The humble potato has long been a staple of the American diet, and sweet potatoes in particular are beloved for their thick consistency, sugary flavor, and versatility. Whether they’re a dinner side dish or the foundation for a dessert all on their own, you can never go wrong with one on your plate. Even better, it turns out that sweet potatoes can do wonders for dealing with imbalances in your hormones as you go through menopause.
According to integrative medicine doctor Aviva Romm, MD, one of the aspects of our health hit the hardest during menopause by the decreased levels of hormones like progesterone is our digestion. Over time, certain foods, like whole grains, become more labor-intensive for your organs to break down, this can causes discomfort, constipation, and other problems. Meanwhile, other foods, such as red meat and dairy, can mess with your hormone levels, making them not optimal to eat. That’s where the trusty sweet potato comes in: Romm told the mindbodygreen podcast that it’s a vital source of carbs that won’t cause your gastrointestinal tract a ton of distress in the process and also won’t wreak havoc on your hormones during such a fragile time for your body.
On top of their digestive and hormone-regulating powers, the health benefits of sweet potatoes are truly endless. They contain damage-fighting antioxidants that fight free radicals trying to destroy your cells, plus provide plenty of fiber, which helps with both digestion and cardiovascular health. Moreover, the beta-carotene and vitamin A they provide are excellent for eye health, and thanks to compounds called anthocyanins, they can also protect cognitive function. Talk about a food that’s working overtime!
Looking for a few new ways to incorporate sweet potatoes into your diet for hormones or otherwise? Check out this delicious “popsicle” recipe and an orange juice-infused mash. (Don’t knock it until you try it!)