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7 health benefits of sweet potatoes

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

Published in Health & Fitness

5. They don’t cause blood sugar spikes.

Some may regard sweet potatoes as too starchy, but their high fiber content makes them a slow-burning starch — meaning they won’t spike blood sugar and insulin levels. One cup of baked sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber, which is about a quarter of the daily recommended minimum.

6. Sweet potatoes help regulate blood pressure.

One cup of sweet potato baked in its skin provides 950 milligrams of potassium. That’s more than twice the amount in a medium banana. Potassium essentially sweeps excess sodium and fluid out of the body, which lowers blood pressure and reduces strain on the heart. Potassium also helps regulate heart rhythm and muscle contractions. According to the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey, less than 2% of Americans meet the daily recommended potassium target of 4,700 mg.

7. They may help support weight loss.

 

About 12% of the starch in sweet potatoes is resistant starch, a filling, fiber-like substance your body doesn’t digest and absorb. One study found that replacing just 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake with resistant starch resulted in a 20 to 30% increase in fat burning after a meal. Resistant starch also prompts the body to pump out more satiety-inducing hormones.

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