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7 health benefits of sweet potatoes

Cynthia Sass, M.P.H., RD, health.com on

Published in Health & Fitness

Many people wonder if sweet potatoes are actually that good for you, which isn’t surprising considering their very name suggests they’re sugar-and-starch bombs! But this root veggie is actually super good for you. Sweet potatoes are particularly appealing in the fall — as a hearty side dish and as an ingredient in everything from soups and stews to pies and other desserts.

The colorful gems offer some pretty impressive health perks. Here are seven benefits of sweet potatoes, along with some simple ways to healthfully incorporate sweet potatoes into your everyday meals, snacks and treats.

1. They’re a good source of vitamins C and A.

One cup of baked sweet potato provides nearly half of your daily vitamin C needs. The same portion also supplies 400%(!) of your recommended daily intake of vitamin A. Both nutrients are vital for supporting immune function, which is especially important during cold and flu season. Vitamin A is also key for maintaining healthy skin, vision and organ function.

2. They provide lots of other nutrients too.

A serving of sweet potato delivers a third of your need for manganese, a mineral that helps produce collagen and promote skin and bone health. You’ll also get between 15 and 30% of several energy-supporting B vitamins and minerals, including potassium (more on this below).

 

3. Sweet potatoes are antioxidant powerhouses.

Vitamins A and C also function as antioxidants that protect cells against aging and disease. For even more antioxidants, choose purple sweet potatoes. The pigment that gives them their gorgeous hue has particularly potent antioxidant properties.

4. They’re anti-inflammatory.

We’ve long known that unchecked, low-grade inflammation raises the risk of nearly every chronic disease, including obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease and cancer. Natural anti-inflammatory compounds in sweet potatoes have been shown to quell inflammation at the cellular level: Research done on animals has shown reduced inflammation in brain tissue and nerve tissue after purple sweet potato extract consumption.

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