Today, anything can be considered a snack and consumers snack around the clock. Although taste is important, people are increasingly aware and mindful of what they eat. Snacks are often solely associated with indulgence, so it is up to the food industry to rebut consumers’ prejudices, because choosing healthier alternatives should not require making compromises on taste and enjoyment.
With one in five consumers wanting snacks with health benefits, such products are amongst the biggest rising stars in the food industry.
This healthy eating hype has become a genuine trend that was picked up by all generations, from Baby Boomers to the Millennials.
The role that nutrition can play in one’s health has moved on from being purely physical. Consumers are increasingly interested in what it can mean for their emotional well-being as well. “Feeling good” can mean many things to different people, such as being comfortable (relaxed, at ease, not strained) and being in a good mood (happy, satisfied, joyful, optimistic).
There is a growing interest in the effect that fibres have on our feeling of well-being. As much as 50% of consumers worldwide believe the gut microbiome influences their overall health.
What drives consumers to gut health?
The gut is like a second brain to the body and people think many aspects can be affected by a well-balanced digestive health. Ranging from a good physical health and managing their weight to supporting daily energy levels and a good mood. These drivers can be strong anchor points to connect with the different consumer segments on the subject of inner well-being. Nature provides an infinite source of inspiration when it comes to food. With this in mind, we continuously look for solutions to make nutrition better and healthier.
So, we explored roots and the fibres in them. We called them super roots. Sweet potatoes pack a powerful nutritional punch. In one medium spud, there is over 400 percent of your daily vitamin A requirement. Sweet potatoes also contain high amounts of fiber and potassium.
They have more grams of natural sugars than regular potato but more overall nutrients with fewer calories. Sweet potatoes may help maintain a healthy blood pressure and protect against cancer.
The high fiber content of sweet potatoes helps prevent constipation.
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes.
The fiber in sweet potatoes is important. Studies have shown that people with type 1 diabetes who consume high-fiber diets have lower blood glucose levels, and people with type 2 diabetes have improved blood sugar, lipids, and insulin levels. One medium sweet potato with the skin on provides about 6 grams of fiber.
Maintaining a low sodium intake helps keep a healthy blood pressure. However, increasing potassium intake may be just as important.
High potassium intake is linked to a 20 percent decrease in the risk of death from all causes.
According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition, among younger men, diets rich in beta-carotene may help protect against prostate cancer. Beta-carotene may also protect against colon cancer, according to a Japanese study.
Digestion and regularity
Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract.
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according to Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes (consumed as beta-carotene then converted to vitamin A in the body) is also essential for hormone synthesis during pregnancy and lactation.
Plant foods like sweet potatoes that are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients.
Choline, present in sweet potatoes, is a very important and versatile nutrient; it helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning, and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat, and reduces chronic inflammation.
In a study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food, purple sweet potato extract was found to have anti-inflammatory effects as well as mopping up free radicals.
Vitamin A deficiency can damage vision; the cornea can become dry, leading to clouding of the front of the eye. It also prevents essential pigments from being produced. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene can restore vision.
Also of note, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
Eating three or more servings of fruit per day has also been shown to decrease the risk and progression of age-related macular degeneration.