Sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a plant belonging to the Convolvulaceae family, which includes bindweed and morning glory. It is a root vegetable with massive, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous roots. While sweet potatoes and yams may look similar, yam is a tuber vegetable identical to a regular potato.
Sweet potatoes are known as superfoods due to their high vitamin content. Also, a single sweet potato delivers 400% of your daily vitamin A needs. In addition, they are rich in vitamin B and vitamin C content. It is also abundant in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and zinc. In addition, soluble fibre, insoluble fibre, and complex carbohydrates are present.
Sweet potatoes also come with vitamin A, which is beneficial to eye health. It lowers the risk of macular degeneration, the most prevalent cause of visual loss. Baked sweet potatoes contain soluble and insoluble fibre, which is beneficial to the intestines. Sweet potatoes are healthy for the immune system and can help prevent cancer and diabetes.
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of fibre, vitamins, and minerals. A single sweet potato provides 400% of your daily vitamin A requirements. B vitamins and vitamin C are abundant in them. In addition, they are high in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and zinc.
As per USDA, around 100 grams of baked sweet potato serving contains:
Calories: 90 kcalsCarbohydrates: 20.7 gFat: 0.15 gProtein: 2.01g Fibre: 3.3 gWater: 75.8 gSugar: 6.48 gZinc: 0.32 mg
The HealthifyMe Note
According to the USDA, 100 grams of baked sweet potato contains 90 calories and 20.7grams of carbohydrates. However, since it comprises a good amount of carbs, it is not favourable for diabetes. Therefore, even though it has a low-glycemic index, nutritionists advise limiting its consumption. Moreover, sweet potatoes serve 475 mg of potassium per 100 grams. Thus, it must be limited to avoid hyperkalemia.
Health Benefits of Baked Sweet Potatoes
Promotes Healthy Vision
One of the best whole-food sources of beta-carotene is orange-fleshed sweet potatoes. Beta-carotene, a plant pigment that our bodies convert to vitamin A, protects your eyes from dryness and improves your night vision.
Studies show that orange sweet potatoes help prevent and manage vitamin A deficiency. Furthermore, sweet potatoes comprise elevated levels of beta-carotene and vitamin A. These can help reduce your risk of developing macular degeneration, which is the leading cause of vision loss.
Boosts Immune System
Studies show that sweet potatoes are beneficial for the immune system. Vitamin C increases the production of white blood cells (WBC), vital for keeping your immune system in good shape. Sweet potato can provide 25% of the daily required amount of vitamin C. Medical professionals have related low levels of vitamin A to decreased immunity. However, sweet potatoes have a high amount of vitamin A and can help with it.
Promotes a Healthy Reproductive System
Studies have proved that sweet potatoes boost fertility. Since sweet potatoes are high in Vitamin A, it makes them ideal for women of reproductive age as they increase their fertility. Also, research has shown vitamin A to have a crucial role in improving reproductive success in animal models.
Prevents Heart Disease
A medium sweet potato provides 12 per cent of your daily potassium requirement. This mineral helps balance your salt levels, which is vital for heart health. In addition, it lowers blood pressure by causing you to eliminate more salt in your urine. It also relieves blood vessel pressure. Both of these items can also help you reduce your stroke risk.
Sweet potatoes include several antioxidants that may help protect against some malignancies. For example, in vitro studies, anthocyanins, a group of antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes, have been proven to delay the development of cancer cells in the bladder, colon, stomach, and breast. Similarly, a study showed rats fed purple sweet potato diets had decreased incidences of early-stage colon cancer.
The anthocyanins in the potatoes may protect you from cancer. Moreover, Vitro studies also discovered extracts of orange sweet potatoes and sweet potato peels to have anti-cancer potential.
Healthy for Your Digestive System
Sweet potato provides 4g of fibre and both insoluble and soluble fibre. Soluble fibre creates food for the healthy bacteria in your gut, generally known as your gut microbiome. In contrast, insoluble fibre improves bowel regularity, preventing constipation. According to a study, just two weeks of eating a higher fibre diet was enough to notice positive results.
Improves Brain Health
Sweet potatoes include a variety of antioxidants, including carotenoids and anthocyanins. This help reduces age-related reductions in brain function and the risk of neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia. For instance, carotenoids in orange sweet potatoes decrease cognitive decline. At the same time, anthocyanins found in purple sweet potatoes increase memory, as noted in animal experiments.
Sweet Potato Provides Energy
Sweet potatoes have more energy than non-starchy vegetable alternatives, making them an excellent fuel source for everyday activities and sports performance.
Healthy for Skin and Hair
Collagen is a protein in the skin, hair, muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones that keeps them healthy. It requires vitamin C for its synthesis. While the body’s collagen synthesis gradually slows as we age, eating adequate vitamin C is crucial to maintain its generation. Sweet potatoes include vitamin C and A, aiding skin and hair by preventing them from drying out.
The HealthifyMe Note
Due to the presence of vitamin A and C, sweet potatoes helps in promoting eye health and strengthen the immune system. In addition, it also has anti-cancer properties. Moreover, it is beneficial for healthy skin and hair.
Easy Recipe to Make Baked Sweet Potatoes
Preparation time: 65 minutes
Olive oil: 2 tbspSweet potatoes: 3 (large)Dried oregano: 2 pinchesSalt: 2 pinchesGround black pepper: 2 pinches
Preheat the oven to 350°F (175°C). Use just enough olive oil to cover the bottom of a glass or non-stick baking dish. Wash and peel the sweet potatoes.Make medium-sized chunks out of them. Turn the sweet potatoes in the baking dish to coat them with olive oil. Sprinkle some salt & pepper to taste (to taste).Bake for 60 minutes or until soft in a 350°F (175°C) oven.
Note: Baked sweet potatoes are healthy and delicious and complement every meal.
The HealthifyMe Note
Baking sweet potatoes do not deplete their nutritional values and reduce health benefits. In contrast, frying them may decrease their nutritional benefits. Frying might also add more fats to the potatoes and cause harm. So, consuming baked sweet potatoes are a healthy way to reap all their health benefits.
Storage and Food Safety
Sweet potatoes don’t spoil for approximately a week or two if stored in a dry environment with plenty of airflows. Raw sweet potatoes should not be refrigerated. Due to the low temperature, they will become firm in the centre and differ in flavour. You should consume baked sweet potatoes immediately after preparation. However, you can store them in ziplock bags for no more than two days.
Storing Sweet potatoes for a longer period of time for instant usage:
Sweet potatoes can still be frozen, you just have to prepare them first.
One way involves dicing them or slicing them into whatever thickness you choose, boiling them until soft but still firm, typically for 10 to 15 minutes, letting them cool, and then freezing them in storage bags with all the air squeezed out. For this, a vacuum sealing system is perfect.
Precautions and Things to Keep in Mind
Vitamin A Toxicity
Sweet potatoes are high in beta-carotene, which might lead to hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity), a condition wherein excess vitamin A accumulates in the liver. Furthermore, it might cause rashes and headaches.
Sweet potatoes are high in potassium. Thus, consuming too many of them might cause your potassium levels to spike. It makes you more vulnerable to hyperkalemia (potassium poisoning) and heart attack.
Sweet potatoes have a lot of oxalates. High oxalate levels in the diet can cause kidney and gall bladder stones. As a result, you should consume them in moderation.
If you have problems with your liver or kidneys, you should probably avoid them. Consuming them in excess might harm your liver and kidneys.
Sweet potatoes include mannitol, which can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach discomfort. Therefore, it is best to avoid them if you are experiencing stomach pain.
Type 2 Diabetes
Sweet potatoes are abundant in carbohydrates. Also, cooking methods such as baking, roasting, and frying boosts the glycemic index of foods, causing blood sugar to surge. Therefore, if you are diagnosed with type 2 diabetes must consult a doctor or nutritionist about safely incorporating this vegetable into your diet.
Solanine in sweet potatoes might cause allergic reactions. However, it is extremely rare. Common symptoms include sneezing, coughing, hives, itchy skin, difficulty breathing, and mouth, lips, or tongue swelling.
Baked sweet potatoes offer several health advantages. They are high in vitamin A, which is beneficial to eye health. Vitamin and mineral content is high. They are high in complex carbs, which help stabilise blood sugar levels and give long-lasting energy. These potatoes contain soluble and insoluble fibre, which are beneficial to the intestines. They are advantageous to the immune system and can help prevent cancer and diabetes. Furthermore, they promote a healthy heart, brain, hair, and skin.
Sweet potatoes contain a lot of oxalates, which can cause calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Sweet potatoes are abundant in beta-carotene, which can induce hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity) when the liver stores too much vitamin A. Even though it has a low glycemic index, it might cause blood sugar difficulties in people with diabetes. They include mannitol, which can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach pain. Eating too many of them may cause the body’s potassium levels to rise due to their high potassium content. The eventual effect is hyperkalemia and a higher risk of a heart attack. Excessive consumption might affect your liver and kidneys. Hence should be consumed in moderation.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Q. Are baked sweet potatoes healthy?
A. Yes, sweet potatoes are healthy. They’re rich in vitamin A, enhancing immunity and keeping skin and vision healthy. Also, sweet potatoes are exceptionally high in vitamins C and B6, beneficial to the brain and neurological system. They’re also high in potassium and magnesium, which aid in maintaining heart health by regulating blood pressure.
Q. What are the benefits of eating a baked sweet potato?
A. Baked sweet potatoes have a lot of health benefits. They are rich in vitamin A and are very good for a healthy vision. Baked sweet potatoes have a lot of health benefits reduce the chance of macular degeneration, the most common cause of vision loss. They are rich in vitamins and minerals. Rich in complex carbohydrates is good for maintaining blood sugar levels and providing sustained energy. They contain soluble and insoluble fibre, which is good for the intestines. They help prevent cancer and are suitable for the immune system.
Q. Are sweet potatoes good for weight loss?
A. Although sweet potatoes are starchy, they are good for weight loss. Sweet potatoes are pretty nourishing due to their complex carbs and fibre, providing long-lasting energy and contentment. They’re also nutrient-dense, which means they have a solid nutrient-to-calorie ratio. In other words, it implies many nutrients for a small number of calories. Purple sweet potatoes help you lose weight by reducing inflammation in your body and preventing fat cells from developing. However, portion control should be kept in mind. Excessive intake can cause weight gain.
Q. Are baked sweet potatoes healthier than regular potatoes?
A. While both varieties of potatoes are nutritious, sweet potatoes are richer in nutrients such as vitamin A, which may provide additional health advantages. However, baking tends to destroy the nutrients due to the high temperature.
Q. What are the disadvantages of sweet potatoes?
A. Despite having a low glycemic index, it has the potential to induce blood sugar problems in people with diabetes. They include mannitol, which can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach discomfort. Because they are high in potassium, eating too many of them might cause the body’s potassium levels to increase. Hyperkalemia and a heart attack are the results. Consuming them in excess might harm your liver and kidneys. Excessive consumption of sweet potatoes may result in vitamin A toxicity. It might cause rashes and headaches. Sweet potatoes have a lot of oxalates. High oxalate levels in the diet can cause kidney and gallbladder stones.
Q. What is the healthiest way to eat sweet potato?
A. Boiling is the healthiest way to eat sweet potatoes. Vitamin A levels in children’s blood rise after eating cooked and mashed sweet potatoes. Boiling also improves blood sugar management and delivers sweet potatoes with a reduced glycemic index (GI) value compared to roasting or baking. Compared to other cooking methods such as baking or frying, boiling sweet potatoes maintain the beta-carotene and make the vitamin more absorbable. By restricting cooking time, such as boiling for 20 minutes in a saucepan with a firmly closed lid, you can keep up to 92 per cent of the nutrition.
Q. Does baking sweet potatoes destroy nutrients?
A. When you bake sweet potatoes, the peel’s nutrition value decreases. Also, approximately two-thirds of the antioxidants are lost but microwaving or boiling is gentler. The remainder of the sweet potato is the same way. Baking can also reduce vitamin A levels by 80%, twice as much as boiling.
Q. Is a sweet potato a Superfood?
A. Sweet potatoes are called superfoods because of the number of nutrients they have. One sweet potato provides 400 per cent of your daily vitamin A requirements. Also, they are rich in B vitamins and vitamin C. They are rich in calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, thiamine, and zinc. They contain complex carbohydrates and both soluble and insoluble fibre.
Q. Are sweet potatoes inflammatory?
A. No, sweet potatoes are not inflammatory. Sweet potatoes are abundant in vitamins C and E, making them ideal for an anti-inflammatory diet. They also include the carotenoids alpha and beta carotene, which help decrease inflammation.
Q. Does sweet potatoes reduce belly fat?
A. Sweet potatoes are high in fibre, aiding in weight loss. Sweet potatoes’ high fibre content makes you feel ‘full’ after a meal, which helps you keep to a calorie-restricted diet. Resistant starch is another type of fibre found in the root vegetable. However, excess calories can contribute to weight growth independent of the dietary source. Whole, unprocessed potatoes are unlikely to cause weight gain when consumed in moderation and as part of a balanced diet.
Q. Is sweet potato high in sugar?
A. Yes, sweet potatoes have a significant amount of sugar. Even though sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index, orange-fleshed sweet potatoes, compared to other varieties, have a higher glycemic index. Therefore, increasing blood sugar levels rapidly. Nutritionists recommend patients diagnosed with diabetes restrict their consumption.
Q. Which has more potassium, potato or sweet potato?
A. According to USDA, sweet potatoes contain 438 mg of potassium while regular potatoes contain 417 mg of potassium. Moreover, baked sweet potatoes contain 475 mg of potassium. Therefore, sweet potatoes have a higher potassium content.
Q. Do sweet potatoes have side effects?
A. Sweet potatoes are high in oxalates, raising the risk of calcium-oxalate kidney stones. Sweet potatoes can cause hypervitaminosis A (vitamin A toxicity), a condition in which excess vitamin A accumulates in the liver since they are high in beta-carotene. Despite having a low glycemic index, it can potentially induce blood sugar problems in people with diabetes. They include mannitol, which can cause bloating, diarrhoea, and stomach discomfort. Because they are high in potassium, eating too many of them might cause the body’s potassium levels to increase. Hyperkalemia and a heart attack are the results. Consuming them in excess might harm your liver and kidneys.
Q. Why are sweet potatoes not good for you?
A. Consuming anything in excess is not good. If limited to 2-3 per week, sweet potatoes will not cause any harm to a healthy individual. However, people with diabetes, liver, or kidney-related conditions, should avoid consuming sweet potatoes.