If you’ve read that sweet potatoes are a healthier option than white potatoes, the information isn’t true. While they both contain a variety of nutrients, the nutrient content is different in each. That’s why I tell clients in Oviedo, FL, they need to vary their diet to include as many different fruits and vegetables as possible. For instance, white potatoes contain more potassium than sweet potatoes. It racks up approximately 17% of the required daily amount compared to sweet potatoes 10%. White potatoes also contain glycoalkaloids that recent test-tube studies show have anti-cancer and other good benefits.
So what makes sweet potatoes so good for you?
First, sweet potatoes are packed with nutrients. Each sweet potato contains approximately 107% of the daily required amount of vitamin A. They also contain fewer calories than white potatoes but the same amount of protein, fat and carbs. If you want to add fiber to your diet, sweet potatoes have 3.3 grams, compared to the 2.1 grams in white potatoes. There’s 17% of the daily value—DV—of B6, 22% of the DV for vitamin C, 10% potassium, 3% calcium and 6% magnesium.
There are a variety of colors of sweet potatoes.
Many of the beneficial antioxidants come from phytochemicals in the plant. Color makes a difference, since the phytochemicals are what give the plants their color. It’s like an easy to follow health chart when consuming fruits and vegetables. The more different colors you have, the more well-rounded your diet will be. Orange sweet potatoes are loaded with beta-carotene that the body turns to vitamin A. Purple sweet potatoes have anthocyanins, like blueberries, which are considered super foods and fight a wide range of diseases. White sweet potatoes have many of the benefits as their orange and purple kin, making it another option that’s healthier than regular white potatoes.
There’s a lot of fiber in sweet potatoes, which affects its glycemic index.
Several studies show that even though sweet potatoes are low to high on the glycemic index, they can help prevent insulin resistance and both low and high blood sugar levels. If you boil sweet potatoes, the glycemic index is lower, but baked, it’s higher. Certain types of sweet potatoes are more effective in controlling blood sugar, too. The Beauregard is the most effective at regulating the blood sugar, with the Caiapo—a white sweet potato–also improving the glucose and cholesterol levels for those with type 2 diabetes. It’s even considered a dietary management tool of the disease. Scientists believe it’s the high fiber content and the type of fiber, which is 77% insoluble and the magnesium content.
- Since sweet potatoes contain a higher amount of magnesium, which is essential to many functions of the body, it also helps reduce stress and depression. Studies show magnesium deficiency increases the potential for depression and stress.
- Sweet potatoes contain both choline and anthocyanins, which provide anti-inflammatory properties. Inflammation can cause a variety of chronic diseases.
- Eating sweet potatoes can help people with ulcers. Studies show that sweet potato extracts contain chemicals that help heal ulcers and stomach wounds. It’s particularly effective for ulcers from ethanol and aspirin.
- The high magnesium and potassium in sweet potatoes makes it a viable option for those fighting high blood pressure. Sweet potatoes regulate blood pressure and lower the risk of heart disease.
For more information, contact us today at Biofit Performance