Sweet Potatoes 101: Nutrition Facts and Health Benefitsin 2024

Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato, scientifically known as Ipomoea batatas, is a tuber that grows underground. Sweet potatoes belong to a distinct plant family—the morning glory family. It contains a beneficial antioxidant called beta-carotene, which is highly effective in increasing vitamin A levels in the blood, especially in children.

Sweet potatoes are not only nutritious but also high in fiber, making them a filling and delicious food choice. They can be prepared in various ways, including boiling, baking, steaming, or frying.

Sweet potatoes are typically orange in color, but they can also be found in a variety of other colors, including white, red, pink, violet, yellow, and purple.

It is worth noting that in certain regions of North America, sweet potatoes are mistakenly referred to as yams. However, it is important to clarify that yams are a distinct species and are not related to sweet potatoes.

Despite their similar name, sweet potatoes are only distantly related to regular potatoes.

This comprehensive article provides all the essential information you need to know about sweet potatoes.

Nutrition Facts

As per the USDA, a cooked medium sweet potato weighing around 114 grams, or 4 ounces, including the skin, provides the following nutrients:

  • Calories: 103
  • Carbohydrates: 24 g
  • Total sugars: 7 g
  • Fiber: 4 g
  • Protein: 2 g
  • Fat: 0 g
  • Sodium: 41 mg
  • Potassium: 542 mg
  • Vitamin C: 22 mg
  • Vitamin A: 1,100 mcg RAE


Cooked sweet potatoes are abundant in fiber, with 3.8 grams per medium sweet potato.

The fibers are both soluble (15–23% in pectin) and insoluble (77–85% in cellulose, hemicellulose, and lignin).

Soluble fibers, such as pectin, may help you feel fuller, eat less, and have fewer blood sugar spikes by slowing the digestion of sugars and carbohydrates.

A high intake of insoluble fibers has been associated with health benefits such as a lower risk of diabetes and enhanced gut health.


Sweet potatoes have a medium-to-high glycemic index (GI), which ranges from 44 to 96. The GI is a measurement of how quickly blood sugar levels rise after a meal.

Sweet potatoes have a somewhat high GI, so eating a lot of them in a single meal may not be ideal for those with type 2 diabetes. Interestingly, boiling appears to be associated with lower GI values than baking, frying, or roasting. 


Starches are commonly classified into three types based on how easily they are digested. Sweet potatoes’ starch proportions are as follows:. 

  • Starch is rapidly digested (80%). This starch is readily digested and absorbed, raising the GI value.
  • Slowly digestible starch (9%). This kind degrades more slowly and generates a lower increase in blood sugar levels.
  • Resistant starch (11%). This one bypasses digestion and acts as fiber, nourishing your beneficial gut bacteria. Cooling the sweet potatoes after cooking may slightly boost their resistant starch content.


A medium-sized sweet potato contains only 2 grams of protein, making it a low-protein source.

Sweet potatoes include sporamins, which make up more than 80% of their total protein composition. 

When a plant is physically damaged, it produces sporadins to aid in healing. Recent research indicates that they may have antioxidant effects.

Despite their low protein content, sweet potatoes are a significant source of this macronutrient in many underdeveloped countries.

Vitamins and minerals

Sweet potatoes include high levels of beta-carotene, vitamin C, and potassium. This vegetable is rich in the following vitamins and minerals:

  • Provitamin A: Sweet potatoes include beta-carotene, which your body can convert into vitamin A. Only 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of this vegetable provide the necessary daily intake of this vitamin.
  • Vitamin C: This antioxidant may shorten the duration of a common cold and enhance skin health.
  • Potassium: This mineral is important for blood pressure control and may reduce your chance of developing heart disease.
  • Manganese: This trace mineral is essential for growth, development, and metabolism.
  • Vitamin B6: This vitamin is crucial for the conversion of food into energy.
  • Vitamin B-5: This vitamin, also known as pantothenic acid, may be found in almost all meals.

Additional botanical substances

Sweet potatoes, like other whole-plant foods, contain several plant chemicals that may have an impact on your health. These include.

  • Beta carotene: An antioxidant carotenoid that the body transforms into vitamin A. Adding fat to your food can help you absorb this component more effectively.
  • Chlorogenic acid: This molecule is the most common polyphenol antioxidant found in sweet potatoes.
  • Anthocyanins: Purple sweet potatoes are high in anthocyanins, which have powerful antioxidant effects.

The antioxidant capacity of sweet potatoes is significantly enhanced as the color intensity of their flesh deepens. Sweet potatoes with deep hues like purple, deep orange, and red exhibit the highest antioxidant levels.

Cooking sweet potatoes boosts the absorption of vitamin C and certain antioxidants, while other plant chemicals may decrease significantly.

Health benefits of sweet potatoes

There are several advantages linked to sweet potatoes.

Improved blood glucose regulation

Type 2 diabetes is defined by an imbalance in blood sugar levels and insulin production.

Caiapo, a sweet potato with white skin and flesh, may alleviate symptoms in patients with type 2 diabetes.

This sweet potato may decrease fasting blood glucose and LDL (bad) cholesterol levels while also increasing insulin sensitivity.

However, present data do not support the use of sweet potatoes in the treatment of type 2 diabetes. Further human study is required.

Reduced oxidative stress and cancer risk

Oxidative damage to cells is frequently associated with an increased risk of cancer, which arises when cells divide uncontrollably.

Antioxidant-rich diets, such as carotenoids, have been linked to a lower incidence of stomach, kidney, and breast cancer.

According to studies, the powerful antioxidants in sweet potatoes may lessen your risk of cancer. Purple potatoes exhibit the strongest antioxidant activity.

Help with weight loss?

While sweet potatoes have a slightly lower carbohydrate content, they still provide a comparable amount of satiating fiber. This means that including sweet potatoes in your diet can contribute to a prolonged feeling of fullness, potentially resulting in decreased consumption.

Improve your gut health

Fiber is one of the most helpful nutrients for gut health, with each medium sweet potato providing around 15% of the daily value. Many Americans may not get enough fiber, but eating more vegetables, like sweet potatoes, can help. 

Sweet potatoes also contain resistant starch, which undergoes fermentation in the colon. According to a 2022 study published in Microorganisms, this fermentation process provides short-chain fatty acids that help boost immunological and gastrointestinal health. They also help reduce inflammation.

The same study discovered that fiber promotes the growth of beneficial microbes in the gut microbiome, while additional research is needed to determine the intricacies of this association.

Furthermore, according to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases, eating enough fiber is one of the most effective strategies to avoid constipation.

How to Incorporate Sweet Potatoes Into Your Diet

1. Baked sweet potato

Simply wash and scrape the sweet potatoes, stab them with a fork, and bake until soft. Serve with your favorite toppings, like butter and cinnamon, for a delicious treat.

2. Sweet potato fries

Cut sweet potatoes into thin strips, cover with olive oil and seasonings, and then bake until crispy for a healthier alternative to typical fries.

3. Mashed sweet potatoes

For a delicious side dish, boil sweet potatoes until tender, then mash them with a fork or potato masher and season with salt, pepper, and a touch of maple syrup.

4. Sweet Potato Soup

Simmer sweet potatoes, onions, garlic, and vegetable broth until cooked, then puree until smooth for a filling and nutritious soup.

People Also Like To Read:Barley Tea vs. Green Tea: A Comprehensive Comparison

Potential drawbacks

The majority of individuals can consume sweet potatoes without any issues. However, it is important to note that sweet potatoes are rich in oxalates, which could potentially increase the chances of developing kidney stones.

The bottom line

Sweet potatoes are tuberous vegetables that provide high amounts of beta-carotene, along with various vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients. This starchy root may offer numerous advantages for health, including enhanced control of blood sugar and increased vitamin A intake. In general, sweet potatoes are a cost-effective, nutritious option that can be seamlessly integrated into your daily meals.

Leave a comment