Sweet Potatoes: Health Benefits, Uses and Side Effects


Medically reviewed by

Bajaj Finserv Health


11 min read

Key Takeaways

  • Sweet potatoes have a number of health benefits to offer
  • Sweet potatoes’ nutrition includes nutrients like potassium
  • Anthocyanins in sweet potatoes slow the growth of cancer

There are not enough reasons for you to not include sweet potatoes in your nutrition therapy. From the benefits of sweet potatoes for diabetics to providing nutrition for immunity, they contain tons of health benefits to not miss in your diet. In fact, they are the fifth most vital food crop in developing countries. An interesting fact is that more than 105 million metric tons of them are produced each year around the world [1]. 

They are a rich source of vitamins, fiber, potassium, and other nutrients which make them one of the healthy foods you can add to your diet. They taste sweet and starchy and are available in different colors including white, orange, and purple [2]. Read on to learn about sweet potatoes' nutritional benefits.  

Nutritional Value of Sweet Potato

The nutritional chart of one sweet potato is as follows:

  • Calories: 112 grams
  • Fat: 0.07 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 26 grams
  • Protein: 2 grams
  • Fiber: 3.9 grams

Vitamins and Minerals

Do you know just a single sweet potato could provide you with the amount of vitamin A your body requires daily? This contributes to your eye health and your overall immunity. In addition, it is known to nourish the reproductive tracts and keep your kidneys and heart healthy. 

Other vitamins and minerals found in sweet potatoes are:

  • B vitamins
  • Vitamin C
  • Calcium
  • Iron
  • Magnesium
  • Phosphorus
  • Potassium
  • Thiamin
  • Zinc

The unique colour of sweet potatoes comes from a natural chemical present in sweet potatoes, carotenoids. They work as antioxidants for your body and prevent cell damage to your body. 

Amazing Health Benefits of Sweet Potatoes

Sweet potatoes are loaded with nutrients, and hence they are called superfoods. 

Help you Lose Weight

Pectin is a type of natural acid, a soluble fibre which is present in sweet potatoes, and it creates a feeling of heaviness in the stomach, and you do not feel hungry more often. It will result in less amount of food intake for your body. This helps you keep a check on your weight. There is no high-calorie present in sweet potatoes, and you can include it in your weight loss diet.  

Protect Your Skin

Sweet potatoes prevent premature ageing of your skin caused by the sun's heat. It also prevents hyperpigmentation and darker spots on the skin. They also contain important vitamins for your skin health, vitamins E, C & A.

Nourish your Hair

Beta-carotene is a natural colour found in plants, and it is present in sweet potatoes. It makes your scalp healthy and causes good growth. Additionally, the Vitamin E found in sweet potatoes will prevent hair fall and alopecia, a type of condition that causes excessive hair fall. 

Reduce Stress & Anxiety

The magnesium deficiency in the body is said to be one of the causes of stress, anxiety, and depression. Sweet potatoes contain magnesium, and they will safeguard your mental health. In addition, some studies claim that magnesium helps you exercise better. So if you consume sweet potatoes and exercise well, it will undoubtedly keep you healthy. 

Fulfil Vitamin A Deficiency

Vitamin A deficiency in the body could make you prone to infections. Sweet potatoes include vitamin A, which helps your body to fight against infections. 

Protect From Cancer 

Are you at risk of cancer? Consuming them may help as it has cancer-fighting properties. The antioxidants found in them can protect you against several types of cancers. For instance, a group of antioxidants in purple sweet potatoes known as ‘anthocyanins’ slows the growth of colon, stomach, bladder, and breast cancer [3, 4, 5]. Similarly, orange sweet potatoes are also said to have anticancer effects. 

Promote Your Gut Health 

The soluble and insoluble fibers in them stay in your digestive tract and offer various gut health benefits. Some of these fibers get fermented by your colon bacteria. This reaction creates fatty acids that boost the cells of the intestinal lining, thus keeping them strong and healthy. The antioxidants in them also provide gut health benefits. Antioxidants in certain types of sweet potatoes lead to the growth of healthy gut bacteria. These bacteria can help you resist irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), infectious diarrhea, and other such conditions. 

sweet potatoes nutritional value infographic

Improve Your Eye Health 

They are extremely rich in beta-carotene, the antioxidant that gives bright orange color. Once consumed, this antioxidant gets converted to vitamin A. It improves your vision by forming light-detecting receptors. Further, foods rich in beta-carotene can prevent xerophthalmia, a type of blindness. A cup of baked orange sweet potatoes provides 7x the beta-carotene required by adults per day. 

Maintain Your Blood Pressure 

For a healthy cardiovascular system, consume more potassium-rich foods and avoid eating foods with large quantities of added salt. Having foods rich in potassium help maintain healthy blood pressure levels and improve your heart health. It is a good source of potassium. For instance, a 124g of serving provides around 5% potassium of recommended dietary intake for adults.  

Strengthen Your Immune System 

Orange sweet potatoes are a great source of beta-carotene that is converted into vitamin A by your body. The vitamin A in your body contributes to a healthy immune system. A lack of vitamin A increases inflammation in your gut and reduces the immune system’s ability to protect against harmful pathogens [6]. Vitamin A is important for healthy mucous membranes. 

Sweet Potatoes (Shakarkandi) benefits

Improve Your Brain Health 

Munching on purple sweet potatoes may actually improve the functioning of your brain. As per animal studies, anthocyanins in these sweet potatoes reduce inflammation and prevent free radical damage, thus protecting your brain. Studies on mice have also reported an improvement in learning and memory due to antioxidant properties in anthocyanin-rich sweet potatoes. 

Increase Insulin Sensitivity 

You can advise them for diabetics as it improves insulin sensitivity. A study reported that white-skinned sweet potatoes increased insulin sensitivity in type 2 diabetics. Further, the fibers in them can also help people with diabetes as they can lower the risk of type 2 diabetes.  

Help Reduce Inflammation 

Purple sweet potatoes have the potential to lower the risk of obesity and inflammation [7]. The choline content in them improves your nervous system as it helps with learning, memory, and muscle movement. In fact, a study found that inflammation in asthma patients can be managed with choline supplements [8]. 

Additional Read: Benefits of Ghee 

Uses of Sweet Potatoes

You can obtain nutrition from sweet potatoes by consuming them in various ways, and roasting is a popular method. Roasting retains the sweetness and the creamy taste of sweet potato. You can add it to your salad as well. You can roast it on a gas top until it gets softer. 

Baking is another way you can consume it. Mix it with ground cinnamon and maple syrup to enhance the taste. It can also be used in pancakes and vegetable soups. 

Sweet potato pie is a very popular dessert. Other options are cookies and brownies made from sweet potatoes. 

Side Effects

For vegetarians, sweet potato is a common food. It helps you deal with several health hazards and enables you to turn towards a healthier lifestyle. However, doctors have warned against excessive consumption of sweet potatoes. 

Contribute to Stone Formation

Because of the high oxalate content, sweet potatoes could create stones in your kidneys and in the gallbladder. So, you should consume it moderately. 

Cause Toxicity from Vitamin A

Too much vitamin A in the body could cause rashes and headaches. So eating many sweet potatoes could lead to such conditions as they are high in vitamin A. 

Cause Kidney Failure

If you are already suffering from chronic kidney and liver ailments, you should not consume sweet potatoes. Heavy consumption of them may cause serious consequences for your kidney and liver. 

Lead to Heart Complications

Sweet potatoes are high in potassium, and overconsumption of them could elevate the potassium level in the body. It could result in toxic conditions caused by potassium which is called hyperkalemia, and lead to a heart attack. 

Lead to Stomach Problems

Sweet potatoes contain a type of sugar alcohol mannitol which is often used as a drug injection. It results in stomach cramps, diarrhoea and bloating. If you experience stomach discomfort, you should not eat them.

They may interfere with your blood sugar level 

Though sweet potato comes with a low glycemic index, it could interfere with the blood sugar level in diabetic patients. So they should be careful about its consumption. 

How to Add Sweet Potato in Food?

Sweet potatoes can be consumed boiled, sauté or baked. You can try out these recipes of sweet potatoes at your home to reap the nutritional benefits of this vegetable:

1) Sweet Potato Tikki:

You can make it as tikki, which will take only 15/20 minutes to prepare by the following method: 

  • Get 2/3 medium-sized sweet potatoes and boil, peel and mash them
  • Mix them with onion and green chillies according to your taste
  • You can put fresh coriander leaves in them
  • Then, add red chilli powder, salt and gram flour to the mixture and prepare the dough
  • Create small tikkis out of that dough and fry them or grill them till they become brown
  • Enjoy them with chutney

2) Shakarkandi or Sweet Potatoes Kheer: 

Another common recipe is Shakarkandi kheer which can be made without sugar. It can be prepared in half an hour.

  • First, grate the sweet potatoes, put them in boiling milk, and let them cook
  • Slowly the milk will evaporate, and then you should check whether the potatoes are boiled
  • Get a few almonds and make them into a paste and add them to the mixture
  • Continue cooking them and further add cashews, dates, and cardamom powder
  • Mix them well and turn off the heat. You can serve it hot or cold as per your choice
  • The dates in this recipe will provide a sugary taste

3) Shakarkadi or Sweet Potato Chat: 

Shakarkandi chaat is a snack loved by many which takes just ten minutes to prepare. 

  • You can start by cooking and peeling off the sweet potatoes and making cubes out of them
  • Let the oil heat on the pan and then put bay leaves and onion and fry them till they become colourless
  • Take half a spoon of black pepper powder, half a spoon of jeera powder, slight red chilli powder, dry mango powder, chat masala powder, and salt and mix them well in a bowl
  • Then pour some lemon juice into it and mix them again. For garnishing, you can use coriander leaves
  • Enjoy this chaat in your evening

4) Sweet Potatoes and Quinoa Salad:

You can make sweet potato and quinoa salad, which will be ready in ten minutes. 

  • As a first step, boil the sweet potatoes and peel them to make cubes
  • Pour some oil into a pan and let it heat 
  • Fry out one bay leaf and one onion finely chopped, and let the onion leave its colour
  • Then you add the sweet potato cubes, black pepper, chilli powder and coconut and fry them again
  • Next, you need to add cashews and raisins. Let the cashews turn brown
  • Then, add one cup of cooked quinoa and cook it for five minutes on medium heat
  • Eat it hot

Know about the sweet potatoes’ calories and how much of it you need to consume per day by consulting with a nutritionist. Search ‘doctor near me’ on Bajaj Finserv Health and book an online or in-clinic appointment with top nutritionists and dieticians from the list. Get the right nutrition therapy and advice with regards to your health.


Is sweet potato good for losing weight?

A 100-gram sweet potato contains 145 kcal, which is not much to worry about. So, it can be an important part of your weight loss diet. They are a rich source of dietary fibre, so it is also good for digestion. 

Are sweet potatoes good for the skin?

Sweet potatoes provide Vitamin A, which is an important nutrient for the body. It safeguards your skin from the damage caused by excessive exposure to the sun. It also takes care of skin dryness and wrinkles. In addition, it promotes glowing skin as it contains collagen, the most important skin protein that helps retain the skin's elasticity. 

Is sweet potato high in sugar?

Sweet potatoes have low sugar content even though they are carbohydrates. They are also low in sodium and dietary fat, which makes them ideal for consumption. 

Is it oK to eat sweet potatoes every day?

Sweet potatoes offer tremendous health benefits. But you should eat them in moderation as they could cause Vitamin A toxicity and stone formation. They could also disrupt your normal blood sugar level. So, you should eat them twice or thrice a week. 

What is the best time to eat sweet potato?

The ideal time to eat sweet potatoes is in the morning for your breakfast. You can mix it with milk/yoghurt and add some green vegetables and stay energetic throughout the day. 

Are sweet potatoes junk food?

Sweet potatoes are not called junk food. They are nutrient-rich vegetables full of fibre and antioxidant properties, which protect your body from free radicals and ensure a healthy stomach. 

Does sweet potato make you fat?

Sweet potatoes cannot make you fat. In fact, they are a good alternative to your regular potato. They are heavy food, and after eating them, you do not feel hungry for long. This will help you eat less and stay slim and healthy.

 How many sweet potatoes can you eat in a day?

You can eat a single sweet potato daily as it could give you the necessary amount of vitamin A your body requires to function, apart from its multiple other health benefits, as discussed above. 

Published on 23 Mar 2022Last updated on 9 May 2023
  1. https://cipotato.org/sweetpotato/sweetpotato-facts-and-figures/#:~:text=Worldwide%2C%20sweetpotato%20is%20the%20sixth,are%20grown%20in%20developing%20countries.
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/24921903/
  3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4609785/
  4. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/29749527/
  5. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/23784800/
  6. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/19932006/
  7. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6152044/
  8. https://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/abs/pii/S0171298509001521

Please note that this article is solely meant for informational purposes and Bajaj Finserv Health Limited (“BFHL”) does not shoulder any responsibility of the views/advice/information expressed/given by the writer/reviewer/originator. This article should not be considered as a substitute for any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always consult with your trusted physician/qualified healthcare professional to evaluate your medical condition. The above article has been reviewed by a qualified doctor and BFHL is not responsible for any damages for any information or services provided by any third party.


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