6 Reasons Why You Should Eat More Nutrient Dense Sweet Potato

Sweet potatoes and vegetables make a meal complete

If there is one carb I love the most — it is sweet potato.

Sweet potatoes are delicious fried, baked or boiled. They are used in dishes worldwide and are an essential staple in countries like Africa, Pacific Islands and the Caribbean.

What I love most about sweet potatoes is they store well and are relatively easy to cook and prepare. 

I can keep them in the fridge all week and continuously add carb sources to my dishes. They are easy to cook and store for the whole week’s source of carbs.

But that’s not all because there is so much more to sweet potato than meets the eye.

Here’s why you should add more sweet potatoes into your life.

One: Rich in Nutrients and Antioxidants:

Sweet potatoes are a nutrient-dense food, providing a wide range of vitamins and minerals that support overall health and well-being. 

They are particularly high in vitamins A and C, essential for a strong immune system, healthy skin, and good vision.

Beta-carotene is a pigment responsible for the vibrant orange colour of sweet potatoes. Once consumed, the body converts beta-carotene into vitamin A, essential for maintaining healthy vision, promoting immune function, and supporting cell growth and differentiation.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that sweet potatoes exhibited high levels of beta-carotene, contributing to their potent antioxidant activity and potential health benefits.

Vitamin C, on the other hand, supports immune function, aids in collagen production for healthy skin and connective tissues, and helps with iron absorption. Including sweet potatoes in your diet can contribute to your daily vitamin C intake.

A study published in the journal Food Chemistry evaluated the vitamin C content of different sweet potato varieties and found them to be a good source of this antioxidant vitamin.

Sweet potatoes contain a variety of antioxidants, which are compounds that help protect the body against free radicals and oxidative stress. 

These antioxidants, including anthocyanins, chlorogenic acid, and beta-carotene, have been associated with a reduced risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, cancer, and neurodegenerative disorders.

A study published in the Journal of Nutritional Science and Vitaminology analyzed the antioxidant content of sweet potato varieties and highlighted their potent antioxidant activity, suggesting potential health benefits.

Sweet potatoes contain various phytochemicals, natural compounds in plants that offer health benefits. 

These phytochemicals include polyphenols, flavonoids, and carotenoids, which contribute to the vibrant colours of sweet potatoes and their antioxidant properties. 

These compounds have been associated with anti-inflammatory effects and may help reduce the risk of chronic diseases.

A study published in the journal Food Chemistry examined the phytochemical composition of different sweet potato varieties and found significant levels of various polyphenols and flavonoids, highlighting their potential health-promoting properties.

A bowl of different vegetables ready for you to eat and heal your gut
A bowl of different vegetables ready for you to eat and heal your gut

Two: Excellent Source of Dietary Fiber:

Including sweet potatoes in your diet can significantly boost your fibre intake. Fibre is crucial in digestive health, regulating bowel movements, and promoting satiety.

A study published in the journal Advances in Nutrition found that a high-fibre diet, like one rich in sweet potatoes, can help reduce the risk of obesity, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular disease. The fibre in sweet potatoes also supports healthy blood sugar levels by slowing down the release of glucose into the bloodstream.

Fortunately, sweet potatoes contain soluble and insoluble fibre, which is important in maintaining a healthy digestive system. 

Soluble fibre forms a gel-like substance in the digestive tract, helping to soften stools and promote regular bowel movements. Insoluble fibre adds bulk to the stool, aiding in the prevention of constipation and promoting healthy digestion.

A study published in the journal Critical Reviews in Food Science and Nutrition explored the health benefits of dietary fibre. It highlighted the importance of both soluble and insoluble fibre for digestive health.

The fibre content in sweet potatoes helps promote regularity in the digestive system by increasing stool bulk and facilitating food movement through the intestines. This can help prevent constipation and maintain healthy bowel function.

A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology investigated the effects of dietary fibre on bowel habits and found that increased fibre intake, particularly from fruits and vegetables, promoted regular bowel movements and improved stool consistency.

Three: Supports Heart Health:

Sweet potatoes have been associated with heart-protective effects due to their nutrient composition. 

They are an excellent source of potassium, a mineral that plays a crucial role in maintaining heart health. Potassium helps regulate blood pressure by counteracting the effects of sodium, thus promoting healthy blood vessel function and reducing the risk of hypertension.

A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition examined the relationship between potassium intake and blood pressure levels

The findings suggested that increased potassium intake is associated with lower blood pressure, reducing cardiovascular disease risk.

Since sweet potatoes’ dietary fibre contributes to heart health by helping to reduce cholesterol levels, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, also known as “bad” cholesterol. 

High levels of LDL cholesterol can lead to the development of plaque in the arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease.

A study published in the journal Nutrients investigated the impact of dietary fibre intake on cardiovascular health

The findings demonstrated that a high-fibre diet, including sweet potatoes, can help reduce LDL cholesterol levels and improve heart health.

A study published in Nutrition Reviews conducted a systematic review and meta-analysis of studies investigating the relationship between dietary fibre intake and cardiovascular disease. The analysis revealed that increased dietary fibre intake was associated with a reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.

Consuming a nutrient-dense diet is important for maintaining overall health and reducing the risk of heart disease. 

Combining these nutrients in sweet potatoes contributes to their positive impact on heart health.

Incorporating sweet potatoes into your diet can be a delicious and heart-healthy choice. Whether baked, steamed, or roasted, sweet potatoes offer a versatile and nutritious option that supports cardiovascular well-being.

Four: Promotes Digestive Health:

The fibre content in sweet potatoes not only aids digestion but also supports a healthy gut.

The fibre content in sweet potatoes helps regulate bowel movements and promote regularity. By adding bulk to the stool, fibre facilitates the movement of waste through the digestive tract, preventing constipation and ensuring a healthy and regular elimination process.

A study published in the World Journal of Gastroenterology examined the effects of dietary fibre on bowel habits and found that increased fibre intake from fruits and vegetables promoted regular bowel movements and improved stool consistency.

Sweet potatoes contain a fibre called resistant starch, which acts as a prebiotic. Prebiotics serve as food for the beneficial bacteria in the gut, promoting their growth and supporting a healthy gut microbiome. A diverse and balanced gut microbiome is important for optimal digestion, nutrient absorption, and overall gut health.

A study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry found that sweet potatoes, particularly those with purple flesh, contained resistant starch and other dietary fibre that can positively influence gut microbiota composition.

Digestive enzymes such as amylase and cellulase are abundant in sweet potatoes – which aid in the digestion of carbohydrates and fibre. 

These enzymes can support the breakdown of complex carbohydrates and facilitate the absorption of nutrients from sweet potatoes and other foods.

While research on the digestive enzymes in sweet potatoes is limited, studies have highlighted the presence of digestive enzymes in various fruits and vegetables, emphasizing their role in supporting the digestion and absorption of nutrients.

If you have a sensitive gut, sweet potatoes’ antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can help soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation, potentially relieving conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Sweet potatoes may help alleviate digestive discomfort and inflammation. 

Antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds can help soothe the digestive tract and reduce inflammation, potentially relieving conditions such as irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) or inflammatory bowel disease (IBD).

Five: Manages Blood Sugar Levels:

Contrary to popular belief, sweet potatoes can be a part of a healthy diet for individuals managing blood sugar levels.

They have a relatively low glycemic index (GI). 

The low GI of sweet potatoes means they cause a slower and steadier increase in blood glucose compared to high-GI foods. This gradual rise in blood sugar helps maintain stable glucose levels and reduces the risk of spikes and crashes.

Fibre slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood glucose levels. This can help improve blood sugar control, especially for individuals with diabetes or those at risk of developing the condition.

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food examined the effects of dietary fibre on blood sugar control and found that a high-fibre diet, including fibre-rich foods like sweet potatoes, contributed to better glycemic control in individuals with type 2 diabetes.

The cooking method can influence the impact of sweet potatoes on blood sugar levels. 

Steaming or baking sweet potatoes instead of boiling them helps preserve their fibre content and slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream. It is important to avoid adding high-sugar toppings or excessive amounts of fats that could negatively affect blood sugar control.

Note: If you have diabetes or specific blood sugar concerns, you must work with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian who can provide personalized guidance tailored to your needs and help develop a suitable dietary plan. 

They can assist in monitoring blood sugar levels and adjusting your diet accordingly.

Six: Supports Eye Health:

Sweet potatoes contain a significant amount of beta-carotene, a vitamin A precursor crucial for eye health.

Vitamin A deficiency is a leading cause of blindness in developing countries. Consuming sweet potatoes can help prevent this deficiency and protect against age-related macular degeneration. A study published in the journal Nutrients highlighted the potential role of beta-carotene-rich foods in reducing the risk of eye diseases.

Sweet potatoes’ antioxidant properties help reduce oxidative stress in the eyes. 

Oxidative stress, caused by an imbalance between free radicals and antioxidants, can contribute to the developing and progression of various eye diseases, including cataracts and AMD.

A study published in the Journal of Medicinal Food explored the potential protective effects of sweet potatoes against oxidative stress. The study found that sweet potato extracts exhibited antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, suggesting their potential benefit for reducing oxidative stress-related damage.

The combination of nutrients in sweet potatoes, including vitamins A, C, and E, beta-carotene, lutein, zeaxanthin, and other antioxidants, works synergistically to support eye health. 

The collective action of these nutrients provides comprehensive protection against oxidative damage and supports the overall well-being of the eyes.


Sweet potatoes are a delicious and versatile vegetable and a nutritional powerhouse that offers many health benefits. 

Their rich nutrient profile, high antioxidant and fibre content make them valuable to a balanced diet.

Scientific research supports sweet potatoes’ positive impact on various health aspects. 

Sweet potatoes have much to offer, from boosting the immune system and promoting digestive health to supporting heart health, managing blood sugar levels, and protecting eye health.

Incorporating sweet potatoes into your meals is easy, and you can enjoy them baked, roasted, mashed, or added to soups, stews, and salads. Their natural sweetness adds flavour and depth to a wide range of dishes.

Remember to choose fresh, organic sweet potatoes whenever possible and include them as part of a well-rounded diet that incorporates a variety of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats.

However, it’s important to note that individual nutritional needs may vary, and it’s always advisable to consult with a healthcare professional or registered dietitian if you have specific dietary concerns or health conditions.

So, embrace the power of sweet potatoes and savour their many benefits. Fuel your body with this vibrant and nutritious vegetable, and experience its positive impact on your overall health and well-being.

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