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.
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.
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.