Wondering are Japanese sweet potatoes healthy? Japanese sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins, antioxidants, minerals and more. Find out all the benefits of eating Japanese sweet potatoes here!
Sweet potatoes have been consumed around the world for over 5000 years and they come in more than 400 strains. These sweet vegetables have been said to have originated in Central or South America and its leaves and its stems and leaves are also used for various purposes like animal fodder, medicines etc.
Are Japanese sweet potatoes healthy?
Originated in Japan, Japanese sweet potatoes are rich in fiber, vitamins, minerals, and anti ageing properties. Although Japanese sweet potatoes are healthy, it is high in carbohydrates and calories.
Japanese sweet potatoes, also known as Satsumaimo, and have purple skin, yellow flesh and a denser texture than your regular sweet potato.
As the name suggests, they originated in Japan and are traditionally grown in Okinawa. They have been savoured by the Japanese population since ancient times.
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This sweet potato is a favourite during the fall in Japan and it can be cooked in a variety of ways. Most of them tend to boil, roast, steam or bake these sweet potatoes and they give different nutritional benefits in different processes.
Are Japanese Sweet Potatoes Healthy
Japanese sweet potatoes are undoubtedly healthy and nutritious. There are a lot of studies that prove the excellent benefits provided by Japanese sweet potatoes. Let’s take a look at some of the biggest benefits provided by these which makes them a favourite for many.
Benefits of Eating Japanese Sweet Potatoes
Japanese Sweet Potatoes are High in Fibre
A single Japanese sweet potato is said to have over 4.6 grams of fibre which is essential for your digestive health. If you are someone suffering from bowel issues such as constipation, Hemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, diverticulitis and other gastrointestinal disorders, your body might require an adequate amount of fibre.
Studies have also shown that having adequate fibre in your daily diet can reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, stroke, heart diseases, bowel cancer, etc. Consuming foods with fibre also makes you feel fuller and can help in reducing the risk of obesity.
The recommended dosage for fibre for an average adult is around 22.4 grams to 33.6 grams daily and these Japanese sweet potatoes, which are rich in fibre, can supply an adequate amount of it to your body.
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Japanese Sweet Potatoes Contain Plenty of Vitamins
Japanese sweet potatoes are packed with a variety of vitamins that are essential for a healthy diet. B Vitamins are said to be the building blocks of a healthy biological system since they have a direct impact on your energy levels, metabolism and brain function. Some of the B Vitamins found in Japanese sweet potatoes are:
- Thiamine (0.22 mg)- It helps in maintaining the health of your nervous system.
- Riboflavin (0.06 mg)- It helps in breaking down the proteins, carbohydrates and fats in your body to accelerate energy production and oxygen absorption in the body.
- Pantothenic acid (1.92 mg)- It helps in metabolising and synthesizing fatty acids, proteins, carbohydrates and fats.
- Niacin (1.6 mg)- It helps in maintaining the health of your digestive system, skin and nervous system. It also helps in relieving high cholesterol, arthritis and boosting brain function.
- Biotin (8 mg)- It is one of the most essential supplements essential for healthy skin hair and nails. It also helps in metabolising fats, amino acids and carbohydrates.
- Vitamin B6 (1.56 mg)- These are essential for the creation of red blood cells and neurotransmitters. They also assist in metabolising protein, carbohydrates and fat.
They also contain other essential vitamins such as:
- Vitamin C (58 mg)- These help in repairing and regenerating your body tissues. It also assists in numerous body functions such as the formation of collagen, accelerating wound healing, maintaining the functioning of the immune system, maintaining the calcium levels of the body etc.
- Vitamin E (3.2 mg)- It is a powerful antioxidant and is essential for the proper functioning of the immune system.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes are a good Source of Minerals
Minerals are essential in developing and maintaining our body. Japanese sweet potatoes are said to be an excellent provider of essential minerals that are required for our dietary needs such as:
- Magnesium: Helps in balancing and regulating the blood sugar and blood pressure levels of your body. It also makes sure that your muscle system and nervous system are functioning properly.
- Potassium: This helps in balancing the fluids, electrolytes, muscle contractions and nerve signals in our body. It also prevents the risk of kidney stones, osteoporosis and stroke.
- Calcium: This is essential to maintaining the strength of your bones and teeth. It is also an important mineral that helps in accelerating blood clotting in our body, maintaining the function of the heart muscles, lowering the risk of blood pressure issues etc.
- Phosphorous: They help in the formation and development of bones and teeth in your body. It also helps in the better absorption of carbohydrates and fats by our body.
- Manganese: They are essential in the proper functioning of many bodily functions such as blood clotting, reducing inflammation, bone formation, metabolising cholesterol, glucose, amino acids and carbohydrates.
- Iron: It is an essential component in haemoglobin and helps in the movement of oxygen throughout our body. It also plays a huge role in maintaining your cells, skin, hair and nails.
- Copper: Copper makes sure that your bones are healthy and your blood vessels, nerves and immune system are functioning properly. It also helps in preventing cardiovascular disease and osteoporosis.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes Improve Your Mood
Eating sweet potatoes may help in preventing mood swings. Sweet potatoes are rich in amino acids and one of them is called Tryptophan which is highly beneficial in driving away the blues. The intake of tryptophan by our body can be helpful in accelerating the serotonin production in our body.
Tryptophan is not something that can be produced by our body and has to be consumed through various foods. If you are having mood swings you might find this amino acid helpful in improving your moods and the Japanese sweet potato is an excellent supplier.
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Japanese Sweet Potatoes Promotes Weight Loss
Japanese sweet potatoes tend to have a low GI rating and are known to be fat-free. Apart from that, they have a high fibre content that helps in improving the metabolization of your body. It helps you feel full without consuming more calories.
If you are someone looking to lose weight, you can make Japanese sweet potatoes a part of your daily diet and see great results. It helps in controlling your food intake and reducing the tendency to overeat.
Japanese Sweet Potatoes is Good for Eyesight
Japanese sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene which will be converted to Vitamin A by your body. They help in preventing dry eyes, improving night vision, reducing the risk of eye infections and relieving cataracts.
Vitamin E in Japanese sweet potatoes also plays a role in maintaining healthy eyes and preventing cataracts according to studies.
They are also a good source of zeaxanthin and isomer lutein that are fat-soluble antioxidant carotenoids. These help in preventing and delaying chronic eye disorders such as cataracts and macular degeneration.
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Japanese Sweet Potatoes May Contain Anti-ageing Properties
Japanese sweet potatoes have been claimed to have excellent anti-ageing properties. Thanks to celebrities like Olivia Munn, an American supermodel who swears by the benefits of these sweet vegetables.
The Hyaluronic acid, Vitamin C and Vitamin A found in this vegetable help in proving the benefits of the Japanese sweet potatoes for your skin.
Okinawa, where these potatoes are traditionally harvested is known for being the home for some of the healthiest and the longest living people in the world. They tend to have healthier skin than most of the world population and the average life expectancy is one of the highest in the world.
How to Cook Japanese Sweet Potatoes
If you want to retain all the nutritional benefits that these sweet potatoes offer, it is recommended to boil them. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants and boiling them helps in retaining most of their antioxidant power.
It also helps in thinning out the cell walls of the vegetable, which makes sure that all the nutrients are absorbed into your body effectively.
Baking or roasting these sweet potatoes can account for some level of loss in the nutritional value per serving. It is said to wipe out a majority of the antioxidants, up to two-third of it and also causes the vitamin levels of the vegetable to drop.
It leads to an 80% decrease in the vitamin levels of the vegetable. This is double the amount of vitamins lost while boiling.
Another distinctive feature about these sweet potatoes is the peels which are said to be packed with benefits. It is recommended to consume the peel of these sweet potatoes.
The peel has 10 times more antioxidants than the flesh but you should refrain from baking if you want to utilise these benefits since baking could eliminate the benefits.
Japanese sweet potatoes can be consumed in a number of ways. If you cannot get hold of these in your local market you can also find them converted into confectioneries, sweets, noodles etc.
Although lack of availability can put these a bit on the pricier side in most countries, the numerous benefits provided by them are worth the money. These can be stored in your pantry for up to a month. Make sure the place is cool, dry and dark.