Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetics? | 19 Awesome Benefits

Sweet potatoes are the much better choice for you over white potatoes. Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetics? Since sweet potatoes are healthier for everyone in general, they are especially good for you if you have diabetes. When I was growing up and for many years after that white potatoes were my choice, but that’s changed now that I have diabetes and working on treating it the natural way.

Sweet Potatoes over White Potatoes

It’s important when you’re a diabetic to watch what you eat, especially when it comes to carbohydrates. Because carbs have an impact on insulin and glucose levels, it makes them the main focus in conjunction with diabetes.

That’s where sweet potatoes can help. They provide significant benefits that are nutritional to neutralize high carbohydrates foods and their effect on your blood sugar.

It’s important to note right away that you should still be counting your carbs because one large sweet potato contains 37 grams of carbs so you would have to be careful about any other foods with carbs for that particular meal.

The recommendation of carbs per meal is between 45 and 60 depending on your activity level and your body weight. This is according to the American Diabetes Association. You can choose to have half of a large sweet potato or just choose a smaller or medium sized one.

But digging a little deeper into this, your balance of carbs for a meal might not be totally affected as you might think. By going with a smaller potato, your intake of carbs is less but a substantial amount of those carbohydrates is fiber which will not raise your blood glucose and just adds to being healthier. We need more fiber. Fiber is good because it slows down the digestion rate of starches.

Sweet potatoes are an excellent choice if you have diabetes because of their high fiber content and low glycemic index. For diabetics it’s important to eat foods with a low glycemic index. A glycemic index measures exactly how carbohydrates will affect your blood sugar. This was developed to determine which particular foods are the best for a diabetic person.

How the glycemic index works is that it monitors the rate at which carbs get absorbed into your blood after you digest food. So you want your glycemic index to be as low as possible, because as a diabetic it helps you to avoid having high glucose levels and complications from diabetes. Foods with a glycemic index number under 55 are considered low and healthier. Sweet potatoes have a glycemic index of 44. Go for it!

Research has been done that revealed that there are phytonutrients in sweet potatoes that can aid in preventing heavy metals and free radicals from posing health risks. These phytonutrients  are helpful treating issues associated with the digestive tract such as irritable bowel syndrome and ulcerative colitis. Research on these have shown significant reduction of inflammation. This is the best thing you can do for your health!

It’s also good to know that the darker that the orange of the sweet potato is, the more nutrients it contains. Sweet potatoes have no grams of fat, 20 grams of carbs and contains vitamin B6 and vitamin C and more than 250% of daily recommended doses of vitamin A. They are also lower in sugar than white potatoes are. They actually taste sweeter than white potatoes too.

Watch the Video for More about Sweet Potatoes

19 Benefits of Sweet Potatoes for Diabetics

1) Emphysema

This is linked to smokers and their air sacs becoming obstructed. Carotenoids and Vitamin A aid in the regeneration of the respiratory system. Sweet potatoes help to prevent emphysema with their high content of Vitamin A and carotenoids.

2) Stress

Sweet potatoes can help with your body and its reaction to stress. They also are rich in potassium and magnesium which control the body’s water balance and aids in the flow of oxygen and regulating your heartbeat.

3) Your Immune System

These potatoes are loaded with vitamin D and help with strengthening your immune system. Your immune system is the lifeblood of your body and keeps you free from disease and keeps you alive and well. That’s a good enough reason!

4) Your Hair

One of the ingredients of sweet potatoes, beta-carotene, is responsible for great looking and healthy hair. That works for me! As I get older I have less hair so I might as well have it looking the best possible now!

5) Vitamin C

This vitamin is known for helping with the common cold, flu and a nagging cough. We all know how uncomfortable these conditions can be so why not get as much vitamin C as we can by adding sweet potatoes to your diet.

6) Minerals

Sweet potatoes boost your nutrient levels big time by providing minerals and nutrients such as iron and calcium and protein and carbohydrates. These are so important for your health.

7) Antioxidants

They are packed with and rich in antioxidants which aid in fighting breast cancer, asthma, gout, joint pain, and arthritis.

8) Insulin Resistance

Because sweet potatoes contain a natural sugar that helps controls your blood sugar levels, it is insulin resistant. This makes them one the most beneficial foods for a person with diabetes.

9) Healthy Muscles and Tissues

How do sweet potatoes help? They have important nutrients that assist in helping to regulate nerve signals that are being sent to the heart and brain. This results in the fighting off the uncomfortable feelings of cramps and swelling you experience and in turn eases your muscles.

10) Your Heart

The health of your heart is obviously extremely important. In order to lessen your chances of heart disease, you need a controlled blood pressure and the potassium in sweet potatoes helps your pressure and balances your electrolytes. Keep an eye on your blood pressure and check it frequently.

11) Your Eyes

Nothing is more important than your eyesight. With diabetes, your eyes should be checked once or twice a year. I have mine checked twice a year. With diabetes you’re more prone to eye diseases so having them checked is a must. The carotenoids in sweet potatoes convert into vitamin A and provide powerful ways to protect your eyes. Carrots and sweet potatoes are a great combination against eye disease.

12) Prevent Weight Gain

With its fiber content sweet potatoes are easily digested, control blood sugar levels and help in preventing sugar cravings. No sugar cravings leads to no weight gain for diabetics. Keeping your weight down will help your glucose numbers.

It’s hard to lose weight or not gain it but when you control the sugar cravings as sweet potatoes do it makes it much easier.

13) Dehydration

Sweet potatoes help your body in retaining water because of the roughage and fiber content. This helps in keeping you hydrated, maintaining the balance of water in your body and most importantly keeps all your cells functioning properly. It’s a known fact that we all must drink plenty of water every day. Sweet potatoes help to assist in staying hydrated.

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14) Cancer Fighter

How powerful is beta-carotene in your diet? Well you can help yourself with a sweet potato to fight and lessen your risk of cancer because of the beta-carotene. Researchers revealed that a diet rich in beta-carotenes can lower the risk of prostate cancer by almost 40%! That’s a powerful result just by eating sweet potatoes.

The typical sweet potato that is orange in color is awesome because it contains properties that are anti-carcinogenic. Again, the beta-carotene is possibly able to decrease the risk of ovarian cancer and breast cancer as well.

However, did you know that purple sweet potatoes are even MORE effective in fighting off cancer than the typical orange potatoes? Purple ones are more powerful with cancer fighting and stopping the growth of cancer cells. Go purple!

15) Maintain Dental Care

The way to protect your gums and teeth is with vitamin C. While vitamin C doesn’t cure gum disease, low levels of vitamin C can possibly be a risk factor for periodontitis. Vitamin C is important for your gums so let sweet potatoes help.

16) Wrinkles

While age plays a natural part in the skin aging and wrinkling, there are things you can do to reduce and help prevent the wrinkles. Protection from the sun is the main defense against skin aging and wrinkles.

But again the vitamin C in sweet potatoes has anti-aging properties because it is able to aid in the process of collagen. Sweet potatoes with its vitamin C offer all the things that anti-aging creams do.

17) Manganese

There were studies done about manganese using rats to determine if a deficiency of manganese affected carbohydrate metabolism and rats given manganese were found to have a glucose intolerance. The conclusion was that manganese played an important role in controlling blood glucose levels. Sweet potatoes contain 28% of the daily recommended allowance.

18) Healthy Bones

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin D which not only is beneficial for your heart, teeth, and skin but helps your bones as well. Vitamin D helps your thyroid glands to function properly as well. You need strong bones especially as you get older. You should keep this in mind even when you’re younger.

19) Gut Health

Sweet potatoes contain antioxidants and fiber. This is extremely beneficial for your gut.

Because your body is not able to digest either type of soluble or insoluble fiber that sweet potatoes offer, you get a number of health benefits relating to your gut.

Possible Side Effects of Sweet Potatoes

Stomach Pain

There is a certain type of sugar in sweet potatoes called mannitol. If you happen to have a stomach that is on the sensitive side you may frequent stomach pain each time you consume sweet potatoes.

Kidney Stones and Gallstones

Oxalates have a tendency to crystallize when there are high amounts of them together. This being the case with sweet potatoes and they can form calcium oxalate kidney stones and you do not want to experience this for sure. Folks with this problem should obviously consult with their physician. If sweet potatoes are the cause, then it’s best to avoid them altogether.

Blood Sugar Spikes

Sweet potato is low on the glycemic index at 44 but how they are prepared makes all the difference in the world. You can boil the potatoes and your index level is 44, but if you bake it? Your glycemic index shoots up to 94! You don’t want these numbers this high. Sweet potatoes are healthy for you and if you have diabetes. But the bottom line is to eat in moderation and choose the correct way to prepare them.

Final Thoughts about Sweet Potatoes

Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetics? Sweet potatoes are very healthy and tasty. Like anything else, make sure you check with your doctor if you think you may have a problem but for the most part they are good for you. They do help with lowering your blood sugar but remember, only in moderation. They do contain carbs.

 

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Rob Sciubba

Rob Sciubba - Founder of NaturalWaystoLowerBloodSugar.com

Rob is an blogger who has type 2 diabetes and wants to spread the word treating diabetes. For the past 3 years he has provided valuable information about diabetes and lowering blood sugars and continues to offer additional ways to treat diabetes.

If you’re serious about treating your diabetes and lowering your blood sugars the natural ways, then you will learn from his website.

6 thoughts on “Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetics? | 19 Awesome Benefits”

  1. I never knew that there is so many benefits to eating sweet potatoes. I never liked them, but, after reading your article I’m going to learn to like them. I’ve been a Type I diabetic since age 15 and I’m now 48, but, there isn’t anything I haven’t been through with my diabetes. I didn’t believe how serious diabetes is back when I was diagnosed with it, so, I didn’t watch what I ate. I, of all people know when you get older everything catches up with you.

    Reply
    • Hey Carol,

      When I was growing up I never liked sweet potatoes either. I always liked the white potatoes more, especially mashed potatoes.

      Diabetes is tough as you know and anything that can help to alleviate it we should take advantage of.

      So now when it comes to sweet potatoes I never pass them up. Health first I always say!

      Thanks!

      ~Rob

      Reply
  2. I am a former Diabetes Educator who has strayed from the mainstream thoughts on diabetes management.

    The current daily carbohydrate recommendation given by the American Diabetes Association is in my opinion set way too high.I believe that a person’s daily carbohydrate intake should be no more than 30 grams per day.

    To counteract the feeling of hunger that a person would feel by consuming such a low number of carbohydrates is to eat more healthy fats such as olive oil avocado oil and coconut oil.

    The diabetics that I have seen that have adopted such a diet has had such a dramatic change in their health and I have seen these people no longer needing their diabetes medications.

    I will balance that by saying that this only applies to those people with type 2 diabetes.

    A person with type 1 diabetes will need to follow the current ADA dietary recommendations as their diabetes was caused by an autoimmune event and not excessive carbohydrate intake.

    Ramona

    Reply
    • Hi Ramona,

      Whether I agree with you or not about the amount of daily carbs, I would still stick by the ADA and their guidelines. 

      Following a diet that curbs carbohydrates is important. We do need carbs but not in excess and eating foods such as sweet potatoes helps in lowering blood sugar which is what this is all about.

      Fruits and vegetables such as sweet potatoes put us on the right track toward controlling and reversing type 2 diabetes.

      Thanks for your comments.

      ~Rob

      Reply
  3. Hi Rob,

    Excellent article!

    I thought I knew everything about the sweet potatoes and after reading your article, I felt I don’t know anything about this super healthy vegetable! I wasn’t even aware that there are purple sweet potatoes, which I will buy very quickly! Also, I am amazed to see that there are side effects of eating sweet potatoes. However, I’ am not diabetic, but I’ve lost a lot of weight by eating food with low index glycemic, and I feel much more healthy.
    Until today, I was baking my sweet potatoes, but from now on I will boil them! Just a question, please. if making juice of raw sweet potatoes, will it be healthier?

    Thank you for this useful post!

    Reply
    • Hey Daniella!

      Thank you! Sweet potatoes are just healthy for you and especially if you have diabetes.

      And I might imagine that a great many folks have never heard of purple sweet potatoes and their benefits.

      And while there are some side effects, they are mostly minimal.

      As far as the juice goes it is even healthier because you’re most likely adding apples and ginger to it so drink up!

      Thank you for your thoughts!

      ~Rob

      Reply

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