7 Health Benefits Of Sweet Potatoes

Last updated June 18, 2016

The sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas) is a large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous root that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. The Ipomoea batatas are native to the tropical regions of America. Sweet potatoes are only distantly related to the potato (Solanum tuberosum) and do not belong to the nightshade family.

Here are the 7 health benefits of sweet potatoes:

1.     Sweet potatoes can help prevent cancer.

The antioxidant beta-carotene found in sweet potatoes has been associated with reduced risk of several types of cancer. Researchers have suggested that increasing beta-carotene consumption from 1.7 to 2.7 milligrams per day reduced lung cancer risk by more than 40 percent. B-vitamin complex, vitamin C,  beta-carotene, potassium, and calcium are very efficient in curing stomach ulcers.

2.     Sweet potatoes can help keep one's eyes healthy.

Sweet potatoes are rich in vitamin A with one cup handling 769 percent of the daily recommendation. Vitamin A is known for improving one’s eyesight and preventing night blindness from developing as we age.

3.     Sweet potatoes can help improve the immune system.

Beta-carotene along with vitamin C, B-vitamin complex, iron, and phosphorus, are great immune system boosters that can defend the body from a wide variety of infections. One cup of sweet potatoes contains 65 percent of the daily recommendation of vitamin C.

4.     Sweet potatoes can help improve brain function.

Sweet potatoes are rich in starch, which is the perfect energy source for the brain. Also, the B-vitamin complex, amino acid, and fatty acids found in potatoes that are vital for the cognitive ability and performance of the brain.

5.     Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of choline.

Choline is usually grouped in the B-complex vitamins. This water-soluble nutrient is found in two classes of cell membranes found in nerve cells,  phosphatidylcholine, and sphingomyelin. Choline is also a precursor molecule for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, which is involved in many functions including memory and muscle control. Sweet potatoes contain 16.2 milligrams of choline per one cup serving.

6.     Sweet potatoes are easy to digest.

Because sweet potatoes are high in carbohydrates, they are easy to digest and facilitate digestion. Sweet potatoes also contain a significant amount of fiber. Fiber stimulates peristaltic motion and increased secretion of gastric juices, which eases digestion, prevents conditions like constipation, and protects the body from more serious conditions like colorectal cancer. Fiber can also scrape cholesterol out of the arteries and blood vessels. One cup of sweet potatoes contains 6.6 grams of dietary fiber.

7.     Sweet potatoes are great for blood pressure maintenance.

Sweet potatoes are high in potassium and low in sodium, which lowers blood pressure. Also, the fiber content in sweet potatoes is helpful in lowering cholesterol and improves the performance of insulin in the body, which aids in the lowering of blood pressure. One cup of sweet potatoes contains 950 milligrams of potassium compared to 72 milligrams of sodium.

Additional Resources:

  1. Sweet potato, cooked, baked in skin, without salt [Sweetpotato] Nutrition Facts & Calories. (n.d.). Retrieved July 11, 2017, from http://nutritiondata.self.com/facts/vegetables-and-vegetable-products/2667/2
  2. Björck, I., Granfeldt, Y., Liljeberg, H., Tovar, J., & Asp, N. G. (1994). Food properties affecting the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates. The American journal of clinical nutrition59(3), 699S-705S.
  3. Drewnowski, A., Kurth, C., Holden-Wiltse, J., & Saari, J. (1992). Food preferences in human obesity: carbohydrates versus fats. Appetite18(3), 207-221.
  4. Cogswell, M. E., Zhang, Z., Carriquiry, A. L., Gunn, J. P., Kuklina, E. V., Saydah, S. H., ... & Moshfegh, A. J. (2012). Sodium and potassium intakes among US adults: NHANES 2003–2008. The American journal of clinical nutrition96(3), 647-657.
  5. Russell, R. M. (2002). Beta-carotene and lung cancer. Pure and applied chemistry74(8), 1461-1467.
  6. Ströhle, A., & Hahn, A. (2009). Vitamin C and immune function. Medizinische Monatsschrift fur Pharmazeuten32(2), 49-54.
  7. Griffith, C. L. (2017). Potential to Improve Fiber Digestion in the Rumen(Doctoral dissertation, University of Alberta).
  8. Nikiforuk, A., Kos, T., Potasiewicz, A., & Popik, P. (2015). Positive allosteric modulation of alpha 7 nicotinic acetylcholine receptors enhances recognition memory and cognitive flexibility in rats. European Neuropsychopharmacology25(8), 1300-1313.

Reviewed and Approved by a member of the DoveMed Editorial Board
First uploaded: Aug. 5, 2014
Last updated: June 18, 2016

How helpful was this article?

Comments