Sweet Potato Health Benefits | Sweet Potato Healthy Recipe

Rohit Kumar

4 min read | Aug 7, 2020

Can something as sweet as a sweet potato be good for us? Rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, let’s discover why the starchy, sweet root vegetables called sweet potatoes are so good!


Besides the benefits listed above, sweet potatoes are also superb post-workout fuel because of their highly complex carbohydrate content.

What Are Sweet Potatoes?


Sweet potatoes are starchy, sweet-tasting root vegetables that are grown globally. Outside, they have thin brown skin. They have orange, white, or purple flesh inside. The leaves and shoots are also edible, though roots are consumed most commonly.


We can eat sweet potatoes whole or peeled. Their baked form can also serve as a snack or dessert. I mostly eat them boiled. What about you?


The only thing sweet potatoes and white potatoes have in common is the word ‘potato.’ Sweet potatoes belong to the bindweed or morning glory family, whereas white potatoes are in the nightshade family.

Sweet Potatoes Nutrition Facts


124g Of Sweet Potatoes Provides


Calories- 108
Cholesterol- 1.24 mg
Beta-carotene- 9470 mcg



Protein- 2 g
Carbohydrates- 18.7 g (of which 6.77 g is sugar)
Fat- 3 g
Fiber- 2.48 g



Iron- 0.7 mg
Calcium- 50.8 mg
Magnesium- 19.8 mg
Phosphorus- 50.8 mg
Potassium- 259 mg
Sodium- 306 mg
Selenium- 0.9 mcg



Vitamin C- 12.8 mg
Folate- 7.44 mcg
Choline- 14.4 mg
Vitamin A, RAE- 823 mcg
Vitamin K- 5.1 mcg


Eating sweet potatoes can help fulfill our daily nutritional goals as set by the Institute of Medicine. 1https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-7/ Furthermore, sweet potatoes, particularly the purple and orange kinds, are abundant in antioxidants that protect our bodies from free radicals. 2https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23784800/, 3https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/20629859/, 4https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/15030203/


Free radicals are unstable atoms that can damage cells, resulting in illness and aging. Free radicals are also connected to chronic diseases like cancer and heart disease. 5https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3614697 For these reasons, eating antioxidant-rich foods is beneficial.

Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes


Sweet Potatoes May Help Control Diabetes


The glycemic index (GI) is the relative ranking assigned to foods based on how slowly or quickly those foods cause a rise in blood sugar. Sweet potatoes have a low to high glycemic index, depending on how we cook them.


For example, as you can see from the table below, when you boil a sweet potato for 30 minutes, it has a GI value of 46. However, when you cut it into pieces (which increases its surface area), its GI value rises to 61 with just 8 minutes of boiling it! Baking sweet potatoes for 45 minutes increases their GI value to a whopping 94! 6https://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?ak=list&food_name_search_type=cn&food_name=sweet+potato&gi_search_type=lte&gi=&gl_search_type=lte&gl=&country=&product_category=&lop=AND&find=Find+Records&page=1


Related Article: What Is Glycemic Index | Food List With Glycemic Index


The relatively low glycemic index of boiled sweet potatoes causes them to release sugar into the bloodstream slowly. This stable release of sugar helps control blood sugar levels. Studies suggest an extract of white-skinned sweet potatoes may improve insulin sensitivity in people with type 2 diabetes. 7https://www.glycemicindex.com/foodSearch.php?ak=list&food_name_search_type=cn&food_name=sweet+potato&gi_search_type=lte&gi=&gl_search_type=lte&gl=&country=&product_category=&lop=AND&find=Find+Records&page=1


Sweet potatoes are high in fiber. Researcher shows those who consume more fiber are less prone to developing type 2 diabetes. 8https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5883628/


Related: What Is Fiber? Health Benefits, Food Sources And Daily Requirements


Sweet Potatoes May Help Prevent Cancer


Sweet potatoes contain various antioxidants, which may help prevent different types of cancer. Anthocyanins, antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes, have been found to inhibit specific cancers, including colon cancer, breast cancer, and bladder cancer. 9https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23784800/, 10https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29749527/, 11https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609785/


Other studies show sweet potato peels, which we usually throw away, contain dietary substances that may help prevent different types of cancer. 12https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/27673552/ Findings also suggest that beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes may play a protective role against prostate cancer in young men. 13https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/14973107/


Sweet Potatoes Aid Gut Health


Sweet potatoes are fiber-rich, which promotes gut health. 14https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/ There are two types of fiber in sweet potatoes, soluble and insoluble. Our body cannot digest either type of fiber. It rests within our digestive tract and provides a lot of gut-related benefits.


Soluble fiber absorbs water and softens our feces. Insoluble fiber doesn’t absorb water but adds bulk. Nowadays, many laxatives are made from fiber because of their effects on digestion. The high fiber content of sweet potatoes also helps prevent constipation.


Butyrate, a short-chain fatty acid essential for the proper growth and function of the cell layer that forms the intestinal lining, is derived from dietary fiber’s fermentation. Dietary fiber may also help prevent colon cancer. 15https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3926973/ Therefore, consuming the recommended daily intake of 14g/1000 kcal dietary fiber is a good idea. 16https://health.gov/our-work/food-nutrition/2015-2020-dietary-guidelines/guidelines/appendix-7/


Sweet Potatoes Help Vision


Beta-carotene is an antioxidant that gives orange color to vegetables and fruits. The human body converts it into vitamin A. Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene. Most of us know vitamin A is great for our vision, but what does it really do? Studies show vitamin A is crucial in the formation of pigments responsible for absorbing light. 17https://scholarcommons.sc.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1098&context=jscas


Besides, vitamin A is also needed to maintain the structure of the retina properly. A deficiency of vitamin A is related to poor vision and, in some cases, blindness and night blindness. Eating beta-carotene-rich foods, such as orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, may help improve vision. 18https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/138/10/1835/4669996, 19https://academic.oup.com/jn/article/131/6/1647/4686803


A Food & Nutrition Research study concluded that anthocyanins in purple sweet potatoes are beneficial for health and can protect eye cells from damage. 20https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4464420/ Sweet potatoes may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease.


Oxidative stress in our bodies may result in atherosclerosis, a condition in which fats, cholesterol and other substances build up on the artery walls, which in turn may cause cardiovascular disease.


Scientists found leaves of sweet potatoes are abundant in polyphenols, a group of compounds found in plants that can suppress oxidative stress in humans, lowering cardiovascular disease risk. 21https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/21562639/


Other scientific findings have shown that anthocyanins in purple-fleshed sweet potatoes reduce the risk of coronary disease. 22https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/18209270/ Also, the dietary fiber in sweet potatoes are known to lower the risk of cardiovascular diseases. 23https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705355/

Conclusion And My Recommendation


Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious. Not only are they rich in antioxidants, but they also provide essential micronutrients and dietary fiber. Sweet potatoes may help control blood sugar, support gut health, prevent various kinds of cancer, enhance eye health, and lower heart disease risk.


I strongly suggest adding this fabulous root vegetable to your diet for all the above health benefits!


What do you think about this article? Have any questions? Let me know in the comments below!

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About Rohit Kumar

Rohit Kumar is an avid writer who puts a lot of his emotions in words through his articles. Today, he is a certified fitness expert with a vast knowledge on nutrition and has contributed to the pages of Fabulous Body with his articles.


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