Is sweet potato bad for you?

In this brief guide, we will answer the query, “Is sweet potato bad for you?” and will discuss some health benefits of sweet potatoes.

Is sweet potato bad for you?

No, sweet potato is not bad for you. Sweet potatoes, with their higher levels of fiber and vitamins, are often recommended as a healthier alternative to regular potatoes. As a food, sweet potatoes are probably better for you. These foods have a lower glycemic index (GI), higher fiber, and a high beta carotene content.

Health Benefits of sweet potatoes

Sweet potato is a rich source of β-carotene (pro-vitamin A) and a good source of minerals (magnesium, iron, copper, manganese, calcium, potassium), vitamins (B1, B6, C, E), and dietary fibers (1). You may get several advantages from eating sweet potatoes. They may improve a person’s health in the following ways:

Improve diabetics’ ability to use insulin

Sweet potatoes have shown promise as low-cost anti-diabetic agents and thus can be effectively utilized as a potential agent for managing Type-2 Diabetes. They accomplish this via the action of phytochemicals such as flavonoids, phenolic acids, anthocyanins, saponins, alkaloids, glycosides and terpenes, which exert antidiabetic activity through different modes of action, such as insulin mimicking activity, acting on beta cells to produce insulin, modulating the biochemical parameters, enzyme inhibiting activities and/or alter glucose utilization (1). Insulin sensitivity may be improved with the use of sweet potatoes (2). 

Human trials will be needed to prove these advantages in the long run. Sweet potatoes also contain a lot of fiber, which is beneficial. The risk of acquiring type 2 diabetes seems to be reduced in persons who eat more fiber.

If you eat half a cup of mashed sweet potato, you’ll get roughly 2.5 grams of fiber (2). Consuming between 22.4 g and 33.6 g of fiber per day, depending on age and gender, is recommended by the 2015–2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

Prevent high blood pressure

Meals that are high in sodium should be avoided, and potassium-rich foods should be consumed instead, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).

Potassium content in a 10024-gram serving of mashed sweet potatoes is 259 337 milligrams or about 75% of the daily value for an adult. Adults should ingest 4,700 milligrams of potassium daily, according to current recommendations (2).

According to research, in high-cholesterol diet-fed male wistar rats, tablets prepared from purple sweet potato exhibited cardioprotective effects by reducing the total cholesterol, triglyceride, and LDL-cholesterol levels while increasing HDL-cholesterol concentration in blood. In this experiment, the authors reported that the purple sweet potato extract at a concentration of 200 mg/day was most effective in exerting the above mentioned effects (1).

lower  cancer risk

Beta-carotene is abundant in sweet potatoes. Anthocyanin is a plant pigment that is a potent antioxidant. Additionally, one of the provitamins in carrots is beta-carotene. Vitamin A is converted into its active form by the body.

Many forms of cancer, including prostate and lung cancer, may be reduced by antioxidants. This may be done by taking antioxidants like beta-carotene, which can protect cells from harm caused by free radicals and reduce or inhibit mutagenesis in cells, acting as anticarcinogens (2). Cellular damage may occur if quantities of free radicals in the body are too high, raising the risk of certain illnesses.

Dietary sources of antioxidants, such as fruits and vegetables, may help prevent cancer and other diseases.

Studies showed that anthocyanin rich extract, from purple sweet potato, supplemented diet manifested anti-cancer activity in vivo. In a mouse model, supplementing diets containing purple sweet potato flesh, purple sweet potato skin or anthocyanin rich extract from purple sweet potato for 18 weeks resulted in decreased adenoma polyp number in the small intestine and showed protection against colorectal cancer (1).

 Enhance regularity and digestion

Sweet potatoes are a good source of fiber, which may help avoid constipation and maintain a healthy digestive system. In addition, a lower risk of colorectal cancer has been associated with high consumption of dietary fiber in several studies.

Preserve the health of one’s eyes

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene, which is a precursor to vitamin A. Women should consume 700 mg of vitamin A a day, while males should get 900 mg a day, according to the Dietary Guidelines. A lack of vitamin A might have a negative impact on eye health.

Approximately 1,403 mcg of vitamin A, or 561 percent of the daily recommended intake, may be found in a baked sweet potato, according to the Office of Dietary Supplements (ODS).

Orange-fleshed sweet potatoes as a rich source of beta-carotene, significantly contribute to improving the body’s vitamin A status and according to studies, eating as little as 125 g of orange-fleshed sweet potato per day can alleviate and/or prevent vitamin A deficiency in children, as well as safeguard them from night blindness (1).

Additionally, Vitamin A is a potent antioxidant. In combination with other antioxidants, it may protect the body against a wide range of health issues.

Immunity boosting

Serving size: 124 grams.

12.8 mg of vitamin C per cup of sweet potato from a Reliable Source. Adult women should take 75 milligrams of vitamin C daily, while adult males should take 90 milligrams. Scurvy may occur if a person eats too little or no vitamin C at all. Scurvy symptoms are often caused by tissue damage as a consequence of decreased collagen formation.

Vitamin C is an immune-booster and helps prevent infections and diseases. Sweet potatoes contain, according to studies, an amount of vitamin C ranging  from 4.85 to 5.73 mg per 100g of fresh weight, depending on the variety. This can be reduced by cooking procedures (3). The immune system and iron absorption are both improved by vitamin C. Iron deficiency anemia may be exacerbated by a lack of vitamin C in the diet.

In studies, the polysaccharides from sweet potatoes were efficient found to positively regulate the adaptive immunity in both normal and immunosuppressed mice by augmenting the production of immunoglobulins (IgA, IgG, IgM), and decreasing the levels of pro-inflammatory cytokines in blood (1).

 Inflammation may be reduced

Purple-, orange- and white-fleshed sweet potato roots have been evaluated for their anti-inflammatory properties by assessing the 5-Lipoxygenase (5-LOX) inhibition activity. 5-LOX facilitates the production of Leukotriene, a potent chemical mediator of inflammation derived by oxidation of arachidonic acid, which plays an important role in a number of inflammatory mediated diseases (1).

People with asthma who took large doses of choline supplements were shown to be less prone to inflammation, according to 2010 research. This does not necessarily indicate that sweet potatoes will have the same effect as choline from sweet potatoes, though (4).

Other FAQs about Potatoes that you may be interested in.

How to Keep Potatoes from Sticking

How many potatoes do you need to make mashed potatoes for 20?

Can you eat old potatoes?

How many potatoes do you need per person to make mashed potatoes for 10?

Conclusion

In this brief guide, we answered the query, “Is sweet potato bad for you?” and discussed some health benefits of sweet potatoes.

References

  1. Alam, Mohammad Khairul. A comprehensive review of sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam): Revisiting the associated health benefits. Trend Food Sci Technol, 2021, 115, 512-529.
  2. Mohanraj, Remya, and Subha Sivasankar. Sweet Potato (Ipomoea batatas [L.] Lam)-A valuable medicinal food: A review. J medicin food, 2014, 17, 733-741.
  3. Alam, Mohammad Khairul, et al. Minerals, vitamin C, and effect of thermal processing on carotenoids composition in nine varieties orange-fleshed sweet potato (Ipomoea batatas L.). J Food Compos Anal, 2020, 92, 103582.
  4. Mehta, Amit K., et al. Choline attenuates immune inflammation and suppresses oxidative stress in patients with asthma. Immunobiol, 2010, 215, 527-534.

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.