Sweet Potatoes: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Sweet Potatoes: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefits

Overview

Sweet potatoes have scientific  name as Ipomoea batatas.

They are a type of plant which belongs to Convolvulaceae family.

Generally, sweet potatoes  are harvested for their tuberous roots which are starchy, large and sweet in flavor.

Although orange variety is the most common sweet potato type.

They also come in white, yellow, pink or purple.

In fact, there is a wide range of ways to prepare sweet potatoes including boil, steam, bake or fry.

Having soft and creamy taste, sweet potatoes are famous for a role of nutritious vegetable.

This writing will take a detailed look into sweet potato nutrition as well as top 10 Benefits of Sweet Potatoes.

Nutrition Facts

Nutritionally, sweet potatoes have many beneficial health effects.

In raw form, sweet potatoes have water as the primary ingredient.

In fact, water makes up for 77% of the content, followed by carbohydrate, fiber and protein with 20.1%, 3% and 1.6% respectively.

More importantly, sweet potatoes contain almost no fat.

Hence, they are a good friend of weight loss process.

Carbohydartes

A medium-sized sweet potato can contain 27 grams of carbohydrates.

While straches are the main components in sweet potato’s carbohydrate content with 53%, sugar is the runner up with 32%.

Glucose, fructose and sucrose are good examples of sugar in sweet potatoes (1).

When it comes to glycemic index – a measurement for how quickly blood sugar levels increase after eating, the rate of sweet potatoes ranges from 44 to 96 (2).

This index is relatively high.

Therefore, diabetic patients should not consume large amount of potato.

Also, boiled sweet potato is one of the most effective solutions to lower glycemix index, in comparison with baked, fried or roasted one (3).

Starch

Based on digestive characteristics, starch in sweet potatoes is divided into 3 main types (4).

  • Rapidly digested starch which is quickly absorbed accounts for 80%.
  • Slowly digested starch which is broken down slowly makes up for 9% (5).
  • Resistant starch which escapes digestion and serves as a fiber to feed friendly gut bacteria occupies 12% (6).

Fiber

Sweet potatoes are quite rich in fiber.

The fibers in sweet potatoes are in both soluble and insoluble form.

While pectin is telling example of soluble fiber, cellulosem hemicellulose and lignin serve as insoluble fiber (7).

In fact, soluble fibers and pectin can suppress appetite.

Moreover, these substances can lower blood sugar level by controlling sugar and starch digestion (8, 9).

On the other hand, insoluble fiber can reduce the danger of diabetes and improve gut health (10, 11, 12).

You can have a full understanding of fiber by reading Health Benefits of Fiber.

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes primarily includes carbs. Additionally, they consist of a considerable amount of fiber.

Protein

The amount of protein in sweet potatoes is quite low.

Averagely, a medium-sized potato is composed of 2 grams of protein.

Also, unique protein compounds called sporamins make up for 80% of the total proteins in sweet potatoes (13).

In fact, sporamins can be effective in healing physical damage.

Also, they have antioxidant qualities (14).

Though sweet potatoes have a slightly low amount of protein, they are still a valuable protein source in many countries (15).

Bottom line: Despite including a small amount of protein, sweet potatoes can still serve as an important source of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals

The richness in  some certain types of vitamins and minerals make sweet potatoes gain interest in health industry.

They are:

  • Vitamin A which is tranformed from beta-carotene.
  • Vitamin C – an antioxidant substance which help with common cold and some skin conditions (16, 17).
  • Potassium control blood pressure and prevent heart disease (18) (Check out Potassium Health Benefits).
  • Manganese can be good for the mental growth and metabolism (19).
  • Vitamin B6 is an indispensible substance for transforming food into energy.
  • Vitamin E may save the body from oxidative damage (20).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes are powerhouse of minerals and vitamins, which explains for their amazing health benefits.

Other Plant Compounds

Not unlike other plant foods, sweet potatoes are rich in some plant compounds.

People believe that they can positively affect our health.

Some common plant compounds in sweet potatoes are beta-carotene, chlorogenic acid, anthocyanins and coumarins.

According to scientific studies, antioxidant effect in sweet potatoes depends on its flesh color.

The highest antioxidant quality belongs to purple, deep orange and red varieties (21, 22, 23).

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes are excellent source of many antioxidant substances.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Following are top 6 benefits of sweet potatoes which you should know.

1. Vitamin A Deficiency

Sweet Potatoes - Vitamin A Deficiency

When it comes to benefits of sweet potatoes, many people mention its great source of vitamin A.

Undeniably, vitamin A plays an irreplacable place in our body system.

Therefore, the lack of vitamin A may trigger a number of health issues (24).

Particularly, vitamin A deficiency may cause poorer vision or even blindness.

Also, this phenomenon may be a deciding factor in poorly functioned immunity or premature death in children (25, 26).

Interestingly, sweet potatoes are amazing source of beta-carotene.

This element can be converted into vitamin A in the body.

In comparison to other beta-carotene containers, orange sweet potatoes can increase blood level of vitamin A.

This fact happens due to their loading with the “trans” beta-carotene which is strongly bioavailable (27).

Therefore, sweet potato consumption is good for the serious deficiency of vitamin A.

Bottom line: The lack of vitamin A may be addressed effectively by sweet potato intake thanks to their packing with valuable source of beta-catotene.

2. Blood Sugar Regulation

The good impact on blood sugar regulation should be one of the most common health benefits of sweet potatoes.

In fact, unstable blood sugar levels and insulin resistance are mainly responsible for diabetes.

Interestingly, Caiapo – a popular type of sweet potato with white skin and flesh can improve diabetic condition, especially type 2.

Not only can Caiapo sweet potatoes reduce blood sugar and bad LDL cholesterol level, they also support insulin sensitivity (28, 29, 30).

However, futher human studies are needed for harder evidence of potatoes’ effects on type 2 diabetes.

Bottom line: Caiapo sweet potatoes can improve the condition of blood sugar regulation in patients of type 2 diabetes.

3. Cancer

One of the most outstanding benefits of sweet potatoes is to fight cancer.

Nowadays, cancer is one of the biggest killers all around the world.

This condition emerges when cells inside the body system develop uncontrolled.

In fact, oxidative damage is mainly responsible for the higher risk of cancer.

Interestingly, sweet potatoes – a powerhouse of antioxidant substances is quite beneficial for cancer prevention.

Several studies have supported the good impacts of antioxidant-rich diets on reduced danger of stomach, kidney and breast cancer (31, 32, 33, 34) .

A different study has revealed that purple sweet potatoes ranks the top in the list of food high in antioxidant qualities.

Bottom line: Sweet potatoes, especially the purple kinds can prevent cancer thanks to their loading with antioxidants substances.

4. Stomach Ulcers

Sweet Potatoes - Stomach Ulcers

To cure stomach ulcers is another benefits of sweet potatoes.

Sweet potatoes have a wonderful soothing effect on the stomach and the intertinal system.

B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium and calcium can all do wonder at curing stomach ulcers (35, 36).

Furthermore, sweet potato roughage can prevent constipation and resultant acid formation, lower chance of ulcers.

Not mention to the fact that the anti-inflammatory and soothing qualities of sweet potatoes may reduce painful and inflammatory level.

5. Arthritis

Beta-carotene, magnesium, zinc and vitamin –B complex are substances in sweet potatoes are beneficial for patients with arthritis (37, 38).

Additionally, the water to boil sweet patatoes can be appled on painful joints externally for easing arthritis pain.

6. Bronchitis

The concentration of vitamin C, iron and other nutrients can help with the treatment of bronchitis (Read more about Iron Health Benefits).

Sweet potatoes are among top superfoods which can warm up the body temperature.

In fact, this quality is good for people with bronchitis.

Take Home Message

In addition to these above benefits of sweet potatoes, this food is also beneficial for many other health problems.

In fact, sweet potatoes are quite well-tolerated in almost all people.

However, they sometimes increase the risk of kidney stone due to their loading with oxalates.

Oxalates are compounds which may promote kidney stone formation.

As a result, people with kidney stone should avoid consuming excessive amount of sweet potatoes for the sake of their health.

Infographics

This section is designed to provide you with some infographics to grab a quick understanding of sweet potato nutrition and health benefits.

Do you agree with all of these amazing health benefits of sweet potatoes? You can comment your ideas on the box below or simply share your own experience.

And do not forget to LIKE, SHARE or PIN this article on social media.

(One Quick Tip: You can pin it onto Pinterest directly with the button on the left top of each picture).

Sweet Potatoes Nutrition Facts

Sweet Potato Health Benefits

Sweet Potato Health Benefits

Disclaim: The effectiveness from using these foods on certain problems and diseases will be depended on the body condition of the applicant.

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