Naturally sweet: The lowdown on vitamin-rich sweet potatoes (recipes included)
02/13/2021 / By Rose Lidell / Comments
Naturally sweet: The lowdown on vitamin-rich sweet potatoes (recipes included)

When it comes to stem tubers, sweet potatoes are often considered to be healthier than regular potatoes. But are sweet potatoes really better for you?

Health benefits of sweet potatoes

Sweet potatoes are nutrient-rich superfoods that are full of dietary fiber, minerals, vitamins and phytonutrients that help boost your overall health. There are also different and tasty ways to prepare sweet potatoes, such as baked, mashed or roasted for soups and salads!

One medium-sized sweet potato contains 112 calories and 0 grams of total fat. It also contains zero saturated fat, 26 g of total carbohydrates, four grams of dietary fiber, five grams of sugar and two grams of protein.


The same serving also contains the following nutrients:

  • 438 mg of potassium (12 percent of the Daily Value/DV)
  • 32 mg of magnesium (Eight percent of the DV)
  • 39 mg of calcium (Three percent of the DV)
  • 0.8 mg of iron (Three percent of the DV)
  • 3 mg of vitamin C (Five percent of the DV)
  • 0.3 mg of vitamin B6 (15 percent of the DV)
  • 18,443 IU of vitamin A (386 percent of the DV)

Making sweet potatoes a part of your regular diet offers many health benefits, such as:

Helping lower LDL cholesterol

Sweet potatoes contain healthy plant-based fiber that can help reduce LDL (low-density lipoprotein), or “bad” cholesterol. Additionally, a fiber-rich diet can help lower your risk of heart disease, obesity and Type 2 diabetes.

Helping reduce blood pressure and stroke risk

Sweet potatoes contain both potassium and magnesium, two nutrients that you need for blood pressure support. Scientists believe that following potassium-rich diets can help improve your heart health by reducing blood pressure and helping protect against stroke.

Promoting eye health 

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A, which you need to maintain good eyesight. Studies have found that greater vitamin A and beta carotene intake may be inversely linked to cataract risk.

Boosting immune health

Vitamin A also helps with other bodily functions, including cell communication, growth and differentiation. Recent research suggests that it also plays a critical role in enhancing immunity.

Can you have too much vitamin A?

The condition hypervitaminosis or vitamin A toxicity occurs when you take too much pre-formed vitamin A from supplements. Fortunately, taking large amounts of pro-vitamin A carotenoids from fruits and vegetables isn’t linked to negative side effects.

You can also get vitamin A naturally from the following superfoods:

  • Dark-colored fruits
  • Eggs
  • Fish and fish oils
  • Leafy, green vegetables
  • Liver
  • Milk
  • Orange and yellow vegetables, like carrots
  • Tomato products

If you eat too many carrots or other beta-carotene rich foods, you may develop a condition called carotenemia. While harmless, carotenemia can make your skin look yellow.

Overall, there are no cons if you’re relatively healthy and you eat sweet potatoes moderately. However, sweet potatoes are full of potassium, which can be bad if you take beta-blockers, have kidney disease or chronic hyperkalemia.

Are sweet potatoes better than white potatoes?

When it comes to potatoes, both the sweet and regular kind are good for you, although they contain different levels of certain nutrients. White potatoes and sweet potatoes contain comparable levels of calorie, protein, and carbohydrates.

However, white potatoes are high in potassium. On the other hand, sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A and have a slightly higher dietary fiber content than white potatoes.

Will eating sweet potatoes boost your sugar intake?

You might have second thoughts about eating sweet potatoes if you’re watching your sugar intake. Sweet potatoes contain natural sugars; there’s no added sugar in sweet potatoes unless you add sugar while cooking.

You can still eat sweet potatoes if you’re diabetic, so long as you are mindful of the type and amount of carbs you eat for each meal. You should also spread out the carbs in your meals throughout the day.

Sweet potatoes are considered a low-glycemic and fiber-rich superfood. This means they release and absorb glucose into the bloodstream very slowly, which helps prevent blood sugar spikes.

But this doesn’t mean you can eat sweet potato fries or desserts every day. Be careful with how you prepare them. Boiled sweet potato has a low glycemic index of 44, but if you bake them for 45 minutes, the final product will have a glycemic index of 94.

Tasty sweet potato recipes

Healthy peanut and sweet potato soup

This recipe for soup combines sweet potatoes, peanuts and several herbs and spices.


  • 2 large sweet potatoes (At least 300 g each, 2.5 cups chopped)
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 red bell pepper (you can also use yellow bell peppers)
  • 2 cloves of garlic (or 1 teaspoon of dried garlic)
  • 0.7-inch piece (2 cm) of fresh ginger (or 1 teaspoon dried ginger)
  • 1/2 lime, juiced
  • 3 cups of vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup of tomato puree
  • 1/4 cup of fresh cilantro or coriander
  • 2 tablespoons of maple syrup
  • 2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of vinegar (Or lemon juice)
  • 1 teaspoon of cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Peanuts (to garnish)


  1. Dice the onions and cook them in oil in a pot on low to medium heat. Let the onions cook slowly for five minutes or until it starts to turn clear.
  2. Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into cubes.
  3. Dice the bell pepper, garlic and ginger, then add the ingredients to the pot. If you’re using dried herbs, add them along with the cinnamon and cayenne pepper. Cook the mixture for another two minutes then add the peanut butter, soy sauce, vinegar and tomato.
  4. Add some of the vegetable broth and stir well.
  5. Add the sweet potatoes and the rest of the broth then simmer on medium heat. If you’re using fresh herbs, add them. Stir occasionally. After 10 to 15 minutes check if the sweet potatoes are soft by poking one with a knife. The sweet potatoes are done if the knife easily slides in.
  6. Season with salt and pepper, maple syrup and lime juice, then stir. If you used a cinnamon stick, remove it.
  7. Use a hand liquidizer or blender to process the soup until smooth.
  8. Garnish with peanuts before serving.

Vegan sweet potato and black bean burgers

This recipe for vegan sweet potato and black bean burgers combines sweet potatoes with delicious herbs and curry powder for a tasty meal.

Combine the ingredients by hand for patties with a soft, uniform texture. This will make the patties crispy if you cook them using a cast-iron pan.

For gluten-free burgers, use gluten-free oats and serve the patty in a lettuce wrap without the bun.

Ingredients for 4 servings:

  • 2 cups of grated sweet potato
  • 1 cup of cucumber, thinly sliced
  • 1 cup of no-salt-added black beans, rinsed
  • 1/2 cup of chopped scallions
  • 1/2 cup of old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup of plain unsweetened almond milk yogurt
  • 1/4 cup of vegan mayonnaise
  • 2 tablespoons of chopped fresh dill
  • 2 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons of lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon of no-salt-added tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1/8 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 whole-wheat hamburger buns, toasted


  1. Squeeze the grated sweet potato with paper towels to remove excess moisture, then place them in a large bowl.
  2. Pulse the oats in a food processor until finely ground and add to the bowl of sweet potatoes.
  3. Add the beans, scallions, mayonnaise, tomato paste, curry powder and salt to the bowl with sweet potatoes and oats. Mash the mixture together with your hands.
  4. Shape the mixture into four 1/2-inch-thick patties. Place the patties on a plate, cover and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  5. Stir the yogurt, dill and lemon juice in a small bowl then set the mixture aside.
  6. Heat the extra-virgin olive oil in a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the patties and cook until golden brown (at least three minutes per side).
  7. Divide the yogurt sauce evenly among the top and bottom bun halves. Place a burger patty and cucumber slices on top of each bottom bun half, then replace the top bun halves.

Follow a balanced diet and eat nutritious sweet potatoes moderately to boost your eye health and overall well-being!


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