Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes, though called as such, are only distantly related to potatoes. In the United States, this vegetable is known for its starchy and sweet-tasting flavor, although its shoots and leaves are eaten as greens in other parts of the world. Americans’ consumption of sweet potatoes used to be significant. However, in the mid-twentieth century, this waned because the vegetable got associated with hard times for it was one of the go-to crops during war and famine. Though sweet potatoes are viewed rather negatively, this vegetable is actually one of the healthiest vegetables out there. But though this is the case, reasonable consumption of this vegetable should still be considered, especially by individuals who have specific weight loss or disease management goals.

Continue reading and discover more about the pros and cons of sweet potatoes and why the Superhuman Food Pyramid recommends moderate use of this vegetable.

Sweet Potatoes’ Benefits:

Vegetables contain anthocyanins, pigments which are responsible for the array of colors in crops. Sweet potatoes, specifically the variety with purple flesh, have been studied extensively and it has been found that the purple pigments have hepatoprotective properties that reduce inflammation and induce antioxidant enzymes in mouse liver. The purple anthocyanins act as scavengers of free radicals in the body and guard against acetaminophen toxicity as well.

Yet again, said purple pigments have been found to alleviate brain inflammation in rats and this may prove instrumental later on in the creation of therapeutic approaches to inflammatory brain diseases. And then again, in another study, rats on a controlled high-cholesterol diet and fed purple sweet potato flakes showed increased glutathione levels in the liver, leading the researchers to conclude that purple anthocyanins minimize oxidative damage to the liver caused by a high-cholesterol diet.

The purple variety of sweet potatoes isn’t the only one packed with goodness. Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes are touted for the potent vitamin A content as well, with one cup of this tuberous vegetable already capable of providing more than four times the RDA for this nutrient. In fact, orange sweet potatoes were utilized to solve the vitamin A and serum retinol deficiency in young children in Africa.

Also, type 2 diabetes patients fed the extract of white-skinned sweet potatoes showed increased levels of the anti-diabetic protein hormone adiponectin in their blood. So eating sweet potatoes may just prove beneficial for managing type 2 diabetes as well.

Sweet Potatoes’ Risks:

Sweet potatoes are among the select vegetables with measurable amounts of oxalates. Oxalates tend to crystallize when in excess levels in the body. Individuals with impaired kidney and gallbladder functions and so may have trouble processing and excreting oxalates from the body need to consult their doctors before including sweet potatoes in their diet.

The manner by which this vegetable is cooked may result in it having a high glycemic index as well. Individuals watching their diet and blood sugar levels for disease management or overall wellness goals must make sure to prepare sweet potatoes correctly.

Sweet Potatoes’ Practical Uses:

According to a 2011 study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism, the method of cooking sweet potatoes influences it subsequent glycemic index (GI). Boiled sweet potatoes had the lowest GI, while baked, fried, or roasted ones had considerably high glycemic indeces. Boiling aids in the removal of oxalates as well. When boiling sweet potatoes, fill the cooking pot with water enough to cover the thoroughly washed sweet potatoes and boil until the tubers are tender.

Adding healthy fats to your boiled sweet potatoes is advised as it boosts vitamin A bioavailability and uptake as well. For your mashed sweet potatoes recipe, for instance, you can add a tablespoon of olive oil for every cup of this boiled tuberous vegetable.

In the next post, I’ll tell you the pros and cons of yams and how to moderately use the vegetable in your quest to Become Superhuman.

In the meantime, if you care to jump ahead, here is a complete listing of the vegetables on Superhuman Food Pyramid:

Eat:

Sprouts

Avocados

Olives

Asparagus

Broccoli

Cauliflower

Cabbage

Naturally Fermented Sauerkraut

Naturally Fermented Pickles

Bok Choy

Collards

Swiss Chard

Kale

Mustard Greens

Nori (Seaweed)

Organic Greens Powder or Capsule

Moderate:

Sweet Potatoes

Yams

Plantains

Potatoes

• Corn

Peas

Carrots

Celery

Cucumber

Squash

Zucchini

Romaine Lettuce

Red Lettuce

Iceberg Lettuce

• Fennel

Radishes

Avoid:

Canned Vegetables

Non-Organic, Un-Rinsed Vegetables

Also avoid if autoimmune disease or nightshade sensitivity:

Potatoes

Tomatoes

• Peppers

• Garlic

Onions

Eggplant

If you have questions, comments or feedback about the pros and cons of sweet potatoes, the Superhuman Food Pyramid, this website, or other aspects of Becoming Superhuman, then leave your thoughts below, as well as any tips you have on the pros and cons of sweet potatoes.

5 thoughts on “Secrets of the Superhuman Food Pyramid: Pros and Cons of Sweet Potatoes

  1. I’ve heard you talk about boiling vs baking sweet potatoes. I’ve been actually just microwaving them and just eating them. Is that fine or am I losing the benefit by microwaving it.

    Thanks and love the podcast.

  2. I’ve never heard that about oxalates being troublesome for the gallbladder. Sounds like I should being boiling my sweet potatoes rather than baking or adding them to stir fries. I’ve had gallbladder pain for years, just did another liver/gallbladder flush and had a lot more stones come out, some quite large (biggest one was an inch long). I wonder if some of the green powders like ‘Vitamineral Green’ have high oxalates? Liver and Gallblader issues seem to fly under the radar in a lot of the stuff I read and listen too. Might make a good topic for a future article 🙂

  3. I steam mine. I wonder how that rates? Also, if I eat sweet potatoes once a day (about a cup, mashed with pumpkin most days), is that ‘moderate?’ I don’t eat grains, or much fruit, so I tend to eat it (& pumpkin) for my carbs.

    • That would be “moderate” for some who exercises regularly – it’s all relative. Steamed vs. baked vs. boiled is pretty darn similar, in terms of GI.