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Diabetics, take note! You can nosh on sweet potatoes to control your blood sugar

Published on:17 September 2020, 18:40pm IST
Sweet potatoes or shakarkandi has been termed a ‘superfood’ by the American Diabetes Association for Diabetes. Here’s why it is a must-add to the diabetic diet.
Geetika Sachdev
Sweet potatoes have benefits galore. Image courtesy: Shutterstock
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Most of us have been guilty of mindlessly gorging on fried potato chips or french fries, aren’t we? After all, potatoes are loved all over the world, and it’s not easy to keep yourself away from it! But regardless of how appetising potatoes are, when overeaten, the starch they have can make your blood sugar levels go haywire—especially for those who suffer from type-2 diabetes.  

That doesn’t mean you have to say goodbye to your potato cravings. How about swapping it with a healthier alternative? That’s where sweet potato comes in. This superfood is known for its host of benefits, including regulation of glucose or blood sugar. What’s more, it also boasts certain antioxidants to keep chronic diseases at bay, amongst other things. 

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Why are sweet potatoes safe for diabetics?
The biggest reason why sweet potatoes work well for diabetics is because of its low glycemic index (GI) rating. Foods that have a high GI spike blood sugar levels, and are a big no-no for those who suffer from type-2 diabetes. 

Moreover, sweet potatoes contain a carotenoid called beta-carotene, which is a rich source of vitamin A. It also gives the veggie a rich orange colour! 

That’s not all: This veggie also contains high amounts of vitamin C, which is known to strengthen the immune system. Moreover, sweet potatoes are also rich in iron, and that helps red blood cells produce oxygen and transport nutrients throughout the body. 

Also, read: 9 foods that your diabetic parents must avoid at all costs

This superfood also offers plant-based protein, which helps to keep you satiated for long and accelerates weight loss. And that’s great news if you want to increase your insulin sensitivity. Lastly, sweet potatoes are a rich source of fibre, which spells amazing news for your digestive system!

sweet potato for diabetes
You won’t find a better snack than the humble sweet potato. Image courtesy: Shutterstock

“Sweet potatoes have everything and more in them, that makes them a superfood. Since they are rich in fibre, they help with better glucose control. They contain high quantities of vitamins A and C that help to fight inflammation. But remember to control portion size, that’s extremely important,” shares Dr Lovneet Batra, a top clinical nutritionist working with Fortis La Femme Delhi.

How much sweet potato can someone with diabetes consume?
Although sweet potatoes are a good choice for diabetics, it’s important to remember that they still contain carbs! That’s exactly why it is important to exercise portion control. Dr Lovneet suggests half a cup of sweet potatoes is good enough, since it is the equivalent of 15 grams of carbohydrates. 

Also, read: 5 diabetes superfoods that can help you control your blood sugar naturally

It’s best to check with your doctor, since the best portion size might differ from person to person!

And what’s the best way to consume sweet potatoes?
That’s another thing to remember: the way you eat sweet potato is what influences the veggie’s nutritional benefits. As per a study published in the Journal of Nutrition and Metabolism in October 2011, certain cooking methods like baking and roasting can kill the nutritional benefits of this wonder vegetable, while increasing its GI. 

At the same time, boiled sweet potatoes had the lowest GI value, according to the study. This is because boiling water softens the starch, and makes it easier to digest. That’s why eating them in the boiled form is the best option for diabetics!

It might be boring, but you enhance its flavour by sprinkling some cinnamon, chilli powder, lemon juice, and black pepper! So, what are you waiting for? Switch to sweet potato now and reap benefits galore!

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Geetika Sachdev Geetika Sachdev

An independent writer and journalist, Geetika loves sharp and fresh humour, just like her coffee! If not writing, you'll find her cafe-hopping and raiding the best book stores in town.