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Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Updated on March 18, 2013

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potato is a large, starchy, sweet-tasting tuberous root. The scientific name of it is Ipomoea batatas. It belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. The skin of sweet potatoes can ranges between yellow, red, purple, beige, orange, and brown. If you normally eat sweet potatoes, the first thing that will probably come to your mind when you see it, is its sweetness. But apart from its sweetness, sweet potato also gives you some health benefits. Some of the health benefits are discussed in this article.

  • Sweet potato is very rich in beta carotene and vitamin A.

When compared to other food substances like maize, rice, wheat, potato, cassava, soybean, sorghum, yam and plantain; sweet potato has the highest amount of beta carotene and vitamin A and thus making it a good supply of both beta carotene and vitamin A. Beta carotene is a precursor (inactive form) to vitamin A in nature. Vitamin A is a powerful antioxidant in the body that helps in scavenging the free radicals that cause some forms of degenerative diseases in the body. Also vitamin A plays a very important role in normal vision. Other functions of vitamin A include ensuring the maintenance of the immune system, gene transcription and bone metabolism. This makes it important to consider taking more of sweet potatoes if you want more of vitamin A.

  • Sweet potato has high supply of water.

Sweet potato contains high amount of water; 100g of sweet potato contains 77g of water. Eating sweet potatoes therefore means that you will have more supply of water to your body. Water is very important in the body because most of reactions taking place in the body need aqueous medium to take place. This aqueous medium is provided by water.

  • Sweet potato is a good supply of minerals.

Minerals like manganese, zinc, copper, potassium, sodium, phosphorous, magnesium and iron are found in reasonable quantities in sweet potato. This makes it a good source of these minerals. Minerals have many important functions in the body, and the type of health benefit you get from them depends on the mineral in question. For example, iron is very important in the synthesis of red blood cells. Also copper serves as important co-factor for many vital enzymes in the body, an example of these vital enzyme is superoxide dismutase.

Nutritive Values : Per 100 g.

 Vitamin A : 14187 IU.

 Vitamin B6 : Thiamine 0.08 mg.;

 Riboflavin : 0.06 mg.

 Niacin : 0.06 mg.

 Vitamin C : 24 mg.

 Calcium : 30 mg.

 Iron : 0.61 mg.

 Phosphorus : 47 mg.

 Potassium : 337 mg.

 Fat : 0.05 g.

 Carbohydrates : 20 g.

 Protein : 1.6 g.

 Energy: 360kJ

With all these health benefits you stand to gain when consuming sweet potato, why don’t you consider eating sweet potato today, if you have never done that before. The sweetness of sweet potato also makes it worthwhile.


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