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Is Sweet Potato Healthier Than White Potato?

The sweet and white potatoes are both healthy for the body given their nutritional compositions. As such, they are vegetables that contain a plethora of vitamins and minerals. Even if they share some similarities, such as belonging to the same tuberous root family, they still have numerous differences.

Sweet potatoes belong to the morning glory or Convolvulaceae family while white potatoes are nightshades and are part of the Solanaceae family. More so, the term “white” potatoes refer to the seven popular types, which are yellow, russet, red, purple, blue, fingerling, and petite. 

These two (white and sweet) potato varieties are native to some parts of South and Central America but, it is now used for different delicacies across the globe.  

Perhaps, you may have been thinking about which of these two types of potatoes is healthier. Well, in this article, we shall be looking at their similarities, differences, and their nutritional levels. We shall discover the variety that holds more nutritional value and see the various ways you can prepare both tubers to enjoy them.

THE NUTRITIONAL VALUE OF SWEET POTATO

Sweet potatoes are tuberous vegetables that contain an array of selenium, calcium, iron, and minerals. They are a healthy source of Vitamin C and B vitamins.

They are also high in fiber, delicious, and filling. Sweet potatoes are usually orange in color but they could find in colors such as yellow, white, pink, violet, purple, and red.

One of the prominent nutritional benefits of the sweet potato is gotten from the antioxidant, beta-carotene, they are contained with. This antioxidant converts to Vitamin A when consumed and are very nutritious to the body.

For 3.5 ounces (100 grams) of raw sweet potato, you’ll be getting:

  • Protein: 1.6 grams
  • Water: 77%
  • Sugar: 4.2 grams
  • Carbohydrate: 20.1 grams
  • Fat: 0.1 grams
  • Calories: 86%
  • Fiber: 3 grams

PROTEIN: Although, the sweet potato contains just 1.6 grams of protein making it a poor protein source. The sweet potato also contains unique proteins known as sporamins which account for about 80 percent of their protein content.

Naturally, the sporamins are used by plants to facilitate healing whenever they are subjected to physical damages. This suggests that they contain antioxidant properties that may prove very beneficial to the body.  

In as much as it is a low protein source, a lot of countries use it as their source of protein.

FIBER: Sweet potatoes that are cooked are high in fiber. The fibers are always in their soluble form (in the form of pectin) and insoluble form (in the form of cellulose).

The soluble fibers such as pectin help to decrease food intake, increase fullness, and also slow your digestion of starches and sugars which would indirectly reduce your blood sugar levels. 

Insoluble fibers are known to have numerous health benefits as they have been found to improve gut health and reduce the risk of diabetes to the barest minimum.

CARBOHYDRATE: Just one medium-sized potato contains about 27 grams of carbohydrate but the main components comprise of starch which makes up about 53 percent of the carbohydrate content. 

Sugars like maltose, sucrose, and glucose found in the sweet potato also make up 32 percent of the carbs content.

As much as these sugars will help improve energy levels in the body, they won’t be so beneficial for people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. So, if you happen to suffer from type 2 diabetes, endeavor to take sweet potato in minimal quantities.

VITAMINS AND MINERALS: As mentioned earlier, sweet potatoes are an excellent source of potassium, beta-carotene, and calcium. They contain several Vitamins such as-

Vitamin C: The antioxidants present in this vitamin could help to improve your skin health and decrease the duration of the common cold to the barest minimum

Vitamin B6: This Vitamin helps to directly convert food into energy

Vitamin E: As a soluble antioxidant, this Vitamin has abundant benefits. One which is prominent is its ability to protect your body against oxidative damage 

Vitamin B5: This vitamin is also called the pantothenic acid and can be found in nearly all the foods you consume

Minerals like manganese and potassium are also found in the sweet potato. The latter is a trace mineral that is important for metabolism, growth, and development while the former may decrease your risk of heart disease and help to properly control your blood pressure.

OTHER COMPOUNDS FROM PLANTS: Similar to other whole plant foods, the sweet potato contains some plant compounds that may positively affect your health. Some of them are:

The Anthocyanins: Potatoes known as the purple sweet potatoes are rich in anthocyanins which have a lot of antioxidant properties that are beneficial to the health.

 The Chlorogenic acid: This compound is also known as the polyphenol antioxidant and they are the most abundant compounds in sweet potatoes.

The Beta Carotene- This is also an antioxidant carotenoid that converts to vitamin A when digested. 

SWEET POTATO TOAST

The sweet potato toast is a meal that has been trending as of late. But the good news is it’s not only trendy but healthy too.

However, even if you are on a gluten-free diet, you don’t have to feel bad because this meal requires no bread. 

The beautiful part about this awesome meal is that it is easy to prepare. All it requires you to do is wash the potato, slice it thinly and toast. 

Afterward, all you have to do is figuring out the best toppings to enjoy it with. You can have it with fried eggs and mashed avocado, creamy guacamole, or any fruit of your choosing.

THE NUTRITIONAL PROPERTIES OF WHITE POTATO

White potatoes are rich sources of many vitamins and minerals. Interestingly, a baked medium-sized white potato (which is up to 6.1 ounces or 173 grams) contains: 

  • Calories: 161
  • Carbs: 0.2 grams
  • Protein: 4.3 grams
  • Fiber: 3.8 grams
  • Vitamin C: 28% of the RDI (Reference Daily Intake)
  • Potassium: 26% of the RDI
  • Magnesium: 12% of the RDI
  • Phosphorus: 12% of the RDI
  • Niacin: 12% of the RDI
  • Folate: 12% of the RDI 
  • Vitamin B6: 27% of the RDI

However, it is essential to note that the nutritional properties of potatoes vary based on their variety and how they are cooked or prepared. For instance, frying potatoes ensures more calories and fats are added than baking them. 

Moreover, the skin of white potatoes possesses a large number of minerals and vitamins. If you peel your potatoes before cooking it, the nutritional properties are bound to be depleted. 

MINERALS: White potatoes contain 1.9 milligrams of iron, 52 milligrams of magnesium, 0.6 milligrams of zinc, 31 milligrams of calcium, and so many others. These nutritional properties are all healthy to the body.

VITAMINS: White potatoes provide you with 0.2 milligrams of thiamine, 0.3 milligrams of riboflavin, and lots more. This potato variant has lots of nutritional properties that are quite helpful in preventing several health deficiencies.

MACRONUTRIENTS: This potato variant is rich in fiber and protein. This ensures your damaged tissues are repaired, and the risk for developing diabetes, constipation, and heart disease is lowered.

As seen above, these two types of potatoes have some similarities, and they all have amazing health benefits. But the real question is which of them holds more nutritional content?

WHICH IS MORE? WHITE OR SWEET?

Sweet potatoes win! As much as both variants contain great amounts of carbs, protein, vitamins, minerals, fibers, and calories, sweet potato still has an extensive nutritional property. It provides 400% of your daily vitamin A requirement.

Besides, sweet potatoes also contain fewer calories, more vitamin C than white potatoes. Though, sweet potatoes have more sugar than white. It is quite essential to note that white potatoes are more expensive and versatile than sweet potatoes.

However, even if sweet potatoes won the “contest,” it does not make white potatoes less nutritional. It can still be enjoyed for its unique taste and nutritional benefits. There are different delicacies that you can prepare with both potato types. 

They are-

GLAZED SWEET POTATOES

This potato recipe is Latin-oriented as it uses piloncillo. The sweet potatoes are sliced and glazed with spiced syrup, cinnamon stick, kosher salt, whole star anise, and an optional toasted unsweetened flaked coconut. 

MASHED SWEET POTATOES WITH ROSEMARY PECANS

The sweet potato is mashed and decorated with pecans, rosemary, and maple syrup. This is another nice potato delicacy you can enjoy.

POTATO SALAD

You can enjoy your white potato delicacy with lots of different veggies. This is one of the healthiest potato recipes you can have. 

POTATO SOUPS

There are different types of exquisite soups and sauces you can prepare with mashed white potatoes, and they are all healthy! 

FRIED MASHED POTATO BALLS

This amazing recipe turns leftover mashed potatoes into something delicious. They are well-garnished with some spices and then fried. This recipe ensures no mashed potato is wasted. 

FINAL THOUGHTS

All potato types have their unique appearances, taste, and color. Their nutritional properties vary, but they are all delicious and healthy to consume. So, you can try spicing up your dietary plan with different potato recipes.

 

Source:

https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/17425943/

https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/food-features/sweet-potatoes/

https://spoonuniversity.com/lifestyle/5-reasons-to-eat-a-sweet-potato-every-day

https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/sweet-potato-benefits

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