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7 Benefits of Sweet Potato That Might Blow Your Mind

7 Benefits of Sweet Potato That Might Blow Your Mind

When’s the last time you ate a sweet potato? As a healthy, starchy vegetable, sweet potatoes make a perfect addition to any meal. They also stand alone as a great snack with a little a bit of coconut oil and salt.

Sweet potatoes are part of the root vegetable family that includes beets, carrots, parsnip, turnip, rutabaga and others. A little known fact is that the yam which makes an appearance around autumn, is actually a type of sweet potato. Who knew? Now you have a conversation starter at your dinner party.

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Another added benefit is that unlike the regular potato, this veggie has a sweet flavor that satisfies a sweet tooth craving, but avoids the sugar crash that is often associated with processed sugar. Here are a few other ways that sweet potatoes are highly beneficial — and the reasons why you should add them to your plate.

They are rich in nutrients

Full of beta-carotene which is converted into vitamin A when it is consumed, this veggie is a wise choice for optimal health. A big, 180-gram sweet potato baked in the oven with its skin has 1,730 micrograms of vitamin A. (The daily requirement is only 900 micrograms for men and 700 micrograms or women.) Vitamin A is crucial for a well-balanced diet because it helps with the tasks of regulating, repairing and growth various systems within your body (for example the growth and repair of your bones).

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They help control diabetes

Sweet potatoes rank low on the glycemic index scale and current research suggests that they may have a chance at decreasing the frequency of low blood sugar and insulin resistance episodes that occur in people with diabetes. The high levels of fiber also assist with type 1 diabetics to  decrease blood glucose levels and individuals with type 2 diabetics could have more stable blood sugar, insulin and lipid levels. A single medium-sized sweet potato has about 6 grams of fiber with its skin still intact. According to the Institute of Medicine, men should have a daily amount of 25 grams of fiber a day and women around 38 grams.

They help regulate digestion

The high level of fiber that is present in sweet potatoes is ideal for promoting a healthy digestive system and prevents constipation. The presence of magnesium also aids in creating a smooth-running GI system.

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They help prevent stomach ulcers

Not only are sweet potatoes great for curing digestive issues, but they are also known to be an ideal preventative measure against stomach ulcers due to the presence of B-complex vitamins, beta carotene, vitamin C, calcium and potassium — all substances that have healing power when it comes to curing stomach ulcers.

They help prevent arthritis

The beta-carotene, zinc, magnesium and vitamin-B complex present in sweet potatoes are critical in battling arthritis. An added bonus is that if you boil sweet potatoes, the remaining water can be rubbed externally on joints to lessen the pain that is associated with this illness.

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They help prevent cancer

According to a study done by Harvard School of Public Health’s Department of Nutrition, it is beneficial for younger men to consume a diet high diet in beta-carotene, in order to possibly ward off prostate cancer. In a separate study, beta-carotene has been shown to display an inverse association with colon cancer.

They improve vision

Jill Koury, MD, a Duke University ophthalmologist, claims that Vitamin A deficiency is responsible for the deterioration of the outer portions of the eye’s photoreceptors, resulting in damaged vision. The natural preventative solution? Consuming foods high in beta-carotene that will help with recovering vision. It is also important to note that the antioxidant-rich vitamins E and C present in sweet potatoes have been proven to increase healthy eyes and decrease the risk of degenerative damage.

So what are you waiting for? Sweet potatoes are one of nature’s ways for keeping you healthy — and they taste delicious. Try incorporating them into your diet today!

Featured photo credit: Flickr via flickr.com

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Last Updated on September 18, 2020

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

7 Simple Rules to Live by to Get in Shape in Two Weeks

Learning how to get in shape and set goals is important if you’re looking to live a healthier lifestyle and get closer to your goal weight. While this does require changes to your daily routine, you’ll find that you are able to look and feel better in only two weeks.

Over the years, I’ve learned a lot about what it takes to get in shape. Although anyone can cover the basics (eat right and exercise), there are some things that I could only learn through trial and error. Let’s cover some of the most important points for how to get in shape in two weeks.

1. Exercise Daily

It is far easier to make exercise a habit if it is a daily one. If you aren’t exercising at all, I recommend starting by exercising a half hour every day. When you only exercise a couple times per week, it is much easier to turn one day off into three days off, a week off, or a month off.

If you are already used to exercising, switching to three or four times a week to fit your schedule may be preferable, but it is a lot harder to maintain a workout program you don’t do every day.

Be careful to not repeat the same exercise routine each day. If you do an intense ab workout one day, try switching it up to general cardio the next. You can also squeeze in a day of light walking to break up the intensity.

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If you’re a morning person, check out these morning exercises that will start your day off right.

2. Duration Doesn’t Substitute for Intensity

Once you get into the habit of regular exercise, where do you go if you still aren’t reaching your goals? Most people will solve the problem by exercising for longer periods of time, turning forty-minute workouts into two hour stretches. Not only does this drain your time, but it doesn’t work particularly well.

One study shows that “exercising for a whole hour instead of a half does not provide any additional loss in either body weight or fat”[1].

This is great news for both your schedule and your levels of motivation. You’ll likely find it much easier to exercise for 30 minutes a day instead of an hour. In those 30 minutes, do your best to up the intensity to your appropriate edge to get the most out of the time.

3. Acknowledge Your Limits

Many people get frustrated when they plateau in their weight loss or muscle gaining goals as they’re learning how to get in shape. Everyone has an equilibrium and genetic set point where their body wants to remain. This doesn’t mean that you can’t achieve your fitness goals, but don’t be too hard on yourself if you are struggling to lose weight or put on muscle.

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Acknowledging a set point doesn’t mean giving up, but it does mean realizing the obstacles you face.

Expect to hit a plateau in your own fitness results[2]. When you expect a plateau, you can manage around it so you can continue your progress at a more realistic rate. When expectations meet reality, you can avoid dietary crashes.

4. Eat Healthy, Not Just Food That Looks Healthy

Know what you eat. Don’t fuss over minutia like whether you’re getting enough Omega 3’s or tryptophan, but be aware of the big things. Look at the foods you eat regularly and figure out whether they are healthy or not. Don’t get fooled by the deceptively healthy snacks just pretending to be good for you.

The basic nutritional advice includes:

  • Eat unprocessed foods
  • Eat more veggies
  • Use meat as a side dish, not a main course
  • Eat whole grains, not refined grains[3]

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Eat whole grains when you want to learn how to get in shape.

    5. Watch Out for Travel

    Don’t let a four-day holiday interfere with your attempts when you’re learning how to get in shape. I don’t mean that you need to follow your diet and exercise plan without any excursion, but when you are in the first few weeks, still forming habits, be careful that a week long break doesn’t terminate your progress.

    This is also true of schedule changes that leave you suddenly busy or make it difficult to exercise. Have a backup plan so you can be consistent, at least for the first month when you are forming habits.

    If travel is on your schedule and can’t be avoided, make an exercise plan before you go[4], and make sure to pack exercise clothes and an exercise mat as motivation to keep you on track.

    6. Start Slow

    Ever start an exercise plan by running ten miles and then puking your guts out? Maybe you aren’t that extreme, but burnout is common early on when learning how to get in shape. You have a lifetime to be healthy, so don’t try to go from couch potato to athletic superstar in a week.

    If you are starting a running regime, for example, run less than you can to start. Starting strength training? Work with less weight than you could theoretically lift. Increasing intensity and pushing yourself can come later when your body becomes comfortable with regular exercise.

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    7. Be Careful When Choosing a Workout Partner

    Should you have a workout partner? That depends. Workout partners can help you stay motivated and make exercising more fun. But they can also stop you from reaching your goals.

    My suggestion would be to have a workout partner, but when you start to plateau (either in physical ability, weight loss/gain, or overall health) and you haven’t reached your goals, consider mixing things up a bit.

    If you plateau, you may need to make changes to continue improving. In this case it’s important to talk to your workout partner about the changes you want to make, and if they don’t seem motivated to continue, offer a thirty day break where you both try different activities.

    I notice that guys working out together tend to match strength after a brief adjustment phase. Even if both are trying to improve, something seems to stall improvement once they reach a certain point. I found that I was able to lift as much as 30-50% more after taking a short break from my regular workout partner.

    Final Thoughts

    Learning how to get in shape in as little as two weeks sounds daunting, but if you’re motivated and have the time and energy to devote to it, it’s certainly possible.

    Find an exercise routine that works for you, eat healthy, drink lots of water, and watch as the transformation begins.

    More Tips on Getting in Shape

    Featured photo credit: Alexander Redl via unsplash.com

    Reference

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