Scientifically Proven Health Benefits of Purple Sweet Potato + Recipes

Proven Health Benefits of Purple Sweet Potato

Purple sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients that are great for your health. Purple sweet potato contains antioxidants that are good for your heart, digestion, cognitive function, and liver health. Because of their many health benefits, purple sweet potatoes are also good for diabetes.

There are many ways to include healthy purple sweet potatoes in your diet. One of the easiest ways to eat a purple sweet potato is to bake it and spread a healthy topping. You can also steam or boil purple sweet potatoes to add nutrients, fiber, and color to your meals.

In this article, you will learn about the many reasons why purple sweet potatoes are so good for you. You will also find out recipes on the best way of enjoying this colorful root vegetable.

What is Purple Sweet Potato?

Purple sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas L cultivar Ayamurasaki) get their distinct color from compounds called anthocyanins. These colorful flavonoids have powerful anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that have a number of health benefits. (1)

Research has shown that sweet potatoes rich in anthocyanins are good for hypertension, diabetes, and boosting cardiovascular health.

One of the many varieties of sweet potatoes is the Okinawan purple sweet potato. Other type is Stokes purple sweet potato.

Purple Sweet Potato Nutrition

Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are from the same family as regular sweet potatoes. It is well known that sweet potatoes are rich in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and have good nutritional value.

The thing that sets purple sweet potatoes apart when it comes to their nutritional value is that they are packed with antioxidants.

For example, a review on the benefits of sweet potatoes reported that the Ayamurasaki purple sweet potato contains many antioxidants with free-radicals scavenging activity. Enzymes in these purple root vegetable help to lower inflammation and have a beneficial effect on general health. (2)

Research has also found that sweet potatoes, in general, are a low-glycemic index food and can be easily digested. Compounds in purple-fleshed sweet potatoes also have compounds that help to lower blood glucose (anti-hyperglycemic). (3, 2)

The nutritional value of sweet purple potatoes is so great that researchers call them a functional food because of their abundance of nutrients, minerals, and antioxidants. (2)

Purple sweet potato is rich in antioxidants

A brief look at the antioxidant content of purple sweet potato shows just how healthy it is.

Although regular sweet potatoes are a healthy food, purple sweet potatoes may be even better for you. Purple sweet potatoes have 2.5 times more antioxidants (anthocyanins) than their orange-fleshed counterparts. (4)

Research into the benefits of purple sweet potato shows that they have more antioxidants than red cabbage, elderberries, or grape skins. Anthocyanins from purple sweet potato showed higher levels of activity than ascorbic acid (vitamin C). (5)

Would it be possible to class purple sweet potatoes among the superfoods? For example, doctors from WebMD say that blueberries are a superfood because of their antioxidant content. However, research has revealed that purple sweet potatoes have 3.2 times more antioxidant activity than blueberries. (6, 1)

Health Benefits of Purple Sweet Potato

Let’s look in more detail at the many reasons why eating purple sweet potatoes is good for your health.

Purple Sweet Potato Can Help to Lower Blood Pressure

Including more purple sweet potatoes in your diet could benefit your health if you suffer from hypertension.

One study involving adults with high blood pressure found that compounds in purple sweet potato helped reduce blood pressure. The subjects consumed 250 ml of purple sweet potato juice every day for 4 weeks. Researchers noted that systolic blood pressure was significantly lower at the end of the trial period. (7)

Other studies have found that purple sweet potato with a high anthocyanin content had a positive effect in lowering hypertension. The results of many studies point to the good effect of purple sweet potato antioxidants in helping to lower blood pressure. (7)

As well as including more purple sweet potato in your diet for its hypotensive effect, learn about more ways to lower blood pressure fast.

Purple Sweet Potato May Boost Cognitive Function

One of the benefits of consuming purple sweet potatoes is that they have a positive effect on your brain activity.

Researchers have found that anthocyanins from purple-fleshed sweet potatoes reduce inflammation that affects cognitive performance. Purple sweet potato extracts have the potential to enhance memory function and positively affect the brain. (8)

In one trial involving rats, researchers found that anthocyanins from purple sweet potatoes had a protective effect on brain activity. Anthocyanins helped the brain recover after a stroke by increasing certain proteins that repair damaged brain tissue. (9)

Purple sweet potato is just one of the many foods that are good for your brain. Learn about what else you can eat to improve your memory, concentration, and focus.

Purple Sweet Potato Can Help Improve Digestive Health

Purple sweet potato juice or baked purple sweet potato can help to improve your digestion.

A 2016 study found that the nutritional content of purple sweet potatoes can help to improve your gut’s microbiota. Anthocyanins help to increase the number of beneficial probiotics and that helps with digestion. Researchers noted a higher concentration of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus probiotics after ingesting purple sweet potato. (10)

The reason for the improvement in digestive health was due to the fact that purple sweet potato has prebiotic qualities which act as “food” for healthy gut bacteria (probiotics).

Consuming purple sweet potatoes can also be good if you suffer from chronic or acute digestive conditions. The journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences reported that sweet potato is among the foods that don’t provoke symptoms of digestive conditions such as gastroparesis (delayed gastric emptying). (11)

To help improve your digestive health, you can try some of these natural remedies for an upset stomach.

If you are recovering from a bout of gastroenteritis (stomach flu), you could add purple sweet potato to a bland diet to help recover quicker from a stomach bug.

Purple Sweet Potato Extracts May Help Prevent Gout

Purple sweet potatoes can be good for you if you suffer from gout because they help to lower uric acid.

The journal Food & Function reported that anthocyanins in purple sweet potato can reduce uric acid. The study involving mice found that purple sweet potato extracts significantly inhibited enzymes that affect uric acid levels. The research concluded that purple sweet potato has potential use as a functional food in anti-hyperuricemia remedies. (12)

You can find out what other natural remedies are good for gout to help relieve painful inflammation in your joints. Because anthocyanin-rich sweet potato reduces inflammation, you can also add this food to an anti-inflammatory diet.

Purple Sweet Potato May Assist In Weight Loss

If you are trying to lose weight, including purple sweet potato in your diet can help you shed extra pounds of fat.

Consuming purple sweet potato can help with weight loss in 2 ways. First, the high fiber content of sweet potato helps to keep you feeling fuller for longer. Also, anthocyanins can help prevent fat from accumulating in your body.

For example, one study involving mice found that supplements containing purple sweet potato helped to prevent weight gain and fat accumulation. Scientists also observed that purple sweet potato helped to improve liver and kidney function and reduced the risk of obesity complications. (13)

One study found that supplementing the diet with purple sweet potato anthocyanins helped to break down fat and prevent obesity. (14)

Of course, if you want to lose weight, you need to do more than just eat purple sweet potatoes. Find out about proven ways to lose belly fat and why walking is a great way to lose weight.

Purple Sweet Potato May Improve Liver Health

Compounds in purple sweet potato have a beneficial effect on your liver and can help prevent liver injury.

According to the journal Food and Chemical Toxicology, extracts from purple sweet potato help to reduce tissue scarring on the liver. Sweet potato anthocyanins can help to improve the symptoms of liver fibrosis. (15) The same journal reported that purple sweet potato compounds help to lower liver inflammation. (16)

Consuming purple sweet potato leaves can also help protect your liver’s health. A small study involving healthy men found that consuming purple sweet potato leaves for 7 days increased the levels of antioxidants and inhibited the release of pro-inflammatory cytokines. (17)

To look after the health of your liver, you should learn about lifestyle habits that damage your liver. You should also increase the number of foods in your diet that help to improve liver health.

Purple Sweet Potato Can Slow Down the Aging Process

Because sweet potato anthocyanins are powerful antioxidants, the purple root vegetable can help to delay aging.

In one study involving mice, scientists noted the benefits of purple sweet potato because its anthocyanins killed off free radicals in the body. Scientists noted that mice fed with purple sweet potato extracts aged less than the control group. The research also revealed that purple sweet potato has the potential to lower blood glucose and prevent tumors. (18)

There are a number of beneficial foods that can help to prevent the visible signs of aging. If you are over 50, you should learn about what you should eat to avoid muscle loss due to aging.

Purple Sweet Potato is Good for People with Diabetes

Eating purple sweet potato can help manage symptoms of diabetes because its flavonoids can help lower blood glucose levels.

One study involving diabetic rats found that consuming purple sweet potato extracts decreased blood fat levels and blood glucose levels. (19)

Other studies have found that anthocyanins from Ayamuraski sweet potatoes have a blood glucose-lowering effect. (20)

Learn more about the best foods to eat if you have diabetes and why drinking okra water can help you if you are a diabetic.

Purple Sweet Potato Has Anticancer Properties

Purple sweet potato is a functional vegetable that is rich in antioxidants that can help prevent the development and spread of cancer cells.

One laboratory trial found that purple sweet potato anthocyanins can help prevent colorectal cancer by killing off malignant cells. (21)

Some scientists have also found that anthocyanin fractions help prevent cells mutating. (22)

The journal Oncology Reports published results of a study showing that purple sweet potato can help improve the outcomes of treatment for bladder cancer. Researchers also found that anthocyanins can help prevent bladder cancer. (22)

Of course, cancer is a complex disease and there is no one food that can cure it. However, incorporating antioxidant-rich foods in your diet can help to reduce your risk of certain cancers.

Learn about what foods you should include on the anti-cancer diet.

Purple Sweet Potato Recipes

You can include purple sweet potato in recipes just as you would cook regular sweet potatoes.

Some studies show that baking purple sweet potatoes is the best way to retain the high levels of anthocyanins in the root vegetable. Steaming purple sweet potatoes can reduce the antioxidant content by up to half. (23)

How can you add purple sweet potatoes to get all the health benefits from this delicious, colorful functional food?

Baked purple sweet potato recipe

One of the easiest recipes is for baked purple sweet potato. This is how to bake a whole purple sweet potato:

  1. Thoroughly wash and dry the sweet potato with its skin still on.
  2. Make slits in the potato leaving about a ¼ inch (0.5 cm) at the base.
  3. Place on a baking sheet and brush melted coconut oil or extra virgin olive oil over it.
  4. Season to taste and place in an oven at 400 °F (200 °C) for 35-40 minutes.
  5. Drizzle some more oil over the top and continue to bake for 5 minutes.
  6. Remove from the oven and serve with quinoa or salad bowl.

Purple sweet potato soup recipe

You can also get all the benefits from sweet purple potatoes by making a delicious and nutritious soup.

  1. Gently fry 1 chopped onion and 3 crushed garlic cloves in a large pot until softened.
  2. Add 4 medium chopped purple sweet potatoes and 4 cups of chicken broth.
  3. Add salt and pepper to taste.
  4. Put the soup in a blender and whizz until smooth. Add more broth to adjust the consistency you want.
  5. Serve in individual bowls with a spoon of crème fraîche and a sprinkling of chopped herbs.

Mashed purple sweet potato recipe

You can add vibrant color to any meal by serving it with a portion of mashed purple sweet potato.

  1. Peel 3 purple sweet potatoes, chop them into chunks or wedges and steam for 15-20 minutes (or boil in water until they are soft).
  2. Once soft, put the cooked sweet potatoes in a pan, add 1 tablespoon of butter or extra virgin olive oil, a little milk or water, and mash until smooth and creamy.
  3. Add seasoning to taste.
  4. Serve as you would serve regular mashed potatoes.

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