Not all sweet foods are bad for diabetics. You can enjoy sweet potatoes without worrying too much about your blood sugar. In fact, this root vegetable contains nutrients that can help manage your diabetes.
When you’re living with diabetes, it’s important to choose foods that keep blood sugar levels in check. This means avoiding sweet and high-carb foods, since they spike blood sugar levels. In moderation, however, sweet potatoes can be part of a healthy diet for diabetics.
A cup of baked sweet potatoes contains 180 calories, 41 grams of carbs, 4 grams of protein, 6.6 grams of dietary fiber, 16 grams of sugar, vitamin C (65 percent of recommended daily intake – RDI), vitamin A (769 percent of RDI), and iron (8 percent of RDI).
As you can see, sweet potatoes are high in carbs so you have to eat them in moderation. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends eating 45 to 60 grams of carbs per meal.
Here are several ways sweet potatoes can help you manage diabetes and improve overall health.
1. SWEET POTATOES MAY ACTUALLY LOWER YOUR BLOOD SUGAR.
According to research, sweet potatoes can help regulate blood sugar levels by improving insulin sensitivity. These benefits are attributed to adiponectin, which regulates insulin and boosts metabolism.
The fiber content in sweet potatoes can also help regulate blood sugar. Fiber slows down the absorption of sugar and as a result, keeps the blood sugar levels lower.
2. SWEET POTATOES MAY PREVENT LOSS OF VISION.
It’s common for diabetics to struggle with the loss of vision. In some cases, high blood sugar levels damage the blood vessels in the eyes, leading to poor vision or blindness.
Eating sweet potatoes every day can help protect your eyes. As you saw earlier, a cup of sweet potatoes contains more than seven times the amount of vitamin A you need in a day. This is very important because vitamin A improves eye health.
3. SWEET POTATOES MAY STRENGTHEN YOUR IMMUNE SYSTEM.
Diabetics can be more prone to infections, because high blood sugar levels weaken the immune system. Luckily, sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system.
4. SWEET POTATOES MAY PREVENT WEIGHT GAIN.
Eating sweet potatoes instead of high-carb foods can help prevent weight gain. Sweet potatoes are low in calories and loaded with fiber, which means they will keep you fuller longer without excess calories.
It is very important for diabetics to manage their weight because gaining weight can worsen diabetes symptoms and increase the risk of heart disease.
Eat sweet potatoes with the skin on to get more fiber. I may also note that boiling is the best cooking method. According to the Open Nutrition Journal, boiling helps keep the glycemic index low and doesn’t add calories to sweet potatoes.
5. SWEET POTATOES MAY IMPROVE YOUR DIGESTION.
Sweet potatoes can help treat indigestion, thanks to their fiber content.
Studies show that fiber improves digestion by increasing fecal bulking and boosting good gut bacteria. The fiber in sweet potatoes can ease bloating, constipation and other digestive problems.
6. SWEET POTATOES MAY LOWER RISK OF HEART DISEASE.
Did you know that diabetics tend to develop heart disease at a younger age compared to non-diabetics?
The American Heart Association also says that at least 68 percent of deaths of people over 65 years are caused by some form of heart disease. Luckily, sweet potatoes contain potassium, which can help regulate your blood pressure, according to research.
As you may know, keeping blood pressure low reduces the risk of heart disease. Other good potassium sources for diabetics include plain yogurt, kidney beans, sun-dried tomatoes, and bananas.
The fiber content in sweet potatoes can also help lower risk of heart disease by reducing LDL cholesterol levels.