sweet potato benefits
Food & Nutrition

Impressive Sweet Potato Benefits You Would Want To Know

When the temperature drops and winter hits the Northern part of India, everyone looks forward to healthy and mouth-watering winter delicacies. People in India patiently wait for this time to arrive to cherish ‘gajar ka halwa’, ‘gond ka ladoo’, ‘sarson ka saag’, ‘shakarkandi (sweet potato) rabri, and so much more in cold weather. 

And in this blog, I will talk in length about the most healthy sweet potato benefits and everything else. Sweet potato or ‘shakarkandi’ is a popular winter food for India rich in various vitamins, fibre, minerals and essential nutrients. They are available in a variety of colours, sizes and shapes.

The most popular potatoes are sweet potatoes with brown skin and orange flesh and come in yellow, red and purple. On the other side, the regular potatoes come in various brown, red, and yellow colours and have mostly white and yellow flesh. 

roasted sweet potatoes

In many parts of India, you will see street vendors selling cut pieces of sweet potatoes garnished with chaat masala, lemon and green chutney to make it one tangy, delicious, and healthy snack of winter. When I was in school, I would insist my father buy me ‘shakarkandi’ from the street sellers. 

I have eaten enough regular white potatoes because I never cared to understand their nutritional value back then. However, if I had known the benefits of eating sweet potatoes, I’d have less guilt today. Sweet and regular potatoes are healthy if eaten with a combination of food, but sweet potatoes are more nutritious than white potatoes.

So what I’m trying to say here is that potato is one of India’s popular consumed vegetables, and sweet potato ( shakarkandi in Hindi) has been a guest of mainly winter months. And recently, the demand for it has increased because of its high nutritional value. It has led to the easy procurement of sweet potatoes irrespective of the season. 

 

Origin And History

Sweet potatoes (Ipomoea batatas) are root vegetables native to Central and South America. It comes under root vegetables due to its large, starchy and tuberous roots. And just like how the name suggests, sweet potatoes are naturally sweet. 

Sweet potatoes are from dicotyledonous plants of the morning glory family, Convolvulaceae. It’s eaten as green because of its leaves and young shoots. It’s mostly eaten boiled or roasted. 

shakarkandi

The sweet potato plant is of tropical and subtropical groups. It grows well in most tropical and warm temperate regions, with sufficient water available for its healthy growth. It’s a common food crop in South India, Uganda, African countries, and the Pacific Ocean islands. 

Due to its versatile nature, it is possible to cultivate the crop in different climatic conditions. But do you know China is the world’s largest producer and consumer of sweet potatoes? It has its origin in America, but is now primarily produced in African countries after China. 

 

Sweet Potato Health Benefits 

Due to increased awareness of mindful eating and healthy alternatives, sweet potatoes have earned the name of ‘superfood’ because of their power pack benefits. 

sweet potato for weight loss

 

Helps In Weight Management 

The high fibre content in sweet potatoes helps maintain satiety and manages the overall weight of an individual. It has become the go-to favourite food item for fitness enthusiasts because it keeps the stomach full for long and has essential nutrients for the body. So sweet potato for weight loss is a great idea. 

 

Powerpack Of Nutrients

Approximately 200gms (one cup) of sweet potato with skin contains-

Fiber- 6.6 grams

Fat- 0.3 grams

Protein- 4 grams

Carbs- 41.4 grams

Calories- 180 grams

Vitamin C- 65% of the daily value

Vitamin A- 769% of the daily value

Vitamin B6- 29% of the daily value

Manganese- 50% of the daily value 

Potassium- 27% of the daily value

Copper- 16% of the DV

Pantothenic acid- 18% of the DV

Niacin- 15% of the DV

 

It Can Protect You From Various Types Of Cancers.

Shakarkandi contains various antioxidants linked to slow the growth of specific cancer cells, including bladder, colon, stomach, and breast. 

 

It Manages Diabetes 

Though it’s a starchy vegetable, the high fibre content in sweet potatoes makes them slow-burning starch. As a result, it will control insulin and blood sugar levels from rising. 

 

It Boosts Immunity 

Sweet potatoes are an excellent source of beta-carotene that gets converted to vitamin A in your body. Vitamin A is essential for fighting various infections and for a healthy immune system.

 

It Leads To An Improved Vision

Sweet potatoes are rich in an antioxidant called beta-carotene, which gets converted to Vitamin A in your body and is used to form light-detecting receptors inside your eyes. Vitamin A is perfect for keeping your eyes healthy. 

That’s not it. Consuming sweet potatoes every day will enhance your memory; the high fibre content will improve your digestion and gut health. In addition, vitamin A, C and E in sweet potatoes will keep your hair and skin healthy and glowing. 

Furthermore, it’s a great source of magnesium, reducing the risk of depression, anxiety, and stress. 

 

Warnings 

Sweet potatoes have potassium in them. Remember, consuming excessive potassium can create health-related problems. Especially people who have kidney or gallbladder problems should consult their doctor regarding the right amount of potassium they can consume. 

It’s high in carbohydrates. And when it’s cooked, using various techniques like baking, roasting, frying etc., can raise their glycemic index and ultimately lead to a spike in blood sugar levels. 

It’s essential to consult your physician and understand the correct quantity to consume for people with type 2 diabetes. 

 

How To Eat Sweet Potato In Different Styles

You know now that there are enough reasons for you to add this healthy sweet vegetable to your meals. They are readily available, inexpensive and super dynamic. 

 “Sweet potatoes are nutrition dense food. If you think because of its sweet taste, it should be shunned by people who avoid sugar; one must know that they actually help in lowering blood sugar because of their low glycemic index. In addition, it helps control blood pressure and prevents constipation because of the high fibre content” says Sandhya Gugnani, a celebrity nutritionist.

 

sweet potato dishes

 

Whether you decide to boil, bake, fry or roast it, I’m sure you will enjoy the mild, starchy and sweet flavours. You can pair it with protein-rich salads, sweet and savoury dishes. 

Let’s look at some easy and famous sweet potato dishes- 

Sweet Potato Hash
Mashed Sweet Potato
Sweet Potato Fries
Sweet Potato Chips 
Shakarkandi Chaat 
Baked Sweet Potato 
Sweet Potato Black Bean Burger 
Sweet Potato Skins
Roasted Sweet Potatoes
Sweet Potato Curry 
Sweet Potato Balls

If you plan to eat it more healthily, avoid frying and try eating boiled or baked. Replace excessive salt with herb seasoning or black pepper. The sweet potato skins are rich in fibre, antioxidants and other nutrients, so eat them along with the skin. 

And if you’re concerned about their effect on blood sugar, pair it with foods with fewer carbs, high in protein and non-starchy vegetables. 

 

My Final Thoughts On Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are overall a ‘must’ food item to add to your everyday diet. It’s healthy and is rich in fibre, vitamins and minerals. In addition, it has plenty of antioxidants that protect your body at different levels. 

sweet potato benefits

You can make it in various styles using different techniques of frying, baking, roasting and boiling. Its skin is safe to eat and is high in fibre, so eat it with the peel.  

It’s doesn’t have to be just your winter food, as it’s now readily available everywhere and is grown worldwide due to its exceptional health benefits. 

 

What are some of your favourite ways to add sweet potatoes to your diet? I’d love to know them in the comments section below.

 

 

 

Picture Credits – Unsplash, Pexels

Information Credits – Medical News Today, Healthline

 

 

Disclaimer- All content, including advice, suggestions, and health benefits provided on this blog, is only informational. It is not a substitute for a qualified medical opinion. We recommend that you or any other person who has a medical concern consult a professional or doctor for more information.