Sweet potato is somewhat a sweeter version of potato and provides numerous health benefits. It is a rich source of health-promoting substances and these substances help in proper functioning of our body, fight severe health problems and diseases, and even provide benefits for our skin and hair. Read on to discover the nutrition and amazing health benefits of sweet potato.
What is Sweet Potato?
Sweet potato is a root vegetable that is starchy and sweet tasting. Sweet potato is often thought to be related to potato. It descends from morning glory family, Convolvulaceae, while potato belongs to nightshade family, Solanaceae, and these two families belong to the same taxonomic order, Solanales. Sweet potato bears the scientific name Ipomoea batatas, and is commonly known as ‘Shakarkandi’ or ‘Shakarkand’ in Hindi. It is mostly consumed boiled, roasted, cooked, as soup, as supplementary dish for rice and many more. In adiition to this, sweet potato is considered to be one of the best baby’s first food. Now, let’s look at the nutrition facts to derive its benefits.
Top 10 Facts About Sweet Potatoes
- Apart from just the tuber, you can eat the whole plant of sweet potato, including its leaves, shoots, and stem.
- Globally, 260 billion pounds of sweet potato is produced every year and is considered to be one of the most important food crops in the world.
- Sweet potato is sweet because of the presence of an enzyme that converts starch into sugar as the vegetable matures.
- Sweet potato comes in different colors, such as red, purple, orange, white and yellow.
- Even though it is sweet, sweet potato has low glycemic index, and can be eaten by diabetics.
- Sweet potato can be stored up to ten months without spoiling or decreasing its nutritional value.
- Sweet potato is often propagated through stem and root cuttings.
- Some varieties of sweet potato are used in the production of rubber, ink, and glue.
- Sweet potato juice extract can produce dyes and these dyes are used in textile industries.
- Sweet potato grows as perennial plant in warm climate, and as annual plant in cold climate.
Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato
The nutritional value per 100 grams of sweet potato is given below:
- Energy: 90 kcal
- Carbohydrates: 20.7 g
- Starch: 7.05 g
- Sugars: 6.5 g
- Dietary Fibers: 3.3 g
- Fat: 0.1 g
- Protein: 1.6 g
- Vitamin A equiv.: 709 μg
- Beta-carotene: 8509 μg
- Thiamine (B-1): 0.078 mg
- Riboflavin (B-2): 0.061 mg
- Niacin (B-3): 0.557 mg
- Pantothenic acid (B-5): 0.8 mg
- Vitamin B-6: 0.209 mg
- Folate (B-9): 11 μg
- Vitamin C: 2.4 mg
- Vitamin E: 0.26 mg
- Vitamin A equiv.: 709 μg
- Calcium: 30 mg
- Iron: 0.61 mg
- Magnesium: 25 mg
- Manganese: 0.258 mg
- Phosphorus: 47 mg
- Potassium: 337 mg
- Sodium: 55 mg
- Zinc: 0.3 mg
Health Benefits of Sweet Potato
Aids in Digestion
Sweet potato contains an impressive amount of fiber which is even higher than common potatoes. Additionally, it is loaded with magnesium and facilitates digestion. Sweet potatoes mainly contain starch and they are easily digestible. Furthermore, they are soothing for our stomach and intestines.
Helps to Gain Weight
While the world is running after remedies for weight loss, some percent of people are still struggling to achieve the ideal weight. And, including sweet potato in the diet is a healthy option for those people. Packed with complex starch, vitamins, minerals, and protein, sweet potato provides lot of energy and bulks the food to help you can weight. They are easily digestible and are not associated with side effects.
Is Sweet Potato Good for Your Baby?
Yes, sweet potato is commonly introduced to babies as their first food. Benefits of sweet potato for babies owe to its good amount of calories. It not only satiate their palate, but also help them attain ideal weight rapidly. In addition to this, presence of vitamins and minerals in sweet potato help in the development of organs and body functions of the baby.
Deficiency of vitamins and minerals can cause inflammation in our body that can lead to various irritating symptoms. Sweet potato is known for its anti-inflammatory properties, due to presence of beta-carotene, vitamin C and magnesium. These components are absolutely effective against both internal and external inflammation.
Sweet Potato is an Immune Booster
Apart from being an anti-inflammatory agent, vitamin C in sweet potato is also a powerful antioxidant that fights against infections and diseases. Sweet potatoes are also a rich source of vitamin C, B complex vitamins, iron, phosphorus that defend our body from any harmful conditions.
Is Sweet Potato Good for Pregnant Women?
Just the way sweet potato is good for babies, it is beneficial for pregnant women too. It helps you meet the daily requirement of Vitamin A, B-6, C, iron, dietary fiber, and potassium. These nutrients not only improve the baby’s health, but also regulate functions of the mother’s body.
Fights Respiratory Problems
Our respiratory tract is mostly vulnerable to inflammation and infections, which can lead to congestion of the nose, bronchi, and lungs, and further rise the risks of asthma and bronchitis. Sweet potato has a warming effect in our body that impact body temperature and relieves such congestion. The concentration of vitamin C and iron also play a major role in fighting against such conditions.
Sweet Potato Benefits for Stomach
As mentioned earlier, sweet potato has soothing effect on our stomach and intestines. It is the powerhouse B-complex vitamins, vitamin C, beta-carotene, potassium and calcium that protect the lining of the stomach and prevent from problems, such as stomach ulcers. Furthermore, the roughage content in sweet potato treats constipation that may result to acid formation, and further stomach ulcer.
Despite imparting a sweet taste, sweet potatoes are good for diabetics. In addition to low glycemic index, the natural sugars of sweet potato also releases slowly into the blood stream, and balances it. In this way, it regulates the blood sugar, and even help in the production of blood sugar. Diabetics can eat sweet potato to replace rice or carbohydrates, nut over consumption is definitely not a healthy option.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Bodybuilding
Potassium is an important mineral for body building, as it plays major role in muscle control, electrolyte balance and nerve function, which is abundantly found in sweet potato. Along with potassium, sweet potato also contains fiber that promotes healthy digestion and building of muscles. Moreover, sweet potato has lower calories than potatoes, which helps to maintain calories deficit diet and burns fat.
Is Sweet Potato Good for Your Skin?
Owing to its multi-nutrients content, there are many benefits of sweet potato for your skin, including
- Improves the texture of the skin
- Helps in treating oily skin
- Reduces dark circles and puffiness of eyes
- Relieves dry and cracked heels
- Moisturizes the skin
- Delays the sign of aging
- Maintains the elasticity of your skin
- Improves skin complexion
Sweet Potato Benefits for Hair
Sweet potato provides abundant of benefits even to your hair. The Vitamin A and beta carotene present in sweet potato is famous for promoting hair growth. Besides this, sweet potato imparts natural shine to your hair, and even treat hair dryness.
Well, the list of health benefits of sweet potato never seems to be ending. Adding it in your diet will never leave you disappointed. Eat it raw, steamed, roasted or fried. This vegetable is loved by many, and surely adds value to your health.