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Sweet potato: A sweet or savoury addition to your diet

Published: December 08, 2022

A red yam and yellow sweet potato
A red yam and yellow sweet potato

Sweet potatoes are the sweetish tuberous root of the sweet potato plant or Ipomoea batatas.

As with other root vegetables, such as yams, potatoes, and parsnips, sweet potatoes are a good source of carbohydrate and a variety of other essential nutrients. 
Although not typically available in grocery stores and supermarkets, the leaves and shoots of the sweet potato plant may be consumed as green leafy vegetables.
There are many varieties of sweet potatoes.
The family Convolvulaceae to which the sweet potato belongs, consists of more than 1000 species.
Many of these are poisonous and others are only grown and sold locally.
Morning glories, popular garden flowers, also belong to the Ipomeoea genus.
The smooth skin of the tuberous roots of the perennial sweet potato vine can be beige, purple, brown, red, orange or yellow in colour.
The colour of the starchy flesh can be purple, orange, yellow, violet, pink, red and white.
Red, pink and orange fleshed tubers tend to be sweeter and moister than pale yellow or white fleshed tubers.
Sweet potatoes are known by a variety of names which are local to the area where they are grown.
Occasionally sweet potatoes are referred to as yams, although these two root vegetables are botanically different.
Nutritional value
Sweet potatoes are a good source of both simple and complex carbohydrates, fibre and a range of essential vitamins and minerals.
These micronutrients include beta-carotene, vitamin C, vitamin B6, manganese, and potassium as well as phytochemicals such as lutein.
Many people do not meet their daily requirement for fibre (a minimum of 25g/day) or potassium (4700 mg/day).
Foods high in fibre and complex carbohydrate provide health benefits and may protect against...link to the full article to learn more.

Related Topics

Diet  Health  Food Choices  Nutrients  Micronutrients 


Whitney, E. & Rady Rolfes, S. (2005). Understanding Nutrition. Belmont, CA: Thomson Wadsworth
Miller et al. (1996). The GI Factor: The health breakthrough for blood sugar control, weight loss, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Centre for Science in the Public Interest (03/2010, 11/2013, 20/2012). Nutrition Action Health Letter
Wikipedia. Sweet potato