Sweet potatoes: Nutrition profile, health benefits & side effects

Sweet Potato

Last Updated on December 11, 2023 by Shabnam Sengupta

Sweet potatoes, with their vibrant orange hue and delectably sweet flavour, have earned their place as a versatile and nutritious staple in many cuisines worldwide. Beyond their delicious taste and culinary versatility, sweet potatoes boast an array of health benefits, providing a rich source of essential nutrients and antioxidants. In this comprehensive exploration, we’ll delve into the introduction of sweet potatoes, uncover their health benefits, present nutritional information in a convenient table format, and discuss potential side effects.

Health benefits of sweet potatoes:

  • Rich in Nutrients: Sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse, packed with essential vitamins and minerals. They are particularly high in vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, and manganese.
  • Excellent Source of Fibre: The high fibre content in sweet potatoes supports digestive health, aids in weight management, and helps stabilise blood sugar levels.
  • Antioxidant-Rich: Sweet potatoes contain an array of antioxidants, including beta-carotene, which contributes to their vibrant orange colour. Antioxidants play a crucial role in neutralising free radicals and reducing inflammation in the body.
  • Supports Immune Function: The combination of vitamin A and vitamin C in sweet potatoes strengthens the immune system, promoting the body’s ability to fend off infections and illnesses.
  • Regulates Blood Sugar: Despite their natural sweetness, sweet potatoes have a low glycemic index. This means they are digested slowly, leading to a gradual rise in blood sugar levels and studies showed good improvements in Hba1c levels  and providing sustained energy.
  • Heart Health: The potassium content in sweet potatoes helps regulate blood pressure, promoting cardiovascular health.
  • Contributes to Healthy Skin: Beta-carotene, found abundantly in sweet potatoes, supports skin health, providing protection against sun damage and promoting a youthful complexion.

Nutritional profile (per 100 grams)

NutrientAmount
Calories86
Carbohydrates20.1 grams
Fiber3 grams
Protein1.6 grams
Fat0.1 grams
Vitamin A14187 IU
Vitamin C2.4 mg
Potassium337 mg
Manganese0.5 mg
Calcium30 mg
Iron0.6 mg
Note: Nutritional values are approximate and may vary based on factors such as variety and cooking methods.

Side effects of sweet potato

While sweet potatoes offer an array of health benefits, it’s essential to be aware of potential side effects:

  • Digestive Discomfort: Some individuals may experience digestive issues such as bloating or gas, especially when consuming sweet potatoes in large quantities.
  • Allergic Reactions: In rare cases, individuals may be allergic to sweet potatoes, leading to symptoms such as itching, swelling, or difficulty breathing.
  • High Oxalate Content: Sweet potatoes contain oxalates, which can contribute to the formation of kidney stones in susceptible individuals. Those with a history of kidney stones may need to moderate their intake.

In conclusion, sweet potatoes are a delightful addition to a balanced and healthy diet, offering a spectrum of nutrients and health benefits. By incorporating these vibrant tubers into your meals, you can enjoy a delicious and nutritious boost to your overall well-being. As with any food, moderation is key, and it’s advisable to consult with a healthcare professional, particularly if you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions.

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