Sweet potatoes are the oldest known root vegetable, having orange flesh are the highest sources of the beta-carotene naturally. It is a most energetic diet offered by the nature in sufficient amount. It is famous for its superior capability of to enhance the blood levels of vitamin A (approximately 100 to 1,600 micrograms per 3.5 ounces). Sweet potatoes are found in the month of November or December.
It belongs to the Convolvulaceae family (Ipomoea batatas) and grown in any humid and warm temperate regions of the world. It requires sufficient water to fully grow and develop. It is found in number of color ranges like red, white, purple, brown, and etc according to the variety.
Sweet potato has sporamins, a storage protein which has lot of antioxidant properties. Steaming the sweet potato increases its nutritional value to a great extent. Sweet potato is very famous for having antioxidant nutrients like orange-colored carotenoid pigments (beta-carotene) provides required amount of vitamin A to the body. Purple-fleshed sweet potato contains another antioxidant called anthocyanin pigments in abundant amount.
Benefits of Sweet Potato/Kanda
Rich Source of Dietary Fibers
- Sweet potato or Kanda is full of dietary fibers and nutritional calories thus keep the stomach full for hours.
Prevents Chronic Diseases
- Its beta-carotene content makes able to fight against the variety of chronic diseases such as the cancer, heart disease, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma and etc.
Boosts Body Immunity
- Sweet potatoes are the rich source vitamin C which increases the body immunity against various diseases like cold and flu. It accelerates the wound healing process and makes skin youthful by producing the collagen.
Rich Source of Vitamin B6
- High value of the vitamin B6 in the sweet potatoes reduces the level of homocysteine (may lead to some degenerative diseases) chemical in the body.
Rich Source of Vitamin D
- Sweet potatoes also have vitamin D which develops the immune system and overall health of the person. Vitamin D makes the bones, nerves, heart, teeth, skin, thyroid gland and etc healthy and well functioning.
- Its high vitamin A content provides relief from the bad effects of smoking as smoking induces the vitamin A deficiency.
Improves Protein Metabolism
- Iron content of the sweet potato helps in making the red blood cells in the blood, provide ability to cope with stress, improve the functioning of immune system and helps in the protein metabolism.
Reduces Stress Level
- Its high magnesium content relaxes the body by reducing the stress level. Magnesium is an important mineral required by the body for keeping the bone, blood, heart, artery, muscle, nerve system healthy and well functioning.
- The higher fiber content of the sweet potatoes provides it a slow burning quality means its caloric energy is used by the body very slowly.
Maintains Fluid Balance
- Sweet potatoes contain high potassium level which has ability to lower the blood pressure by eliminating the excess sodium level and maintaining the fluid balance in the body.
Rich Source of Potassium
- Potassium is very important electrolyte required by the body to normalize the natural heart rhythm, normal functioning of the brain and central nervous system.
Prevents from Cancer
- Sweet potato is rich in beta-carotene (vitamin A) which has an antioxidant property and prevents the body from different types of cancer.
Maintains Eye Health
- Beta-carotene is also an outstanding nutrient required to maintain the eye health. It prevents the eyes from the vision loss as well as the macular degeneration.
Maintains Blood Sugar Level
- Sweet potato is a great source of manganese which plays a big role in the carbohydrate metabolism and maintenance of the healthy blood sugar levels.
Rich Source of Antioxidants
- Sweet potato is the richest source of vitamins C and E. Both of which has an antioxidant property and enhance the immune system for disease prevention and longevity.
Rich Source of Phytonutrients
- Quercetin is one of the powerful phytonutrients found in the sweet potato prevents from various allergies, asthma and hay fever.
Contains High Level Flavonoids
- It is a natural root vegetable contains the higher level flavonoids which protect the body from the cancer of lung and oral cavity.
Reduces Risk of Heart Diseases
- Sweet potatoes reduce the risk of heart diseases by reducing the level of bad cholesterol in the body.
Prevents Inflammatory Problems
- Its antioxidant property prevents from all the inflammatory problems such as the asthma, gout, arthritis and etc.
Relieves Muscle Cramps
- It provides relief from the muscle cramps and injuries as it is an energy booster and contains high potassium level.
Keeps Digestive Tract Healthy
- Sweet potato has significant quantity of the dietary fibers which makes the digestive tract healthy, provides relief from the constipation and prevents from the colon cancer.
Relieves Cracked Heels
- Soak your cracked feets into the sweet potato water to get relief from the painful and cracked heels.
Removes Dark Circles
- Place its slices on your eyes to get reduced pigmentation, dark circles, puffiness, wrinkles and inflammation.
- Sweet potato is rich in the folic acid thus aids in treating the anaemia and provides relief from the severe premenstrual symptoms.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Skin
Prevents Skin from Sun Damage
- Beta-carotene content of the sweet potato prevents the skin from sun damage by deflecting sun rays and repairing the damaged cell due to extreme UV rays exposure.
Keeps Skin and Hair Healthy
- Vitamin C and E contents of the sweet potato provide healthy, beautiful, glowing and fair complexion skin. It makes the hair shiny, vibrant and soft.
Improves Collagen Production
- Sweet potato is a starchy and fat-free vegetable containing copper which assists in the collagen production for keeping the muscles healthy and skin tight.
Keeps Skin Oil Free and Fair
- Mash the boiled sweet potatoes and mix with honey and lemon juice and apply on the face to get oil free and fair skin.
Cleanses Skin and Tone up
- Apply the water (in which sweet potato is boiled) on face to get natural skin texture and fair complexion. It cleanses the skin and tone up.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Diabetics
Manages Blood Sugar
- Sweet potato contains the amylose and amylopectin ratio higher than the simple potato which slowly elevates the blood sugar levels thus it is also a healthy food for the diabetics.
Contains Low Glycemic Index
- As sweet potatoes have low glycemic index (slowly absorb glucose) thus safe for the diabetic person.
Contains High Level Dietary Fibers
- The high level of the dietary fibers in the sweet potato helps in regulating the blood sugar level in the diabetics.
Benefits of Sweet Potato in Pregnancy
Promotes Fetal Development
- Sweet potato provides a lot of benefits if eaten during pregnancy. It enhances the fetal development to a great extent because of its high folate content which is very necessary vitamin required for the healthy growth of fetal cell and tissue development.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Hair
Promotes Hair Growth
- Sweet potato provides healthy hair whether it is eaten or applied directly. Mix well one big sweet potato in 1 cup of yogurt, 1 tsf honey and 1 tsf olive oil or almond oil. Leave it for 15-20 mins and wash.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Weight Loss
- As sweet potato is a high fiber food, it makes the stomach fuller for long hours and suppresses the appetite which prevents overeating thus it assists in the weight loss.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Babies
Rich Source of Nutrients
- It is naturally a healthy food for the baby (packed with lot of nutrients) because of its high vitamin A, vitamin C, potassium, vitamin E, calcium, folate, iron, copper, fibers and beta carotene contents.
Keeps Digestive System Healthy
- It keeps the digestive tract and bowel movements healthy. It can be given to the baby by simply boiling or steaming. Try giving it to your baby only when he had started eating some solid foods.
- Sweet potato puree is also liked very much by the children. Make the small puree by mixing the boiled and mashed sweet potato into the floor and fry them.
Benefits of Sweet Potato Juice
Improves Eye Health
- Sweet potato juice also provides variety of benefits like other fruit juices. Its juice enhances the eye health and prevents from lots of diseases.
Prevents from Infection
- Its vitamin A content prevents eyes from the bacterial infections, vision loss, dryness, age-related macular degeneration and night blindness.
- Vitamin E content of the sweet potato juice helps in controlling the asthma.
- Sweet potato juice contains quercetin, a type of phytochemicals which prevents from skin cancer, thyroid cancer and Alzheimer’s disease.
Benefits of Sweet Potato Soup
- Sweet potato soup is also beneficial for the body health as it is packed with all the nutrients. Ginger and sugar can also be added to add some flavor and taste to the soup.
Benefits of Sweet Potato for Bodybuilding
Helps in Bodybuilding
- Sweet potato is very energetic diet helps bodybuilders for bodybuilding. As it has plenty of the carbohydrate for producing energy and more work outs, so it is an ideal bodybuilding diet.
Helps in Muscle Building
- As it is also a high-fiber diet and reduces hunger so aids a lot in muscle building. Its high carb level maintains both pre and post workout energy.
Relieves Muscle Soreness
- Its vitamin and mineral content provides relief from the muscle soreness and potassium content prevents from muscle cramps as well as improves the muscle functions. Vitamin B6 of the sweet potato assists in the protein metabolism thus enhances muscles to develop faster.
Boosts Energy Level
- As sweet potato has low glycemic index thus beneficial for the bodybuilders as they opt for the foods with low glycemic index to get more energy all over the day.
Nutritional Benefits of Sweet Potato/Kanda per 100 g
(Source: USDA Nutrient Database)
Energy: 86 Kcal
Carbohydrates: 20.12 g
Protein: 1.6 g
Fat: 0.05 g
Dietary Fibers: 3 g
Thiamin: 0.078 mg
Riboflavin: 0.061 mg
Niacin: 0.557 mg
Pantothenic acid: 0.80 mg
Pyridoxine: 0.209 mg
Folates: 11 µg
Vitamin A: 14187 IU
Vitamin C: 2.4 mg
Vitamin E: 0.26 mg
Vitamin K: 1.8 µg
Sodium: 55 mg
Potassium: 337 mg
Calcium: 30 mg
Phosphorus: 47 mg
Magnesium: 25 mg
Manganese: 0.258 mg
Iron: 0.61 mg
Zinc: 0.30 mg
Carotene-α: 7 µg
Carotene-ß: 8509 µg
How to Select and Store Sweet Potato
Buy darker sweet potatoes (as it contains high carotene level) from the market which are firm without any cracks, marks or spots. Avoid buying the refrigerated sweet potatoes as they may alter their taste. It can be stored simply in the cool, shady and airy places at least for ten days. It can also be placed in the freeze at 60°F. Try buying organic sweet potatoes as these are free from all the risky effects of the fertilizers, inorganic sprays, pesticides and etc.
How to Enjoy Sweet Potato
Boiled or steamed sweet potatoes can be eaten adding some amount of the bananas, cinnamon and maple syrup chopped with walnuts. Walnut fat content helps in the absorption of beta-carotene from sweet potatoes. Steamed sweet potatoes can also be eaten with tofu and broccoli chopped with raisins.
Disadvantages of Sweet Potato
- Eating too many sweet potatoes may harm to the health of one who is on low calories diet as it is high calories diet. It does not fulfill the need of Vitamin B-12.
- As it is a high-carb diet which may distend the arteries and reduce its elasticity which may lead to the heart disease.
- Sweet potato has good level of sodium which may increase blood pressure.
- Sweet potato has oxalic acid too which causes the formation of oxalate stones in the urinary tract.
- So, the person suffering from the kidney or gallbladder ailments should avoid the intake of sweet potatoes.
How Much Sweet Potato to Eat a Day
As sweet potato is a high calorie diet and has some disadvantages and lot of advantages, it is eaten by keeping it’s all the pros and cons in the mind. It is eaten according to the body energy needs and requirements and workouts.
Find the Benefits of other Similar Vegetables