1. Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes
1. Sweet potatoes are packed with Vitamin A.
Vitamin A boosts skin health.
This vitamin helps keep your skin free from disorders like vitiligo and psoriasis. Vitiligo causes your skin to develop discolored patches, which can affect your self-esteem. Psoriasis is when you have dry, scaly patches of skin that itch. Both of these conditions are ones you have for life once you get them.
It also promotes cell growth.
A is used by the body to help build new cells as old ones die. Your body constantly replaced worn-out and damaged cells, so it's important to have the right nutrients to keep your body functioning at its best.
A strengthens the immune system.
Along with vitamin C, it's essential in the building up of white blood cells – the cells that fight infections throughout the body. When bacteria or viruses, etc., invade your body, your body releases white blood cells, which rush to the site of infection and gobble up the invaders.
Your vision is stronger because of vitamin A.
Your eye health requires this vitamin. It helps strengthen your night vision.
This vitamin is vital to protein formation.
Certain proteins are built using A. These proteins help your body regulate many necessary functions.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Just one sweet potato will give you more A than you need for good health.
2. Disadvantages of Sweet Potatoes
1. Sweet potatoes are unbalanced in their vitamins.
They have no vitamin D – calcium's helper.
Some sites claim that these roots have vitamin D, but most do not. In fact, most list the amount of D found in the sweet potato as zero.
Vitamin D is essential to absorbing calcium and maintaining your calcium and phosphate concentration levels.
There is no vitamin B-12 to help you produce red blood cells.
Red blood cells are important because they have hemoglobin, which is what carries oxygen to all of your cells. Low red blood cell counts are associated with anemia, resulting in your being tired all of the time.
Sweet potatoes have way too much vitamin A for most diets.
Getting to much vitamin A can bring a whole host of symptoms which range from yellowed skin to bone pain, skin problems (itchy or peeling), hair loss, and confusion. In children it may even lead to their skull bone softening or coma.
EAT SMARTER TAKE AWAY: Eating a steady diet based on sweet potatoes will leave with unbalanced nutrition.
3. Top 100 Sweet Potato Recipes
4. About Sweet Potatoes
Which is healthier, white potatoes or sweet potatoes?
Each has there own strengths and weaknesses, so the answer to this is it depends on what specifically you are trying to get from the potato. The overall winner though, based on pure nutrition, is the sweet potato.
Pros and cons of white potatoes.
White potatoes are the winner when it comes to protein (by 1 gram), potassium (by 258 grams) and iron (by 1 gram). White potatoes also have more calories (by 40) and more carbs (by 5 grams).
Pros and cons of sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes, on the other hand, have more fiber (by 1 gram), more than 1,000 times more vitamin A, more vitamin C, calcium, and manganese. They also have more sugar than white potatoes.
Why do sweet potatoes 'shiver'?
Fresh sweet potatoes are still alive (and can stay alive for up to three months if stored properly). When they are placed in a cold environment they shiver. That's a sign that they are dying. Dead sweet potatoes quickly lose their nutritional value and their flavor. Once they are dead the rot quickly (within about 3 – 5 days).
How do I 'cure' sweet potatoes?
The first step is to store them in a warm, moist room for 5 – 10 days. The room needs to be between 80o F to 85o F and have a relative humidity of between 80% - 90%.
For most people, these conditions will probably be pretty hard to set up. If you really want to cure your own sweet potatoes, find the most suitable room you can.
5. Sweet Potatoes vs. Russet Potato
Sweet potatoes have become the darling of the tuber world, while “white” potatoes have been shunned for being too high in carbs. But is there any truth behind this thinking? Yes and no. First, it’s important to point out that the two are not related. Potatoes are members of the nightshade family, along with tomatoes and eggplant (that’s why you should never eat green potatoes, which are toxic), while sweet potatoes are in the morning glory family (meaning you can eat the leaves). Both come in a wide range of shapes, colors and textures. It’s also important to keep in mind that all types of potatoes are excellent sources of complex carbohydrates (read: energy), fiber and many vitamins and minerals. That said, sweet potatoes typically have fewer calories and starchy carbohydrates than regular potatoes, meaning they don’t present as much of a load on your insulin levels. Sweet potatoes are also exceptional sources of vitamin A, thanks to their pigment, and are higher in calcium, potassium and vitamin K than regular potatoes. Potatoes and sweet potatoes are both high in antioxidants and phytochemicals that help fight cancer and inflammation and boost immunity, with colorful potatoes and sweet potatoes (both come in purple-fleshed varieties) having comparable amounts to blueberries. In sum, sweet potatoes present a calorie-dense source of essential nutrients and have the bonus of satisfying your sweet tooth, without the excess sugar.
6. History of Sweet Potatoes
One 'Hot' plant.
Sweet potatoes grow in hot climates, where the ground reaches 100o F or more.
Birthplace is Central America.
Sweet potatoes started in the hot climates of Central America. This plant is a member of the Morning Glory family. Its stems sprawl across the surface of the ground like intertwined tendrils. As a species of Morning Glory, these creepers have a tendency to overtake other grasses and low-lying plants, choking them out.
1st cultivated by pre-Incan people.
The sweet potato is one of the oldest cultivated plants in the world. The natives of ancient history quickly found how fast the plants spread and grew, providing a huge renewable source of food.
Incas cultivated sweet potatoes.
The Incas developed an enormously large farming system, complete with (sometimes) slave labor, vast tracts of land, and a sophisticated storage system to save food up for times of drought and famine.
7. Q&A About Sweet Potatoes
What's the difference between a sweet potato and a yam?
Many people have learned that they are one and the same, but what we call a yam is actually just a yellow sweet potato. Yams are fairly colorless (white) and is rough and scaly.
What is a candied yam?
This traditional treat is actually made from yellow or orange sweet potatoes, baked in a sugary glaze.
Are sweet potatoes and white (Irish) potatoes related?
They are distant cousins, coming from different families within the same order.
Are sweet potatoes really related to Morning Glory?
Yes. The sweet potato belongs to the Morning Glory family. Its roots grow thickened nodes called tubers. These tubers are what we call sweet potatoes.
8. Nutritional Information
This is the nutritional information for one small sweet potato (3 oz with skin).
|Calories from fat 1g|
|Total Fat <0.1g||<1%|
|Saturated Fat <0.1g||<1%|
|Polyunsaturated Fat 0.0g|
|Monounsaturated Fat 0.0g|
|Total Carbs 13.8g||5%|
|Dietary Fiber 2.2g||9%|
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Kessler, Cole. "Sweet Potato(Ipomoea Batatas)." Sweet Potato (Ipomoea Batatas) Classification. Cole Kessler, 15 Apr. 2011. Web. 09 May 2016. http://bioweb.uwlax.edu/bio203/2011/keesler_cole/classification.htm.
"White Potatoes vs. Sweet Potatoes: Which Are Healthier? (Infographic) - Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic." Health Essentials from Cleveland Clinic. Cleveland Clinic, 04 Mar. 2013. Web. 09 May 2016. https://health.clevelandclinic.org/2013/03/white-potatoes-vs-sweet-potatoes-which-is-healthier/.
Allen, Ken. "Grow Sweet Potatoes - Even in the North." Mother Earth News. Ogden Publications, June-July 2011. Web. 09 May 2016. http://www.motherearthnews.com/organic-gardening/growing-sweet-potatoes/growing-sweet-potatoes-zm0z11zsto.aspx.
"Curing and Storing Sweet Potatoes." Curing and Storing Sweet Potatoes. Louisiana State University Agricultural Center, n.d. Web. 10 May 2016. http://www.lsuagcenter.com/topics/crops/sweet_potatoes/lsu-agcenter-horticulturist-discusses-curing-and-storing-sweet-potatoes.