On top of their great taste, low price and year-round availability, sweet potatoes are packed with beta-carotene, vitamins B6, C and D, magnesium, potassium and iron.
Now, sweet potatoes are, well, sweet, but, their natural sugars – unlike processed sugar additives – are released slowly into the bloodstream, which helps to ensure a balanced and regular source of energy.
(This means none of the fatigue and weight gain linked to unhealthy blood sugar spikes.)
As their bright orange color testifies, sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene and other carotenoids, so this makes them a wise addition to our dog’s diet. Beta-carotene gets converted into Vitamin A, a necessary nutrient to strengthen eyesight and boost disease immunity. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant that protects against the effects of aging and helps diminish cancer risk. Studies at Harvard University of more than 124,000 people who consumed carotenoid-rich foods in a balanced diet showed a 32 % reduction in the risk of lung cancer. A clinical trial completed at Women’s Healthy Eating and Living looked at individuals who had completed treatment for early stage breast cancer. Results showed that women with the highest blood concentrations of carotenoids were the least likely to experience a recurrence of cancer. (www.cancer.gov/clinicaltrials/search/view?cdrid)
Consider the vitamin value sweet potatoes offer our pets. Vitamin B6 helps reduce the chemical homocysteine, which is linked with heart attack and other degenerative diseases. Eating sweet potatoes packed with vitamin C can aid digestion, bone and teeth formation and blood cell growth. Vitamin C accelerates wound healing and helps cope with stress and combats toxins. And sweet potatoes contain vitamin D, which is essential for the immune system. A vitamin as well as a hormone, vitamin D’s job is to regulate energy levels and help to build healthy bones, heart, nerves, skin, and teeth. Vitamin D plays a role in thyroid gland function.
Sweet potatoes are also a plentiful source of magnesium, which is the relaxation mineral. They supply potassium, too, one of the electrolytes that help regulate heartbeat and nerve signals, among other jobs. Sweet potatoes contain iron–essential for our pet’s energy, but playing other roles, too, including red and white blood cell production, resistance to stress, proper immune functioning, and metabolizing protein.
So next time you are thinking of having sweet potatoes for dinner, don’t forget to make a little extra for the furry ones in the family.