Rice and sweet potatoes are both staples of many meals, but as far as health goes, they’re not exactly on the same level.
Sweet potatoes pack more vitamins and nutrients than white rice, so if you can replace some or all of your rice with sweet potatoes, your body will thank you.
Here are 10 reasons why sweet potatoes are better than rice.
Both white rice and sweet potatoes provide similar amounts of carbohydrates and calories, but while white rice tends to be processed more than its cousin, sweet potatoes contain more fiber and offer a greater amount of nutrients.
The result? It’s better for your health to eat sweet potatoes instead of white rice.
Both are a whole food which is a plus, sweet potatoes, and brown rice are both low glycemic index foods, sweet potato also has less calories, and sweet potatoes are seen as a far better weight loss option than regular potatoes.
But these are things you probably already knew so let’s have a look at all the other benefits sweet potatoes have over rice other than just fewer calories.
1. Sweet Potatoes Provide Healthier Alternative To White Sugar
As far as carbs go, sweet potatoes are better for you than white rice.
Compared to brown rice, white rice is stripped of nutrients.
This makes it harder for your body to break down into energy.
And if that isn’t enough to convince you, sweet potatoes provide a healthier alternative to white sugar.
Because sweet potatoes aren’t processed in any way, they maintain all their vitamins and minerals.
Because they have natural fiber, eating them will keep you feeling full longer.
In addition, sweet potatoes don’t contain gluten or fat – both ingredients found in most baked goods – making them a healthy alternative over anything with flour or butter.
This means you can eat whole sweet potatoes without worrying about gaining weight.
Sweet potatoes also promote heart health since they help control high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels.
Plus, they boost eye health by protecting against age-related macular degeneration due to their vitamin A content.
So sweet potato is definitely the healthier choice for adding sweetness to your baking.
2. Higher Fiber Count Than Brown Rice
Sweet potatoes contain more fiber than brown rice.
One cup of cooked sweet potato contains 3.4 grams of fiber, while one cup of cooked brown rice only contains 1.6 grams of fiber.
Brown rice may not be considered high in fiber, but when compared to sweet potatoes it’s actually quite low.
A higher level of daily dietary fiber has been shown to help promote healthy digestion and weight management in individuals, making it an important factor in your overall health.
Fiber is also crucial for promoting cardiovascular health because it helps reduce cholesterol levels in the bloodstream.
Sweet potatoes are a much better choice than brown rice when it comes to getting additional fiber into your diet each day.
3. Less Carbs Than Brown Rice
Brown rice is known as a healthy whole grain because it’s packed with fiber and nutrients.
However, sweet potatoes maybe even healthier than brown rice.
A medium sweet potato has just 34 grams of carbs, compared to 50 for a cup of cooked brown rice.
Sweet potatoes also have more vitamins and minerals than brown rice or white potatoes:
They contain beta-carotene and vitamin C, plus they’re rich in fiber and complex carbohydrates.
Sweet potatoes provide all nine essential amino acids needed by our bodies—brown rice lacks two of these essential amino acids.
Sweet potatoes also promote heart health and lower cholesterol levels, but brown rice doesn’t offer those benefits.
4. Sweet Potato Is Easier To Digest Than White Sugar
One of the sweet potatoes’ greatest assets is its high fiber content, (it has a lot of fiber) which makes it easier to digest than white sugar.
Unlike white sugar, which has to be digested in order for your body to gain any nutritional benefit from it, sweet potatoes can be broken down into usable sugars almost immediately.
This means that you’ll find that sweet potatoes digest much faster than white sugar, allowing your body to assimilate more nutrients and providing you with quick energy.
Sweet potatoes also provide a lot of healthy beta-carotene, which gives them their vibrant orange color and acts as an antioxidant against cell damage by free radicals.
Beta-carotene has been shown to prevent certain types of cancer such as colon cancer and lung cancer, not to mention reducing oxidative stress on cells.
5. They Have Antioxidants. No Cancer Risk.
While there is no clear evidence that suggests a causal relationship between high-carbohydrate diets and cancer, sweet potatoes do contain carotenoids such as beta-carotene, zeaxanthin, and lutein.
These antioxidants help protect cells from free radical damage that can lead to DNA damage and mutations leading to cell death.
Carotenoids have also been shown to prevent carcinogenesis (the development of cancer) in experimental models.
They May Reduce Heart Disease Risk: Studies suggest sweet potatoes may reduce cardiovascular disease risk by lowering cholesterol levels, improving blood pressure control, and reducing body fat—all without increasing weight gain.
The Food & Drug Administration has approved health claims for products containing sweet potato products for their ability to reduce heart disease risk when consumed as part of a healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol.
6. Provides Essential Vitamins & Minerals
Sweet potatoes provide a variety of essential vitamins and minerals, including vitamin A, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium, and more, and this for me is the best sweet potato health benefit.
These nutrients work together to promote your health.
If you’re looking for a diet rich in nutrients, including sweet potatoes at least twice per week into your meal plan.
By eating sweet potatoes instead of white rice on a regular basis, you can enjoy added health benefits that are not offered with white rice alone.
The same goes if you make a swap from brown rice to sweet potatoes—you get many of the same great benefits.
The ultimate choice between sweet potatoes vs white rice comes down to which food offers an overall better nutritional profile—sweet potatoes or white rice?
White rice may be low in vitamins and minerals, but it does contain some important B-vitamins that will help improve certain bodily functions when consumed regularly.
But sweet potato beats our rice for mineral content.
7. Sweet Potato Has More Protein Than Brown Rice
While neither is known for their protein content, sweet potatoes have 2g of protein per half-cup, while brown rice has just 1.5g of protein per cup.
More specifically, sweet potatoes provide 13% of your daily value (DV) of protein, and brown rice provides just 8%.
Sweet potatoes also contain less sugar than brown rice: 12g vs 25g in a 1/2 cup serving.
In addition to having more protein and fewer sugars, sweet potato contains more fiber, Vitamin C, Iron, and potassium.
Brown rice’s higher glycemic index means it will spike blood sugar levels faster which can cause you to overeat later in order to balance out your glucose levels—this is especially problematic for those who already struggle with insulin resistance or diabetes.
8. Contains 0 Cholesterol Whereas Brown Rice Does Not.
It’s no secret that cholesterol is bad for your health.
If you’re trying to lose weight or simply lead a healthier lifestyle, it’s imperative that you avoid foods high in cholesterol.
One of these foods is rice; while brown rice does contain certain vitamins and minerals, research suggests it may increase our overall cholesterol levels.
Sweet potatoes have been shown to help lower blood pressure and reduce levels of bad LDL cholesterol.
Plus, they also taste delicious!
Unlike brown rice which can be quite bland on its own, sweet potatoes can be prepared using all sorts of different spices and flavors.
9. May Be Used As Food Aid For Developing Countries?
Sweet potatoes and rice both contain complex carbohydrates, as well as small amounts of vitamins and minerals.
Despite their similarities, however, each food offers a different array of health benefits—which makes them useful in different contexts.
For example, sweet potatoes may be more useful as food aid for developing countries where malnutrition is common, and rice may be more helpful as a preventative measure against stroke and type 2 diabetes in developed countries like Japan.
10. Sweet Potato Promotes Gut Health
Starchy carbohydrates, like sweet potatoes, break down into simple sugars during digestion.
Because humans can’t absorb these sugars efficiently, they reach your large intestine where they feed billions of bacteria.
These bacteria are instrumental in supporting gut health by digesting fiber and nutrients that would otherwise be wasted.
This bacterial fermentation also produces short-chain fatty acids, which help reduce inflammation throughout your body.
In fact, there is a strong link between heart disease and poor gut health, so adding sweet potatoes to your diet may have a positive impact on your risk for heart disease.
So sweet potatoes are one of the food sources you need to be giving your digestive tract a fighting chance.
So just like that, 10 benefits of sweet potatoes.
So next time you’re out for lunch maybe get sweet potato fries with your burger instead.
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