Pass the Sweet Potatoes
With Thanksgiving right around the corner, now is a good time to look at a holiday favorite ... sweet potatoes. While they may take a humble place on the table, their unique dietary benefits make them a nutritional star! A medium sweet potato comes with well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese plus traces of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamine, riboflavin and folate. All that goodness comes in a tidy package of 162 calories, no fat, 37 grams of carbohydrate (6 are fiber; 12 are sugar), and 3.6 grams of protein ... all working to help you!
Sweet potatoes ... not just a holiday treat!
- The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is largely derived from beta-carotene, an important, powerful antioxidant in the fight against cancer. The beta-carotene also protects your skin against sun damage by repairing cell damage from excessive UV exposure. It helps prevent vision loss and macular degeneration.
- Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin B6 which helps break down homocysteine. Homocysteine is a common amino acid that has been linked with degenerative diseases, including heart attacks.Vitamin B6 helps regulate the natural rhythm of the heart, maintains normal function of the brain and supports the central nervous system.
- Sweet potatoes are a great source of vitamin C. Vitamin C not only helps ward off cold and flu viruses, it is important for bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. Vitamin C helps accelerate wound healing and produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s elasticity, it is vital for dealing with stress, and helps protect against toxins that may be linked to cancer.
- Sweet potatoes contain Vitamin D which is critical for immune system and overall health, especially at this time of year, it is both vitamin and a hormone that we produce on our skin through exposure to sunlight. Lack of sunlight and therefore vitamin D leads to seasonal affective disordre. 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.
- Sweet potatoes are a excellent source of magnesium, which is requied for healthy bone, heart, muscle, and nerve function, and helps prevent stress and induce relaxation .
- Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of potassium which promotes healthy blood pressure by regulating fluids and removing excess salt while helping regulate the heartbeat, kidney activity and nerve signals.
- Sweet potatoes are a source of almost twice as much fiber as other potatoes -- almost 7 grams of fiber per serving -- which means caloric energy is used much more efficiently than low-fiber carbohydrates.
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