6 Amazing Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

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Sweet potatoes provide a wealth of nutrition, by delivering good amounts of vitamin A, vitamin C, and manganese with every serving. In addition, they boast anti-cancer properties, they may enhance immune function, and offer various other health benefits.

With their sweet and starchy nature, are root vegetables that are grown and consumed worldwide.

They are available in different sizes and colors, such as orange, white, and purple, and are rich in vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber.

Good to note that they also offer numerous health benefits and can be easily integrated into your daily diet.

Health benefits of sweet potatoes

1. Very nutritious

They are an excellent source of dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals.

A serving of one cup, equivalent to 200g (grams), of baked sweet potato with skin can deliver:

  • Calories: 180
  • Carbs: 41g (grams)
  • Protein: 4g (grams)
  • Fat: 0.3g (grams)
  • Fiber: 6.6g (grams)
  • Vitamin A: 213% of the Daily Value (DV)
  • Vitamin C: 44% of the DV
  • Manganese: 43% of the DV
  • Copper: 36% of the DV
  • Pantothenic acid: 35% of the DV
  • Vitamin B6: 34% of the DV
  • Potassium: 20% of the DV
  • Niacin: 19% of the DV

Moreover, sweet potatoes, especially those of the orange and purple variety, contain high levels of antioxidants that safeguard your body against free radicals.

Free radicals are molecules that lack stability and can potentially cause harm to DNA while also causing inflammation.

The damage caused by free radicals has been associated with chronic illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, and aging. Therefore, consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants can boost overall well-being.

2. Better gut health

They are rich in fiber and antioxidants, which may have positive effects on gut health.

The two types of fiber found in sweet potatoes are soluble and insoluble.

Neither soluble nor insoluble fiber can be digested by the body. Instead, they stay in the digestive tract and offer various health benefits related to gut function.

Some types of soluble fiber, called viscous fibers, can absorb water and make stool softer. Meanwhile, non-viscous insoluble fibers don’t absorb water and increase the bulk of stool.

Certain types of soluble and insoluble fibers can undergo fermentation by the bacteria in your colon, producing short-chain fatty acids that provide energy for the cells of your intestinal lining, therefore promoting gut health.

Consuming diets that are high in fiber, typically between 20-33g (grams) of fiber per day, has been associated with a reduced risk of colon cancer and can help to maintain regular bowel movements according to many studies. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

They may also offer gut benefits due to their antioxidants.

In vitro studies have shown that the antioxidants found in purple sweet potatoes can stimulate the growth of beneficial gut bacteria, such as specific strains of Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus. Study 1, Study 2

According to many studies, having higher levels of healthy gut bacteria within the intestines is linked to improved gut health and a reduced likelihood of health issues such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and infectious diarrhea. Study 1, Study 2, Study 3

3. Potential anti-cancer properties

They contain antioxidants that could potentially reduce the risk of certain types of cancer.

In test-tube studies, anthocyanins present in purple sweet potatoes have been shown to inhibit the growth of specific cancer cells, such as those found in the bladder, colon, stomach, and breast. Study 1, Study 2

Mice fed with diets rich in purple sweet potatoes had lower rates of early-stage colon cancer, indicating that anthocyanins may offer a protective effect. Study 1

Sweet potato peel extracts have demonstrated anti-cancer properties in animal and test-tube research. Study 1, Study 2

However, there is not enough data that have examined these effects in humans.

4. Helps with good eye health

They also contain high amounts of beta carotene, an antioxidant that gives the vegetable its characteristic orange color and has potential benefits for eye health.

One cup (200g) of baked orange sweet potato with skin provides more than double the daily requirement of beta carotene for an average adult.

Beta carotene is transformed into vitamin A within your body and utilized to create light-detecting receptors in your eyes.

In developing countries, severe lack of vitamin A is a problem that can result in a specific form of blindness called xerophthalmia. Consuming beta carotene-rich foods, such as sweet potatoes with orange flesh, may help prevent this condition.

Purple sweet potatoes also appear to have vision benefits.

Test-tube studies have shown that anthocyanins present in purple sweet potatoes may have a positive effect on eye health by safeguarding eye cells against damage.

5. May improve brain function

A diet that includes purple sweet potatoes may improve brain function.

A study conducted on animals suggests that the consumption of purple sweet potatoes may safeguard the brain from inflammation and free radical damage due to the presence of anthocyanins.

Another study discovered that by supplementing with sweet potato extract that is rich in anthocyanin, it could help decrease inflammation and improve spatial working memory in mice. This could be attributed to the extract’s antioxidant qualities.

Although there is no research conducted in humans, a diet containing high amounts of fruits, vegetables, and antioxidants has been linked to a 13% decrease in the risk of cognitive impairment and dementia. Study 1, Study 2

6. May boost immune system

Sweet potatoes with orange flesh are one of the richest natural sources of beta carotene, which is a plant-based nutrient that can be converted to vitamin A.

Maintaining adequate levels of Vitamin A is important for a strong immune system, as lower blood levels have been associated with weakened immunity.

It is also important for the maintenance of healthy mucous membranes, particularly in the gut lining.

Maintaining a healthy gut is very important for a strong immune system, as the gut is the primary site of exposure to potential disease-causing pathogens.

Research has shown that lack of Vitamin A can lead to gut inflammation and weakening of the immune system’s ability to handle potential dangers.

While there are no studies that specifically investigate the impact of sweet potatoes on the immune system, consuming them can be beneficial in preventing vitamin A deficiency, which has been linked to reduced immunity and gut inflammation.

How to add sweet potatoes into your diet

You can easily add them into your diet.

They are versatile and can be prepared in many ways, such as baked, boiled, roasted, fried, steamed, or pan-cooked. They can also be consumed with or without the skin.

Their natural sweetness complements various flavors, making them an ideal ingredient in both sweet and savory dishes. They can be seasoned with a wide range of spices and used in various cooking methods.

Here are some known ways to enjoy these potatoes:

  • Sweet potato chips: Thinly sliced, peeled and bake or fry them.
  • Sweet potato fries: Cut peeled into wedges or matchsticks and bake or fry.
  • Sweet potato toast: Cut sweet potatoes into thin slices, toast them, and top with ingredients like nut butter or avocado.
  • Mashed sweet potatoes: Boil peeled sweet potatoes, mash them with milk and seasoning.
  • Baked sweet potatoes: Bake whole sweet potatoes in the oven until they are fork-tender.
  • Sweet potato hash: Dice peeled sweet potatoes and cook with onion in a pan.
  • Spiralized sweet potatoes: Cut sweet potatoes into spirals, sauté and add sauce.
  • In baked goods: Add sweet potato puree to baked goods for added moisture without added fat.

If you add a small amount of fat, such as coconut oil, olive oil, or avocado, when cooking sweet potatoes, it can enhance the absorption of beta carotene since it is a fat-soluble nutrient.

While it is true that some older studies suggest that cooking sweet potatoes may slightly reduce their beta carotene content, they still contain at least 70% of this nutrient and are still considered an excellent source, even after cooking. Study 1, Study 2


Sweet potatoes are root vegetables that are packed with nutrients and are available in various colors.

They are a rich source of fiber and antioxidants, which can help protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and support the health of the brain and gut.

They are also rich in beta carotene, a nutrient that is converted to Vitamin A to help maintain good vision and support the immune system.

Lastly they are a versatile food that can be used in both sweet and savory dishes, making them a great choice for carbohydrates in most people’s diets.

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