This Is Why Men Should Start Eating More Sweet Potato

Baked, mashed, roasted, or served as a side of crispy fries, the sweet potato has become a favorite side dish option for many. Once you decide on how to prepare your sweet potato, then you can add extras like cinnamon, butter, sugar, or even ketchup. Since sweet potatoes are naturally sweet, some elect to add nothing at all.

It's often assumed that the sweet potato is just the orange cousin of the regular potato, however, they are not as closely related as one would think. According to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health, sweet potatoes are root vegetables that come from the morning glory family while regular potatoes come from the nightshade family. While we may commonly think of sweet potatoes as orange, they can be white, yellow, and even purple. No matter what color you choose, they have several nutritional benefits that can have a big impact on our health and wellness — especially for men.

Vitamin A and potassium in sweet potatoes may improve heart health

When it comes to health conditions, there are certain conditions that are more likely to affect men than women. According to Harvard Health Publishing, men are five times more likely to develop an aortic aneurysm. But eating sweet potatoes can have a nutritional benefit on heart health. According to the American Heart Association (AHA), adequate vitamin A levels help the heart to function properly and just one cup of baked sweet potatoes has 769% of the daily amount of vitamin A you need (via AHA).

Not only are sweet potatoes packed with vitamin A, but they are loaded with potassium. Foods high in potassium can help improve blood pressure and relax the walls of blood vessels by helping the body get rid of sodium (via AHA). A cup of sweet potatoes with the skin has 27% of the daily value of potassium, according to Healthline.

Sweet potatoes may lower your risk of type 2 diabetes

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), men are more likely to have type 2 diabetes at lower weights than women. Men tend to have more fat in their midsections which is a part of the reason for their increased risk of diabetes. One of the most effective ways to tackle type 2 diabetes is through a healthy diet (per CDC). According to VeryWell Health, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. This means that when the body processes sweet potatoes, it doesn't give you the sugar rush you get from other sugar-laden foods like soda. This can help in diabetes prevention and management.

But before you pile your plate high with sweet potatoes, you must be careful not to overdo it. Eating too many sweet potatoes can cause weight gain and have the opposite effect on diabetes. How you prepare your sweet potatoes can also impact your risk for diabetes. Fried sweet potatoes will have more calories than a baked sweet potato. This can also cause weight gain that puts you at greater risk for diabetes (via VeryWell Health).