Do you know what are the nutrition benefits of sweet potatoes?Are you a lover of fries made from sweet potato, sweet potato hash, sweet potato lasagna and all the other delicious potato dishes?Then the article is so right for you as I let you know the nutrition in sweet potato.You may be well aware that sweet potato has been eaten by humans for many thousand years ago till date and the various delicacies that are made from this food is numerous. It is not just sweet but also highly nutritious and it is a good recommendation to add to our daily diet.Let’s set foot in to learn all there is to know about the nutrition in sweet potato, shall we?
What is Sweet Potato?
Certain persons could be curious and wondering, what is sweet potato? Or it could be that you have heard about some controversy on sweet potato-like being classified as a tuber or a vegetable, so, let’s get it right quickly.
Sweet potato unlike other types of potato is not a stem tuber, it is classified as a root vegetable, although the root is classified as somewhat tuberous. It is also starchy, sweet and soft, it makes a fine delicacy when cooked but may also be eaten raw and fresh as well.
Sweet potatoes are classified as dicotyledonous plants that belong to the family Convolvulaceae, they have edible and delicious leaves which makes sweet potato a pretty amazing plant, they also come in different colors ranging from yellow, pink, white to red and so on.
So, yes are right, if potato is that good then it can be added to the regular diets and eaten at free will with little worries. Let’s get to know all the nutritional contents in sweet potato.
Nutrition Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes
Nutritional contents in sweet potato
Sweet potato is known to be very rich in potassium, several vitamins, fiber and other important and essential nutrients.
The nutrients in sweet potato include a lot of carbohydrates, some proteins and fats, water, sugar etc. According to
Wikipedia the nutritional content for a 100g of raw sweet potato includes;
Energy 359 kJ (86 kcal)
Carbohydrates 20.1 g
Starch 12.7 g
Sugars 4.2 g
Dietary fiber 3 g
Fat 0.1 g
Protein 1.6 g.
With these facts it means that sweet potatoes are a good source of energy and many essential vitamins and minerals like;
- Vitamin A – is in abundance in sweet potatoes and is gotten from the beta-carotene present in it.
- Beta-carotene – is a red-orange pigment found in many fungi, fruits and plants.
- Vitamin B6 – also called pyridoxine, it aids the body in storing energy gotten from proteins and carbs.
- Pantothenic acid – vitamin B5 is essential to the formulation of all red blood cells.
- Vitamin C – ascorbic acid is useful in maintaining healthy skin and protecting cells.
- Potassium – is an electrolyte that is essential for regulating muscle contractions and it also has other functions it performs.
- Manganese – is an essential nutrient responsible for helping or aiding the utilization of vitamins.
- Phosphorous – is helpful in building and repairing tissues and bones etc.
There are other vitamins and minerals present in that delicious potato recipe you want to try, so why not go ahead and give it a try.
Dangers of eating sweet potatoes
In case you are a little skeptical about sweet potato being all good which may be due to the fact that you have some complications or underlying illnesses in your body, then it’s alright to quickly discuss the dangers that may be involved in eating sweet potatoes in excess (or in any high quantity).
Okay, let’s get right to the point, sweet potato has no severe danger and that is the truth but if you have previous complications with respect to your kidney (such as kidney stone disease) then you may want to watch the quantity of the potato you consume because potato is high in oxalates which may the leading cause of kidney stone disease, also watch out for too much potassium as sweet potatoes are high in potassium especially if your kidney is having a breakdown because the kidney is responsible for removing excesses of potassium.
If potassium accumulates in the blood it could cause hyperkalemia.So, if you look a little deeper into the benefits or dangers of sweet potato you will see that there are few exceptions especially if you have previous complications. Also, you need to know that in a worst-case scenario hyperkalemia can cause a heart attack.
The best thing is to always seek your doctor’s or nutritionist’s advice on the things to consume if you know you have previous or current conditions, it is the right thing to do.
With that said, sweet potatoes always make a wonderful addition to most food menus. It is widely eaten in different places all over the world today.
Nutrition Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Okay, let’s see the various health benefits that eating sweet potatoes gives, below are some;
- It supports good digestive health: Sweet potato is very much known to contain fiber in high amounts. The presence of fiber in sweet potatoes is the reason it is good for digestive health. Fiber helps keep the bowel movements regular which in turn helps the digestive tract to continue flowing.
Also, half of the fiber content in sweet potato is soluble fiber which helps to avoid diarrhea by absorbing water.
- It aids good and healthy vision: A very big thanks actually to the high presence of beta-carotene in sweet potatoes because as we know that beta-carotenes are usually converted to Vitamin A in the human body and Vitamin A promotes better eyesight, as it is known to form the pigments in the eye retina. Also, beta-carotene is partially responsible for reducing the oxidative stress put on our eyes by severe (or rather sharp) light rays.
- Improved gut health: The gut health is important to the human body and the gut is the point of contact or exposure to many and various potential disease-causing pathogens, so the fact that sweet potatoes contribute to the overall human health is a certain and accurate fact, you can expect your immune system to boost a particular level too. The presence of an adequate amount of fiber is what is responsible for the improvement of the gut health and is not usually digested but remains in the digestive tract, also the antioxidants in sweet potato play a huge role in providing gut benefits.
I decided to list only three (3) health benefits but the benefits transcend the few discussed above, as they are known also to help fight diabetes, cancer, & poor immune system, they also can reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease occurring, may help in regulating blood pressure, they help improve skin and hair due to the many vitamins in them, etc., as there are more benefits.
The important thing is to always seek the advice of your health care officer especially if you have an underlying illness or probably has such history.
Some dishes to try
Here are various special and delicious dishes to try with the infamous sweet potato;
Have you ever thought of trying potatoes when fried? I tell you, you are in for a very nice treat. Some fried dishes made with sweet potatoes include skillet sweet potatoes, crispy fried sweet potatoes fries, deep-fried sweet potatoes, pan-fried sweet potatoes with gremolata etc.
There are also boiled sweet potato dishes which are very delicious and healthy. Some of which are, mashed sweet potatoes, boiled sweet potatoes, cinnamon honey butter mashed sweet potato, classic candied sweet potatoes, etc.
Sweet potato could also be roasted and served as a dish too, examples are roasted sweet potatoes, oven-roasted sweet potatoes, roasted sweet potatoes medley, etc.
You need to know this; sweet potato will not only make a great addition to the food menu but it will also offer many benefits to your body, so, let’s start consuming potatoes in an adequate quantity.