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Nutritional value of sweet potato

Nutritional value of sweet potato

The sweet potato or batata (Ipomoea batatas L. Lam.) is a perennial herbaceous plant of the Convolvulaceae family used as food.

Characteristics –
The sweet potato is a perennial herbaceous species characterized by alternating lobed or palmate leaves. The flowers are medium-sized gamopetals. The epidermis of the tuber (rhizotuber) has a color that varies from red to purple, from brown to white depending on the variety; even the pulp that varies can take on colors from white to yellow, orange or purple depending on the variety.

Nutritional card –
American potatoes mainly contain complex carbohydrates but the portion of simple sugars is still relevant.
It has a rather high glycemic index, making it an unsuitable food for those suffering from diabetes or for those who are overweight.
Proteins are of little importance and even less fats. It has many fibers and this aspect makes the sweet potato a suitable product for those suffering from constipation. As far as mineral salts are concerned, sweet potatoes are rich in potassium and manganese; with regard to vitamins, there is a good supply of pyridoxine (vit. B6) and an extraordinary content of vit. A (RAE).
The nutritional value of sweet potatoes is 100 points higher than that of the common potato. Compared to the latter, the sweet potato has a much higher content of retinol equivalents, especially β-carotene. A 2012 study in Uganda involving approximately 10,000 households showed that: “ONLY 10% of people who eat dark orange sweet potatoes suffer from retinol equivalent vitamin deficiencies, while as many as 50% of people who prefer beige or pale yellow American potatoes show significant hypovitaminosis”; this is justified by the higher β-carotene content of dark orange American potatoes compared to the lighter ones.
Below is a description of the nutritional properties of the sweet potato.
100 g of American potatoes bring about 86 calories and, moreover:
– 20.12 g of carbohydrates (especially starch);
– 3 g of fiber;
– 1.6 g of protein;
– 0.05 g of lipids;
– 14,187 IU of vitamin A;
– 2.4 mg of vitamin C;
– 0.80 mg of pantothenic acid;
– 0.557 mg of niacin;
– 0.26 mg of vitamin E;
– 0.209 mg of pyridoxine;
– 0.078 mg of thiamine;
– 0.061 mg of riboflavin;
– 11 µg of folate;
– 1.8 µg of vitamin K;
– 337 mg of potassium;
– 55 mg of sodium;
– 47 mg of phosphorus;
– 30 mg of calcium;
– 25 mg of magnesium;
– 0.61 mg of iron;
– 0.30 mg of zinc;
– 0.258 mg of manganese.

Property –
Sweet potato is an excellent food for cardiovascular health. Its contribution of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals and fibers helps to protect the heart and arteries; moreover, being a food free of saturated fats and cholesterol, it decreases the risk of atherosclerosis. Conversely, the fibers help keep cholesterol and blood sugar under control and the high carbohydrate content in the form of starch reduces the glycemic index of the sweet potato compared to other sources of carbohydrates. Antioxidant molecules (particularly vitamin A) instead help fight oxidation, protecting not only the arteries but also the eyesight, skin and mucous membranes. Other benefits derive from the intake of B vitamins (involved in numerous metabolic processes) and minerals; in particular, iron is important for the production of red blood cells, calcium and phosphorus protect bone health and potassium, once again, protects the cardiovascular system by controlling heart rate and blood pressure.
Finally, remember that sweet potato is a source of oxalic acid, a molecule that can promote the formation of stones.

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