6 Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Health Insurance Plans Starts at Rs.44/day*

It’s not surprising that many people question if sweet potatoes are healthy because their name implies that they are filled with sugar and starch. These white, orange or purple root vegetables are loaded with vitamins, minerals and antioxidants. Sweet potatoes have all the health advantages of ordinary potatoes and a few additional components as well.

Introduction  

Since ancient times, sweet potatoes have been a staple cuisine in many cultures. They are distinguished by their bright orange flesh and copper-coloured skin. Worldwide, there are hundreds of kinds with a range of hues, including white, cream, yellow, reddish-purple and deep purple.  

Sweet potatoes, scientifically termed Ipomoea batatas, originated in Central and South America. They have a naturally sweet flavour, as their name suggests. Sweet potatoes are starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables. There are 25 different kinds of them.

It features a thin, brown outer skin and coloured flesh that is typically orange but can also be white, purple or yellow. Sweet potatoes can be either consumed whole or peeled. The leaves of the plant can also be consumed.

Despite sharing the name potato, sweet potatoes and plain white potatoes are unrelated. The white potato is a member of the nightshade family, while the sweet potato is a member of the bindweed or morning glory family.

Nutritional Profile  

The following nutritional information for 100g of sweet potato is based on data provided by the Indian Food Composition Table (IFCT, 2017), National Institute of Nutrition (NIN), ICMR.

NUTRIENTSSWEET POTATO (Brown skin)SWEET POTATO (Pink skin)
Energy (Kcal)108.9108
Carbohydrates (g)24.2523.93
Total Dietary Fibre (g)3.993.94
Fat (g)0.260.33
Protein (g)1.331.27
Thiamine (mg)0.070.06
Riboflavin (mg)0.040.04
Niacin (mg)0.670.69
Pantothenic acid (mg)0.890.56
Total B6 (mg)0.120.19
Biotin (µg)5.195.71
Total Folate (µg)15.6214.44
Total Ascorbic acid (µg)17.9422.20
Phylloquinones (µg)33.5
Lutein (µg)282208
Zeaxanthin (µg)146133
β-Carotene (µg)537611.12
Total carotenoids (µg) 865395.93
Calcium (mg)27.528.93
Magnesium (mg)17.3721.05
Phosphorus (mg)42.9637.6
Potassium (mg)345329
Sodium (mg)29.629.04
Total starch (g)18.8219.88
Free sugars (g)3.634.03
Saturated Fatty Acids (mg)66.10101
PUFA (mg)116180
Total oxalate (mg)14.3914.14
Citric acid (mg)15.6625.69
Succinic acid (mg)652334
Total Polyphenols (mg)6.8911.74
Phytate (mg)54.0263.69

Additionally, sweet potatoes are high in antioxidants that shield the body from free radicals, especially the orange and purple varieties.

Health Benefits  

Improves digestion  

Sweet potatoes are rich in dietary fibre and are also well known for enhancing digestion and intestinal health. The high fibre content in sweet potatoes also aids in relieving constipation. Additionally, it possesses a significant amount of phytosterol, which protects the digestive system. Duodenal and stomach ulcers may be prevented and treated with it.

Sweet potatoes are beneficial for gut health as they contain soluble and insoluble fibre and antioxidants. Since neither form of fibre can be digested, they both stay in the digestive system and aid in preventing constipation. However, eating a diet high in fibre may also have the extra benefit of reducing the risk of colon cancer.

Sweet potatoes’ antioxidants support the growth of healthy gut bacteria, which may reduce the risk of IBS and infections.

Promotes weight loss  

Resistant starch (a carbohydrate that doesn’t get digested in the small intestine) makes up around 12% of the starch in sweet potatoes. Resistant starch could aid in weight loss and maintenance in several ways, including by increasing the release of peptides that let the body keep full and reducing the amount of fat stored in fat cells.  

They are regarded as a high-calorie food containing a lot of starch and have a reputation for being a vegetable that results in weight gain. However, that is untrue. Many people think of sweet potatoes as a healthier alternative to potatoes.  

Sweet potatoes are a good method to satiate the desire for carbohydrates because of their exquisite flavour and melt-in-the-mouth sugar flesh. They have a moderate amount of calories and are a good source of fibre and other nutrients that support weight loss and keep us healthy. One must include these sweet treats in the diet while trying to lose weight.

Helps manage Diabetes and blood pressure

Sweet potatoes have significant levels of carbohydrates and sugar. Sweet potatoes have a low glycaemic index. Unlike other starchy foods, sweet potatoes gradually release sugar into the bloodstream due to their low glycaemic index. This aids in lowering elevated blood sugar levels.

Sweet potatoes’ fibre content helps with diabetic management. According to studies, persons who eat more fibre may be less likely to acquire type 2 Diabetes. The amount of fibre in a half-cup of mashed sweet potatoes is roughly 2.5 mg.  

Some may perceive sweet potatoes as being overly starchy, but due to their high fibre content, they are a slow-burning starch and won’t cause blood sugar and insulin levels to surge.  

Boost immune system  

Sweet potatoes’ vibrant orange colour comes from beta carotene, which the body converts into vitamin A. Sweet potatoes provide more than 100% of the recommended daily intake of vitamin A, which is an essential component for a strong immune system.

The stomach plays a significant role in general health, and this same vitamin helps with it. Intestinal inflammation and antibody production are both increased by vitamin A deficiency. This important vitamin is added to foods to help lower inflammation in the gut and improve immune system function.

Nearly half of the daily vitamin C requirements are met by consuming one cup of cooked sweet potatoes. 400% of the recommended daily dose of vitamin A is provided in the same quantity.

Both nutrients are crucial for sustaining immunological function, which is especially crucial during cold and flu season. While taking vitamin C usually doesn’t actually prevent colds, it can lessen the duration and severity of a cold.

Aids eye health and vision  

Beta-carotene, a type of vitamin A, is high in sweet potatoes. Bright orange-fleshed vegetables typically contain this antioxidant. The body uses beta-carotene to make vitamin A, which is later used to develop light-detecting receptors in the eyes.

Oranges and sweet potatoes can help treat several vitamin A-related eye conditions, including xerophthalmia and cataracts. Also, purple sweet potatoes appear to be good for the eyes. Vitamin A improves night vision, lowers the risk of eye infections and prevents dry eyes.

Prevents the risk of cancer  

Purple-fleshed sweet potatoes are crucial in the battle against cancer. Sweet potatoes that are orange are rich in substances known as carotenoids because of their vibrant colour.  

Carotenoids serve as antioxidants and assist in controlling cell proliferation, which may suggest they lessen the risk of cancer. Sweet potatoes contain carotenoids that can help protect against cancer, including prostate cancer in men.

Antioxidant beta-carotene may aid in the prevention and risk reduction of colorectal cancer.

How to eat more sweet potatoes?  

Sweet potatoes can be cooked in numerous ways. Here are a few simple ideas.

  • Bake sweet potatoes and top them with a mixture of maple syrup and cinnamon thinned with little water.
  • Sweet potatoes are a great addition to desserts, from pudding and brownies to even pies.
  • Bake, mash and incorporate sweet potatoes into overnight oats.
  • Blend some colourful and healthy sweet potatoes into a smoothie.
  • Make an excellent lunch bowl by combining salmon and sweet potatoes.
  • Make a soup base from puréed sweet potatoes and low-sodium organic veggie broth.
  • Garden salad with cooked sweet potatoes chopped up.

Indian recipes with sweet potatoes are mouth-watering and delicious. A few recipes include,

  • Roasted sweet potatoes
  • Sweet potato curry
  • Sweet potato cutlet
  • Sweet potato kheer.

Conclusion  

Sweet potatoes offer several health benefits. They can increase the number of essential vitamins, minerals and antioxidants one consumes. They can lower blood pressure, blood sugar surges and inflammation.

Additionally, choosing sweet potatoes over other potato varieties may result in a decrease in weight due to the resistant fibre in them. Get the sweet potato filling in a variety of cuisines, from salty to sweet—and possibly a little of both.

FAQs  

What are the disadvantages of sweet potatoes?  

Though this vegetable is a nutrient powerhouse, sweet potatoes do have certain disadvantages.
 
Consuming excess sweet potatoes can result in  
 
1· Stone formation
2· Vitamin A poisoning  
3· Renal failure  
4· Heart conditions
5· Digestive issue.

Do sweet potatoes have healing properties?  

Sweet potatoes provide the body with vitamins C and A. Both minerals are essential for boosting immune system health, which is crucial throughout the cold and flu season. The maintenance of healthy skin, vision and organ function also depends on vitamin A. Sweet potatoes also are loaded with antioxidants that assist their healing property.

What does sweet potato do for your brain?  

Sweet potatoes contain vitamins B6 and C, both of which have significant health advantages. Both adult and paediatric brain function is improved by vitamin B6. B6 also aids in the body’s production of serotonin, a hormone that controls mood and facilitates stress management.

Is sweet potato anti-inflammatory?

Uncontrolled, low-grade inflammation increases the risk of nearly all chronic illnesses, such as type 2 Diabetes, obesity, heart disease and cancer.
 
Natural anti-inflammatory components found in sweet potatoes can reduce inflammation at the cellular level. These root vegetables, particularly the purple variety, have anti-inflammatory and anticancer properties.


DISCLAIMER: THIS BLOG/WEBSITE DOES NOT PROVIDE MEDICAL ADVICE

The Information including but not limited to text, graphics, images and other material contained on this blog are intended for education and awareness only. No material on this blog is intended to be a substitute for professional medical help including diagnosis or treatment. It is always advisable to consult medical professional before relying on the content. Neither the Author nor Star Health and Allied Insurance Co. Ltd accepts any responsibility for any potential risk to any visitor/reader.

Scroll to Top