Can you eat a raw sweet potato? (1 key Fact)

In this brief guide, we will answer the question, can you eat a raw sweet potato? We will discuss some reasons to avoid eating raw sweet potatoes and some popular ways to cook sweet potatoes. We will also weigh the benefits of eating cooked sweet potatoes instead of raw. 

Can you eat a raw sweet potato?

You can eat a raw sweet potato, but there‚Äôs a high probability that it would make you sick. The raw, hard vegetable has indigestible compounds that can cause diarrhea, nausea, or vomiting. Some yams can be toxic if you eat them raw; however, raw sweet potatoes are generally safe. However, we do not recommend that you eat sweet potato in its raw form because it can cause abdominal distress and GIT issues. 

Why can raw sweet potatoes make you sick?

Raw sweet potatoes have a protein inhibitor called Sporamin that restrains the body from easy digestion and, consequently, makes you sick. The ill-effects are obvious if you eat a large number of sweet potatoes or have a sensitive stomach. 

You can face flatulence accompanied by bloating, cramping and gas because of another enzyme called raffinose. 

What are the health benefits of eating sweet potatoes?

Sweet potatoes are packed with fiber and also have antioxidants. Sweet potatoes also come with vitamin c, vitamin A, potassium, pantothenic acid (vitamin B5), niacin (vitamin B3), vitamin B6, manganese, magnesium, and copper.

Sweet potatoes may be filled with calories and sugars, but they have a very low glycemic index. Despite their sweet taste, they will not make your blood glucose levels spike, hence, digest at a slow pace. A low glycemic index means sweet potatoes do not increase any risk of developing or worsening diabetes, cholesterol, or cardiovascular diseases; rather play a part in stabilizing blood sugar. 

Sweet potatoes are a very good source of vitamin A. Vitamin A plays a crucial role in maintaining the retina of the eyes and protecting from night blindness, vision impairment, and clears the cornea. 

Moreover, sweet potatoes will keep your digestive system, heart, reproductive organs, immune system; healthy.

Why should you opt for cooked sweet potatoes instead of raw?

The best way to cook sweet potatoes is to boil them for 15 minutes without peeling or slicing them. Some other ways to prepare sweet potatoes are steam, bake, stir-fry, grill, or cook and mash. While raw sweet potatoes can be hard to bite into, they are also deficient in nutritional value. The starch and proteins present in sweet potatoes can be hard for the body to digest in their prime state. 

To ordinary tastebuds, it will also not taste as good as cooked sweet potatoes. The sweet potatoes will be devoid of their distinctly sweet taste and creamy texture. Sweet potatoes are a popular holiday vegetable used to make pies and casseroles.

When you boil, it tenderizes and cleans the sweet potatoes. We suggest that you keep the skin and the entire vegetable intact to prevent loosing valuable nutrition. As vitamin C and B are soluble in water, exposing the flesh to boiling water will make them leach out. After they have been cooked, you can peel the skin off the sweet potatoes. For optimal nutritional value, leave the skin on while you eat because it has antioxidants and vitamins that the insides are not sufficient to provide you with.

There are popular and terrific recipes to try including sweet potato fries, casseroles, Sweet Potato Coconut Curry Soup, or a sweet potato pie. 

Sweet potatoes are large and starchy, which upon cooking have a pleasingly sweet taste and a creamy texture. Sweet potatoes grow underground, and as root tubers, they are full of starch or carbohydrates. The sugar in sweet potatoes is called maltose, which is mildly and uniquely sweet. Like potatoes, they are hard and starchy when raw, but on cooking become sweet and tender. The starches break down to carbohydrates as the maltase enzyme changes the starch to maltose.

The enzymes work between the temperature of 135 Fahrenheit to 170 Fahrenheits. The greater the heat sweet potatoes are exposed to, the sweeter they become. 

How to enjoy the sweet potato raw?

According to some, it is a good idea to use raw sweet potatoes in smoothies. All you need to do is grate the sweet potato and add it to the blender with turmeric, ginger, and coconut water. You can also add pecan and cinnamon for an extra punch. 

Some people also add the raw sweet potato to a salad with some green vegetables, beans, or carrots. 

In this brief guide, we answered the question, can you eat a raw sweet potato? We discussed some reasons to avoid eating raw sweet potatoes and some popular ways to cook sweet potatoes. We also weighed the benefits of eating cooked sweet potatoes instead of raw.

Check the best sweet potato slicer.


Hi, I am Charlotte, I love cooking and in my previous life, I was a chef. I bring some of my experience to the recipes on this hub and answer your food questions.