Diabetes sufferers have to be careful what they consume in their diet in order to manage symptoms such as excessive thirst and hunger, fatigue and blurry vision.
This is because certain foods can cause blood sugar levels to spike – dangerous for diabetics who’s bodies struggle to deal with sugar in the bloodstream properly.
While patients can enjoy sugary foods in moderation and sparingly, there is a sweet-tasting vegetable that could help steady blood sugar levels.
Despite its name, sweet potatoes are considered to be perfectly safe – and even beneficial – for diabetics to consume.
They are high in fibre and have a low glycaemic index.
The glycaemic index – commonly shortened to GI – measures how carbohydrates influence blood sugar.
Low GI foods – meaning they have a GI of 55 or lower – have less of an immediate effect on blood glucose levels.
With a GI of 44, sweet potatoes are an ideal food for diabetics to fuel up on.
Other low GI carbohydrates include wholemeal bread, lentils, beans and vegetables.
However, high GI foods diabetics should be wary of are white potatoes, white bread and white rice.
The fibrous nature of sweet potatoes also helps keep blood sugars level.
Much of this comes from the vegetable’s skins, so it is suggested that people leave the skins on when cooking.
Additionally sautéeing sweet potatoes in an oil – with the skins on – is the best cooking method for avoiding any change to its low GI state.
This is because fat slows the rate of digestion and maintains a low GI.
In contrast, boiled or mashed sweet potatoes can cause blood sugar to spike as they are digested faster.
Sweet potato also contains the vitamins C, B6 and E, as well as potassium.
It is eaten in abundance in a certain region of China where inhabitants regularly live past the age of a hundred, suggesting that the vewgetable could help boost longevity too.