Sweet potatoes are most well-known for their appearance at Thanksgiving and Christmas when they are covered in marshmallows. Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that are high in many different nutrients, including beta-carotene, anthocyanins, B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, and other minerals. These nutrients give delicious sweet potatoes some amazing benefits for skin and hair.
Sweet Potatoes Benefits for Hair and Skin
Skin rejuvenation and anti-aging
Sweet potatoes are known for having high levels of beta-carotene, which is converted to an active form of vitamin A (retinol) once ingested. Vitamin A is required for cell production and growth. An increased intake of vitamin A may help to increase healthy skin cell production. Anthocyanins are another highly bioavailable nutrient in sweet potatoes that can have anti-aging properties. Anthocyanins are a type of flavonoid antioxidant. Antioxidants can have anti-aging properties because they neutralize molecules called free radicals, which are unstable molecules that can cause oxidative stress (damage) to cells. Cellular damage can occur at all tissue levels and can increase the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, which is both an antioxidant and vital in the production of collagen. Collagen is the main component in skin and other connective tissues, including hair and nails.
Sweet potatoes contain elements that can serve as natural moisturizers, including potassium and pantothenic acid. A study found that potassium in sweat, along with other factors, may aid in keeping skin moisturized. It is important to eat enough potassium each day to help regulate other body functions as well! Check with your doctor before eating foods that are rich in potassium, since high potassium diets are not healthy in some cases.
Sweet potatoes are also rich in pantothenic acid, which is known to moisturize when topically applied to the skin and increases skin integrity. A sweet potato skin mask may also be moisturizing and help to rid skin of excess facial oils. An easy sweet potato face mask can be made with boiled sweet potato, honey, ginger powder and milk.
Decreased sensitivity to UV damage
Folate is another important nutrient found in sweet potatoes. Folate deficiency can increase sensitivity to UV damage, which can increase the risk of skin cancers. Sweet potatoes, when added to a balanced diet, can help keep healthy levels of folate.
Sweet potatoes also contain many of the nutrients that are important for hair growth, including B vitamins, potassium, vitamin C, and zinc. Although there is no direct study on sweet potatoes and hair growth, sweet potatoes can be a good source of hair supportive nutrients so that you do not become deficient in important nutrients.
Nutrient Content Based on Preparation
Nutrient content in any type of food can vary based on storage and preparation. Below is a chart that summarizes some of the differences in contents of vitamin C, folate and potassium in different forms of sweet potatoes. Disappointingly, sweet potato fries may taste great but are not rich in nutrients compared to other forms of sweet potatoes.
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