Sweet Potatoes, are they really that good for you?
There’s a hype surrounding Sweet Potatoes as a carb alternative that is allegedly much better for you than their cousin, the Potato. Hype aside though, are Sweet Potatoes all that good for you?
Sweet Potatoes are a root vegetable that are very similar to standard potatoes in appearance, though they hold a slightly thicker and darker skin than typical varieties of your usual spud. Scratch the surface and you have a bright and vibrant flesh, one with a slightly mushy consistency and a very sweet taste. Sweet Potatoes are great, they make beautiful mash, lovely fries and can even be used in soups and stews. They are a versatile carb alternative and they are great for you, or so we’re led to believe.
Nutritionally speaking, Sweet Potatoes are very good for you, they are rich in fibre and other essential nutrients, so no, we aren’t trying to explore whether or not Sweet Potatoes are good for you – they are, but what we want to explore is some of the rumours that makes Sweet Potatoes out to be super healthy and a healthier (yet often more expensive) version of the potato.
Next time you jump at the chance to swap your fries for Sweet Potato fries, perhaps you’ll think twice.
Sweet Potatoes are nutrient rich but have a lower calorie count and a lower carbohydrate count than ‘standard’ spuds. They are higher in vitamin A and also rich in both vitamin C and vitamin B6. According to Time, the United States Department of Agriculture states that one Sweet Potato provides more than 100% of your recommended vitamin A intake. In terms of fibre, one Sweet Potato holds around four grams of fibre which holds a whole host of health benefits.
The big selling point for Sweet Potatoes is their level of carbohydrate, something which is avoided by numerous diets because a high carb intake can be attributed to weight gain and other health problems. What you should consider however is that yes, Sweet Potatoes are less carb rich than normal potatoes, however, they are still very high in carbs compared to other, less starchy vegetables. Sweet Potatoes make for a great energy source, however, if you’re trying to avoid carbs, perhaps you should lay off the Sweet Potatoes too and opt for a less starchy vegetable, such as broccoli or kale.
Whatever, I still want to eat Sweet Potatoes
Eat them! They are delicious, nutritionally rich and they are good for you, however, don’t let the press scare monger you into switching all of your Potatoes and carb sources out for Sweet Potatoes, if you want to reduce your carb intake, Sweet Potatoes should be enjoyed in moderation.
To enjoy your Sweet Potatoes and get the most benefit from them, you need to consider how you cook them. According to Time:
“Steaming, roasting, baking and boiling all preserve different nutrients in sweet potatoes, some research has found, so all kinds of preparations are nutritious. You can also let them cool and whip them into smoothies with soy milk, protein powder and cinnamon; blend them into a soup; or bake them into chips and dip them in hummus. Mashed sweet potatoes are even great as an antioxidant-rich dessert: add maple syrup or honey and a sprinkle of walnuts.”
Vitamin A specifically is a fat soluble nutrient, therefore it’s also recommended that you try and consume Sweet Potatoes with a small amount of fat on your plate too – try cheese, it goes down a treat!