Sweet Potato - Properties, Types and Benefits

What is sweet potato?

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) or sweet potato is a tubercular vegetable of the Convolvulaceae family. Although it is also known under the name sweet potato; Genetically, sweet potatoes are not closely related to white potatoes. 

The white potato and the sweet potato share their origin: Central America. Its cultivation was part of the Aztec diet with chia seeds and quinoa. However, they come from different vegetable families. In addition, its nutrients and properties are other.

There are several types of sweet potato – with white, yellow, orange, and purple pulp. Each of the different varieties differs in both taste and health benefits.

The properties of orange sweet potatoes are similar to those of carrots. Purple types are characterized by a smooth, starchy texture and a higher antioxidant content. Yellow sweet potato varieties are particularly rich in vitamin A.

Properties and nutrients by type

Despite their sweet taste, sweet potatoes have a medium glycemic index – around 50-60 units. One of its nutritional properties is its moderate calorie content: 80-90 kcal per 100 g.

Most of the nutrients in sweet potato are carbohydrates: 20 g per 100 g of tubers. 3 g are fiber, 13 g are starch, and 4 g are sugars. (1) Compared to white potatoes, sweet potatoes contain 30% fewer carbohydrates.

The vitamin and mineral content of the sweet potato varies according to the type. The vitamin in the highest concentration is vitamin A (beta carotene). This vitamin is responsible for coloration and is especially abundant in the yellow and orange varieties.

The properties and nutrients that stand out of the purple sweet potato are its high anthocyanins content. Natural antioxidant compounds are also part of dark chocolate, berries, and grapes. The properties and nutrients of sweet potato are:

  • It is rich in vitamin A (beta-carotene)
  • Has a medium glycemic index
  • Provides manganese, potassium, and magnesium.
  • High anthocyanin content (purple varieties)

Is sweet potato better than regular or white potatoes?

Although sweet potatoes are considered a significantly healthier alternative to white potatoes, this is not entirely true.

Ultimately, the glycemic index, calorie content, and macronutrient content are similar.

The critical difference between sweet potatoes and white potatoes is their higher beta-carotene content and taste. They do not have significant differences in properties or health benefits.

In addition, due to their difference in sugar content, all types of sweet potatoes have a pleasant sweet taste; this gives the dishes a unique texture.

On the other hand, the starch of white potatoes allows forming pancakes and dense textures. In the case of sweet potatoes, this will not work.

Below is a table with differences in nutritional properties between sweet potatoes and white potatoes:

White potatoesBoniato
heat ies9290
Prote Inas2 g2 g
Fats0.15 g0.15 g
CARB ohidratos21 g21 g
Fi vegetable fiber2.1 g3.3 g
Vitamina A (b-carotenos)0.1% VD102% VD
Vitamin B612% VD17% VD
C vitamin12% VD22% VD
Pota sio14% VD10% VD
Kicks or1% VD2% VD
Magnes io6% VD6% VD

Comparative table of nutritional properties between sweet potato and white potato in 100 g (3)

Health benefits

Sweet potatoes are a nutritious food, and including them regularly in the diet can provide numerous benefits for the body. The health benefits of sweet potato are:

  1. Improve blood sugar levels

An imbalance in blood sugar levels is one of the leading causes of type 2 diabetes. Consuming moderate amounts of sweet potatoes can regulate glucose levels and improve insulin reactions in people with diabetes. 

  1. Prevent a lack of vitamin A

Vitamin A is one of the essential nutrients for healthy skin and eyes. Chronic lack of this nutrient can cause temporary and permanent damage to the eyes. Orange sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, the raw material that the body needs to synthesize vitamin A and strengthen the immune system.

  1. Lower risk of certain types of cancer

Diets rich in antioxidants, such as carotenoids and anthocyanins, are associated with a lower risk of certain types of cancer. Studies have shown that one of the antioxidant benefits of sweet potatoes is to reduce the chances of stomach, kidney, and breast cancer. 

Can you eat sweet potatoes to lose weight?

Eating a carbohydrate serving that does not exceed grams per day is recommended to lose weight. The equivalent of about 500 g of sweet potatoes per day. It is important to remember that losing weight requires a calorie deficit.

Eating sweet potatoes to lose weight is possible. However, its quantity should be moderate. Carrot and purple types of sweet potato are recommended in a diet to lose weight.

The fried sweet potatoes deserve a special mention. Its glycemic index is 90 units, and it is considered a food high in unhealthy fat calories. This is one of the ways to cook sweet potatoes to avoid losing weight.

It is also essential to know that considering the sweet potato as a food with a high vegetable fiber content is a mistake. 100 g of sweet potatoes in the shell provide only 2-3 g of vegetable dietary fiber. So getting the benefits of fiber by eating sweet potatoes is not a good idea.

How to cook a sweet potato?

Sweet potatoes can be baked whole (in the oven or the microwave), boiled, fried, or stewed. Cooking time varies by type. It is about 10-15 minutes, less time than ordinary white potatoes.

One of the simplest and fastest sweet potato dishes is cream soup. The tuber must be peeled, then cut into small pieces, and boiled in unsalted water to cook it. Then the boiled sweet potatoes are placed in a blender and mixed with the broth. The sliced ​​rinds are fried in oil and added to the soup before serving.

An interesting combination is the pumpkin puree and sweet carrot potato: both vegetables have a similar texture and the same cooking time combined successfully.

Purple sweet potatoes pair well with black rice and beets. Due to its ability to color dishes, purple sweet potato flour is also used for cooking sweet desserts.

Sweet potatoes are a tuber of Central American origin. Although they are also known as sweet potatoes, they are not closely related to white potatoes. The health benefits of sweet potatoes are to regulate blood sugar, prevent a lack of vitamin A, and reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

The differences in properties and nutrients of the sweet potato vary according to the type. However, all varieties are wide in beta carotene nutrients. Eating sweet potatoes and losing weight is possible. However, it is not one of the most recommended foods. Its fiber content is low compared to other vegetables.

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