Surprising Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
Whether you’re thinking about quick, fall dishes for a weeknight dinner or a fancied-up side dish for Thanksgiving, sweet potatoes are probably on your mind. But the whole “sweet” + “potato” thing might have you wondering whether these spuds are actually a healthy choice.
What are the health benefits of sweet potatoes?
First of all, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, a vitamin with particular superpowers: It helps create the immune cells that fight off pathogens. One medium sweet potato has over 400% of your daily vitamin A needs.
They’re also loaded with fiber (one cup, cubed, has as much fiber as a cup of cooked oatmeal). And fiber is good for your body in so many ways. Research shows that consuming a high fiber diet can help people with type 2 diabetes control their glucose levels. Fiber is also great for staying regular (buh-bye, constipation!), lowering cholesterol, and helping you stay at a healthy weight.
Sweet potatoes are a great source of potassium, a nutrient that’s critical for normal cell function. Most Americans don’t get enough potassium, studies show; being deficient can increase blood pressure and the risk of kidney stones, among other things.
Not to mention, these sweet spuds are good for your eyes: They have beta-carotene, which is linked to eye health, as are the antioxidant powers from the concentrations of vitamins C and E.
They also have choline, a nutrient that is good for the brain (it helps with memory and learning), as well as for reducing inflammation. They’re a good source of manganese, a mineral that’s a boost for your metabolism and bone development, and also aids in vitamin absorption.
And sweet potatoes are loaded with magnesium, which not only helps your blood level stay on an even keel; it also can help you sleep better at night.
Are they healthier than white potatoes?
It turns out that both types of spuds have their good sides, but sweet potatoes come out a bit ahead. Yes, they are sweeter, but they have slightly fewer calories and carbs than white potatoes , and pack more vitamins and nutrients.