Breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Have you heard an old saying “Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a pauper”. Unfortunately, some survey and researches stated different thing that according to a survey conducted in 2011 about 10% of US population are skipping breakfast while two third of Briton do not eat breakfast at all. So, eating breakfast is so important but eating healthy breakfast is much more important. Sweet potatoes are among those staple foods that are highly recommended for breakfast and the health benefits of eating sweet potatoes for breakfast will be discussed below.
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What Are Sweet Potatoes?
There are a lot of easier options for healthy breakfast from whole bread, cereals up to oatmeal. So, why you should eat sweet potatoes for breakfast? Sweet potatoes are well known with scientific name Ipomoea batatas and cultivated as underground tuber.
According to some history manuscripts, sweet potatoes are native to South and Central America and introduced to Europe by Christopher Columbus around 1492. After that around 16th century, sweet potatoes were entering Asia through Philippines brought by Spanish explorers and since then sweet potatoes were well known staple foods in some Asia countries like India, Indonesia, Malaysia and other parts of Southern Asia. Right now, the biggest production of sweet potatoes were exported from China and then followed by Africa.
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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%|
|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%|
|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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Breakfast is important and sweet potatoes are loaded with important nutrients like vitamin and minerals that required by human body. So, combine them will give you more reason why you should eat sweet potatoes for breakfast.
- Excellent Source of Vitamin A
Vitamin A has important role in human health especially for vision. That’s why sweet potatoes for breakfast are good for adults and even great for children. The beta-carotene as another form of vitamin A is essential for human metabolism. However, since sweet potato is quite low in fat, you need to add butter because fat is essential for optimal absorption of beta-carotene.
- Healthy Low Fat Breakfast
As mentioned in previous point, sweet potatoes are low in fat and almost fat free. Per medium size sweet potato there is only less than 1 gram of fat. So, low fat food is good for those who are currently in diet program. That’s why sweet potato is recommended for breakfast because you could enjoy all the carbohydrate from sweet potatoes to produce energy but at the same time you don’t need to worry about gaining weight.
- High Source of Carbohydrate
Carbohydrate is essential for human body because insulin will turn it into glucose that later will be used as energy. Healthy breakfast is consisting of food that is rich of carbohydrate because it is an excellent source of energy and sweet potato is one of the staple foods in the top of the list. A single serving of sweet potatoes for breakfast could provide you enough energy to spend all day long. That’s make sweet potatoes are excellent for breakfast because it could act as natural energy booster, just exactly what everyone needs in their breakfast.
- Helps Balancing Electrolyte Level
Most people thought to make sure their body is getting enough electrolytes they should drink electrolyte beverages. Well, the fact is body could maintain its own level of electrolyte if certain minerals are in stock like calcium, sodium, potassium, magnesium and phosphate. Fortunately, sweet potatoes are loaded with those minerals and a medium size sweet potato at least contributes around 10% of daily intake to make sure the balance electrolyte level.
- Healthy Breakfast for Diabetic Patients
It is not easy for diabetic patients to have healthy and delicious breakfast but the sweet flavor of sweet potatoes are not going to cause harm for them. Based on a study once published in “Diabetes Care” there is one organic compound found in sweet potatoes called caipao that could help improving the insulin sensitivity and at the same time regulate the level of blood sugar. So, sweet potatoes are healthy breakfast for diabetic patients.
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- Excellent Source of Potassium
Potassium is essential for heart health because potassium is the only way to control the excessive amount of sodium in your blood stream. Too much sodium in your blood stream will lead to certain cardiovascular conditions. Furthermore, potassium is one of the sources of electrolyte which strongly required for body metabolism. A study stated that potassium in sweet potatoes could reach 30 percent of normal human daily intake but you will lose it if you fry it. So, don’t fry it.
- Source of Antioxidants Whenever You Need Them
Antioxidants are one of the important compounds your body really need. There are a lot of foods that are rich of antioxidants but why sweet potatoes are the one that stand out? The answer is quite simple because it is the excellent source of antioxidants like beta-carotene, vitamin A and Vitamin C. Furthermore, sweet potatoes available all year around and in every country with price that is quite affordable. So, one of the health benefits of eating sweet potatoes for breakfast is you could get antioxidants just whenever you need them.
- Contains Potent Anti-Inflammatory Properties
Some animal studies showed that sweet potatoes contains potent anti-inflammatory properties that has prominent role in preventing conditions caused by inflammation especially in nerve tissue and brain tissue. It means having sweet potatoes as breakfast could help you reducing the risk of Alzheimer and Parkinson’s disease though further studies are strongly required to support that result.
- Contains Unique Protein to Promote Healing Process
Though some studies have stated that you have be creative enough for the topping if you want to get enough protein from sweet potatoes but the same studies also stated that sweet potatoes contain certain unique protein called sporamins. This unique protein is not much but it could act as super potent antioxidants as well and effective to prevent the damage in our cells caused by oxidative stress. So, in other words, this unique protein could help promoting the acceleration of healing process.
- Healthy Breakfast for Healthy Digestion
One of the reasons why people avoid breakfast is because according to them having breakfast causes bloating in their stomach. Well, it is not the breakfast that causes it but the wrong choice of breakfast menu could cause some digestive conditions. Recent research showed that compounds like cyanidins and peonidins found in sweet potatoes could help easing up the digestive track and at the same time act as detox to heavy metals components mixed in food by removing them from digestive track.
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- Promotes Proper Blood Clot
Proper blood clot is important to help accelerating the healing process of open wound and according to recent studies about sweet potatoes, colored sweet potatoes contains glycoproteins called fibriniogen which responsible in converting fibrin during blood clotting process to optimize the wound closing process and stop the blood loss.
Cautions of Sweet Potatoes for Breakfast
The eleven points about health benefits of eating sweet potatoes for breakfast mentioned above is enough to change your mind and to add sweet potatoes as your next breakfast menu. However, there are some things you should aware as well about sweet potatoes.
- Color-related sweet potatoes are quite rich of vitamin A and it is a common knowledge that excessive vitamin A in your body could be toxic. That’s why is important to consider the amount of sweet potatoes you consume in daily basis or it is better to not consume sweet potatoes in daily basis to avoid this risk.
- Sweet potatoes are rich of carbohydrate and that’s make them excellent energy booster. However, you should aware of how much carbohydrate your body required because excessive carbohydrate will affect your glucose level in your body, those glucose will be turned by insulin as glycogen which later stored as fat cells. Too much stored fat cells could lead to weight gain.
- You have to aware as well about from where your sweet potatoes come from. It is better to purchase organic ones because sweet potatoes were cultivated by digging the soil. So, it is important to make sure the soil where the sweet potatoes were cultivated is free from dangerous chemicals that may be harmful for your body.
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The important thing to note when it comes to consume sweet potatoes for breakfast is the way you cook it. As mentioned in point number 6, frying the sweet potatoes will reduce the potassium content and the oil used to fry it will increase the fatty content. So, it is better to avoid frying it if you want to enjoy all the health benefits of eating sweet potatoes for breakfast. The best way to cook sweet potatoes is by boiling or steaming them besides those two ways are not only the best way but also the easiest way.