When we think of sweet potatoes, we think of fries, pie or those wonderfully Thanksgiving dishes. Contrary to the belief that if something tastes good it certainly can’t be good for you, the sweet potato is packed full of nutritional power – even if it’s laden with sugar and baked in crust.
One of the oldest vegetables known to humans, this hearty, adaptable pant is thought to have originated in Central or South America; Peruvian sweet potato remnants have been found that date back as far as 8000 BCE.
Considered a superfood, the sweet potato contains an abundance of nutrients, including antioxidants, minerals, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamins. In fact, some studies have shown the potential of the sweet potato as valuable medicinal plant having anti-cancer, anti-diabetic, and anti-inflammatory properties.
Anthocyanin- a potent antioxidant found in the sweet potato – has the capacity to decrease inflammation and lighten pigmentation, allowing for an even color and healthy glow. It’s vitamins A (beta carotene), B complex, C and E, are antioxidants that decrease the negative effects of free-radical damage and aid in the development of collagen and elastin. They also protect our skin from damage caused by ultraviolet radiation.
Omega-3 fatty acids are alos anti-inflammatory in nature but have a unique ability to hold water, resulting in well-hydrated and smooth-looking skin. These nutrients are especially important when dealing with acne and rosacea.
And then there are the minerals: magnesium, potassium, and zinc to name a few. Magnesium can prevent outbreaks of eczema by reducing the amount of histamine released in in the skin. Low magnesium equals high histamine, which causes redness and irritation. Magnesium and omega-3 fatty acids act synergistically to prevent dry and inflamed skin.
Zinc is important for maintaining healthy immunity, helping to heal burns, skin ulcers and other wounds. Potassium helps lock moisture in the skin; in fact, perpetually dry skin may be an indication of a potassium deficiency.
As an added bonus, the sweet potato has double the amount of fiber of white potato, allowing calories to burn efficiently. In other words, making the switch from white to sweet potatoes can help with weigh loss!
So the next time you’re in the grocery store reaching for white potatoes, change your direction and go sweet. But don’t fooled by labeling; in North American, sweet potatoes can be mistakenly labeled as yams, and yams do not have the same nutrient profile as sweet potatoes.
The simple choice of a sweet potato over a white potato or yam can help lead you to flawless, youthful-looking skin!