Sweet Potato: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

If you are a person who eat gluten-free, lactose intolerant, nut-free, vegetarian, vegan, or paleo foods, then you have to consider  about the nutrients you lose. However, no matter what kind of dietary restrictions you have, there is a magical, all-encompassing, diet that anyone can intake is sweet potatoes. 

Sweet potato is an edible one for everyone, even though it has some dietary restrictions, the nutrients that benefit everyone are high. The scientific name of this sweet potato is Ipomoea batatas.

This plant is a creeper with heart shaped leaves. Its tuber color varies from purple to red to pale yellow and white. Based on the soil type, climate, the color may vary. As the name implies, sweet potatoes naturally have sweetness and their flavor can be used for cooking.

Common Names of Sweet Potato

Scientific Name : Ipomoea batatas
Tamil Name : இனிப்பு உருளைக்கிழங்கு
English Name : Sweet Potato
Telugu Name : తీపి బంగాళాదుంప
Urdu Name : شکر قند
Russian Name : батат
Hindi Name : शकरकंद
Bengali Name : মিষ্টি আলু
Gujarati Name : શક્કરિયા
Kannada Name : ಸಿಹಿ ಆಲೂಗೆಡ್ಡೆ
Malayalam Name : മധുരക്കിഴങ്ങ്
Marathi Name : रताळे
Punjabi Name : ਮਿਠਾ
Thai Name : Boraphet
Arabic Name : بطاطا حلوة
Sweet potatoes are sweet and are available worldwide. It is a starchy root vegetable that comes in different sizes and colors such as orange, purple, and white. They are a great source of antioxidants, minerals, fiber, and vitamins. Most people are confused whether sweet potatoes are good for health. Unlike potato, sweet “potato” is also an excellent edible root within the family of morning glory. Some people call it yam instead of sweet potato. They differ from yams and they are the edible tubers of the lily family, native to Africa and Asia. The “yams” found at your local supermarket are actually a variety of sweet potatoes. True yams differ in their black/brown, bark-like skin and white or purple flesh. You can eat sweet potato whole or peeled, and its leaves are also edible. Here we’ve explained the nutritional information and possible health benefits as well as the health risks. Now let’s talk about the nutrient content of the sweet potato. As per the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, we have given this nutrient information.

Nutrient Content Owns by Sweet Potato

One cup of baked sweet potato with skin contains the following.It is one of the best sources of Vitamin A. As per the USDA, you can take 100 percent of the sweet potatoes per day.
Nutrient Value
Energy : 108
Calories : 180
Carbs : 41.4 grams
Protein : 4 grams
Fat : 0.3 grams
Fiber : 6.6 grams
Vitamin A : 769% of the Daily Value (DV)
Vitamin C : 65% of the DV
Manganese : 50% of the DV
Vitamin B6 : 29% of the DV
Potassium : 27% of the DV
Pantothenic acid : 18% of the DV
Copper : 16% of the DV
Niacin : 15% of the DV
After knowing the nutrient information, we’ve discussed the possible health benefits of sweet potatoes.

POSSIBLE HEALTH BENEFITS OF SWEET POTATOES

Sweet potatoes can offer you many health benefits. Here are some essential benefits of them.

1. Improves Gut Health

As the sweet potato has antioxidants and fiber, it is good for gut health. Sweet potatoes contain two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble. Your body cannot digest any type so that the fiber stays within your digestive tract and provides various intestinal-related health benefits. Some type of soluble fiber – called viscous fibers – absorbs water and softens your stool. At the same time, non-viscous, insoluble fibers absorb water and do not add aggregate.

Bacteria in your colon ferment some soluble and insoluble fibers, forming compounds called short-chain fatty acids, which fuel the cells of your intestinal lining and keep them healthy.

Fiber-rich foods containing 20–33 g per day are associated with an increased risk of colon cancer and regular bowel movements. The antioxidant properties in sweet potatoes can also provide intestinal benefits.

One Test-tube study has found that the antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes improve the growth of healthy intestinal bacteria, including some Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus species.

High levels of these types of bacterias in the gut are associated with better intestinal health and lowers the risk of conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IPS) and infectious diarrhea.

2. Improving Insulin Sensitivity in Diabetes

In a 2008 study, researchers found that sweet potato juice with white skin has increased insulin sensitivity in patients with type 2 diabetes.

Previously, in 2000, laboratory rats ingested white-skinned sweet potatoes or an insulin-sensitive substance called troglitazone for eight weeks. Insulin resistance levels improved in those who ate sweet potatoes.

However, further studies in humans are needed to confirm these benefits. The sweet potato also has fiber in it. One study found that people who took high fiber had a lower risk of developing type 2 diabetes.

Serve around 124 grams (grams) of mashed sweet potatoes or half a cup to get about 2.5 grams of fiber. The 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans suggest that 19 people and older took 22.4 grams to 33.6 grams of fiber per day, based on their age and gender.

Also Read: Herbs for Diabetes

3. Has Fight Against Properties

Sweet potatoes contain different antioxidants that help to fight against some types of cancers. One test-tube study found that the antioxidant in purple sweet potatoes can reduce some types of cancer cell growth such as colon, breast, stomach, and bladder. Moreover, purple sweet potatoes are a rich source in mice-fed diets that can reduce the risk of colon cancer. Orange sweet potato extract and the peels of sweet potato have been found to have anti-cancer properties in one study.

Sweet potatoes are good source in beta-carotene, which is a plant pigment and acts as a potent antioxidant. In the Human body, Beta-carotene (provitamin) converts it into vitamin A.

These beta-carotene antioxidants aids in preventing cellular damage, which is caused by unstable molecules, i.e., free radicals. If the free radicals level gets high, then cellular damage will occur, thus increasing the risk of cancer. So intaking antioxidants will prevent certain conditions like cancer.

Also Read: Best Herbs to Treat Cancer

4. Maintaining Blood Pressure Levels

The American Heart Association (AHA) says, people should avoid a high amount of salt. Instead of that, you can eat more potassium rich foods to keep your cardiovascular system more healthy. A 124 g of mashed sweet potato offers 259 mg of potassium which is required for the daily activity of an adult.

Also Read: Best Herbal Remedies For Blood Pressure

5. Helps to Support Healthy Vision

Sweet potatoes are generally rich in beta carotene (beta-carotene, which is a provitamin), which is the antioxidant responsible for the bright orange color of vegetables. Beta-carotene gets transformed into vitamin A, and here every molecule of beta-carotene creates two molecules of Vitamin A. If you take one cup of orange sweet potatoes with skin, you will get seven times more than the average adult beta carotene level per day. Beta carotene is converted into vitamin A in your body and used to create light detectors in your eyes.

In some developing countries, severe vitamin A deficiency may lead to a certain kind of blindness called xerophthalmia. By consuming orange-fleshy sweet potatoes, you can get relief from this condition. Purple sweet potatoes can give more visual benefits to you. Test-tube studies have shown that anthocyanins can protect eye cells from damage and are a significant one for the overall eye health.

Also Read: Best Herbs For Clearer Eyesight and Brighter Eye Vision

Apart from that, Vitamin A deficiency will minimize the body’s resistance to infectious disease, cause dry eyes, and increase mortality for both pregnant and feeding women and children.

6. Improves Digestion

If you have constipation issues, then sweet potatoes are the best home remedy for you. As it has fiber content, sweet potatoes promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Many studies have connected high dietary fiber consumption with reduced colorectal cancer risk.

7. Improves Brain Function

Regular intake of sweet potatoes can enhance brain function. One animal study has found that purple sweet potatoes can protect the brain by decreasing inflammation and preventing free radical damage, as it has anthocyanins property. As it has antioxidant properties, sweet potato extract can increase memory power.

Also Read: Herbs for Boost Digestion

8. Supports Weight Loss

About 12% of starch in sweet potato is anti-starch, which is a fiber-like substance that your body does not digest and absorb. In one study, only 5.4% of total carbohydrate intake was replaced by anti-starch, which increased fat burning by 20 to 30% after a meal. Anti-starch also stimulates the body to excrete hormones that stimulate satisfaction.

Also Read: Best Homemade Drinks for Weight Loss

9. Helps to Support the Immune System

Orange-fleshy sweet potatoes are one of the most significant natural sources of beta carotene, a plant-based compound that is converted to vitamin A in your body.

Vitamin A is essential for a healthy immune system, and the reduced blood levels are linked to decrease immunity. It is also necessary to maintain healthy mucous membranes, especially the lining of your gut.

The gut is where your body is exposed to the germs that cause many diseases. So the healthy gut is an essential part of a healthy immune system. Studies have found that vitamin A deficiency increases inflammation and decreases the immune system’s ability to respond properly to potential threats.

There is no proven research to determine if sweet potatoes, in particular, have an effect on the immune system, but taking them daily can help prevent vitamin A deficiency.

Also Read: Best Herbs to Boost Immune System

10. Manages Stress Level

Sweet potatoes have magnesium, an essential mineral for the normal body function. Magnesium’s most important benefit is that it helps to reduce stress and anxiety. Studies have shown that an increase in magnesium deficiency in modern diets is due to the significant increase in the incidence of depression reported worldwide.

For example, some controlled studies have shown that magnesium deficiency increases depression in women who experience pre-menopausal symptoms.

Magnesium deficiency and depression are connected because they both have cell-mediated immune responses and inflammations throughout the body. Studies in animal models have shown that an increase in magnesium intake protects the brain from anxiety or depression after a traumatic injury. Furthermore, studies in animal specimens have shown that magnesium deficiency increases anxiety-related behaviors and depression in mice.

Magnesium can decrease insomnia which may lead to depression, anxiety, and stress. It is unfortunate that more than 50% of the elderly suffer from some form of insomnia.

Also Read: An Ayurvedic Guide to Stress Management

11. Protects Against Ulcer

When the inflamed tissue is shed from the mucous membrane or skin, an ulcer will occur. This can be very painful. Studies in animal samples have found that methanol extract from the sweet potato root can protect gastrointestinal tissues from aspirin-induced ulcers. The results of these studies have shown that sweet potatoes can be used in the treatment of peptic ulcers.

In another study, flour in sweet potato roots has shown to prevent ethanol-related ulcers in the stomach, in animal samples. Flour from vegetables is said to suppress gastric ulcers, reduce inflammations in the surrounding tissues and protect against gastric wrinkles.

Also Read: Best Herbs to Cure Ulcer

12. Has Antimicrobial Properties

Although studies have found that the antimicrobial properties of sweet potatoes are limited, several scientific reports have concluded that sweet potatoes have some antimicrobial activity. Some studies have shown that ethanol and acetone extract from sweet potato leaves have antimicrobial properties against pneumonia-causing bacteria and Salmonella typhi. The fiber in sweet potatoes prevents the growth of foodborne bacteria.

Other studies have shown that sweet potato leaf powder, ethanol, its water and peptone extracts have antimicrobial activity that can fight against Salmonella typhi, E. coli, and Klebsiella pneumoniae. In addition, extracts from vegetables contain free radical scavengers, which are essential in healing wounds within the body.

13. Benefits for Hair and Skin

As we mentioned earlier, sweet potatoes are a rich source of vitamin A. This vegetable is also a rich source of Vitamin C and Vitamin E. One study has found that the dietary consumption of Vitamin E comes with the potential of significantly improving hair density in individuals who are affected by hair loss. Vitamin E has antioxidant properties that will help to decrease oxidative stress, which leads to alopecia.

Vitamin C is an effective skin treatment that can be used in photosensitivity and hyperkinesis treatment. Vitamin C is also effective in neutralizing the antioxidant pressure caused by the exposure to ultraviolet light.

Additionally, the combo of both vitamin C and E can significantly decrease the skin cancer risk in individuals. Vitamin C is also essential in the synthesis of the crucial structural protein collagen of the skin. Numerous studies have also shown that vitamin C has anti-inflammatory properties. This means, vitamin C manages skin diseases like acne, and also promotes the healing of skin wounds.

Vitamin A has been shown to be effective in the administration of sun-damaged skin and its treatment. In addition, studies reveal that vitamin A may be effective in curing skin cancer along with chemotherapy and other therapeutic solutions.

Other studies have found that vitamin A is an excellent stimulant of collagen, which is effective in reducing the natural cell aging rate and preventing our skin from photographing.

Also Read: Best Herbs for Skin

14. Boost Fertility

Due to the high content of vitamin A in sweet potatoes, it is suitable to increase the fertility of people under childbearing age. Studies in animal specimens have shown that vitamin A plays an essential role in the improvement of reproductive performance. Research has found that vitamin A deficiency can lead to secondary infertility in women under childbirth.

Sweet potatoes contain a healthy amount of iron, an essential mineral in improving women’s fertility who give birth. Reports indicate that anemia or iron deficiency is a leading cause of infertility in women. These reports show that women with iron deficiency can usually conceive within a few months to a year by treating this iron deficiency. Other studies have found that increasing dietary iron intake reduces the risk of ovulation infertility.

Oh yes, apart from the benefits, you may have a question about how to add it to your diet.

How to Prepare Sweet Potato?

In the store, choose firm and soft, sweet potatoes. Use a steel knife to cut them. Don’t use a carbon blade, it will darken the flesh.

Usually everyone will top the sweet potatoes with brown sugar and marshmallows, but there are some healthy ways to make them. You can steam, roast, boil or microwave the sweet potato. Sweet potato fries are also delicious but don’t eat them too frequently. Although they provide more nutrients when compared to the fries made from white potatoes, they are still high in fat.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes?

Keep the sweet potatoes in a dry place with airflow so that they will last for more than two weeks. Don’t store them in the fridge except, because the cold temperature will make the sweet potatoes hard and change the taste.

How to Add Sweet Potatoes to Your Diet?

Sweet potatoes are very simple to add in your diet. You can enjoy them with skin and without skin, baked, roasted, fried, boiled, and steamed. As it has sweetness in nature, you can add it to your savory and other sweet dishes.

Some ideas to enjoy sweet potatoes are here.

  • Sweet potato chips – Peel the sweet potato, slice them thinly, and bake it or fry.
  • Baked sweet potato – By using the oven, bake the whole potatoes.
  • Sweet potato toast – Cut the sweet potato into thin slices, then toast it and top them using butter.
  • Sweet potato hash – Peeled, diced, and cooked with onion.
  • Sweet potato fries – Peel and cut them like matchsticks and then bake it or fry it.
  • Spiralized sweet potato – Cut them like spirals, sauteed and sauced
Okay, now we’ve given some sweet potato recipe ideas for you. 

Apple Sweet Potato Bake

Ingredients : 

  • Sweet potatoes – 5 cups
  • Apple – 2 cups
  • Dark brown sugar – 1/4 cup
  • Pancake syrup – 2 tablespoon
  • Cinnamon – 1/2 teaspoon
  • Apple juice or orange juice – 1/2 cup
  • Walnut pieces 1/4 cup

Procedure :

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees

Step 2: Take a big bowl, add the sweet potatoes, brown sugar, apple slices together. Transfer into the 9×9-inch baking dish. 

Step 3 Now take a small bowl, mix the syrup with cinnamon. Stir in apple juice. Pour them into the sweet potato mix. Sprinkle walnut pieces on the top. 

Step 4 Take the lid or foil and cover the baking dish. Bake the mix for up to 30 minutes. After baking, remove the foil and serve it.

Buy Dried Sweet Potato

Sweet Potato Casserole

Ingredients : 

  • Mashed sweet potatoes – 4 cups
  • Mashed sweet potatoes – 4 cups
  • Pancake syrup – 3 tablespoon
  • Beaten egg – 1
  • Egg substitute – 1/4 cup
  • Chopped pecans – 1/3 cup
  • Coconut – 1/3 cup
  • Brown sugar – 1/3 cup
  • Flour – 1 tablespoon

Procedure:

Step 1: Preheat the oven to 325°F. 1 1/2 to 2-quart casserole dish coat with canola cooking spray.

Step 2: With an electric mixer, mix together the sweet potatoes and add 1 tablespoon of butter and cake syrup. Beat in egg, egg yolk, and milk. Pour the prepared casserole dish mixture.

Step 3: Combine pecans, coconut, brown sugar, and flour together. Stir well with a tablespoon of melted butter. Sprinkle the mixture on the sweet potatoes top. Bake in a preheated oven for 1 hour.

Risk caused by Excessive Consumption of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes have potassium. Consuming high potassium doesn’t suit those taking beta-blockers. Doctors usually prescribe these for heart disease, and they may raise the level of potassium in the blood.

It is not suggested for people who have kidney problems. A high dosage of sweet potato can be harmful to people with kidney issues. For example, a serious problem can occur, if a person with impaired kidney function consumes more potassium when compared to the kidney process.

Another danger you should be aware of is that some fruits and vegetables are contaminated with pesticides. Each year, the Environmental Working Group ranks products based on their potential for contamination. In 2019, sweet potatoes ranked 31st.

Bottom Line

Sweet potatoes are nutrient-rich root vegetables that are available in different colors. They are a great source of fiber and antioxidants that can protect your body from free radical damage and improves gut health and brain health. As we mentioned earlier, sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, which converts Vitamin A to provide better vision and keeps your immune system healthy.

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