Sweet potatoes have a variety of health benefits. For example, the slowly digestible starch it contains helps to keep blood sugar levels constant, which is not only beneficial for diabetes, but also improves physical and mental performance and reduces the feeling of hunger.
A recent study involving experts from Hanoi University of Science and Technology analyzed the factors involved in the formation of slowly digestible starch from sweet potato starch by the enzyme pullulanase. The results can be read in the specialist journal “Food Research”.
Slowly digestible starch
Sweet potatoes are known to be a good source of slow-digesting starch. This is broken down more slowly in the small intestine and converted into glucose, which contributes to a slower and more stable blood sugar response.
The researchers cite a slow or moderate increase in the so-called postprandial blood sugar level and the maintenance of a constant blood sugar level as particular advantages of the slowly digestible starch.
Benefits of a constant blood sugar level
A constant blood sugar level not only has a beneficial effect on the treatment of diabetes, but also reduces the feeling of hunger and promotes physical and mental performance, explains the team.
The slowly digestible starch from sweet potatoes can have clear health benefits and there is also a considerable list of other positive health effects of sweet potatoes that have been shown in an independent study.
Anti-inflammatory and heart protective
Accordingly, the sweet potato not only has an antioxidant and anti-diabetic effect, it also inhibits inflammation and protects the heart. Consuming them also has an antimicrobial effect, reduces obesity and helps prevent vitamin A deficiency, the team reports.
Differences in ingredients
When analyzing the composition of different sweet potato varieties, the researchers also found that orange sweet potato varieties are an excellent source of β-carotene, while white-fleshed sweet potato varieties contain almost no β-carotene. It was also shown that purple sweet potato varieties had the highest content of healthy anthocyanins.
Based on the results, the team makes a clear recommendation for sweet potatoes as part of the diet. They are rich in fiber, proteins, vitamins and minerals and, compared to many other vegetables, sweet potatoes provide particularly high concentrations of polyphenols, which are said to have health-promoting properties, the researchers conclude. (as)