Seasonal Produce Spotlight: Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The sweet potato is a versatile vegetable that can serve a variety of roles in our diets. It’s sweet enough that, combined with a sprinkling of cinnamon, it can serve as a snack or dessert in and of itself, and it can be served as part of a main dish or on the side. Besides being downright delicious though, it’s packed with nutrients. That’s why we’re going to explore the many health benefits of sweet potatoes, and I’ll even give you a pro tip on how to easily peel and cut them so they can become a regular part of your diet.

Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

The health benefits of sweet potatoes are numerous1. According to Carolyn Washburn, an Extension Associate Professor at Utah State University, they’re “fat-free, low in sodium, cholesterol-free, a good source of dietary fiber, high in Vitamin A and C, and a good source of potassium2. Yes, they are fairly high in carbs, but most of us need a healthy dose of carbs to keep our body fueled3 and to feel energized throughout the day. It’s much better to get them from high nutrient vegetables than from a couple of slices of white bread that have little to no nutritional value.

It’s generally accepted that a medium sweet potato weighs about 130 grams. That means it contains about 27 grams of carbohydrates and 4 grams of fiber4 for a total net carbs content of 23 grams. While you probably wouldn’t want to eat one every day, for most people, one to two a week is a good way to make sure you’re getting the healthy carbs that you need. If you are having digestive issues or are simply trying to reset your gut, the fiber in sweet potatoes can help to promote a healthy microbiome (the collection of all of the bacteria, fungi, viruses, and their genes that naturally live on our bodies and inside us5).

How Much Do Sweet Potatoes Cost?

At my local farmer’s market, you can find pesticide-free sweet potatoes for about $1.50/lb and at many grocery stores this time of year, you can find them for as low as $1.25-$1.30/lb. A pound generally equates to around 3 medium sweet potatoes, making them a good, low-cost option for being part of a healthy meal.

How to Store Sweet Potatoes

While sweet potatoes can last for three to four weeks if they’re kept in a dry, dark, cool (55°F) place2, it’s best to use them within one week of purchasing. They do not need to be refrigerated.

How to Prepare Sweet Potatoes

Besides just baking a sweet potato and sprinkling some cinnamon on it, here are some of my favorite sweet potato recipes:

How to peel and cut an uncooked sweet potato

Peeling and cutting an uncooked sweet potato can be time-consuming and frustrating. Here’s a pro tip for making the process easier. Poke holes in the sweet potato with a fork and microwave it for three minutes. Let it cool for a few minutes, but not so it’s completely cooled. Then peel with a knife or peeler. The skin should come right off, and it will be easy to cut into cubes if needed.


  1. Journal of Medicinal Food. Sweet Potato(lpomoea batatas [L.] Lam) –a valuable medicinal food: a review.
  2. Utah State University Cooperative Extension Food Sense. Food Sense Guide to Eating Fresh Fruits and Vegetables.
  3. The Johns Hopkins Patient Guide to Diabetes.
  4. United States Department of Agriculture. USDA Product Information Sheet.
  5. National Institute of Environmental Health Sciences. Microbiome.

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *