Can Replace Rice, Here are 5 benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics
Sweet potato is a type of food that can be used as a staple food to replace rice because it is considered healthier. This is what makes people with diabetes want to consume it. How does it affect blood sugar levels? Check out the full explanation below.
Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetes Patients
Sweet potatoes can be an alternative to rice because they contain more nutrients, such as fiber, beta carotene, vitamins and minerals.
Even though it contains carbohydrates, if consumed in moderation, sweet potatoes can be a good choice for diabetics.
Here are some of the benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics, including:
1. Helps Lower Insulin Resistance
Sweet potatoes contain beta carotene which is a type of carotenoid. This compound is responsible for giving the sweet potato its bright orange color. Beta carotene is known to increase insulin sensitivity
A study revealed that someone who consumes more plants with high beta carotene content has lower insulin resistance.
Insulin resistance can occur due to oxidative stress resulting in damage by pancreatic beta cells. Beta carotene can prevent the production of free radicals and protect insulin receptors. Thus insulin resistance can be prevented.
Also Read: Benefits of Ginger for Diabetics, Lowering Blood Sugar to Body Fat
2. Helps Maintain Blood Sugar Levels
To understand the effect of sweet potatoes on blood sugar, you need to understand the glycemic index.
The glycemic index is a scale that ranks the speed at which carbohydrates are digested by the body. The higher the value, the faster the food is digested and the faster it causes an increase in blood sugar.
The following is the division of the categories of the glycemic index:
- Low glycemic index: Has a value of 55 or below.
- Moderate glycemic index: Has a value of 56-96.
- High glycemic index: Has a value of 70 or above.
Sweet potatoes are foods that contain high amounts of carbohydrates but also contain fiber. This fiber content can help slow its absorption.
The glycemic index value for boiled potatoes is 82. Meanwhile, the glycemic index value for boiled potatoes is 46.
It can be seen that the glycemic index value of sweet potato is lower. When consumed in moderation, sweet potatoes can help control blood sugar levels.
3. Helps Maintain Weight
Being overweight can be a trigger for various health problems, including type 2 diabetes. Obesity is known to have an effect on insulin resistance so that sugar in the blood cannot be brought to the body’s cells optimally.
Sweet potatoes contain high amounts of fiber and water, so they can help you feel full longer and make you feel fuller faster. In the end, this will help you to eat less and maintain your weight.
To get the maximum benefits, you should consume sweet potatoes with as little added seasoning as possible. If you consume it with added butter or sugar, the benefits of this sweet potato will be less than optimal.
You can process it by boiling or baking with as little spices as possible.
4. Helps Regulate Blood Pressure
People with diabetes are twice as likely to have high blood pressure as people without diabetes. If not treated properly, this condition can cause heart disease and stroke.
Foods rich in potassium are known to be key in regulating blood pressure. This mineral can balance the sodium content in the blood and make it easier to excrete in the urine. When sodium in the blood can be controlled, blood pressure can also decrease.
One of the foods that contain high potassium is sweet potato. These foods can help meet your daily potassium needs.
5. Prevent Cataracts
In the long term, high blood sugar can cause structural changes in the lens of the eye and can accelerate the onset of cataracts.
Cataracts can be prevented by consuming foods rich in antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E. Sweet potatoes are known to contain high amounts of vitamin C, so they can have the benefit of slowing down the appearance of cataracts.
When consumed in sufficient quantities, sweet potatoes can be part of a healthy diet for people with diabetes.
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