So previously I explained why orange fleshed sweet potatoes are special. And I guess you understood just how special they are! So, today let’s delve deep and explain orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts!
Please read the first article here:
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts
1. They are an excellent provitamin A source
As I explained in the previous article, these sweet potatoes are one of the healthiest provitamin A sources. They contain both provitamin A and non-vitamin A carotenoids. This makes them a significant dietary component. And I don’t think it’s wise to ignore this superfood.
These provitamin A carotenoids are easily converted to vitamin A molecules in the body. This means these sweet potatoes can help you combat vitamin A deficiency. And as a result, they can help improve your skin health, eyesight, immunity and functions of mucous membranes.
2. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are excellent sources of dietary fibre
The healthy benefits of dietary fibre are well known. So, its clear orange sweet potatoes can help you improve these. And I also explained them in:
All this means consuming these sweet potatoes can help enhance your bowel movements. And it also reduces the transit time of food in the gut. This prevents overstaying of undesirable compounds in the body. These may include cholesterol, carcinogens and other toxins. Also, it helps regulate the amount of dietary sugars that are absorbed.
The fibre in these sweet potatoes can also help improve gut health. This is because gut bacteria can use dietary fibre as a food source. And in some cases, they produce beneficial compounds as by-products.
Also, the high dietary fibre increases satiety and the sense of post-meal fullness. Therefore the sweet potatoes can keep you from overeating. And overeating is not good for health!
Also read: Reasons why vegetables are good for you!
Research has found that the crude fibre value of orange sweet potatoes is higher than that of cassava and potatoes. And also the sweet potato is rich in both soluble and insoluble fibres. Which makes it a healthy high fibre food.
So, if you wish to take fibre and vitamin-rich food, this sweet potato is for you.
3. Never depend on these sweet potatoes for dietary proteins.
This is one of the most important orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts.
Like all tubers orange sweet potatoes have a very low protein content. Cereals are better protein sources than tubers. And they can be used to supplement protein in the diet together with pulses.
Depending on orange sweet potatoes as the main dietary component, is not good; especially when the diet lacks other foods. Such a diet can easily expose you to protein-energy malnutrition. Or protein deficiency. This is the reason why weaning a child on sweet potatoes can result in kwashiorkor.
So never, depend on tubers like sweet potatoes for proteins. Supplement your diet with healthy protein sources.
4. A healthy low-fat food
Also like other tubers, this sweet potato is a low-fat food. Its fat content is slightly higher than that of other tubers. However, it is still technically low. And all this is welcome. Because it means the energy density of sweet potato is lower.
This makes the orange sweet potatoes an ideal heart-healthy food. And it is also ideal for those trying to reduce dietary fat intake.
You may also like: 9. Amazing heart healthy foods you should eat
5. High starch content
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in starch. And this high starch content qualifies them for use as staples in any diet. The high starch content makes these sweet potatoes healthy energy sources in the diet. However, not all varieties are rich in starchy. Some of the orange sweet potato varieties have a low starch content. These varieties are usually sweeter. And also they do not flake. This means they have higher sugar to starch ratios. Starchy varieties can be identified by the ability to flake.
6. Orange sweet potatoes have a superior calcium content.
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes have a superior calcium content. That is when compared to other staple tubers and cereals. They have more calcium content than maize, sorghum, wheat, rice, cassava, potato and white-fleshed sweet potatoes.
This means that it can help contribute to the recommended daily allowances for calcium intake. Calcium is important for bone health in the body. Also, it helps in the function of many tissues and systems. These include the nervous system, blood clotting and normal heart rhythms.
This is also another one of the most important orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts!
7. Provides moderate quantities of potassium
Orange sweet potatoes also provide moderate quantities of potassium. Also, they have good sodium to potassium ratio. This ratio must always have more potassium and less sodium. Which means they reduce the risks of the effects of excessive sodium consumption.
Also, potassium is a critical nutrient for the functioning of the human body. And it takes part in a lot of metabolic functions for a healthy body.
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes have a better potassium content than rice, maize and cassava. And they have a similar potassium content to that of wheat. However, yam and potatoes are better potassium sources than orange sweet potatoes.
These sweet potatoes remain good sources of potassium. And they can give a good contribution to recommended daily allowances.
8. Are orange fleshed sweet potatoes good sources of iron?
Orange sweet potatoes are good dietary sources of the mineral iron.
They give a better dietary iron contribution than the common staples. Sweet potatoes are better iron sources than maize, wheat, cassava, yam and other sweet potatoes. This makes them one of the best potential plant-based iron sources. Therefore, they can also help in contributing to recommended daily allowances (RDAs) for iron.
Whilst the RDAs for iron are low, only a small amount is absorbed from the diet. And also plant-based iron has a low bioavailability. So, the higher the iron content the better. (Note, in only in plants)
Iron is an important component of many proteins in the human body. Most of these proteins are essential for energy production. It is also important for replacing blood lost due to injury. And iron deficiency leads to anaemia and erythropoiesis. So, orange fleshed sweet potatoes are a very welcome iron source.
9. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes have low sodium content
While sodium is an important mineral in the body, too much of it is harmful. So, a low sodium content is an excellent nutritional property for these sweet potatoes.
Humans do not need special sources of sodium in the diet. Why?
Because they already get it from many other food sources. Sometimes they even get too much sodium from these foods. These foods include soft drinks, salt and other processed foods. And salt is a very dangerous sodium source because it’s easy to abuse it.
This sodium can have serious health consequences including impairment of kidney functions.
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes have a low sodium content, so they can help reduce dietary sodium intake.
And more importantly, you don’t need the dreaded salt to make them tasty!
10. Excellent sources of the carotenoid beta-cryptoxanthin
Beta cryptoxanthin is one of the most powerful bioactive compounds available in plants. And it is the most common dietary carotenoid in fruits and vegetables. Also, this carotenoid is a provitamin A carotenoid. And this means it can be converted to vitamin A in the body. The body converts beta cryptoxanthin to vitamin A in such a way that 24 ug produces 1 ug of vitamin A equivalents.
Also, dietary beta-cryptoxanthin reduces the risks of pulmonary cancer by 20%. Eating foods rich in beta-cryptoxanthin and lutein also reduces mouth cancer risks. And these foods also reduce the risks of developing osteoporosis in later life.
The amount of carotenoid in orange sweet potatoes is comparable to that of other rich foods. And this means eating these sweet potatoes provides all the benefits associated with the intake of beta-cryptoxanthin.
The carotenoid content is one of the most important orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts.
11. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are rich in lutein and zeaxanthin
Lutein usually occurs in vegetables. And these 2 compounds all belong to the terpenoid group of compounds. Also, they give the sweet potatoes the distinctive orange colour and its variations. The darker the colour the higher the carotenoid content.
Lutein and zeaxanthin are plant-based compounds. And they also belong to the xanthophyll group of compounds. Lutein and zeaxanthin lack vitamin A activity.
These compounds are important for eye health. So eating orange fleshed sweet potatoes is good for your eyes.
They also contribute to better skin protection against sunlight. Lutein and zeaxanthin also protect eyes from high energy blue light. And they help repair photo-oxidative damage of eyes by sunlight. Lutein also acts as a brain antioxidant. It protects the brain from oxidative damage.
These compounds play a part in disease management. Including reducing risks of pancreatic cancers, and coronary heart diseases.
This all makes orange sweet potatoes a special kind of sweet potatoes.
12. Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are excellent sources of alpha and beta carotene
Alpha and beta carotene are the most important components of orange fleshed sweet potatoes. They are available in most yellow and orange fruits and vegetables, as well as biofortified cereals.
Beta carotene has the highest vitamin A conversion in all carotenoids. Alpha-carotene only produces half the vitamin A produced by beta carotene.
Why are Alpha and beta carotene special carotenoids?
These carotenoids are converted to vitamin A. And as a result, they help in the defence mechanisms of the body against infection. Also, they contribute to cellular communication within tissues.
Their powerful antioxidant properties help protect against damage to visual systems, cardiovascular systems and muscle tissues. Carotenoids are a powerful antioxidant that prevents oxidative stress and damage to tissues.
These carotenoids can help alleviate vitamin A deficiency. Which is a common cause of reversible and night blindness. Vitamin A deficiency weakens your eyesight, immunity and mucous membranes. All of which increases your exposure to health risks.
Carotenoids are also known to have cancer and tumour suppression activities.
The carotenoids in orange sweet potatoes can help reduce your risk of vitamin A deficiency. Because the consumers of the sweet potatoes will have adequate vitamin A. Darker orange fleshed sweet potatoes are richer in carotenoids than lighter fleshed ones.
You need, at least one cup of orange fleshed sweet potatoes a day to get enough vitamin A.
Also orange fleshed sweet potatoes also contain small amounts of vitamin E and C which are also powerful antioxidants. Which means their antioxidant activities can supplement those of the carotenoids.
Orange fleshed sweet potatoes are one of the most nutritionally superior staple crops. Here, I explained the best orange fleshed sweet potatoes nutrition facts. Of cause, there are a lot of other facts that you may find in the links within the text. And in the next article, I will explain issues to do with orange fleshed sweet potatoes adoption. Read it here: Orange sweet potatoes: How to best encourage adoption