Sweet potatoes are delicious, nutritious, and healthy. They’re also one of the most versatile vegetables around.
They are loaded with nutrients such as vitamins A, C, B6, iron, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re low in calories and fat, making them perfect for weight loss. And because they’re high in fiber, they help lower cholesterol levels.
They are also great for heart health. They contain compounds called beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and lycopene, which protect against cardiovascular disease.
And lastly, sweet potatoes are packed with vitamins and minerals that support overall wellness. In fact, they’re one of the top sources of vitamin A, vitamin C, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc.
Health Benefits of sweet potato
Here are some of the many health benefits of sweet potatoes.
1. Fight Cancer
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients and antioxidants that help fight cancer. Sweet potatoes contain vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, protein, riboflavin, thiamine, zinc, copper, selenium, calcium, and niacin.
They’re also rich in anti-inflammatory properties that may reduce inflammation associated with certain types of cancers. They’re also great sources of dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
And sweet potatoes are delicious! They’re often used in soups, stews, casseroles, salads, and desserts.
2. Prevent Diabetes
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients and fiber, making them a great food for weight loss. They’re also packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients that help prevent diabetes.
According to the American Diabetes Association, sweet potatoes contain twice the amount of beta-carotene found in carrots, plus vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, iron, manganese, phosphorus, copper, zinc, and niacin. Sweet potatoes are also rich in dietary fiber, which helps lower cholesterol and blood pressure.
3. Reduce High Blood Pressure
Research shows that eating just half a cup of cooked sweet potatoes daily may reduce systolic blood pressure (the top number) by 4 mm Hg and diastolic blood pressure (the bottom number) by 2 mm Hg.
That means that if you eat just half a cup of sweet potatoes every day, you could potentially prevent heart disease and stroke.
4. Lower Cholesterol Levels
Sweet potatoes are a healthy food that helps lower cholesterol levels.
They contain soluble dietary fibers that help reduce blood cholesterol levels. Soluble fibers bind bile acids in the digestive tract and prevent them from being reabsorbed into the body. This reduces the amount of cholesterol circulating in the bloodstream.
Sweet potatoes are available year-round at most grocery stores. You can find them frozen, canned, dried, and fresh.
5. Boost Immunity
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients that help boost immunity and fight off colds and flu. They’re packed with vitamin C, fiber, potassium, iron, magnesium, manganese, zinc, copper, folate, niacin, thiamine, riboflavin, pantothenic acid, phosphorus, calcium, and selenium.
They’re also rich in antioxidants, including beta carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, lycopene, alpha-carotene, and cryptoxanthin. Sweet potatoes contain phytochemicals called glycoalkaloids that protect against viruses, bacteria, fungi, and parasites.
6. Good Sources of Iron
Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients, including iron, vitamin C, potassium, fiber, and beta carotene. They’re also a great source of energy. Sweet potatoes are often used to treat anemia because they contain iron, which helps prevent the loss of red blood cells.
Anemia occurs when there aren’t enough healthy red blood cells circulating throughout the body. This condition may be due to a lack of iron, folic acid, or vitamins B12 and D. Anemia can cause fatigue, weakness, dizziness, headaches, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
If you suffer from anemia, eating sweet potatoes regularly can help restore your health.
7. Good For Your Skin
Sweet potatoes are loaded with vitamin C, beta carotene, potassium, fiber, and antioxidants. They’re also very low in calories and fat. Sweet potatoes are great for the skin because they contain natural anti-aging properties.
They help keep skin soft and smooth, reduce wrinkles, and protect against sun damage. Sweet potatoes are also rich in dietary fiber, which helps cleanse the digestive tract and prevent constipation.
Sweet potatoes are also a good source of iron, calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese, and selenium. These minerals support healthy bones, teeth, muscles, nerves, and blood cells.
Sweet potatoes are a delicious way to add nutrients to your diet. Try them roasted, boiled, baked, mashed, or fried.
8. Prevent Stroke
Sweet potatoes have been shown to help prevent strokes. A study published in the Journal of Nutrition found that people who ate one medium sweet potato per day had a 50 percent reduction in their risk of stroke compared to those who didn’t eat any sweet potatoes.
9. May Slow Aging Process
Sweet potatoes are high in fiber and vitamin C, both of which help promote healthy aging. Vitamin C is essential for maintaining strong bones and teeth, while fiber supports digestion and keeps your bowels moving smoothly.
Sweet potatoes also contain antioxidants such as quercetin, anthocyanins, and phenolics that protect against free radicals and other toxins that contribute to premature aging.
10. Sweet Potatoes Heal Wounds
Sweet potatoes are high on the list of foods that heal wounds faster than others. In fact, they’ve been proven to speed up healing more than 20 times!
One study showed that patients who consumed two sweet potatoes daily experienced complete wound closure within four days. Another study found that sweet potatoes were effective at treating chronic ulcers.
Sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients like vitamin C, folate, fiber, and iron. They also contain compounds called polyphenols that help fight inflammation. Inflammation causes tissue damage, so these compounds can help prevent scarring after surgery.
11. May Improve Vision
A recent study found that people who ate three servings of sweet potatoes every week saw improvements in their vision. The researchers believe this was caused by the antioxidant lutein present in sweet potatoes. Lutein is important for eye health because it protects eyesight from oxidative stress.
Lutein also helps improve night vision. It’s believed that consuming enough lutein may even help treat macular degeneration.
12. good for the brain
Sweet potatoes are a great food for the brain. Studies show that eating sweet potatoes improves memory and thinking skills.
The B vitamins in sweet potatoes are an excellent source of energy for the body. This makes them ideal for anyone looking to boost mental performance
Types of sweet potato
There are many types of sweet potatoes available today. Some varieties are grown specifically for cooking, while others are bred for their ornamental value.
The most common type of sweet potato is the orange-fleshed variety. This is the kind you’ll find in grocery stores. It has smooth skin and white flesh.
Yellow-fleshed sweet potatoes are another popular option. These are often used in baking and roasting. Their yellow color comes from beta carotene, which gives sweet potatoes their bright orange hue.
Purple-fleshed sweet potato varieties are gaining popularity among consumers. They’re usually sold in specialty markets or online.
They have deep purple flesh and a slightly bitter flavor. Sweet potatoes with purple flesh are higher in antioxidants than regular sweet potatoes.
White-fleshed sweet potatoes are rare but very special. They have a creamy texture and a milder taste than normal sweet potatoes.
They’re typically grown only for decorative purposes. White-fleshed sweet potato plants produce large flowers that bloom during winter.
How to cook sweet potatoes
Cooking sweet potatoes isn’t difficult. Simply wash them well before slicing them into wedges or cubes.
You can boil, bake, microwave, steam, roast, or fry your sweet potatoes. Try one of these methods to get the best results:
Boil – Boiling sweet potatoes is easy and quick. Put them in a pot filled with salted water. Bring to a rolling boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer until tender, about 25 minutes. Drain and serve hot.
Bake – Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees Celsius). Cut the sweet potatoes lengthwise into quarters. Place on a parchment paper-lined cookie sheet. Drizzle with olive oil and sprinkle with salt. Bake for 30 minutes. Flip the pieces over and bake for another 15 minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before serving.
Microwave – Microwaving sweet potatoes is a convenient way to prepare them quickly. Wash the sweet potatoes thoroughly. Slice each piece into thirds. Arrange slices in a single layer on a microwavable plate. Cover with plastic wrap and microwave on full power for 5 to 7 minutes. Let stand 3 to 4 minutes before serving.
Steam – Steam sweet potatoes in a steamer basket. Fill a saucepan with 1 inch (2 cm) of water. Add a steaming rack and place the pan over high heat. When the water boils, add the sweet potatoes. Cover the pan and reduce the heat to low. Cook until the sweet potatoes are fork-tender, about 20 minutes. Serve immediately.
Roast – Roasted sweet potatoes are delicious! Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (180 degrees Celsius). Peel the sweet potatoes and cut them into halves or quarters. Toss the sweet potatoes in a bowl with olive oil, salt, pepper, and other spices such as cinnamon. Spread out on a parchment paper-lined baking tray. Bake for 45 to 60 minutes. Turn the sweet potatoes halfway through cooking time. Serve warm.
Fry – Fry sweet potatoes in vegetable oil at 375 degrees Fahrenheit (190 degrees Celsius). You can also use peanut oil if you prefer. Fry the sweet potatoes until golden brown. Drain on paper towels and season with salt and pepper.
Healthy sweet potato recipes
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of vitamin A, potassium, fiber, folate, iron, magnesium, and phosphorus. They contain no cholesterol and are relatively low in calories.
Try some of these healthy sweet potato recipes:
1. Stuffed Sweet Potatoes
1/3 cup (80 ml) sour cream
1 tablespoon (15 ml) butter
1 teaspoon (5 ml) garlic powder
Salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
4 large sweet potatoes, peeled and halved lengthwise
Combine all ingredients except the sweet potatoes in a small bowl. Stir until smooth. Spoon the mixture evenly into the cavities of the sweet potatoes. Bake at 425 degrees Fahrenheit (220 degrees Celsius) for 35 to 40 minutes, or until cooked through. Serves 6.
2. Sweet Potato Fries
2 pounds (910 grams) of sweet potatoes, peeled
Olive oil spray
Salt and freshly ground black pepper
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees Fahrenheit (230 degrees Celsius). Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Coat the foil with nonstick cooking spray. Lay the sweet potatoes on the prepared baking sheet. Spray lightly with nonstick cooking spray and season with salt and freshly ground black pepper. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes, turning once, or until crisp and golden. Serves 8.
3. Mashed Sweet Potatoes
2 pounds (910 g) of sweet potatoes
2 tablespoons (30 ml) butter
½ cup (120 ml) milk
¼ cup (60 ml) heavy whipping cream
Pinch of nutmeg
Salt and freshly ground white pepper, to taste
Bring a medium pot of salted water to a boil. Cut the sweet potatoes into 2-inch (5 cm) pieces. Add the sweet potatoes to the boiling water and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until tender. Drain well. Return the sweet potatoes to the pot. Mash with a potato masher. Beat in the butter, milk, cream, and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Makes 4 servings.
In conclusion, sweet potatoes have been used for centuries to treat everything from diabetes to cancer. They contain powerful antioxidants and fiber, which makes them a great addition to any diet plan. Plus, they’re delicious! Try adding them to your next meal and see if you don’t agree.
Bharat Sharma is a Delhi-based writer who loves reading and writing research-based topics revolving around health, fitness, and nutrition. His love for writing started during his teenage and continues till date. After his graduation, he worked for GE Money, and IBM, but later found his true love i.e. blogging.