Eat More Sweet Potatoes – and Put Them on Your Face Too

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I love sweet potatoes; they are a highly nutritious and delicious root vegetable. Known as Ipomoea batatas, sweet potatoes are not only one of the best vitamin A sources, but they are also packed with vitamin B5 niacin, thiamin, and carotenoids. Research has also uncovered a host of therapeutic benefits in sweet potatoes. They contain anti-inflammatory, anti-cancer, and anti-diabetic properties. Sweet potatoes are a delicious addition to any meal and can even help keep your skin healthy.

Let’s take a closer look at this veggie’s beneficial properties and discover how to use it for soft, supple, and youthful skin.

Sweet potatoes contain loads of vitamin A

Vitamin A deficiency presents itself with dry eyes, decreased resistance to infectious disease, and causes severe issues for pregnant and lactating women and their children. Adding sweet potatoes to your diet is a great way to be sure that you are getting enough of this vital vitamin. This popular root food contains high levels of beta carotene, which is converted into vitamin A in the liver.

Sweet potatoes have a low glycemic load

Sweet potatoes are very low on the glycemic index, and several studies show that they play an integral role in managing insulin and blood sugar – especially in people with diabetes. Upwards of 77 percent of the fiber found in sweet potatoes is insoluble, which helps to promote insulin sensitivity and regulate sugar in the blood. The soluble fiber in sweet potatoes is also beneficial in the management of diabetes. Upwards of 15 percent of the fiber found in sweet potatoes is soluble,  reducing blood sugar spikes. Also, sweet potatoes contain magnesium, which helps reduce the risk of type 11 diabetes. 

Sweet potatoes are anti-inflammatory.

Vitamins in sweet potatoes have powerful anti-inflammatory properties. Research conducted on purple sweet potatoes demonstrates that extracts inhibit active inflammatory processes in the body. Choline, contained in sweet potatoes, also reduces inflammation. Additional studies show that extracts from the purple sweet potato contain anthocyanins which reduce inflammation in colon cancer cells.

Sweet potatoes help reduce stress levels

Magnesium is an essential mineral in the body, and sweet potatoes are loaded with it. Magnesium is well known for its ability to reduce stress and anxiety.  Magnesium deficiency is becoming more commonplace in modern diets, and this has correlated with an increase in depression.  Furthermore, a lack of magnesium appears to contribute to insomnia in older persons, leading to increase in stress and anxiety.

Sweet potatoes contain antimicrobial properties

Sweet potatoes appear to contain antimicrobial compounds – some that even seem effective against bacteria that cause pneumonia and typhoid. The fiber found in sweet potatoes can slow the growth of foodborne bacteria.  

Sweet potatoes regulate blood pressure

The combination of magnesium and potassium found in sweet potatoes help to control blood pressure. Just one cup of sweet potato (in the skin) supplies 950 mg of potassium, twice the amount of a medium-sized banana. Potassium mops up extra fluid and sodium, which lowers blood pressure and eases the pressure on the heart. Plus, potassium regulates heart rhythm and muscle contractions. 

What sweet potatoes can do for your skin and hair

Not only do sweet potatoes contain vitamin A but they are also rich in vitamins C and E. According to studies, vitamin E contains antioxidants that reduce one of the major causes of hair loss, oxidative stress. Vitamin C is useful in the treatment of hyperpigmentation and neutralizes oxidave stress from exposure to UV light. Together, vitamins C and E may reduce the risk of skin cancer in individuals.

The synthesis of collagen (the main structural protein of the skin) is also dependent on vitamin C. Collagen has been proven effective against skin conditions such as acne and can help improve wound healing time. Vitamin A helps sun-damaged skin heal and could help battle skin cancer. Also, research shows that vitamin A is effective in promoting collagen and slowing down natural cell aging.

What about putting sweet potatoes on your face?

It is definitely a plus to add more sweet potatoes to your diet, but did you ever think about putting them directly on your face?  Probably not. I did not think about it either until a friend turned me on to the idea. Once I tried the mask, I was hooked. My skin felt immediately smoother and had a fresh glow.

Soothing Sweet Potato Face Mask

Use this mask once a week for beautiful skin.

What you need

  • ½ boiled and peeled sweet potato – cut into chunks
  • 1 Tbsp raw honey
  • 1 Tbsp ginger powder
  • 1 Tbsp coconut milk

How to make it

  1. Boil sweet potato until it falls apart—strain off the water.
  2. Place all ingredients in a blender combine until smooth.
  3. Spread the mask over clean skin and leave it on for twenty minutes. 
  4. Rinse with warm water and pat dry.
  5. Follow with organic moisturizer.

Note: This mixture will keep for three days in the refrigerator.

So, the bottom line is, if you want to be healthier, eat more sweet potatoes. If you want glowing and smooth skin, put them on your face! Don’t forget, sweet potatoes are super easy to grow and work well in any home garden!!

Happy Growing,

Susan, CBHC and Master Gardener

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