Sweet potatoes - the benefits and harms of sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes - the benefits and harms of sweet potatoes

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Although yam is often referred to as sweet potato, botanically, it has nothing to do with the usual potato. The potato (Solánum tuberósum) belongs to the Solanaceae family, and the sweet potato (Ipomoéa batátas) is a tuber plant of the Convolvulaceae family.

Containing the richest set of useful elements, sweet potato roots with thickened nodules were the main food and fodder crop of the ancient peoples of Central and South America. After the discovery of America, sweet potatoes came to Europe and quickly became a popular vegetable, widely used in cooking, medicine, and animal husbandry. In many countries, sweet potato is a staple food.

Sweet potato composition

There are many varieties of sweet potatoes. They differ in the color of the peel and pulp, shape, chemical composition. However, each tuber has:

  • fiber (dietary fiber);
  • organic acids;
  • starch;
  • ash;
  • monosaccharides (glucose);
  • disaccharides;
  • antioxidants - beta-carotene, anthocyanins, quercetin (vitamin P);
  • trace elements (iron, magnesium, selenium, zinc, calcium, honey, potassium, copper, manganese, phosphorus).

Important! Most of the beta-carotene is found in the sweet potato roots, the flesh of which is colored yellow or orange. Purple sweet potatoes are high in anthocyanins.

In terms of vitamin content, sweet potatoes are several times higher than ordinary potatoes.... 100 grams of pulp contains:

  • 0.3 ml beta-carotene;
  • 0.15 ml thiamine (B1);
  • 0.05 ml riboflavin (B2);
  • 23 ml of ascorbic acid (C);
  • 0.6 ml of nicotinic acid (PP).

In addition, the "vitamin set" includes vitamins A (retinol), B4 (choline), B5 (pantothenic acid), B6 ​​(pyridoxine), B9 (folic acid), E, ​​K.

Despite the rather large amount of sugars, sweet potatoes are classified as low-calorie foods. The nutritional value of 100 grams of pulp is 59-61 kcal. 100 g of sweet potato contains 2 g of proteins, 14.6 g of carbohydrates, 0.01 g of fat.

Useful properties for the body

High saturation with nutrients makes sweet potatoes not only a tasty product, but also allows them to be used in medical, dietary and sports nutrition:

  1. Vitamin A helps people who are actively involved in sports or hard physical labor to recuperate. Sports nutrition containing sweet potatoes promotes rapid muscle building.
  2. Due to the high content of retinol, sweet potatoes are recommended to be eaten by an avid smoker, as a prevention of emphysema caused by a lack of vitamin A in the body.
  3. Retinol and Vitamin E improve skin firmness and prevent early wrinkles by promoting the production of halogen, while high fiber content allows fast satiety and absorption of fat, which is very beneficial for weight loss.
  4. Beta carotene improves vision.
  5. Because of its low glycemic index and high content of carotenoids that increase insulin sensitivity, sweet potato dishes are included in the diet of people with diabetes.
  6. It is recommended to introduce sweet potato dishes into the menu and for people with gastritis, duodenal ulcer, stomach. The vegetable helps to strengthen the stomach lining, improves constipation.
  7. Some elements found in sweet potatoes (especially vitamin B6) strengthen the walls of blood vessels, prevent the formation of cholesterol plaques, regulate pressure and water balance, which makes it extremely beneficial for cardiovascular diseases.
  8. Antioxidants and vitamin C help prevent cancer.
  9. Potassium helps to cope with the consequences of stressful situations, chronic insomnia and fatigue, neuroses, depression, relieves muscle spasms caused by its deficiency. Choline improves memory.
  10. With anti-inflammatory properties, sweet potatoes can help relieve inflammation in the brain and nerve tissues. Increases blood clotting, preventing large blood loss during trauma, abdominal operations and accelerating wound healing.

Regular consumption of sweet potatoes increases libido and fertility (the ability to conceive a child), is beneficial for the well-being of women during menopause.


Although sweet potato has many useful properties, it is capable of causing serious harm to the human body if the rules of a healthy diet are not followed:

  • A large amount of acids contained in sweet potatoes can worsen the condition during an acute form of duodenal and stomach ulcers, ulcerative colitis, gastritis, diverticulosis.
  • The oxalate substances in sweet potatoes contribute to the formation of sand and stones in the kidneys, gall bladder and bladder.
  • For people with kidney failure, an overdose of sweet potatoes is dangerous, it can provoke an excess of potassium in the blood.
  • Too much sweet potatoes in the diet can lead to the development of vitamin A hypervitaminosis and provoke liver disease.
  • Sweet potato is an exotic product and the body can respond to it with an allergic reaction, which is manifested by skin rashes, itching, difficulty in breathing - people who are allergic to plants of the Dioscorean family should be especially careful when tasting sweet potato dishes.
  • The saturation of active substances makes sweet potatoes a rather dangerous product for pregnant and lactating women, presumably the use of sweet potatoes can provoke a miscarriage, lead to congenital anomalies and abnormalities in the baby.

So far, no information has been published on the interaction of sweet potatoes with medicines. Although it is clear that people taking hormone replacement, anti-inflammatory, anti-cholesterol drugs, beta-blockers need to be careful.

How to choose when buying?

There are many varieties and varieties of sweet potatoes, the features of which should be considered when buying. Sweet potatoes are divided into three main groups.:

  1. sternwith a white or yellowish pulp, with a thin skin, dishes made from it are dryish, unsweetened, similar in taste to ordinary potatoes;
  2. vegetable - dark varieties of sweet potatoes with a dense skin and rich orange, pink, yellow pulp, suitable for baking, boiling, stewing, rarely fried;
  3. dessert - purple, violet, red varieties with a varied taste of yellow or orange pulp (melon, banana, pumpkin, chestnut, walnut, melon, carrot, pineapple).

When choosing sweet potatoes, you should pay attention to the condition of the skin. It should be dense, smooth without scratches, wrinkles, spots. For culinary use, it is best to choose not very large, tough root vegetables without damage.

Important! Store sweet potatoes at temperatures above +10 º С in a dry place for no more than 5 weeks.

How to cook and eat?

Sweet potato is a universal root vegetable - it is boiled, baked, fried, eaten raw... In Asia, salad varieties with edible leaves are popular. A coffee substitute is made from the dried seeds, and a tea substitute from the leaves. Koreans even manage to cut the sweet potato roots into vegetable noodles.

In China, hot sweet potato chowder is traditionally included on the winter menu. Americans bake sweet potatoes on the grill, add to salads, deep-fried. Jam and jam are made from dessert varieties, various desserts are prepared. The dried roots are ground into flour, which is used for baking.

The easiest way to eat sweet potatoes is raw, for this they just rinse well under running water. The skin does not need to be peeled off - it contains many useful microelements.

Sweet potato leaves can be used to make a salad... First, the leaves are soaked so that bitterness comes out of them, then they are boiled or cut raw. Sweet potato leaves go well with tomatoes, onions, ginger, mango, pineapple, spinach and other vegetables and fruits. Sugar-vinegar mixture, Dijon mustard, olive oil, balsamic and wine vinegar are usually used as a dressing.

Boiled roots are also suitable for salads, fodder and vegetable varieties can successfully replace ordinary potatoes in any traditional recipe, giving the famous dish an unusual flavor.

Cooking sweet potatoes is simple:

  1. Peel the peel, cut large roots into pieces, boil small ones whole.
  2. Place the roots in a saucepan, pour cold water so that it completely covers them, salt.
  3. Cook under a closed lid over medium heat for 20-30 minutes until soft.

Boiled sweet potatoes are mashed with milk and adding a variety of ingredients - bananas, berries, pumpkin, spices (cinnamon, curry), nuts, raisins, honey, vegetable or butter.

For your information! Like potatoes, sweet potatoes are used immediately after peeling. In the air, the pulp oxidizes and darkens.

The technology for cooking sweet potatoes is almost similar to cooking dishes from potatoes and pumpkin, except that the addition of salt and sugar is much less required.

If you want to learn more about the properties of potatoes, we bring to your attention articles on the benefits and dangers of its flowers, sprouts and juice, as well as what solanine is in a vegetable and why it is so dangerous. Read on our website material about the effect of raw potatoes on the body.

Exotic sweet potato is becoming more and more popular in Russia every year. It is already successfully grown not only by gardeners as a curiosity, but also by farmers for supply to trade networks. A versatile, nutritious vegetable, when used wisely, can diversify the menu, help treat diseases and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

Watch the video: Top 5 benefits of sweet potato leaves - Health Sutra - Best Health Tips (May 2022).