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Sweet Potato: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits


Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are known as the best root vegetables. Sweet potato is not only sweetening your taste buds, it is also rich in an antioxidant called beta carotene, which is very effective in raising blood vitamin A levels, especially in children.

Sweet potatoes are typically brown but are often available in white, red, pink, violet, black, and purple varieties.

Sweet potatoes are nutritious, rich in starch, tasty, and very satisfying. They can be boiled, baked, steamed, or fried to eat.

sweet-potato-nutrition-value-facts

Sweet potato is grown in both tropical and warm temperate areas. The crop just needs enough water and little attention for its successful cultivation.

Difference between Yams and Sweet potato

One should not equate sweet potatoes with yams, another starchy root commonly cultivated in West Africa. Indeed, yams are bigger and can weigh up to 120 pounds by weight and 2 meters by length.

Dicotyledonous sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are slightly smaller and possess very thin peel. Whereas yams are monocotyledons, larger, depending on the type of cultivar, they have dense, rugged, dark brown to pink skin.

 

Nutrition Facts of Sweet Potato

See the table below for an in-depth analysis of nutrients:Sweet potato nutrition (Ipomoea batatas), raw, values per 100 g. (Source: USDA National Nutrient database)
PrincipleNutrient ValuePercentage of RDA
Energy86 Kcal4%
Carbohydrates20.12 g15.5%
Protein1.6 g3%
Total Fat0.05 g<0.5%
Cholesterol0 mg0%
Dietary Fiber3 g8%
Vitamins
Folates11 µg3%
Niacin0.557 mg3.5%
Pantothenic acid0.80 mg16%
Pyridoxine0.209 mg15%
Riboflavin0.061 mg5.5%
Thiamin0.078 mg6.5%
Vitamin A14,187 IU473%
Vitamin C2.4 mg4%
Vitamin E0.26 mg2%
Vitamin K1.8 µg1.5%
Electrolytes
Sodium55 mg3.5%
Potassium337 mg7%
Minerals
Calcium30 mg3%
Iron0.61 mg7.5%
Magnesium25 mg6%
Manganese0.258 mg11%
Phosphorus47 mg7%
Zinc0.30 mg3%
Phyto-nutrients
Carotene-α7 µg
Carotene-ß8509 µg
Crypto-xanthin-ß0 µg

 

Carbohydrates

100 grams of raw sweet potatoes contain 20 grams of carbohydrates, 4 to 5 grams of natural sugar, and about 3 grams of fiber.
The sweet potato glycemic index ( GI) varies according to process and variety of preparation. Boiled sweet potatoes can have a GI as low as 41, while the roasted sweet potatoes can have a value as low as 93.

Protein

100 grams of raw sweet potato contains roughly 1.6 grams of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

Sweet potatoes have a particularly high content of vitamin A and potassium. They supply some calcium, iron, magnesium, and folate, too.

Fats

Sweet potatoes are almost fat-free unless fat is added during the cooking process.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes are a vegetable-filled with nutrients that are colorful and nutritious. Below are some of the benefits of adding sweet potatoes to the diet.

Reduced risk of Cancer

Antioxidant-rich diets, such as carotenoids, are associated with a reduced chance of liver, kidney, and breast cancer. Sweet potatoes are rich in antioxidants, particularly high in anthocyanins that appear to be promoting cancer cell apoptosis (or programmed cell death).

Studies show that potent antioxidants from sweet potatoes can reduce your risk of cancer. Purple potatoes are the most abundant in antioxidants.

Cardiovascular Health

In sweet potatoes, anthocyanins are also associated with anti-inflammatory effects which reduce the risk of heart disease. Additionally, Fiber in sweet potato is believed to reduce the cholesterol of every food, although high potassium levels in sweet potatoes hold blood pressure down.

Vitamin A deficiency and Eye Health

Vitamin A plays a vital role in the body. In many developing nations, deficiency of this essential vitamin is a significant public health concern. Deficiency can cause both temporary and permanent eye damage and may also lead to blindness.

Another abundant source of vitamin A in sweet potatoes is beta carotene, which is important for eye safety. Approximately 100 grams of sweet potatoes contain roughly 10 mg beta carotene. Fifteen milligrams of beta carotene supplementation is known to protect against age-related muscle degeneration, especially when combined with vitamin C, zinc, and copper (also naturally found in sweet potato).

Reduced Diabetes

Sweet potato is low GI food and fits well into a balanced diabetes management eating program.

 

Normal Potato vs Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes would actually be better than normal potatoes. You have a smaller GI, more fiber, and more beta carotene.

Sweet and normal potato both are good sources of vitamin C and potassium, but sweet potatoes also provide excellent amounts of beta-carotene that can be converted into vitamin A by your body.

Regular potatoes may be more filling but may also harbor large amounts of glycoalkaloids, compounds that can be harmful.

Both normal and sweet potatoes are considered nutrient-rich foods. Switch it and get the advantages of both.

sweet-potato-health-benefits

How to cook and prepare

Sweet potatoes can be cooked by boiling, grilling, frying, roasting, and pureeing.

You can conveniently ‘bake’ the sweet potatoes in the microwave to save time. The skin is not going to be as crispy but the sweet potato is going to be delicious still.

Roast sweet potatoes and eat them without toppings to bring out their perfect flavor. Sweet potatoes have a sweet, smooth taste.

You may also cook “French fried sweet potato” in the oven by baking them with some herbs and spices at high temperatures.

Store them loose in a cold, dry, and dark position for up to a week – not the refrigerator, because this will allow their core to harden and produce an awful taste when cooked.

 

Allergy and Adverse Effect

Although sweet potatoes are not a specific allergen, the essence of food allergies is that they can grow in reaction to any form of food at any age. Symptoms can range from eruptions, vomiting, or swelling to life-threatening anaphylaxis.

The sweet potatoes have potassium in them. A high intake of potassium may not appropriate with people taking beta-blockers. Doctors usually recommend these for heart disease, which can induce a rise in blood potassium levels.

People with kidney problems also need to take note of how much potassium they eat. Very much intake can be dangerous to those with kidney problems.

 

Summary

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious, low glycemic food that can be enjoyed in a range of delicious dishes. The methods and ingredients that you use to cook sweet potatoes can make or break their health-factor.

This root vegetable can have a number of health benefits, such as increased regulation of blood sugar and levels of vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are usually tasty, inexpensive, and easy to add to your diet.