Nutritional Benefits of the Sweet Potato

posted by Jenna Walsh on Wednesday, October 7, 2020

Although sold year round, sweet potatoes are a fall staple! Often mislabeled “yams” at the grocery store, there is a difference. Yams are starchier and drier than sweet potatoes with a thick and fibrous skin. Chances are if you live the United States, true yams are rare to find.

This starchy tuber can be prepared in a dish, or enjoyed simply by itself. My favorite way is to clean, peel, and dice the sweet potato, toss in olive oil (which actually helps absorption of beta-carotene), add salt and pepper, and roast in the oven at 425oF for 25-30 minutes. Make sure to toss the sweet potatoes every 10 minutes to achieve the caramelized look and taste.

In addition to being versatile, sweet potatoes are a nutritional powerhouse; loaded with iron, calcium, selenium, vitamin C, and majority of B vitamins. The key nutritional benefit to sweet potatoes is they are high in an antioxidant known as beta-carotene. Beta-carotene converts to vitamin A in the body, which helps to form and maintain healthy teeth and skin. It can also help with your eyesight! Sweet potatoes are low in calories, and high in fiber, which may help with heart health, weight management, and digestion.

Did you know? These complex carbohydrates have more potassium per serving than a banana. Think of this the next time you experience a muscle cramp!

sweetpotato

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About The Author

Jenna Walsh

Jenna Walsh is one of Spencer Hospital’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists. She graduated from Iowa State University and completed her dietetic internship at various locations throughout northwest Iowa, including Spencer Hospital. She currently works as an outpatient dietitian providing in ... read more