Sweet potato nutrition facts. I love sweet potatoes. Definitely one of my favorite foods; maybe my most favorite food. I love to chop them, dice them, hash them, boil them, fry them, sauté them; any way of cooking sweet potatoes along with a fat source makes me happy. But is it good for you?
Sweet Potato Nutrition
We all know the basic sweet potato nutrition facts: they’re good for you. (BTW, read this if you’re not sure about the difference between sweet potatoes and yams.) That’s about all that most of us know, but we at least know that much. They have about five times the daily recommended amount of beta carotene (which your body converts to vitamins A). That’s where the orangish-reddish color comes from. They’re also loaded in potassium, vitamin C, vitamin B5, vitamin B1, vitamin B6, niacin, and riboflavin, as well as having minerals like manganese, magnesium, calcium, and iron. They also have fiber (especially the skin; do you know the benefit of dietary fiber?). They have anti-cancer properties, antioxidants, and can help you to burn fat. Sound like a superfood? They have been called that before. If you’re a proponent of the Perfect Health Diet (the best and healthiest diet ever created, in my opinion), then you know that sweet potatoes are one of the few starchy vegetables that they recommend.
Do We Cook Them The Right Way?
But what about the way we cook sweet potatoes? As part of a baked potato diet they're healthy, but sweet potatoes are often fried in grease and covered in salt. (Mmmmmm……) Does that negate some of the positive and healthy sweet potato nutrition facts? Are they only good for you if you eat them without the added fat, or can you still enjoy some sweet potato French fries without feeling guilty? What is the nutritional value of sweet potato fries?
This is a contested issue, not just with regard to sweet potato nutrition facts, but with regard to all food. Traditional advice tells us that fat, especially saturated fat, is bad for our hearts. But evidence is mounting that that’s not true, and that the lipid hypothesis is actually wrong. These people say that eating natural, healthy fats—like butter and coconut oil (BTW, coconut oil is great for weight loss, in addition to other, unusual uses for coconut oil)—is good for us. Another thing to keep in mind is that many vitamins and minerals are fat-soluble, which means that our body can only absorb them if we also have some fat in our stomachs.
So my recommendation is to enjoy your sweet potatoes guilt-free by eating them with a moderate amount of natural fat, including butter, olive oil, or coconut oil. They make a delicious and nutritious treat that can be prepared in an endless variety of ways.