One medium sweet potato (2" diameter, 5" long, approximately 114 grams) provides 162 calories, 0 grams of fat, 37 grams of carbohydrate (including 6 grams of fiber and 12 grams of sugar), and 3.6 grams of protein according to the USDA's national nutrient database.
One medium sweet potato will provide well over 100% of your daily needs for vitamin A, as well as 37% of vitamin C, 16% of vitamin B-6, 10% of pantothenic acid, 15% of potassium and 28% of manganese. You'll also find small amounts of calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, thiamin, riboflavin and folate.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene, a powerful antioxidant known to give orange vegetables and fruits their vibrant color, which is converted to vitamin A in the body. Consuming foods rich in beta-carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer, offer protection against asthma and heart disease and delay aging and body degeneration.
Sweet potatoes are considered low on the glycemic index scale, and recent research suggests they may reduce episodes of low blood sugar and insulin resistance in people with diabetes. One medium sweet potato provides about 6 grams of fiber (skin on). The Dietary Guidelines recommends 21-25 grams of fiber per day for women and 30-38 grams per day for men.
Maintaining a low sodium intake is essential to lowering blood pressure, however increasing potassium intake may be just as important. One medium sweet potato provides about 542 milligrams. If you suffer from leg cramps at night you know potassium is a benefit.
Among men, diets rich in beta-carotene may play a protective role against prostate cancer, according to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health's Department of Nutrition. Beta-carotene has also been shown to have an inverse association with the development of colon cancer.
Digestion and Regularity
Because of its high fiber content, sweet potatoes help to prevent constipation and promote regularity for a healthy digestive tract. Not only are they good for you but my elderly dog suffers from digestion issues. A little cooked sweet potatoes mixed into her food really seems to help, and she loves them.
For women of childbearing age, consuming more iron from plant sources appears to promote fertility, according Harvard Medical School's Harvard Health Publications. The vitamin A in sweet potatoes is also essential during pregnancy and lactation for hormone synthesis.
Sweet potatoes are high in both vitamin C and beta-carotene which offer an immunity boost from their powerful combination of nutrients. Vitamin C is important to help ward off cold and flu viruses, and plays an important role in bone and tooth formation, digestion, and blood cell formation. It helps accelerate wound healing, produces collagen which helps maintain skin’s youthful elasticity, and is essential to helping us cope with stress.
Choline is a very important and versatile nutrient in sweet potatoes that helps with sleep, muscle movement, learning and memory. Choline also helps to maintain the structure of cellular membranes, aids in the transmission of nerve impulses, assists in the absorption of fat and reduces chronic inflammation.
According to Duke ophthalmologist Jill Koury, MD, vitamin A deficiency causes the outer segments of the eye's photoreceptors to deteriorate, damaging normal vision. Correcting vitamin A deficiencies with foods high in beta-carotene will restore vision. Also, the antioxidant vitamins C and E in sweet potatoes have been shown to support eye health and prevent degenerative damage.
For more information:
Medical News Today
Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes, by Megan JWare RDN LD
Written by Megan Ware RDN LD
Care 2 Healthy Living
9 Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
by Michelle Schoffro Cook