before it starts burning fat stored in the body.
Over-consumption of ultra-processed foods that contain many additives and have lost many nutrients is also linked to belly fat and obesity.
Belly fat, also known as visceral fat, abdominal fat, or organ fat, sits deep inside the stomach, padding the space between the organs.
Fat, in general, has long been linked with several health risks, including:
- Increasing the risk of type-2 diabetes
- Contributing to hardening of arteries
- It might cause arterial blockage
- Increasing the risk of heart disease and cancer
Is It Good To Eat Sweet Potato Every Day?
Our bodies require vitamin A to maintain eye health, boost the immune system and keep the body balanced.
In addition, vitamin C is a powerful antioxidant that helps fight free radicals.
It is almost impossible to eliminate free radicals from our bodies.
We acquire them from exposure to industrial gases, air pollutants, cigarette smoke, radiation, and ozone.
However, as with all foods, nothing is perfect.
While a boiled sweet potato has a low GI, deep-fried sweet potato fries or a fried sweet potato has a high GI ranking, making them unsuitable for people with diabetes.
Their high carbohydrate content might make them unsuitable for someone on a weight-loss or low-carb diet.
In addition, sweet potatoes have high levels of oxalate and vitamin C, which may be problematic if you are prone to kidney stones.
As always, if in doubt, consult a medical professional.
Some of the health benefits of sweet potatoes include:
Maintains Eye Health
Sweet potatoes are packed with beta carotene, which is converted to vitamin A in the body.
Although beta carotene is not an essential nutrient, but vitamin A is necessary to support eye health.
A diet high in vitamin A reduces the risk of AMD (age-related macular degeneration) and cataracts.
Vitamin A is also necessary to boost the immune system and prevent eye infections.
A diet lacking in vitamin A can result in:
- Night blindness
- Xerophthalmia, a condition where eyes get dry and crusted, eventually damaging the cornea and retina
- Eye infections
- Skin irritating
- Stunted growth
Increase Stress-Related Belly Fat
When cortisol, the stress hormone, is chronically present in high levels, it may cause increased storage of fat in the belly area.
Sweet potatoes have a high content of vitamin C.
Research has shown that vitamin C plays a part in reducing cortisol and stress levels.
Reduced cortisol may help to prevent fat from being stored in the abdominal area. (Source)
Helps Maintain Healthy Digestive System
The high fiber content of sweet potatoes helps maintain a healthy digestive system and promotes regular bowel movements.
There are two types of fiber, soluble and insoluble.
Soluble fiber dissolves in water to form a gel-like substance that can help lower blood cholesterol and glucose levels.
Insoluble fiber travels down the small intestine into the colon, where they meet your healthy gut bacteria called probiotics.
These bacteria are responsible for maintaining a balanced gut, line the cells of the digestive system to ward off invading harmful bacteria, and are essential to overall health.
Reduce The Risk Of Heart Disease
Many naturally purple-colored vegetables contain an antioxidant called anthocyanin.
Research has linked anthocyanins to improved cardiovascular health and reducing the risk of heart disease.
The sweet potato contains loads of nutrients that the average American diet lacks, like vitamin C, potassium, fiber, beta carotene, and magnesium.
Best Time To Eat Sweet Potato For Weight Loss?
Sweet potatoes have less than half of the carbohydrates and calories found in regular potatoes and might fit nicely into a weight-loss program.
A 2019 Taiwanese study showed that replacing 132 grams of sweet potatoes resulted in weight loss after eight weeks. (Source)
Japanese Sweet Potato Diet
In addition, Okinawans eat loads of vegetables and grain and almost no fish and meat.
Watch this YouTube video to explore why Okinawa is considered one of the blue zones, an area where many residents enjoy incredible longevity.
The traditional Okinawan diet is mainly made up of the following foods:
Root vegetables – Sweet potato, carrot, and daikon radish.
Vegetables – Bamboo shoots, Okinawan bitter melon, seaweed, cabbage, kelp, papaya, pumpkin, and Chinese okra.
Soybeans – Soybeans (edamame), soybean paste (miso), fermented soybeans (natto) and, tofu (soy milk blocks).
Grain products – Rice, noodles, millet, and wheat.