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The Rather Surprising Benefits of Eating Sweet Potatoes

are sweet potatoes good for you

Are sweet potatoes good for you — the age-old question! Many people are tricked into thinking that if the word 'sweet' is involved, then it can't be healthy, however, this isn't necessarily the case. 

Sweet potatoes are full of sweetness and starch in a huge array of colours — with orange being the most common — and sizes. 

Nutritional Facts of a Sweet Potato

Before getting into answering your burning question, we will show you the cold, hard sweet potato nutrition facts. 

In 200g of cooked sweet potato (including the skin) you will receive:

  • 180 calories
  • 41.4g carbohydrates
  • 4g protein
  • 0.3g fat
  • 6.6g fibre
  • 769% of the daily value for vitamin A
  • 65% of the daily value for vitamin C
  • 50% of the daily value for manganese
  • 29% of the daily value for vitamin B6
  • 27% of the daily value for potassium
  • 18% of the daily value for pantothenic acid
  • 16% of the daily value for copper
  • 15% of the daily value for niacin

From the above fact check, you will probably have answered 'are sweet potatoes good for you' for yourself. However, there are far more benefits than what meets the eye here, so we'd encourage you to check that out before scoffing a load of this food. 

Are Sweet Potatoes Good for You?

In short, yes! Sweet potatoes are most definitely good for you. Aside from the nutritional values that are shown above, this root vegetable also provides a lot of antioxidants that protect you from some nasty things called free radicals.  

What Are Free Radicals?

You may not know what free radicals are, but you should!

This term refers to molecules that can cause inflammation and damage your DNA — not ideal is it? It is even less so when you realize that this can cause awful illnesses such as cancer, premature ageing, and heart failure.

By now, we have established that sweet potatoes are good for you, however, what are the benefits of eating this root veggie?

how to cook sweet potato in oven healthy

Benefits of Eating Sweet Potatoes

1. Gut Health

One of the biggest benefits of chowing down on some sweet potato goodness is that it will improve the health of your gut. 

This may not come as a surprise considering all the fibre and mélange of antioxidants that this vegetable contains.

2. Combat Cancer

In purple sweet potatoes, a group of antioxidants called anthocyanins are found which can considerably slow the rate at which some cancer cells (namely bladder, colon, stomach and breast) grow. 

Yes — this has been scientifically proven!

3. Improve Cognitive Function

Although no studies have been conducted to test improved brain function thanks to sweet potatoes on humans, research into the effects on rodents has been done. 

The findings were that this root vegetable does protect and improve our brain capacity as the anthocyanins stop free radical impact and reduces inflammation in the tissue. 

4. Maintains Healthy Vision

Sweet potatoes contain an incredibly high amount of beta-carotene which is what makes the vegetable that brilliant orange colour. 

Once you eat it, the aforementioned beta-carotene is turned into vitamin A by your body which promotes the health of your light receptors in your eyes. 

5. Supports Immune System

Vitamin A (given by beta-carotene, as mentioned previously) is essential for a healthy immune system. 

Luckily, sweet potatoes have this in abundance — especially the orange coloured ones — so you can expect to see a rise in your immune system's health. 

6. Regulates Blood Sugar Levels

Type 2 diabetes is caused because of an imbalance between blood sugar and insulin output. Luckily, these root vegetables can decrease bad cholesterol and fasting blood sugar as well as heightening your body's sensitivity to insulin. 

3 Ways to Cook Sweet Potatoes in The Oven

Hopefully, by now you will realize the importance of incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet. However, cooking healthy sweet potatoes is a different story as it is easy to just make some fries with them and call it a day — this isn't the best idea for your health. 

There are a few different ways of cooking sweet potatoes healthily, 3 of which we will discuss. 

1. Oven-Baked Sweet Potatoes

When we mentioned cooking this vegetable in an oven, this is probably the first idea you thought of. 

It is super easy to do and all you need are sweet potatoes and olive oil (really any type of oil will do, pick your favourite!).

Make sure you wash them first and pierce them with a fork afterwards to allow the steam to escape during baking. 

Once you have done that, oil the outside of them and wrap them up in tin foil. 

Then, simply bake for 45 minutes. 

2. Roasted Sweet Potato Chunks

Another way of how to cook sweet potatoes in an oven healthily is to roast them. 

Don't worry, it's pretty much the same as baking but you just need to ensure you peel and cut them up into cubes. 

It will take around 35-45 minutes to roast the chunks so the best idea is to come back at the 35 minutes mark and check on them. 

3. Sweet Potato Crisps

If you are a snacker by nature, then you are guaranteed to love this healthy yet tasty and crunchy snack that you can make for yourself. 

Wash the vegetable as usual but make sure to slice it very finely this time. 

Then, put them on a tray in a low-temperature oven to dehydrate them. 

After this, whack the heat up to turn them crispy and ét voila! You're all finished. 

Healthy Dinner Ideas Using Sweet Potatoes

So, now you're aware of a few easy ways to cook your root vegetable, you may want some definitive healthy dinner ideas with sweet potatoes.

Don't fret — we hear you and have delivered exactly this!

Sweet Potato Toast

Ingredients

1 sweet potato (a large one, washed)

any toppings you would like (could be avocado, peanut butter, really whatever you fancy)

cooking healthy sweet potatoes

Method

Slice the potato lengthways, making sure they are the thickness of your average bread slice. 

Put the slices into your toaster. 

Once you can easily push a fork through it, it is ready.

Place your preferred toppings on top and enjoy!

Roasted Sweet Potato Frittata

Ingredients

  • 2 sweet potatoes (large ones, peeled, sliced)
  • Olive oil (or vegetable oil)
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • 2 leeks (slice them thinly)
  • 12 eggs
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 tbsp ranch dressing
  • 3/4 cup parmesan (grated)
  • 2 tbsp parsley (chopped finely)

sweet potato nutrition facts

Method

  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees F (210 degrees C).
  2. Put the sweet potatoes on a baking sheet. 
  3. Toss the olive oil, salt, and pepper over them. 
  4. Roast for 25-30 minutes, making sure to flip them halfway through. 
  5. Turn down the temperature to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C). 
  6. Heat 1 tbsp oil in a frying pan. 
  7. Place the leeks in and cook until softened. 
  8. Put the leeks into a bowl along with eggs, sour cream, ranch dressing, 1/2 cup parmesan, and 1 tbsp parsley. 
  9. Whisk together. 
  10. Pour your last tbsp oil into the frying pan. 
  11. Add in the egg mixture.
  12. Take the sweet potatoes out and lay them into the egg mix. 
  13. Cook without touching it for 5 minutes. 
  14. Scatter the rest of the parmesan onto the top.
  15. Insert the frying pan into the oven. 
  16. Bake for about 20 minutes. 
  17. Before you serve, apply the rest of the parsley on top. 

There we have it! You are now well and truly set to start including this miraculous vegetable into your life — you won't regret it, we promise!