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7 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics (Recipes Included)

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Those who have been diagnosed with diabetes must know how difficult managing their daily menu that could fulfill their special needs. Diabetes is a condition related to your blood sugar level in your blood stream and dealing with it is not an easy task. In one side, too much glucose from your food could cause the increase of blood sugar level in your blood stream but too little glucose in your body could cause some deficiencies since glucose is prominent compound used to produce energy. So, it is important for diabetics to really consider what they eat and sweet potatoes are one of the staple foods rich of carbohydrate that is highly recommended. To find out, more information about health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics will be discussed below.

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Why Sweet Potatoes Recommended for Diabetics?

The common knowledge about diabetes is you cannot eat everything with sweet flavor. So, how about sweet potatoes? Well, according to AMA or American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes are considered one of the staple foods that are good for diabetic patients. There are some studies that have been conducted to support that. Furthermore, sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin and minerals as well as packed with some extraordinary organic compounds that are beneficial for human health and especially for diabetic patients.

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Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet Potatoes (Baked)

Serving Size: 200 grams

Protein 4.01 g – 8%
Carbohydrate 41.42 g – 18%
Total Fat 0.3 g
Dietary Fiber 6.6 g – 26%
Calories 180 – 10%
Vitamins
Vitamin B1 0.21 mg – 18%
Vitamin B2 0.21 mg – 16%
Vitamin B3 2.97 mg – 19%
Vitamin B5 1.77 mg – 35%
Vitamin B6 0.57 mg – 34%
Folate 12 mcg – 3%
Vitamin C 39.2 mg – 52%
Vitamin A 1921.8 mcg – 214%
Vitamin E 1.42 mg – 9%
Vitamin K 4.6 mcg – 5%
Minerals
Calcium 76 mg – 8%
Copper 0.32 mg – 36%
Iodine 6 mcg – 4%
Iron 1.38 mg – 8%
Magnesium 54 mg – 14%
Manganese 0.99 mg – 50%
Phosphorus 108 mg – 15%
Potassium 950 mg – 27%
Selenium 0.4 mcg – 1%
Sodium 72 mg – 5%
Zinc 0.64 mg – 6%

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In other words, sweet potatoes may have some positive points for diabetic patients and for more information about the health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics, the list below may give you the information you eager to find.

  1. Help Stabilizing Blood Sugar Level

According to a study conducted by AMA, sweet potatoes assist in lowering the insulin resistance to help stabilizing the blood sugar level in patients with Type 2 Diabetes. You should know that insulin is essential to turn glucose into glycogen which later used as energy or stored as fat cells. Without which, glucose will cause the spike of blood sugar level.

  1. Sweet Potatoes Have Low Glycemic Index

Since its glycemic index is low, though its is quite rich of carbohydrate, the impact is not immediate. Instead, it will help controlling and managing the blood sugar level. A study conducted in University of Toronto about which foods are best for diabetics showed that sweet potatoes have glycemic index 44 and the limit of foods best served for diabetics is 55, so sweet potatoes are great for diabetics because the lower the glycemic index is the better for diabetics.

  1. Rich of Dietary Fiber

Sweet potatoes are rich of dietary fiber which could help binding the ‘bad’ cholesterol and promoting ‘good’ cholesterol which will have positive effect to blood sugar level. Furthermore, dietary fiber has important role in digestive track. Fiber will help your digestive track to process starch from sweet potatoes in slower rate and it could prevent the spike of blood sugar level. One important thing to note to get optimal amount fiber from sweet potatoes is to cook it with their skin.

  1. Caiapo to Treat Diabetes

Based on a journal entitled “Diabetes Care” published in 2004 by Dr. Berhhard Ludvik, an associate professor from University of Vienna, stated that caiapo could help managing and controlling the blood sugar level of patients Type 2 diabetes by decreasing the level of blood glucose in blood stream. Caiapo is a certain medication extracted from sweet potatoes especially the Japanese-grown white variety.

  1. Beta-Carotene May Help Reducing the Risk of Diabetes

Colored varieties of sweet potatoes are rich of vitamin A and beta-carotene. A recent study conducted by Dr Atul Butte from School of Medicine, Stanford University which once published in Human Genetics stated that beta-carotene may help reducing the risk of Type 2 Diabetes genetically. It means, those who are genetically in higher risk of suffering from diabetes could be prevented by consuming food rich of beta-carotene. Furthermore, some studies also showed that sweet potatoes are better source of beta-carotene compared to green leafy vegetables.

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  1. Contains Anti-Inflammation Properties

If you think there is no such connection between inflammation and diabetes and they you thought wrong. Inflammation is actually one of the root of conditions like diabetes. Do you know that the more inflammation could affect the production of insulin in your pancreas? It means, inflammation could cause condition like insulin resistance and this condition will lead to Type 2 Diabetes when simple sugar or glucose were released in the blood stream but with little stock of insulin to turn them into glycogen which later used as energy or stocked as fat cells. This condition will lead to the spike of blood sugar level. Sweet potatoes contain some powerful anti-inflammation properties to prevent such thing to happen.

  1. Great Source of Antioxidants for Diabetics

According to research studies, antioxidants play a great role in preventing complication for patients diagnosed with diabetes. The production of oxidative stress caused by high level of free radicals in human body will reduce the antioxidant defenses and increase the risk of diabetic complication. Dealing with diabetes is already hard enough and complication will make the condition worse. That’s why better to avoid it at the first place and antioxidants found in sweet potatoes considered to be powerful antioxidants since sweet potatoes contain high amount of Vitamin C and Vitamin A. Surely you have known that vitamin A and vitamin C are types of vitamins that could act as antioxidants as well.

Recommended Sweet Potatoes Recipes for Diabetics

The seven health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics as mentioned above will have no effect if you cook and serve sweet potatoes in the wrong way. Some important nutrients found in sweet potatoes will lost if you fry it while boiling them too long will reduce the amount of essential nutrients as well. So far the best way to serve and cook sweet potatoes are by baking or steam it and below is one of the baked sweet potatoes recipes recommended for diabetics patients.

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Baked Sweet Potatoes Pies

Ingredients:

Oil Pastry

2 pounds sweet potatoes

1 Cup Fat Free Milk

2 eggs

½ cup sugar

2 tsp ground cinnamon

2 tsp vanilla extract

1 tsp butter flavoring

¼ tsp ground nutmeg

¼ tsp lemon extract

Instructions:

  • Peel sweet potatoes, cook and then mash them.
  • Lightly beat the eggs.
  • Preheat the oven (375˚F)
  • Prepare the oil pastry to the pie plate and then put it aside.
  • Prepare the filling by combining the mashed potatoes, milk, beaten eggs, ground cinnamon, vanilla extract, butter flavoring, nutmeg and lemon extract. Whisk them until nearly smooth.
  • Pour the nearly smooth sweet potatoes mix into the pastry pie plate and then cover it with foil.
  • Bake it for 25 minutes. Remove the foil. Put it back to the oven and bake it for another 25-30 minutes.
  • After you take it from the oven, don’t serve it directly. Instead, put it to the cooling rack for a while and then refrigerate it for two hours and then serve it with topping you desire.

Baked sweet potatoes pies are so simple and everyone could make it. However, be careful with the topping or you will just cause the spike of your blood sugar level.

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Cautions of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetic Patients

The seven health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics mentioned above are enough reason for patients diagnosed with diabetes to start considering sweet potatoes as part of daily diet though some cautions below should be added to your list of consideration as well.

  • Allergic reaction may occur to those who are allergic to starchy stuff and sweet potatoes’ starch is one of those they should avoid.
  • Sweet potatoes are rich of Vitamin A, from the nutritional value table above you could see that just by consuming 200 gram of sweet potatoes per serving could fulfill your daily value of vitamin A. However, surely you have known that excessive amount of vitamin A in your body could be toxic and harmful for your body. So, you have to really careful in managing your diet menu when sweet potatoes are included.
  • The dietary fiber found in sweet potatoes has been proven to be effective in managing blood sugar level. However, there are some studies that showed the reverse effect of sweet potatoes due to the possibility of certain compounds found in sweet potatoes could affect the production of protein hormone called adiponectin. Though further research is still strongly required to support this opinion.

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Diabetes is not a disease easy to deal with and if you could avoid it in the first place is the best thing you could do in this matter. However, if somehow it becomes unavoidable, managing the blood sugar level is the top priority you should do by arranging a strict diet menu in daily basis. The list of health benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics mentioned above may give you insight knowledge that sometimes even diabetics could enjoy delicious foods as long as you know what type of foods are best served for diabetes patients.

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