Do Sweet Potatoes have too much sugar?
With such a sweet taste they must be ‘loaded with sugar’, but is this bad for you?
As with all starchy foods, the starches convert to certain types of ‘-ose’ i.e. gluc-ose, fruct-ose, sucr-ose etc. ‘ Ose ‘ at the end of the word means that it is a sugar, and the beginning of the word tells you which type of sugar.
Sweet potatoes have a high starch content, which is converted to maltose once cooked or digested. Maltose gives it that sweet caramel-like flavour.
They are a high source of beta-carotene, which converts to vitamin A and is essential for hormone synthesis during pregnancy. To properly utilise the Vitamin A in your body, the sweet potato must be cooked with a fat or oil – and the fat or oil must be consumed too.
100g of sweet potato contains around 283% of your RDA of Vitamin A.
The good news is that even though it’s got lots of starch it’s also packed with a selection of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibre.
In moderation and balance with other food groups, it’s, therefore, a helpful and healthy food but should be counted as the starch part of your daily intake of food.
We need to always consider that starches convert to sugar.
In high quantities (even healthy vegetable forms like this) they may cause blood sugar instability and insulin resistance when overeaten for extended time periods.
Overeating sweet potatoes may also cause some digestive disturbance in some people – see cautions at the end of this post.
Vitamin A: Is necessary for the growth and repair of many body cells including bones, teeth, collagen, and cartilage. It’s also involved in cell differentiation where cells become specific types of cells such as a liver cell or a blood cell. This is vital for the development of your healthy baby, and so Vitamin A should be sufficient in your diet in a food form. Supplementation does not offer balanced forms of Vitamin A.
Vitamin C: For fertility health, Vitamin C is important in the process of absorption and also in its ability to support the luteal phase of the menstrual cycle.
Vitamin B2: Research shows that Riboflavin can act as an antioxidant, which helps to combat against harmful free radicals. Free radicals are known to negatively impact sperm and egg health, and so antioxidants are a vital part of the human diet.
Vitamin E: Vitamin E is an antioxidant that helps protect cells against damage caused by free radicals. This nutrient is really helpful in protecting sperm and egg cells from free radical damage, which can damage the DNA of the cell and may lead to morphology issues – in sperm and eggs.
Vitamin K: Vitamin K is an essential nutrient necessary for responding to injuries as it regulates normal blood clotting. By assisting the transport of calcium throughout the body Vitamin K may also be helpful for bone health. Vitamin K can be particularly useful if you suffer from heavy and/or painful periods as it can help slow down the blood flow and reduce cramping.
Phosphorus: Is an element that plays an important role in how the body uses carbohydrates and fats. It is also needed for the body to make protein for the growth, maintenance, and repair of cells and tissues. It is essential in our diet and particularly in children when growth and development occurs.
Iron: Is a mineral that the body uses to carry oxygen in the blood and plays a key role in strengthening the immune system and helps regulate body temperature.
Calcium: Calcium is needed to build and maintain strong bones, support heart health, and for optimal function of the muscles and nerves. It is also required alongside Vitamin D to aid in its use throughout the body.
- Treat Qi Deficiency
- Treat Heat
- Treat Yang Deficiency
Qi is the word used in Chinese Fertility Medicine to describe energy, life force, or vitality inside and outside the body.
Qi is the non-physical aspect of your body that makes all your organs and systems work.
This means that it’s vital for the function of all aspects of your fertility, and pregnancy health too. When your Qi is deficient your body struggles to function efficiently, and this can lead to a variety of fertility issues.
When Qi becomes more severely deficient you will likely present with hormone imbalance, typically with reduced Progesterone, Testosterone and/or FSH levels. In some cases, the FSH can rise and present itself as being elevated, due to the ovaries or testes being underactive and sluggish (tired).
Heat is a pattern of imbalance in Chinese Fertility Medicine that refers to one or more of the following: a feeling of heat in your body, a measured fever, or some type of inflammation typically related to infection.
It presents with signs of over-activity, mood changes, inflammatory issues, discolouration of body fluids, and symptoms of dryness and heat.
Too much heat typically affects the fluid and blood balance of the body and this can impact egg and sperm quality to varying degrees.
Yang Deficiency is the Chinese Fertility Medicine term used to describe a lack of activity, warmth, or metabolism within your body.
It basically indicates an under-activity of the body – often related to the adrenal function, or the Hypothalamic-Pituitary-Adrenal axis. This axis regulates hormone production and release and is also involved in the regulation and production of energy and warmth.
Yang Deficiency often manifests as Thyroid issues, particularly Hypothyroidism and Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis as both of these are caused by an under-active metabolism.
Season Available: All year round with their peak season between late October- late December
How it’s typically cooked: Sweet Potato is very versatile, you can boil, mash, roast, or add to soups. Cooked with Liver it will support eye health more strongly.
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