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Sweet Potato: Health Benefits & Nutritional Profile

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They are readily available. They are economical. And they are tasty. Whether it is in pies or casseroles or even fries, sweet potatoes are a regular addition to our diet. But they are often confused with regular potatoes, which they are not. And their host of benefits has something to do with that.

What Is The Nutritional Profile Of Sweet Potatoes?

Principle Nutrient Value Percentage of RDA
 Energy  86 Kcal 4%
 Carbohydrates  20.12 g 15.5%
 Protein  1.6 g 3%
Total Fat 0.05 g <0.5%
 Cholesterol 0 mg 0%
  Dietary Fiber  3 g  8%
Vitamins
 Folates  11 µg 3%
 Niacin  0.557 mg  3.5%
  Pantothenic acid  0.80 mg  16%
 Pyridoxine  0.209 mg  15%
 Riboflavin  0.061 mg 5.5%
 Thiamin  0.078 mg  6.5%
  Vitamin A  14187 IU  473%
  Vitamin C  2.4 mg 4%
  Vitamin E  0.26 mg  2%
  Vitamin K  1.8 µg  1.5%
Electrolytes
 Sodium  55 mg 3.5%
 Potassium  337 mg 7%
Minerals
 Calcium  30 mg  3%
 Iron  0.61 mg  7.5%
 Magnesium 25 mg 6%
 Manganese  0.258 mg 11%
 Phosphorus  47 mg  7%
 Zinc  0.30 mg 3%
Phyto-Nutrients
Carotene-a  7 µg  —
  Carotene-ß  8509 µg  —
  Crypto-xanthin-ß 0 µg  —

What Are The Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes?

1. Sweet Potatoes Fight Cancer

Researches have shown the anticancer effects of sweet potatoes – particularly cancers of the lungs, kidneys, liver, gallbladder, and the breast. This may be due to the grand collection of antioxidants (preventing free radical damage) and anthocyanins.

2. Can Aid Diabetes Treatment

Sweet potatoes are abundant in fiber, and this can work miracles in healing diabetes. What’s better – boiled sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index and won’t fasten your blood sugar levels as much as regular potatoes. Their powerful antioxidant content may further prevent difficulties of diabetes, such as retinopathy and neuropathy.

3. Can Boost Heart Health

Sweet potatoes comprise a host of nutrients, including fiber, antioxidants, minerals, and B vitamins, all of which help in controlling the inflammation that can add to heart disease and other forms of vascular diseases.

4. Aid Weight Loss

A large amount of dietary fiber in sweet potatoes keeps you full for longer periods. This means you won’t be eating as often as you used to. Also, fiber is digested gradually – and this restricts overeating as well.

Sweet potatoes are low in calories and high in water content – both can add to weight loss along with a sensible diet and exercise.

5. Improve Digestive Health

It’s the fiber, again. It is higher than in the regular potatoes, and it improves regularity and augments the overall digestive health through wholesome effects on the gut microbiome (the trillions of microorganisms that inhabit the gut and are important for good health).

6. Improve Respiratory Health

These sweet veggies can relieve congestion and hence help treat asthma and bronchitis. And then, we have beta-carotene in sweet potatoes – research suggests that this nutrient, which is later converted into vitamin A in the body, can reduce the severity of exercise-induced asthma.

7. Enhance Immunity

The beta-carotene and vitamin C in sweet potatoes offer immune-boosting benefits. These two nutrients work even better when taken collectively, which is what happens when you serve yourself a helping of sweet potato.

8. Improve Brain Function

Thanks to the plenty of antioxidants, taking sweet potatoes on a periodic basis has shown to increase brain function. One Korean study even found that taking sweet potatoes can prevent oxidative damage in the brain, which can otherwise lead to serious ailments like Alzheimer’s.

And then, there is another research that tells us how a purple sweet potato extract had improved spatial learning and memory in mice – which carries similar prospects in humans as well.

Also, the starch in sweet potatoes is an excellent energy source for the brain. They also contain B vitamins, another set of essential nutrients for brain health. These vitamins can also lower stress levels.

9. Boost Bone Health

Sweet potatoes are rich in magnesium and potassium, which, according to the National Osteoporosis Foundation, can boost bone health. And vitamin A in the vegetable also improves bone health.

However, excessive vitamin A has been linked to bone loss. So, please ask your doctor before taking sweet potatoes for your bone health.

10. Promote Vision

Sweet potatoes are great sources of vitamin E, an antioxidant that protects your eyes from free radical damage.

These tuber vegetables are also abundant in vitamins A and C. These nutrients are particularly beneficial for vision, and they help prevent serious eye ailments like age-related macular degeneration and cataracts.

11. Promote Skin Health

Vitamin A is essential for skin health, and sweet potatoes have it in the bounty. Deficiency of vitamin A can often lead to dull and dry skin. The vegetable contains other antioxidants that fight free radical damage, which can drive to early signs of aging.

Even research supports the fact that veggies rich in carotenoids, like sweet potatoes, give the skin a natural glow. And then, there is vitamin C, another potent antioxidant. This nutrient spurs collagen production and firms the skin, thereby preventing the onset of fine lines and wrinkles.

Sweet Potatoes Vs. White Potatoes Vs. Yams

There is some ambiguity regarding this in the world outside.

Sweet Potato

  • A medium-sized sweet potato has about 102 calories.
  • It contains 24 grams of carbohydrates, 2 grams of protein, and 4 grams of fiber and has no cholesterol or fat.
  • It is rich in beta-carotene and also contains vitamin C, though in a small amount. It is also loaded with vitamin B6 and potassium.
  • Sweet potatoes have tapered ends with smoother skin.

Regular (White) Potato

  • A white potato of the same size contains about 120 calories.
  • It has 28 grams of carbohydrates and 3 grams each of protein and fiber. It is free of fat and cholesterol as well.
  • It is also loaded with vitamins B6 and C, folate, potassium, manganese, and magnesium.
  • White potatoes have a slightly flattened appearance and medium russet skin and are white-fleshed.

Yam

  • One yam contains about 118 calories, 28 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of fiber, and 1.5 grams of protein.
  • It is also rich in vitamins B6 and C, potassium, and manganese – though it is not as nutrient-dense as a sweet potato.
  • Yams are cylindrical and have rough skin. They are typically white-fleshed.

Moreover, the three belong to different plant families and are not the same.

Bottomline

They sure are delightful. And they are also readily available and economical. Which is why we often miss their greatness. Have them peeled or with their skins (though we recommend consuming them with their skins), and you will only be doing yourself a lot good. Include them in your diet now.

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