There are several myths associated with sweet potatoes. Some say they are just plain old potatoes that can tweak taste buds with extra flavor. However, several studies suggest that sweet potatoes have unique nutritional benefits to offer. Here we help you bust the myths and find the facts linked to sweet potatoes. Read on only to admit that it is a truly sweet idea to include sweet potatoes to our diet. Not just because it tastes heavenly, but it offers surprising health benefits!
What Is Sweet Potato?
Sweet potato is an edible tropical tuber with white slightly sweet flesh. The Central American climbing plant yields sweet potatoes and is widely cultivated in warm countries.
A versatile vegetable, Sweet potato is an excellent source of natural, health-promoting compounds like beta-carotene and anthocyanin, Vitamins A, B, and C. Different names of Sweet potatoes in India are Shakarkandi, Shakarkand, Chilakada Dumpa, Sarkaraivalli kizhangu, Madhurakkilannu, Genasu, Ratalu, Ranga aloo, Ratala Marathi, and Shakarkandi.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potatoes:
Sweet potatoes are rich in carbohydrates, fiber, and other nutrients. The carbohydrate content in sweet potatoes is lesser than potatoes. While a potato contains 26gm carbohydrate, whereas sweet potato contains only 23gm carbohydrate.
The fiber content in sweet potato is two times more than the potato.
Calories in Sweet Potato:
This high fiber food helps reduce weight as it make us feel full longer, decrease the calorie intake, thereby preventing weight gain. A medium sweet potato offers 300 to 400 calories.
Sweet potato, sweet potato leaves Sweet potato, baked sweet potato, boiled sweet potato, mashed sweet potato
|Amount Per 100 grams1 sweetpotato, 5″ long (130 g)1 cup, cubes (133 g)100 grams|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 0.1 g||0%|
|Saturated fat 0 g||0%|
|Polyunsaturated fat 0 g|
|Monounsaturated fat 0 g|
|Cholesterol 0 mg||0%|
|Sodium 55 mg||2%|
|Potassium 337 mg||9%|
|Total Carbohydrate 20 g||6%|
|Dietary fiber 3 g||12%|
|Sugar 4.2 g|
|Protein 1.6 g||3%|
|Vitamin A||283%||Vitamin C||4%|
|Vitamin D||0%||Vitamin B-6||10%|
*Per cent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs
19 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Sweet Potato Benefits for Skin Health:
Sweet potatoes work in different ways for maintaining skin health. Improve skin texture by using the water used for boiling the sweet potatoes. Strain the water after boiling sweet potatoes and store it in a bottle and refrigerate. This acts as the best skin toner that absorbs impurities, cleans pores, and soothes skin irritation.
How To Use:
- Mas the boiled and cooled sweet potatoes.
- Add 1 tbsp honey and spread over your face.
- Allow it for 20 to 30 minutes and wash off.
- Add 2 to 3 tsp lemon juice if your skin is oily.
2. Sweet Potato Benefits For Cracked Heels:
Water in which sweet potatoes are boiled can help heal dry and cracked heels.
How To use:
- Before the water in which sweet potatoes cool down, immerse your feet in it.
- Let the feet soak for 5 to 10 minutes.
- It works well for painful cracked heels.
3. Sweet Potato To Reduce Eye Puffiness & Dark Circles:
This tasty vegetable also helps heal eye puffiness and lighten dark circles. The anthocyanin in sweet potatoes help reduce skin pigmentation and the anti-inflammatory properties heal wrinkles, dark circles and eye puffiness.
How to use:
- Take 2 slices of boiled sweet potatoes and place them on the eyes.
- Leave for 15 minutes and rinse off.
4. Sweet Potatoes For Diabetes:
The carotenoid and carbohydrate in sweet potatoes can help control blood sugar levels and the insulin levels. Adiponectin hormone is increased by the sweet potatoes, thereby helping control the blood sugar levels.
Diabetic patients can replace rice with sweet potatoes as a carbohydrate source due to its low glycemix index. Magnesium helps control the blood sugar levels in our blood. However, the diabetic patients should consume sweet potatoes in suggested proportions.
5. Sweet Potatoes For Weight Loss:
The watery content in sweet potatoes make it filling and prevents heavy eating. Thus, these foods help reduce weight. This high fiber food helps reduce weight as it make us feel full longer, decrease the calorie intake, thereby preventing weight gain. Sweet potatoes can be a therapy for high cholesterol patients.
6. Sweet Potatoes Prevent Premature Aging:
Sweet Potatoes Prevent Premature Aging: One big boiled sweet potato can rejuvenate your dry skin. Sweet potato mask can leave skin fresh and helps prevent premature aging.
How To Use:
- Boil sweet potato until soft and peel the skin.
- Add 1 tbsp honey, 1 tbsp milk, 1 tbsp ginger root and boiled sweet potatoes to a blender.
- Make fine paste and apply as mask on the clean face and neck.
- Leave the face mask for 20 minutes and then rinse off with warm water.
7. Sweet Potato As Skin Moisturizer And To Maintain Skin Elasticity:
Make a homemade scrub that does not dry the skin out, using boiled sweet potatoes.
How To Use:
- Add 1 cup boiled sweet potato cubes, 1 tbsp yogurt, 1 tbsp oats to a blender.
- Them to make a coarse, thick paste.
- Apply over the skin and massage gently in circular motion.
- Wash off with lukewarm water after 10 minutes. Then apply your favorite moisturizer.
8. Sweet Potato To Prevent Different Cancers And Stress:
The beta-carotene or Vitamin A in sweet potato helps prevent different cancers. The antioxidants help repair cell damage caused by excessive UV radiations and offers internal skin layer protection. Good amount of minerals in sweet potato like iron and magnesium acts as a skin stress buster.
9. Sweet Potatoes For Hair:
The vitamin A or beta-carotene in sweet potato helps with hair growth and other hair problems like damaged and lifeless hair. Sweet potato mask made of honey, yogurt, and olive oil works on dull and rough hair, make them hydrated.
How to use:
- Blend one sweet potato, 1 cup yogurt, 1 tbsp honey and 1 tbsp olive or almond oil into a smooth mixture.
- Apply it on hair and let it sit for 15-20 minutes.
- In case of dry hair, add 2-3 tbsp coconut cream too.
10. Promotes Metabolism & Treats Premenstrual Symptoms:
Metabolism can be activated by the Manganese found in sweet potato. It helps promote metabolism and maintain healthy blood sugar balance. Sweet potatoes also work to treat anemia and severe premenstrual symptoms.
11. Sweet Potatoes Boost Immune System and Reduce Inflammation:
Vitamin C rich sweet potatoes not just helps maintain healthy skin, but can boost immune system. Stronger immune system aids body in fighting several diseases and infections. Include sweet potatoes to your regular diet.
Choline in sweet potatoes is useful for muscles, memory, the maintenance of the cell membrane structure, nerves impulse transmission, and resolving inflammation. Sweet potatoes are effective in healing both external and internal inflammation.
12. Sweet Potatoes Reduce Blood Pressure:
Potassium-rich sweet potato helps reduce blood pressure. Research says that high potassium intake can decrease the death risk due to the high blood pressure by 20%. Thus, sweet potatoes helps maintain cholesterol level and also manage blood pressure.
13. Sweet Potatoes For Fertility:
Vitamin A in sweet potato helps with smooth pregnancy and breastfeeding. Consuming more iron (present in sweet potato) can help women in their fertility period.
14. Sweet Potatoes For Vision, Teeth and Gums:
Bright yellow color of sweet potatoes means the presence of beta carotene that converts into Vitamin A which aids with vision. Vitamin C and E in sweet potatoes support the eye health. Vitamin C also aids with prevention of gums from bleeding and loosing teeth.
15. Sweet Potatoes As Energy Source and For Digestive Health:
Fiber in sweet potatoes helps prevent constipation, besides promoting healthy digestive system. They are good at soothing stomach and colon. Vitamin B complex, C, beta carotene, calcium, and potassium in sweet potatoes are effective on gastritis. Moreover, the nutrient-rich sweet potatoes increases energy levels of the body. The red blood cell production is stimulated by the iron in the sweet potatoes.
16. Resolves Asthma and Bronchitis:
Nutrients in sweet potatoes are effective at asthma and bronchitis treatment. Their warmth effect is good for patients with bronchitis and its aroma helps relieve nasal congestion.
17. Effective Against Arthritis and Offers Bone Strength:
The composition of zinc, beta carotene, magnesium, and vitamin B in sweet potatoes help relieve arthritis. The mineral substance in sweet potatoes help prevent osteoporosis and arthritis.
18. Sweet Potatoes For Heart Health:
Vitamin B6 in sweet potatoes help prevent the accumulation of homosistein in our blood. High homosistein in the blood triggers the risk of heart disease and stroke. Thus, keeping it low decreases heart risks. It also reduces stress levels.
19. Sweet Potatoes For Pregnancy:
Sweet potatoes are good for pregnancy in more than one ways. A cup of sweet potato contains of 1.922 microgram of vitamin A. A cup of baked sweet potato with its skin contains 39,2 milligram of vitamin C. Fiber in it helps with digestive health and effectively deals with constipation. Other nutrients helps with over health.
How To Cook Sweet Potatoes?
Sweet potatoes are either grilled, boiled, or steamed. However, frying sweet potatoes can make them convert into bad fat. Many eat sweet potatoes without peeling the skin to obtain optimal nutrition.
Simple and Healthy Sweet Potato Recipes: Below are some healthy and tasty sweet potato recipes.
1. Sweet Potato and Arugula Salad
- 6 cups 1/2-inch-diced sweet potatoes
- 1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and black pepper
- 2 cups baby arugula
- 4 scallions
- 1/4 cup mayonnaise
- 2 tbsp fresh lemon juice
- 2 tbsp grated Parmesan
How To Prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Spray nonstick cooking spray to the baking sheet.
- Take a bowl and toss the sweet potatoes with the olive oil.
- Add 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper.
- Transfer to the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes.
- Stir the potatoes and continue to bake for 15 to 20 more minutes.
- Let cool completely.
- Add the cooled sweet potatoes, arugula and scallions in a bowl.
- Whisk mayonnaise with the lemon juice and Parmesan in a small bowl.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Toss the dressing with the sweet potato and arugula mixture to coat.
2. Sweet Potato Mash
- 4 sweet potatoes
- 3 tbsp butter
- 8 sage leaves
- 4 chopped scallions
- salt and pepper
How To Prepare:
- Microwave 4 sweet potatoes with a fork for 8 minutes.
- Scoop the flesh and mash.
- Add 3 tbsp butter in a skillet.
- Add 8 sage leaves and fry until crisp.
- Cook 4 chopped scallions in the browned butter. Add salt and pepper.
- Drizzle over the sweet potatoes and serve.
3. Whipped Sweet Potato
- 1 sweet potato
- 1/2 cup coconut milk
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- Ground nutmeg
- 1/4 tsp grated orange zest
- Salt and black pepper
- 1 tbsp chopped walnuts
How To Prepare:
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
- Use a fork to prick the sweet potato and then wrap in foil.
- Bake until soft for 45 minutes.
- Remove from the oven and cool it.
- Halve the sweet potato and scoop out the flesh. And add to a food processor.
- Add coconut milk, nutmeg, cinnamon and orange zest.
- Process until smooth.
- Season with salt and pepper.
- Add walnuts if prefered.
Side Effects Of Sweet Potatoes:
Limit the consumption of sweet potatoes to avoid possible side effects. Common side effects associated with sweet potatoes include:
Limit sweet potato consumption in case of calcium-oxalate kidney stones as sweet potatoes are high in oxalate that combines with calcium to cause kidney stones.
Eat moderate amount of sweet potatoes if you are with diabetes due to the carbohydrates that can raise blood sugar levels. Else, eat it in combination with some non-starchy vegetables that are good protein source.
Sweet potatoes are full of surprising nutritional benefits that are good for over health They are full of antioxidants, anti-inflammatory nutrients, and blood sugar-regulating nutrients. Not only sweet potatoes are readily available, they are inexpensive and delicious. However, they are to be consumed in moderate quantities to avoid possible side effects.
1. What Are The Differences Between Yams And Sweet Potatoes?
Yams are drier and starchier compared to sweet potatoes. Sweet potatoes have powerful nutritional benefits than yams. However, both sweet potatoes and yams are healthy foods and they look similar.
2. Are Steamed Sweet Potatoes Healthy?
Yes, steamed sweet potatoes are healthy. Boiling may retain most antioxidant power of sweet potatoes, compared to roasting and steaming. Baking loses 80% vitamin A levels. Therefore, boiling rather than baking should be recommended for cooking sweet potato.