Sweet potatoes have been proclaimed the new superfood, while their humble cousin is getting a lot of bad rep. They’re said to have different nutritional benefits, but are they really that different? Here are some of the positive impacts that both regular and sweet potatoes will have on your body, together with an answer to the ultimate question: Which one is better for your health?
The benefits of including potatoes in your diet
Potatoes are one of the most versatile vegetables available in nature. Not only are they tasty and healthy, but they're also cheap. An absolute all-rounder, right? Sadly, this root vegetable's popularity isn't exactly at its peak consumption levels… Learn some of its health benefits and why you should buy some to include in your meals!
To begin with, the root of the main misunderstanding about the potatoes' health benefits is in the way they're cooked. Many studies linked potatoes to weight gain and diabetes, but these were based on dishes that contained potatoes that were cooked with heaps of butter, were deep-fried, or were served with high contents of cream cheese. The research done on this subject found no correlation between non-fried potato consumption and any risk of disease or weight gain.
In numbers, 170 grams of baked potato (with its skin) contains low-calorie levels: only 160 grams. As for its fat components, they're about 0.2 grams. Potatoes are a good source of vitamins C and B6, as well as manganese, phosphorus, and niacin. Leave the skin on when you cook potatoes! It contains more nutrients than the rest of the vegetables. After eating potatoes, you'll experience high levels of satisfaction and your body will feel full, which can prevent you from stress-eating or snacking.
What about sweet potatoes?
Sweet potatoes and “regular" potatoes actually come from different families. That’s why they're slightly different in their structure and, in some ways, in their nutritional values. Sweet potatoes are nutrient-dense root vegetables that come in a variety of colors and can be used in both sweet and savory dishes.
When it comes to the health benefits of sweet potatoes, you may be impressed to find out that they're rich in fiber, antioxidants, and beta-carotene, which is excellent for supporting a good vision and an improved immune system. The antioxidant properties of these vegetables can be found especially in their purple and orange varieties, and help your body combat free radicals and their damage, linked to chronic illnesses and aging.
For better reference numbers, if you eat 200 grams of baked sweet potato with its skin on, you'll ingest just 180 calories, together with high levels of vitamins A, C, and manganese. Its fat content is also low, merely 0.3 grams in such a serving. With this amount, you'll also cover a quarter of the fiber amounts needed in a fiber-rich diet (about 20 to 30 grams, daily), which in turn helps regulate bowel movements and prevent colon cancer.
Potatoes or sweet potatoes?
Both regular and sweet potatoes are comparable in calories, protein, and carb contents. Sweet potatoes are very high in Vitamin A, while regular potatoes will provide more potassium. Their high levels of fiber, antioxidants, and vitamins B6 and C are also similar. The bottom line is that eating sweet and regular potatoes in moderation will provide your body with many of its much-needed nutrients.
One of the best properties of both sweet and regular potatoes is the easiness with which you can include them in your diet. They're highly versatile in the way they can be cooked! You can try eating them as:
- Chips (just cut them into thin slices and bake or fry them)
- Pureed (simply peel and boil them before mashing them and you'll get great-tasting mashed potatoes or sweet potatoes, the latter of which you can add to baked goods as a fat-low alternative)
- Toast (slice them thinly and toast them: they'll taste great with avocado or hummus as toppings!)