Sweet potato is a vegetable-food that is liked by many people, especially in the fall. However, how much do you have to eat sweet potatoes, is this good for health or not? For this reason, we must know the number of nutrients and sweet potato benefits for health.
We usually only know that sweet potato is a sweet tuber that is very tasty in cooking or baking. When winter comes, we are usually ready to bake sweet potatoes because the warmth can warm the cold atmosphere. Regardless of whether it is high in nutrition or not, sweet potatoes are very much loved, not only me and my family but most people really like the food of this tuber.
Knowing sweet potatoes nutrition is very important so that we can assess how much we have to eat. Is it good for health if we consume it in large quantities? For that, keep reading this article until it’s finished.
Know What Sweet Potato Are
Sweet potatoes in the scientific language is called Ipomoea batatas, this is a root vegetable that grows in the soil from sweet potato roots. It is large but smaller than cassava, starchy and tastes sweet and can even be eaten raw.
Sweet potatoes even though they sound like non-sweet potatoes, but this is very different from the potatoes that are usually made chips or fries. Sweet potatoes are vegetables belonging to tubers and no-sweet potatoes also on the same form but its different one.
Other root crops that grown like sweet potatoes are included carrots, celeriac, radishes, parsnips, and beets. Tubers are vegetables that store lots of water, carbohydrates, and energy. Root tuber plants, they use nutrients in these tubers to form plant parts that are above the ground.
The Different Types Of Potatoes
Potatoes are not only alone, but they also have many types. Among the types of potatoes are as follows:
Fingerling: This type is finger-shaped, small and fat, naturally these types of potatoes are small and narrow.
Russet: It’s more famous with classic potatoes. This type is ideal for burning and good if you want to make flour or fry.
Red potatoes: This type has a waxy texture, which is why when cooked it remains fresh and delicious to eat. His skin is red and thin and very shiny.
Yellow potatoes: Yellow skin is almost the same as gold and the inside is also yellow. The meat is solid and usually grilled.
White: Potatoes of this type are very resistant and able to maintain their shape even though they are cooked. Usually, this type is added to the salad because the skin is thin and crispy.
Purple potatoes: It is also known as Okinawan sweet potatoes. has a bright color, very suitable to make an additional salad, the flash is moist and tight and very suitable to be preserved in microwaving.
Also see: Low-calorie vegetables for weight loss
The History of Sweet Potato
Before we see the sweet potato benefits, let first we see its history. Sweet potatoes are the oldest food known to mankind. These are plants native to South and Central America. As stated on the foodrevolution.org website, that they have proof that sweet potatoes are native to America. The proof is in the form of sweet potato fossils, this fossil is estimated to have aged 35 million years ago.
However, on the same site, it was also mentioned that in India recently found fossils of sweet potato leaves that were 57 million years ago. If this is true, then this finding can defeat sweet potato fossils in America.
It is not important from where sweet potatoes come and when, the most important thing is that these plants have now spread throughout the world including Aceh, Indonesia. We can now enjoy the delicious sweet potatoes and lots of nutrients in them.
In History of Sweet Potatoes, in 1845 AD, this plant suffered an attack known as late blight. This has caused crop failures in western Ireland and the Scottish highlands. The development of potato production is increasing. In 2014, world potato production exceeded 380 million tons. A large number of world potato production.
Are Sweet Potatoes Good for You?
Okinawa people in Japan is one of the world’s population that has practiced a healthy life from nature. In general, they have a longer age in the world. After being examined, it turns out that there is a secret in their lives.
One of these secrets is adding sweet potato benefits in their dishes. Wow, interesting isn’t it, you need to know that at least the traditional Okinawan diet consists of dairy, meat, eggs, and processed foods. Besides that, they consume a lot of plant foods. One remarkable thing is that 60% of the calories they get are from sweet potatoes.
Why are they very fond of sweet potatoes. One reason is the high fiber, and antioxidants in the tubers and this also caused the Okinawans to enjoy their long life. For Okinawa, living a hundred years or more is normal. In addition, Okinawans also experience a chronic illness compared to Americans. They experience fewer deaths from heart disease, colon cancer, breast cancer, and prostate cancer.
Besides Okinawan, there are other residents in this world who consume lots of tubers. They are residents of Papua New Guinea. Fact, the calories they get are 90% of tubers such as cassava and sweet potatoes.
The people of Papua New Guinea don’t eat much. But the sweet potatoes they consume can have a big influence on their health. How can it be?
A study published in the journal “Internal Medicine” in 1994 revealed that those who run a diet traditionally experience lower blood pressure and weight than Americans. Uniquely, among them, almost no one experienced heart disease, stroke, and other modern diseases.
So, is sweet potato useful for you? Yes, sweet potato benefits are really huge for human living.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
Potatoes are tubers full of nutrients that are very good for health. Sweet potatoes benefits cannot be separated from the content of various nutrients such as vitamin C, fiber, potassium, vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid), vitamin B3 (niacin), manganese, vitamin B6, copper, and magnesium. This extraordinary nutrition provides abundant benefits to the body.
The orange color of sweet potatoes is a result of the beta-carotine and antioxidants it contains. Other nutrients in the form of protein in small amounts, but it is very good for health. In a cup of cooked sweet potato contains about 4 grams of protein. When compared with white potatoes, sweet potatoes are richer in antioxidants and vitamins. Even though it tastes sweet, sweet potatoes contain a low glycemic index.
Also read: Best Vegetables to Eat Raw
The surprising thing about sweet potatoes is vitamin A, in one sweet potato contains twice as much vitamin A daily. To be clearer about sweet potato nutrition, let’s look at the table below.
Nutrition Facts for One Medium Size of Sweet Potato
- 112 calories
- 2g protein
- 5g sugar
- 26g carbohydrates (8% DV)
- 0g total fat
- 0g saturated fat
- 4g fiber (15% DV)
- 32mg magnesium (8% DV)
- 438 mg potassium (12% DV)
- 61 mg phosphorus
- 39mg calcium (3% DV)
- 0.8mg iron (3% DV)
- 18,443 IU vitamin A (386% DV)
- 3mg vitamin C (5% DV)
- 0.3mg vitamin B6 (15% DV)
Ok, we already know about sweet potatoes, their history, and the nutritional content. Now is the time to see sweet potato benefits. The content of potassium in sweet potatoes is beneficial for health because it can stabilize blood pressure, prevent inflammation, and even cancer.
Incredible Sweet Potato Health Benefits
1. Lower blood pressure
The skin of potatoes is rich in potassium, whose benefits are good for lowering blood pressure. Consuming one potato with an average size of 535 mg of potassium (15% of the daily amount) and containing only a small amount of sodium which is 17.3 mg.
The benefits of potassium are also good for removing excess sodium in the blood through the kidneys which are then excreted in the urine. This will reduce the blood pressure suffered by someone.
So, potassium is the same as a diuretic drink that can remove a lot of poisons in the body. Another benefit of potassium is maintaining heart health and making nerves and muscles communicate with each other well.
2. Good for digestive health
Sweet potatoes are a very good source of fiber. Potato skin is the best part with the most fiber content. So, consuming sweet potatoes must be eaten with all the skin. Fiber is an important digestive health substance because it can prevent serious malignancies, constipation, and colon cancer.
One medium sweet potato contains 6 grams of fiber. Besides fiber-rich, sweet potato also contains resistant starch. This starch functions in feeding “good bacteria”.
3. Maintain heart health
Still related to fiber, the high fiber in sweet potatoes is not only good for digestion but also can reduce bad cholesterol. That is, consuming sweet potato is useful for preventing dangerous diseases such as cardiovascular disease.
This tuber vegetable is also a source of potassium whose function is to balance sodium levels in the blood so as to prevent heart attacks. Other nutrients in sweet potatoes are copper. This is a good metal substance for the production of red blood cells and protects the heart.
If the body lacks copper, the health of the body can be dangerous because this condition is associated with high homocysteine, blood pressure, and cholesterol levels.
4. Sweet Potato Health Benefit to Boost Your Immunity
Damage in the body due to free radicals will be minimized by antioxidants. The benefits of antioxidants are preventing cell damage due to free radicals. One cup of sweet potato contains about 52% of daily vitamin C needs. This is very important for tissue repair and wound healing.
While the content of vitamin A which is high in sweet potato is useful for boosting immunity. This allows the body to prevent infection, prevent tumors and other diseases.
5. Good for stabilizing blood sugar
Apparently, the content of complex carbohydrates and fiber is not only good for digestion and maintaining a feeling of fullness but also beneficial for maintaining blood sugar stability. A study conducted in 2004 on sweet potatoes is known to reduce blood sugar. This research uses Caiapo (extract from white sweet potatoes). The results of this study are very pleasant for those who suffer from type 2 diabetes because it can reduce blood sugar and regulate blood glucose.
The study involved 30 participants, each of them given sweet potatoes (Caiapo) extract of 4 grams, for 12 weeks. As a result, they experienced a decrease in HbA (1c) (from 7.21 to 6.68), a decrease in fasting blood glucose (143.7 vs. 128.5), and two-hour blood glucose (193.3 vs.162.8). While 31 other participants who were given placebo did not experience a decrease in the numbers above.
6. Good for eye health
Some nutrients in sweet potato are related to eye health, among them are carotenoids. These include alpha-carotene, lutein, beta-carotene, and zeaxanthin substances.
Orange tubers contain carotenoids. Not only sweet potato orange but also includes other bulbs such as carrots. They are tubers that have benefits for eye health. Likewise, with sweet potato purple, it is also beneficial for eye health.
7. Useful for Fuel Your Brain
The content of choline and manganese in sweet potato is also beneficial for brain health. This substance serves to help brain function. Choline is an essential nutrient for brain growth, and for synthesis of the neurotransmitter acetylcholine (delivery of signals between cells).
In one cup of sweet potato, you can get as much as 43% of your daily needs. Purple tuber or sweet potato contains anthocyanins which function to improve memory.
So, sweet potatoes are beneficial for brain health and memory, both orange or purple sweet potatoes.
8. Reducing stress and anxiety
Furthermore, sweet potato benefits help reduce stress and anxiety. Why is that? This is thanks to the magnesium content which has a role in pleasing the brain. So, when the body lacks magnesium, psychiatric problems often occur, including depression, bad moods, and headaches.
Apart from sweet potato, there are a number of other foods that are high in magnesium such as avocados, tofu, nuts, green vegetables, and seeds.
9. Increase fertility
Who would have thought if the benefits of sweet potatoes are good for reproductive health. Sweet potato is the best source for the health of adult men and women. All of this is thanks to the high content of vitamin A in sweet potatoes.
These tuber foods provide a lot of iron supply to the body which plays an important role in reproductive health.
10. Sweet Potato Benefit to Fight Cancer
One of the most nutrients in sweet potatoes is antioxidants, especially in the skin. A large amount of protein (80%) in sweet potato is a type of sporamine. This is a type of protein that is useful for fighting cancer cells.
Research shows that a protein called sporamine can prevent the growth of tongue, bile and colorectal cancers.
Also read: Papaya health benefits
The part of sweet potato which is very strong against cancer is the skin. Purple sweet potato skin may be the best natural remedy to prevent cancer.
11. Reduces inflammation
Another benefit of consuming sweet potatoes is preventing and reducing inflammation. This is thanks to the content of vitamin C, beta-carotene, magnesium and antioxidants. Antioxidants that play a role in reducing inflammation are cyanidin.