Did you know that sweet potatoes are a great source of beta carotene? That’s right, carrots aren’t the only orange vegetables to provide us with this healthy goodness. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A which supports the immune system and gut health. The skin of the sweet potato is an excellent source of fiber, so the next time you indulge in the delicious sweetness be sure you eat some of the skin too. Just a quick FYI, the sweet potato skins are great if you fry them up like potato chips!
Vitamin A & Beta Carotene
When it comes to the vitamin A it is important to moderate levels of it in the intestine in order to keep the immune system from becoming overactive. Vitamin A plays an important role in easing inflammation. It helps due to the fact that it is an inflammatory agent which means it eases the inflammation of the gut including the bowel making it extremely beneficial for treating Inflammatory Bowel Disease or IBD. Another function of Vitamin A includes the formation of bones, teeth, white blood cells, soft tissue, the immune system, and mucus membranes. Beta carotene is also and antioxidant which means it will protect the body from free-radicals that wreak havoc.
Both soluble and insoluble fibers are very important for a healthy diet. Fiber can improve the microbiome similarly to probiotics. When fiber becomes fermented, which is caused by the beneficial bacteria, short-chain amino acids called butyrates are produced. Short-chain amino acids stimulate mucus production, as well as, improving the tight junctions that line the intestinal wall. When the tight junctions become damaged it can lead to intestinal issues including leaky gut syndrome.
Fiber is intimately connected to our gut microbes. A proper fiber intake feeds the beneficial bacteria in our gut. The mucus barrier lowers inflammation throughout the gut, the more beneficial bacteria we have the thicker the mucus wall becomes meaning the gut is more protected against inflammation.
Our gut health is extremely important to our overall health and well-being. A healthy gut is a happy gut and that’s a big deal! Sweet potatoes among other things are great for gut health, as well as our general health. Too much fiber, just like with anything else can become a problem. You know what they say, too much of anything, even if it’s good, can become a bad thing. Make sure you’re eating a balanced diet and include all the colors of the rainbow. When in doubt check it out!