Sweet Potatoes: Exercise Superfood

Whether you’re a weekend warrior, athlete or bodybuilder, you need to eat foods that nourish you, are sources of lasting energy, and help with muscle recovery long after your workout is over. Sweet potatoes are a superfood that can do just that, and one that no exercise diet is complete without.

Below are three ways that sweet potatoes help your body stay in top shape so you can accomplish your fitness goals.
 

Energy

Muscles require carbohydrates for energy, and sweet potatoes are a great source, with a medium-sized one providing 24g.

In addition, sweet potatoes provide a healthy dose of complex carbohydrates, which take longer to be digested and help supply the body with energy over a longer period of time. Unlike simple carbohydrates — which break down fast into glucose for quick energy, and turn into fat stores that can cause weight gain when unused — complex carbohydrates break down into glycogen and are stored in the liver or muscles to be used as fuel for exercise.

They are also a good source of dietary fiber, which has a gradual, steadying effect on blood sugar, making sweet potatoes a sustained source of energy.
 

Muscle and Bone Function

With over 300mg in a medium-sized one, sweet potatoes are a good source of potassium, which is an electrolyte that plays a key part in skeletal and smooth muscle contraction, and makes it crucial for proper digestive and muscle function.
 

Muscle Recovery

Sweet potatoes are highly packed with calcium, and iron, and are high in beta carotene, which, together with other essential antioxidants like vitamins A, C and E, helps with protect cells and muscles recover and regenerate.

In fact, sweet potatoes contain more vitamin A than carrots, and are the best natural source for beta carotene, as they provide more than any other fruit or vegetable.

 

References

Carbohydrates Burned During Exercises

Potassium

Sweet Potato Benefits for Bodybuilders

Top Athlete Nutrition Foods for Greater Performance and Energy Maximization

What Foods Are Good for Energy or Vitamins?

Sweet Potatoes: An Essential Part of Detox Plans

Were there times last year that you ate heavy and you wish you hadn’t? Have you been turning to comfort foods to cope with cold and long winter days, and now you’re not feeling so great? You may need to cleanse your system to flush out all of the bad stuff and get your body back to a good place through detoxification, and sweet potatoes can help.
 

What is Detox?

Detox is a process to eliminate toxins in the body, cleanse organs and replenish your system with healthy nutrients. This is accomplished by eating pure and natural foods that help clean the kidneys, intestines, lymph, liver and skin, and avoiding any foods that can set back or stop the process.
 

Choosing a Detox Plan

There are many ways to detox your body by adjusting your diet, and each plan varies in duration and the amount of food to consume. No matter how you detox, always begin by eliminating incoming toxins. Avoid alcohol, coffee, cigarettes, processed foods and even stress to give your body its best chance at a successful cleanse.

For more information and finding which detox plan is right for you, check out this detox answers and solutions guide. Whichever way you choose, always consult your doctor before beginning any detox plan.
 

Sweet Potato Health Benefits

It is widely known that sweet potatoes are nutritional all-stars. Below are some of the many natural ingredients found in significant levels in sweet potatoes that offer many health benefits and make an essential part of a detox plan.

Antioxidants: boost your immune system and help reduce the risk of cancer and heart disease

Beta-Carotene / Vitamin A: sweet potatoes have four times the recommended daily intake of Beta-Carotene, which the body converts to Vitamin A, and helps with immunity, bone development, vision and fighting many types of cancer.

Complex Carbohydrates: take longer to be digested, helping supply the body with energy over a longer period of time

Dietary Fiber: improves cholesterol levels, regulates blood glucose, and keeps your body full longer

Low Calorie: with only 90-140 with skin on, sweet potatoes are easy on the calories

Manganese: facilitates metabolism, helps keep bones strong and healthy, regulates blood sugar levels, and promote optimal function of the thyroid

Potassium: diets high in potassium help reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke

Vitamin C: helps with fighting infections, iron absorption, healing wounds, reducing inflammation and supporting the body’s immune system
 

Sweet Potato Detox Recipes

When putting together your detox plan, consider including these cleansing and nourishing healthy sweet potato recipes.

Black Bean and Sweet Potato Chili

This richly-colored, flavorful chili is the perfect meal for winter months. Immune-boosting garlic and onion, along with red pepper and lime, combine with black beans and sweet potatoes to make one very satisfying one-pot meal.

Healthy Baked Sweet Potato

Pair sweet potatoes with whatever vegetables you like, top it off with a tasty tahini-based sauce that uses metabolic-enhancing spices and you have a delicious and satisfying dinner that will keep things light on a simple detox diet plan.

Sweet Potato Mash with Chinese Broccoli and Ginger Dressing

A delicious vegan dish, with a good dose of antioxidants plus anti-inflammatory benefits from the ginger dressing. Particularly rich in Vitamin A, this dish will nourish the eyes and skin.

More healthy sweet potato recipes.

3 Natural Ways Potatoes Help Make Your Body Healthy and Happy

Naturally Fat Free

If you are aiming to eat well and lose weight in the new year, and thinking about cutting potatoes out of your diet, STOP! You’ll be missing out on the many superfood health benefits that make potatoes an essential part of a healthy diet and contribute to a weight loss plan.

Potatoes can have lasting and positive effects on your health and well-being. Here are three ways that naturally nutritious and delicious potatoes help your body stay healthy, happy and satisfied.

 

Potatoes help keep your immune system healthy

Vitamin C helps protect your body from infection by keeping your immune system healthy, and helps heal cuts and wounds (perfect if you’re ever a klutz while exercising at home or at the gym). Contributing a whopping 45% of your daily value, potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin C.

Also, if you experience chronic illness or fatigue due to sensitivity to gluten, you’ll be glad to know that potatoes are naturally gluten-free!

 

Potatoes may reduce the risk of high blood pressure

According to the 2010 Dietary guidelines by the USDA and Department of Health and Human Services, diets containing foods that are a good source of potassium and low in sodium may reduce the risk of high blood pressure and stroke.

Potatoes are loaded with potassium — more than bananas, spinach or broccoli — and are naturally sodium free.

 

Potatoes are a great part of a healthy weight loss plan

It’s calories that count, not just eliminating foods. Maintaining a good, healthy weight requires burning more calories than you’re taking in. Luckily, one medium-sized (5.3 oz) potato has just 110 calories that are a breeze to burn off. Also, potatoes are 100% fat-free and have zero cholesterol, making them a great meal that will fill you up, not out.

Potatoes also help you feel full longer and eat less. Studies show that potatoes are one of the most filling foods available and stave off hunger better than other common sides, such as pasta, rice and bread.

One wholesome, satisfying potato contributes 2 grams of fiber to the diet, 8% of the recommended daily value. Dietary fiber has been shown to have numerous health benefits, including improving blood lipid levels, regulating blood glucose, and increasing satiety (makes you feel full longer), which may help with weight loss.

Lastly, potatoes contribute 10% of your daily value of vitamin B6, which plays important roles in carbohydrate and protein metabolism, and turning food into energy.