Sweet potatoes are surprisingly nutritious and include vitamin A, C, and E, riboflavin, niacin, thiamin, carotenoids, and vitamin B5 and B6.
A 1 cup serving of sweet potatoes has over 100% of the daily recommended intake of vitamin A.
Health benefits of sweet potatoes
Here are ten health benefits of eating sweet potatoes:
1 – Carotenoids
The rich red-orange pigment of the sweet potatoes is an indication of the high carotenoid content such as beta carotene, which in the body is a precursor to vitamin A. Other highly pigmented vegetables rich in carotenoids include carrots. Carotenoids are an antioxidant which is useful for boosting the immune system and strengthens our eyesight.
Sweet potatoes are cholesterol-free and fat-free to provide an excellent food source to eat healthy.
2 – Digestion
Sweet potatoes are a useful source of dietary fiber, which has the positive benefit of regulating digestion and maintaining a healthy digestive tract.
3 – Energy
Naturally sweet-tasting, the sweet potatoes are rich in natural sugars, which release slowly into the bloodstream to avoid issues with blood sugar spikes that can lead to weight gain and fatigue.
Sweet potatoes are a perfect replacement for white potatoes, squash, and apples in many recipes and a great accompaniment to seafood, lamb, beef, pork, and poultry.
4 – Iron
Iron plays an essential role in many parts of the body and sweet potatoes are certain to provide a reliable source of this mineral. Beside its ability to provide energy, iron can benefit the body elsewhere, including metabolizing protein, improving the immune system, providing resistance to stress, and white and red blood cell production.
5 – Magnesium
Eating sweet potatoes provides a useful source of the anti-stress and relaxation mineral known as magnesium. A magnesium-rich diet is essential for proper nerve function and healthy muscles, heart, bones, and arteries. But, nearly 80% of the US population is deficient in this essential mineral.
Other names for sweet potatoes include: Fiji: kumala – Philippines: kamote – Sri Lanka: bath-ala – India: shakar-kandi – Japan: Satsuma imo – Thailand: man-thet – Indonesia: ubi-jalar – Malaysia: keledek – China: fan shu.
6 – Potassium
Sweet potatoes are potassium rich to provide a reliable source of electrolytes needed to regulate nerve signals and heartbeat. Similar to other types of electrolytes, a proper dietary intake of potassium is useful for controlling and protecting the kidneys, reducing swelling, and relaxing muscle contractions.
7 – Skin
The rich vitamin A content in sweet potatoes is believed to help protect against sun damage while the high vitamin C and E content is appreciated for its ability to promote beauty benefits. These vitamins are great for promoting healthy skin and proper growth of collagen.
Nearly 80% of the world’s production of sweet potatoes comes from China.
8 – Vitamin B6
Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin B6 (also called pyridoxine) which has the potential to lower the body’s chemical homocysteine content. Homocysteine is associated with a variety of serious conditions, including heart attacks.
9 – Vitamin C
Other health benefits of sweet potatoes include a reliable source of vitamin C (also referred to as ascorbic acid) which has the ability to fight-off colds and flu, but also plays a useful role in blood cell formation, digestion, and tooth and bone formation. Plus, this water-soluble vitamin is helpful for improving the skin’s elasticity and speeds up the process of wound healing.
The average US adult eats about 4.5-lbs of sweet potatoes each year.
10 – Vitamin D
Sweet potatoes are a useful source of vitamin D which plays an essential role in promoting the health of the immune system. Vitamin D is both a hormone and vitamin and is easily sourced via sunlight to give support to the thyroid gland, teeth, nerves, bones, mood, skin and energy levels.
Oven Baked Sweet Potato Fries (Video)