Sweet Potatoes, A Plant-Based Food for Diabetes

In the Caribbean, we call it Sweet Potato, but a different variety in the United States of America is called Yam. The plant-based food in the Caribbean which is called “yam” is very different from the sweet potato. Here is a picture of the yam (Ford, 2004).  Yams

Now, here is a picture of the sweet potato. Sweet potatoes

Sweet Potatoes and Diabetes

Persons with diabetes need to eat some amount of carbohydrate and so we must stick to the ones which digest at a slower rate. The result here is that our blood glucose will not have a high spike like what we get when we eat white rice or bread. Again, as is customary for persons with diabetes, “moderation” is the key.

According to Jacob and Media, if we eat sweet potatoes on a regular basis, it will keep our blood sugar in the healthy range and this is so, whether or not we have diabetes. This is certainly good news for those who want to prevent or control diabetes. I can understand if all roads are now leading to the grocery stores to get some sweet potatoes.

Sweet Potatoes Fiber Content-the Diabetes Connection

Men should consume approximately 38 grams of fiber, whilst women are allowed about 25 grams. If the skin is removed, we will get approximately 8 grams of fiber from a cup of sweet potatoes. This implies that diabetics could safely eat a small to a medium sweet potato if other things are observed. It is important also to pay attention to fat and animal protein vs. plant-based protein. One must consider everything on the plate.

Personally, I do not eat too many varieties at one sitting. I have a medium sweet potato with a piece of baked or jerked chicken breast and one cup of cooked cabbage. This, along with some lime water or a cup of unsweetened tea would be my dinner.

The above points to one fact – Sweet potatoes are good for persons with diabetes for several reasons. They are high in fiber.  Be reminded that diabetics do better on high fiber foods, which keep us full and avoid the high spike experienced after a meal.

Protein in Sweet Potatoes-Eggs?

A protein, similar to the one found in eggs is present in sweet potatoes.  Persons with diabetes do better on a plant-based diet and so it is good to know that there is a vegetable like sweet potato which acts as a good source of protein.

A reminder that persons on a diet rich in plant-based foods can see a reversal of diabetes, if they remain on this kind of diet and eliminate or greatly reduce animal protein and highly processed foods.

Calories and Sweet Potatoes

Low-calorie foods are good for persons wanting to lose weight. Sweet potatoes are low in calorie and are thus a good choice for obese persons and those suffering from diabetes.

Carbs, Sweet Potatoes, and Diabetes Jamboree

Sweet potato is low on the glycemic index. This carries good news for diabetics and people’ needing to lose weight. It is best that this group bear this in mind as they make wise food choices. We should also remember that when we continue to eat foods which give us an abnormal spike in our blood glucose, then this can lead to blindness, kidney damage and also damage to our small blood vessels, which will eventually lead to heart diseases.

This makes it all the more important for us to have a list of foods which will not give us a spike which could ultimately result in serious injuries and possibly death. It is for this reason that persons with diabetes are told to cut back on their carbs.

How to Cook Sweet Potatoes

  • Baked
  • Boiled
  • Roasted
  • Boiled or roasted, then mashed. Add a bit of olive oil and some garlic, if desired.
  • Chips (fried in a little olive oil) Sweet Potato Chips

Please see below for help in cooking sweet potatoes. A few of the methods listed above will be further explained.

Roasted Sweet Potatoes

  1. Peel sweet potatoes
  2. Cube the peeled potatoes
  3. Add salt and black pepper to taste (note a pinch is enough)
  4. Add a dash of cinnamon
  5. Add a little olive oil and toss the combination of sweet potatoes, salt, and black pepper
  6. Turn oven to 450 degrees
  7. Spread sweet potato combination in a baking pan, leaving space between each cube
  8. Stir every 8-10 minutes until cooked (they should be brown)
  9. Enjoy with your choice of lean animal protein or plant protein

Mashed Sweet Potatoes

  1. Peel sweet potatoes
  2. Cut into thick slices (1/2 inch to 1 inch thick)
  3. Place a pot with enough water and a pinch of salt or salt to taste on the stove with high flame
  4. Bring salted water to a boil
  5. Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water
  6. Cook until tender
  7. Remove sweet potatoes from water and mash to a smooth paste
  8. Finely chop a bit of garlic and a small piece of onion
  9. Saute the garlic and onion in a little olive oil
  10. Combine the mashed sweet potatoes and sauteed garlic and onion mixture
  11. Enjoy with your choice of lean animal protein or plant-based protein

How to bake Sweet Potatoes

  1. Wash sweet potatoes thoroughly to remove dirt from soil
  2. Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise
  3. Sprinkle a dash of salt, pepper and cinnamon
  4. Turn oven to 400 degrees
  5. Spray a baking tray with some olive oil or another cooking spray
  6.  Spread the sweet potatoes with the cut sides facing upwards
  7. Bake until tender. Dependent on the size, it could take between 40 to 55 minutes
  8. Enjoy with your choice of lean animal protein or plant-based protein

Other Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Cook (2016), identified the following health benefits of sweet potatoes:

  • It is said that some sweet potatoes protect us from cancer
  • Help to prevent degenerative diseases
  • Can help to prevent a heart attack
  • Helps in digestion
  • Helps with bone and tooth formation
  • Support for immune system due to the iron content
  • Its magnesium content keeps arteries healthy

In concluding, sweet potatoes are a healthy choice of carbohydrate for diabetics and non-diabetics. Our blood glucose should fall in the normal range. This, coupled with the fact that it helps with cancer, degenerative diseases and heart attack, to name a few, makes the sweet potato a wise choice for all.

Reference

  1. Cook, Michelle Schoffro. “9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes.” 9 Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes.         CARE2.COM, INC, 2016. Web. 03 July 2016.
  2. Ford, C. Yams at Brixton Market. Digital image. Wikimedia Commons. N.p., Mar. 2004. Web. 03 July 2016.
  3. Jacob, Aglaee, and Demand Media. “Are Sweet Potatoes Good for Diabetics?” Healthy Eating. N.p., n.d. Web. 03 July 2016.

Medical Disclaimer

We are not using this site to address anyone’s personal situation/medical issues/concerns. Please note that this site is to be used for informational purposes only. Please consult with your doctor/s before you act on any information given on this site (http://www.howtocontroldiabeteswithdiet.com).

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8 Comments


  1. // Reply

    I was introduced to sweet potato 3 years ago and there so nice, my fiancee never had before she is 37 so introduce them to her now she loves them.

    Never knew the was good for diabetecs Ill let my mum know, arnt they lower on the GI index aswell?


    1. // Reply

      Steven, thanks for taking the time. The glycemic index for sweet potato is lower for the boiled one than say the roasted sweet potato. I sure am happy that both of you were introduced to sweet potatoes and let us say “cheers to a healthier you and your fiance.” Yes, introduce your mom, so she can also be healthier.


  2. // Reply

    I love sweet potatoes and I remember when my grandmother used to make sweet potatoe fritters, WOW those were good! And sweet potatoes are very healthy too, far more that white potatoes!

    As for diet and diabetes, Type 2, you can completely reverse it and control it through diet and mild exercise like walking alone without drugs. I know of many people who have completely reversed and healed themselves of type 2 diabetes without drugs. It all comes down to a lifestyle change and ESPECIALLY with the types of foods and drinks that you consume.

    Great post! Now you have me hungry for some sweet potatoes. 🙂


    1. // Reply

      Robert, I appreciate your comments, thank you. I am glad I left you hungry for sweet potatoes because they are so good for you. Go ahead, eat some and your blood will be happier. I never had the fritters before. Do you have a recipe? Yes, diabetes can be completely reversed with the right lifestyle, some determination, and patients. Thank you for taking the time and all the best.


  3. // Reply

    I love sweet potatoes. My grandpa used to put one in the microwave everyday after work. I knew it was a healthy food, but I didn’t realize it could help diabetes, thanks for the info.


    1. // Reply

      You are welcome Layne and let us agree to say “thank you for grandmas.” They certainly knew about the benefits of eating sweet potatoes.


  4. // Reply

    Really never liked mashed sweet potatoes but I loved baked sweet potatoes! Something about the texture of mashed sweet potatoes I don’t like. I prefer to have mashed regular potatoes with milk and butter!

    These are some great, simple recipes, though. I will be sure to try them out!


    1. // Reply

      Matt, thanks for your comments. I love baked sweet potatoes as well. I am now appreciating boiled and mashed. I suppose for me it was different when I got scared about dying. Sweet potatoes are healthier than the regular white ones, but, remember, moderation is the key.

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