Are Sweet Potatoes Healthy? Here's What You Need to Know
With their sweet-yet-savory taste and warm, vibrant color, sweet potatoes are an essential fall ingredient that we just can't live without. As sweet potato season rolls around, you probably have a few questions in mind—like if sweet potatoes are healthy and how to cook with them. Spoiler alert: They are definitely healthy, and there are seemingly endless ways to enjoy them. Here's how to make the most out of the orange-hued root vegetable this fall season.
Sweet Potato Nutrition Facts
With their variety of vitamins, minerals and more, sweet potatoes are a superfood by our standards. Here are the nutrition facts for a medium-sized baked sweet potato:
- Calories: 86
- Fat: 0g
- Sodium: 41mg
- Carbohydrates: 24g
- Fiber: 4g
- Sugar: 7g
- Protein: 2g
- Calcium: 43mg (3% DV)
- Potassium: 542mg (9% DV)
- Vitamin C: 22mg (4% DV)
- Vitamin A RAE: 1,096 micrograms (283% DV)
Nutrition facts from USDA Food Composition Databases
Are Sweet Potatoes Healthy?
Pictured Recipe: Sweet Potato Carbonara with Kale
With their low glycemic index and high vitamin, mineral and fiber content, sweet potatoes have some pretty impressive health benefits. But it's always good to know the specific health benefits you're getting from your food, so here are some highlights regarding the nutritional value of sweet potatoes.
With over 10% of your DV for a large-sized spud, sweet potatoes' high potassium content is great for regulating muscle contraction, metabolizing carbohydrates and even maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Aside from other vitamins and minerals, such as vitamin C and calcium, one of the biggest health benefits of sweet potatoes is their vitamin A content. With more than enough vitamin A to cover your daily recommended value, sweet potatoes are also great for supporting your immune system and maintaining healthy vision.
Sweet potatoes are backed with fiber and have some protein so they keep you feeling full for longer, which can be good for weight loss as well. Does that mean sweet potatoes are healthier than white potatoes? Not necessarily, white potatoes boast some health benefits and nutrients of their own.
How to Bake Sweet Potatoes
Pictured Recipe: Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes
Another reason we love sweet potatoes is for their versatility in the kitchen. From sweet to savory dishes, there are so many different options when it comes to using them. Below, you'll find how to bake sweet potatoes for fantastic results every single time.
Preheat your oven to 400°F, line a large-rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, wrap sweet potatoes in tin foil, prick them with a fork in three to four spots, rub with oil and place them on your baking sheet. Stick them in the oven and let the roasting magic happen for 45 minutes to an hour, until tender. Viola! You have a deliciously baked sweet potato that is perfect to enjoy with some butter and cinnamon, or that's prepped for a second trip to the oven for our Twice-Baked Sweet Potatoes.
For an even more tender baked potato, try freezing your spuds prior to baking to help you save time and money while cutting down on food waste.
Sweet Potato Recipes
Pictured Recipe: Pan-Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Dried Cherries & Pecans
All of these healthy sweet potato recipes are dietitian-approved and absolutely delicious. Here are some of our favorite ways to enjoy sweet potatoes:
The Bottom Line
At EatingWell, we're big fans of the sweet potato. It's a delicious and nutritious complex carb that we just can't get enough of. The nutritional value of a sweet potato speaks for itself and makes the root veggie *even more* lovable. And whether you've just learned how to bake sweet potatoes or are a long-term sweet potato aficionado, we bet you can't wait to get into the kitchen to whip up one of our favorite sweet potato recipes.