Sweet potatoes are highly nutritious, containing generous amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C and manganese. They support the immune system and offer various other health advantages. These sweet and starchy root vegetables are cultivated globally and are available in diverse sizes and colours such as orange, white and purple. They are abundant in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants and fibre. Hence, they contribute significantly to overall health and can be effortlessly incorporated into one’s diet.
1) High nutrition
Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of dietary fibre, essential vitamins and minerals. A single cup, equivalent to 200 grams, of baked sweet potato with the skin intact offers the following nutritional values: 180 calories, 41 grams of carbohydrates, 4 grams of protein, 0.3 grams of fat and 6.6 grams of fibre.
It also provides substantial amounts of key nutrients such as 213% of the Daily Value (DV) for vitamin A, 44% of the DV for vitamin C, 43% of the DV for manganese, 36% of the DV for copper, 35% of the DV for pantothenic acid, 34% of the DV for vitamin B6, 20% of the DV for potassium and 19% of the DV for niacin.
2) Better gut health
The presence of fibre and antioxidants in sweet potatoes can help maintain a healthy gut. Sweet potatoes contain two types of fibre, namely soluble and insoluble, both of which are indigestible by the body. As a result, these fibres remain in the digestive tract and contribute to various gut-related benefits. Soluble fibres, specifically viscous fibres, can absorb water and soften stool, while non-viscous, insoluble fibres add bulk without water absorption.
3) Helps to fight cancer
Sweet potatoes provide a range of antioxidants that have the potential to offer protection against specific types of cancer. One such group of antioxidants called anthocyanins, present in purple sweet potatoes, has demonstrated the ability to inhibit the growth of certain cancer cells in laboratory studies. These cancer types include bladder, colon, stomach and breast cancers. Furthermore, experiments conducted on mice revealed that a diet rich in purple sweet potatoes resulted in lower incidence rates of early-stage colon cancer, indicating a potential protective effect of the anthocyanins found in these potatoes.
4) Increases brain function
The consumption of purple sweet potatoes has the potential to enhance brain function. According to a study, the anthocyanins present in purple sweet potatoes may safeguard the brain by reducing inflammation and preventing damage caused by free radicals. Another study revealed that supplementing with an extract rich in anthocyanins from sweet potatoes could lower markers of inflammation and improve spatial working memory in mice, likely due to its antioxidant properties.
5) Strengthen the immune system
Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes rank among the most abundant natural sources of beta carotene, a plant-derived compound that undergoes conversion into vitamin A within the body. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in supporting a robust immune system, as lower levels of this vitamin have been associated with ompromised immunity.