Sweet potatoes are well-known throughout the world. Many people in different countries process this fiber-rich food into variety of menus, which can be either healthy or fatty. When cooked and eaten solely, this orange-skinned potatoes can be a beneficial food source, which provides vitamins, minerals, and fibers our body requires, while if cooked until caramelized and combined with high saturated fat food sources, this food can be instead, a cholesterol-raising agent. Despite this, in some developed countries, especially in Asia, sweet potatoes have been developed into a food source for people with high level of cholesterol.
Health benefits of sweet potatoes
- Provide sufficient amount of beta-carotene, especially for children. Maximum beta-carotene is contained if sweet potatoes is steamed or boiled without peeling the skin. This substance boosts eye health, especially in children.
- Sweet potatoes have a high level of fiber, which is required for digestion. Regular consumption of this food helps the body performing effective digestion and prevent constipation.
- Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin C, which is crucial for boosting immune system, digestion, and blood cell formation. It also has a major role of wound healing and collagen production, which prevent early aging.
- Regular consumption of sweet potatoes gives benefit on white blood cell production and body’s resistance to stress, because this fiber-enriched food contains sufficient amount of iron.
Sweet potato and high cholesterol
- Sweet potatoes help lower cholesterol level, since they are rich of water-soluble fiber, which binds with bile acids inside the body to help excreting cholesterol. Lack of fiber will cause cholesterol blockage around the arteries walls, heightening the chance of cardiovascular diseases.
- Sweet potatoes is a kind of food which is helpful in lowering cholesterol level in our body. However, some notes needs to be considered related to the way it should be cooked, so that it preserves the function instead of converting sweet potatoes into high trans-fat foods.
Steaming is the healthiest way of cooking sweet potatoes, since it help maintaining water-soluble fiber it has.
Combining sweet potatoes with high-cholesterol ingredients, such as cheese, butter, or eggs may lower its role of lowering high cholesterol level. Instead, cooking it shortly without any additional ingredients will keep it low in cholesterol and hence, preserving the function of cholesterol lowering.
- Boiled or steamed sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index, making it a food which is processed moderately by the digestive system. Hence, it is not converted into sugar too quickly, which is going to spread into the blood stream and likely causing cholesterol boost. However, when the potatoes is baked, its glycemic index turns into a higher number, changing it into sugar which is spread across the bloodstream, putting cholesterol level in risk.
- Sweet potatoes—the orange, purple, and white ones contain less than a gram of saturated fat, which is very low and does not put our body in harm. Hence, consumption of both kinds of sweet potatoes has very little effect on your body’s LDL and triglycerides, which have the role of rising cholesterol level.
- The orange-skinned potatoes are used widely for controlling blood glucose for diabetic patients. Different from any other starchy products, sweet potatoes do not elevate blood sugar level when consumed. Hence, this food is safe for people with diabetes.
Recommended way of eating sweet potatoes
Some foods contain various beneficial yet fragile substances. Hence, the way of cooking them needs to be considered in order to get the maximum benefit. Sweet potatoes is among those. This type of food has a high level of fiber, vitamin A, vitamin D, and some minerals. Yet, these substances are water-soluble. For this reason, you need to cook it right in order to maintain the substances and get the benefits for your health, including lowering your cholesterol level.
Some recommended ways of eating sweet potatoes include:
- Steaming or boiling half-cut sweet potatoes for approximately 10 minutes. The shorter the cooking time is, the more beneficial the food will be.
- Adding a teaspoon of olive oil after the cooked potatoes have cooled down. Consuming high fiber with considerable amount of good fat will be beneficial in maintaining the food glycemic index.