Sweet potato is a warm weather vegetable which requires a frost free environment to fully grow and reach maturity. High in vitamin content, this useful root is native to Central and South America where it is perhaps the most common ingredient in local cuisines. In the United States, sweet potato remains an important and popular ingredient, with production areas mostly found in the southern states. With a deep orange hue, the nutrition benefit of consuming sweet potato is pronounced, with a very high amount of vitamin A. While not related to the yam, sweet potatoes are typically interchanged with this vegetable due to their striking similarities.
Sweet potatoes provide a high amount of carotenes, vitamin B6 and vitamin C. They also provide a high amount of copper, biotin, pantothenic acid and dietary fiber.
Beta Carotene – Beta carotene has been well-studied as a dietary antioxidant. Carotenoids are also thought to benefit eye health. Some studies support a role of carotenoids in reducing macular degeneration.
Vitamin B6 – Vitamin B6 helps to keep your immune system in good working order. It aids in the breakdown of fats, carbohydrates and amino acids while helping to maintain the health of lymph nodes. Additionally, vitamin B6 helps to regulate blood glucose levels.
Vitamin C – Regular consumption of foods rich in vitamin C helps the body develop resistance against infections and scavenges harmful, pro-inflammatory free radicals. Vitamin C also helps to prevent respiratory problems such as asthma and lung cancer. Vitamin C has been shown to lower blood pressure, and therefore lessen the probability of hypertension.
Sweet potatoes mature in the late summer/early fall. Due to its ability to be stored for long periods of time, sweet potatoes are available year round.
Per 1 cup (133 grams):
Calories (cKal): 114
Protein (grams): 2.09
Total Fat (grams): .07
Carbohydrates (grams): 26.76
Fiber (grams): 4
Buying and Storing
When buying sweet potato, make sure the vegetable is not soft to the touch. Sweet potatoes store very well in a cool, dry place. With the proper storage conditions, a sweet potato can be stored for up to six weeks.