Diabetics are generally advised to stay away from starchy foods like potatoes. Being a high GI food, it metabolizes quickly and cause a sudden spike in the blood glucose levels in the body. But it doesn’t imply that you have to completely eliminate it from the diet. A diabetic can still enjoy potatoes, but in a healthy way i.e., in the form of Sweet Potatoes. Hence “sweet potato for diabetics” are always recommended by nutritionists!
Known as Shakarkandi in Hindi, sweet potato is a low GI food that actually assist in regulating blood glucose in the body. Packed with plenty of nutrition, sweet potato is a superfood for diabetics. Vouched for its remarkable health advantages, let us know more about how inclusion of potatoes serve beneficial in your existing diabetes meal plan.
Sweet Potatoes And Its Role In Diabetes
In diabetes, the malfunctioning of the pancreas fails to regulate production of insulin in the body. Insulin is a hormone that transports glucose obtained from food sources to various cells of the body. Cells use this glucose either to produce energy or to store it. Insulin is a beneficial hormone responsible for controlling sugar levels in the blood.
When the body produce low levels of insulin, or do not produce any insulin or do not use it properly, then it causes an imbalance in the levels of this hormone. When the amount of sugar in the blood increases, then the cells in the body can access it properly for energy production. The excess sugar goes into the kidneys, and harms its functioning. The result is that sugar gets eliminated in the form of urine.
The holy grail sweet potato assists in balancing the level of blood sugar. It keeps it under permissible levels and so alleviate the difficult signs of diabetes. Sweet potato is a diabetic friendly food. The fiber, and antioxidants present in it shows remarkable potential to normalize blood glucose.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato
A single medium sized sweet potato comprises of 26 grams of carbs, and is balanced by 4 grams of fiber. In addition to it, this vegetable has several beneficial phytochemicals, vitamins, dietary fiber, like minerals such as potassium, and iron, and protein.
Sweet potatoes have more nutrition compared to a regular white potato. It is rich in essential vitamins such as vitamin C, vitamin B6, and vitamin A. When you consume this nutrition dense food, then it benefits your body in three ways: lower insulin resistance, effectively manage blood sugar, and reduce weight.
Abundance of Vitamin A deals with vision issues in a diabetic by improving it. The high ratio of dietary fiber keeps you fuller for a long time and aids in weight management. High fiber also regulates blood sugar. It contains good amounts of potassium that maintains right blood pressure in the body.
Sweet Potatoes and GI
Sweet potatoes rank low on the Glycemic index scale (0 to 100). Foods that rank high on this scale are the ones that gets quickly digested and absorbed by the body. Quick assimilation of carbs, and sugar causes sudden spike in the blood sugar levels, and deteriorate the condition of a diabetic patient.
White potato is a high glycemic food that takes no time to get digested, and absorbed. That’s the reason it is not recommended in diabetes. On the other hand, sweet potato is a low GI food that ranks low on the GI scale. The slow digesting sugar, and carbs in the food doesn’t cause any drastic increase in blood glucose. Due to this reason, these benefits, it is viewed as a healthy, and safe addition to the diabetic meal.
Different varieties of sweet potato
There are different types of sweet potatoes available in global market.
1. Orange sweet potatoes
These potatoes are orange inside, and reddish-brown outside. You will find them in the U.S. supermarkets. They have low GI, and high fiber, that makes it healthy for diabetes.
2. Purple sweet potatoes
These sweet potatoes are purple in color both inside, and outside. They have comparatively lesser GI than oranges ones. Presence of anthocyanins, a type of polyphenolic compound help in improving insulin resistance, prevention of obesity, and Type 2 diabetes. Such potatoes aids in reducing the speed of carbohydrate digestion in the gut and so the blood sugar rises in slow and steady rate.
3. Japanese sweet potatoes
Mostly called white sweet potatoes, Japanese sweet potatoes are purplish in color on outside, and yellowish inside. This variation of sweet potato has got caiapo extract that considerably lower cholesterol, and fasting and 2-hour glucose levels in the bloodstream.
What Makes Sweet Potatoes A Valuable Inclusion In A Diabetes Diet?
- Diabetics generally suffer from low vision. The presence of beta-carotene, and vitamin A is seen to improve eye health in a person.
- Loaded with vitamin C, this food boosts defensive mechanism in the body.
- Being a rich source of iron, it facilitates flow of oxygen, and nutrients all over the body.
- Being a plant-based source of protein, high amounts of fiber aids in efficient digestion, and absorption of fats. This helps in keeping your stomach fuller for a long time period. It prevents frequent cravings for food, and controls body weight in a person.
- Study showed that sweet potatoes has important hormone named “adiponectin”, that improves breakdown of fats, increasing insulin sensitivity and normalize insulin secretion in the body.
Due to all these reasons, this starchy vegetable is considered as an “anti-diabetic food”. It is advised that you talk to your nutritionist to find the right method, and amount, to add sweet potato in your daily meal.
How Much Sweet Potato Is Permissible To Be Consumed In One Day?
Being dense in fiber, and other important nutrition, sweet potatoes make the perfect replacement for white potatoes. However, as they have high amounts of carbohydrates in them, they can raise glucose levels in the bloodstream. You need not avoid them completely, but consume them in limits.
If you are a diabetic, the ideal serving of sweet potato should be only 25% of your full plate. In other words, your consumption should be equal to 1/4th of your total meal.
Tips to Eat Sweet Potatoes In The Right Way
Sweet potatoes for diabetics are beneficial only when it is eaten in the right way. When you eat it in unhealthy ways, then it gets transformed into a high GI food that can negatively impact your body. Follow these tips to consume sweet potatoes in diabetes.
- Eat sweet potatoes with its skin as it has maximum amount of nutrition, and fiber.
- Boiled form of sweet potatoes has lowest GI value as compared to baked, roasted, or fried form. These methods of cooking reduce its nutritional content, and raises its GI score, thereby making it unhealthy for a diabetic.
- You can increase the goodness of sweet potatoes by combining it with protein and fiber rich food. This will help you balance its high carbohydrate content.
- You can make it flavorful by adding diabetic friendly herbs and spices such as cinnamon, oregano, chili powder, paprika and black pepper. It will make it easy to digest.
- Eat them as a whole. This is because the GI value lowers when you dice them. don’t eat it in mashed form as it has low nutrition as compared to its whole form.
Risks Associated To Consuming Sweet Potatoes When You Are A Diabetic
As sweet potato is large in size, you can overeat them. It is important to know that sweet potatoes have more amount of carbs in it. so, if you eat it in excess then it can cause imbalance in blood sugar levels. You should note that your daily consumption of sweet potato should not exceed ¼ of your entire meal. So, to get best benefits of sweet potato devoid of side effects, eat them in moderation and in boiled way.
Sweet Potato Recipes : Interesting Ways To Eat Sweet Potatoes For Efficient Management Of Diabetes
Here are some delicious ways to eat sweet potatoes in a diabetic meal.
1. Quinoa and Sweet Potato Salad
This is a healthy and delicious way to eat sweet potato with the goodness of quinoa, coconut, cashews and other nutritious diabetic friendly foods.
- 1 cup of peeled, boiled, and diced sweet potato
- 1 cup of sugar less shredded coconut
- 1 cup of boiled quinoa
- 1/2 cup of cashew nuts
- 1 finely chopped onion
- 1 tsp of pepper powder
- 1/2 tsp of cayenne
- Salt according to taste
Preparation Instructions :
- To prepare this dish, take a kadhai, and heat oil in it.
- Add onion to it and fry till it turns golden brown in color
- Now add cayenne, pepper, coconut and boiled sweet potato it.
- Saute it on low flame, till you get a delicious aroma of coconut.
- Add cashew nut to this mix.
- Fry the mixture for five minutes.
- As quinoa takes very less time, we will add it at the last. Now when cashews are fried, we will add cooked quinoa to the mixture and mix everything nicely.
- Let it cook for another three minutes.
- Put off the flame, and serve hot.
2. Shakarkandi Ki Chaat
- 1/2 Kg of peeled, cooked, and diced sweet potato
- 1 Tbsp of Chaat masala
- 1 Tbsp of Chilli powder
- 1 Tbsp of roasted Cumin seeds
- 1 Tbsp of black pepper
- Juice of one lemon
- 2 to 3 chopped green chillies
- Cubed apples, and cucumber
- Finely chopped coriander for garnish
Preparation Instructions :
- Mix all these ingredients properly in a bowl.
- Add spices as per taste.
- It is ready to be served. Serve it fresh.
Frequently Asked Questions About Sweet Potatoes
Below are some of the commonly asked questions about consumption of sweet potato in diabetes.
1. Is eating sweet potato beneficial for Type 2 diabetes?
Answer : To keep the blood sugar levels within limits, it is advised to eat sweet potatoes. Eating them with its skin provides more fiber to your body, and several other vitamins too. When these foods are boiled, it reduces its Glycemic index that makes it ideal for diabetes. Unlike a regular potato, eating a sweet potato will not cause immediate effect on blood sugar.
2. How sweet potato help you lose weight?
Answer : Sweet potatoes are a great addition to a diabetic meal. Being high in fiber, and slow digesting sugar and carbs, it keeps you fuller for a longer time. In this way, it keeps not just blood glucose, but also weight under control.
3. Which is better for a diabetic : Sweet potato or white potato?
Answer : Given a choice between the two starchy vegetables, sweet potatoes are a healthy addition to the diet of diabetes. This is because of the low-GI and more fiber content compared to white potatoes. Sweet Potato for diabetics is always considered a better option than white potato.
4. Does Sweet Potato raise blood pressure?
Answer : When you eat it in moderate amounts, and in the right way, it does not have any negative impact on blood pressure. Boiled sweet potatoes is rich in potassium, hypertension-fighting resistant starch and beta-carotene that maintains the right level of blood pressure in a person.
5. How should you design your diabetic meal with sweet potato?
Answer : Your ideal intake should be half of the medium-size sweet potato. It will provide you 15 grams of essential dietary carbs to your body. Rest 3/4th of the plate should comprise of foods that have healthy fats, protein, and fiber.
Sweet potato is a healthy substitution for white potatoes. It is a divine natural gift for diabetics. When consumed in moderation, sweet potatoes serve as a healthy food plan for a diabetic. As this super food is dense in carbs, be mindful of your portion sizes. Pairing it with raw veggies, and eating them as whole will keep your diabetes under control.
Hope you liked this article. Please share it with your family, and friends on social media. If you have any queries then do write to us. We would be happy to solve them at the earliest.